The journalistic class has reacted very strangely to the new allegations of corruption leveled against Winston Peters in parliament yesterday. Most have ignored them. The Herald burbled on about Owen Glenn's letter to the privileges committee and Radio NZ managed to studiously ignore them until 0600 this morning.
In fact, these are the first real allegations of genuine corruption.
Everything which has gone before has had links to corruption, a hint of corruption, the suggestion of corruption but this lot is the real deal, no holds barred 'gimme the money and I'll look after you' raw blatant corruption of the worst possible kind.
Let's look carefully at what has been said:-
The allegations are 'on the record,' so they are not just hearsay or idle gossip.
They are in the hands of the Serious Fraud Office, so it is difficult to imagine they will not be investigated.
They allege a meeting between Peters and Suminovich at which the alligator was present, so there's no wriggle room for the usual go betweens to provide protection.
They contain an incriminating statement 'I'll make them go away,' so there can be no doubt as to the meaning and or intent.
Rodney Hide has backed our slippery PM into a corner by making her tell parliament that she will not impede any SFO investigation. That is not to say she won't try and she has form but now, if there is a hint of interference from any quarter it will be sheeted home directly to her.
pic stolen from stuff
Getting himself thrown out of parliament after a stand up slugging match with peg leg Speaker was fine theatre and superb tactics. It made sure the accusations are indelibly recorded in Hansard.
When Wilson is presented with incontrovertible evidence that the issues raised are not in fact sub judice then she will have no option but to deal publicly to Winston who has been relying on keeping a small number of long ago hopelessly lost defamation cases 'open' for just the purpose we saw yesterday. He just lost the game because yesterday, for the first time, his subterfuge has been revealed to the wider public for what it is. A sham, designed to hide the truth of his crooked dealings.
Peters is facing potentially substantial jail time. The sentence handed down to a cabinet minister for soliciting bribes is unlikely to be lenient.
I call on the National Party Leader to announce in the house this week that upon election his government will
(a) reinstate an independent and effective serious Fraud Office and
(b) refuse to deal with NZ First in any way while Winston Peters remains a member or maintains any connection with NZ First.