GERRY BROWNLEE (National—Ilam)
: I move,
That the House take note of miscellaneous business. The great question of the day is: what did Helen Clark learn when she had her 1-hour meeting with Winston Peters earlier in the week? What did she learn? We know for a fact that the first thing she learnt was that she could not have a confidence vote in the House this week. Following that meeting she had to phone up Michael Cullen and say: “Change the programme. We don’t want the appropriations debate voted on, on Thursday afternoon. We can’t guarantee confidence. We haven’t got it sorted with Winston.”
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): Order!
GERRY BROWNLEE: We saw the Government scramble around and get the numbers all lined up for the Lawyers and Conveyancers Amendment Bill (No 2), which became a priority for the week.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. It is probably OK for some people to be referring to members of Parliament by their first names, but not when that member has been in this Parliament for some time. I at least have given him the courtesy of calling him Mr Brownlee, or some other name before Mr Brownlee, but I do not call him by his Christian name and he should do the same honour to me.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): I thank the member. I did call him to order, and I hope that he noted that.
GERRY BROWNLEE: I want to apologise for that. I was just so moved by the frequent reference to the name “Winston” by Condoleezza Rice on the weekend that I have been carried away. But I will now refer to him as Mr Peters.
The issues here are extremely serious. We have had all these allegations swirling around for almost 2 weeks about the Owen Glenn donation, about the Bob Jones donation, and who knows what more, and there are no answers. The Prime Minister, caught in the headlights, calls in Mr Peters, has the meeting with him, and simply says to Mr Peters: “Well, was there anything dodgy in this?” He leans back in the chair and says: “No, all fine, and you’ll believe that or you won’t have my vote on Thursday.” That was the deal. So Helen Clark comes into the House—
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. What that member just said is totally out of order, first of all because it is false, and, second, because any such implication was bound to bring disorder in this House. He should be asked to withdraw and apologise, for what he just said was blatantly false, but worse than that, what can be inferred from it needs to be corrected now.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): Can I just say to Mr Peters that there was so much noise I did not hear. But if the member said anything that caused objection, the member has asked for it to be withdrawn, and I ask the member to do so.
GERRY BROWNLEE: I have raised a significant debating point. In the vacuum of information that we have all we can do is to surmise. Am I starting again—I am not losing time for this, I hope?
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): No, you are not, Mr Brownlee.
GERRY BROWNLEE: So here we are—
Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker—
GERRY BROWNLEE: I am doing quite well, I think.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): The member was asked to withdraw.
Rt Hon Winston Peters: Yes, and he will.
GERRY BROWNLEE: For what?
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): The member has taken exception to what has been said. It is leading to disorder and I am just asking the member whether he will withdraw.
Hon Bill English: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I can understand that you were trying to deal with the situation, but Parliament would like a bit more clarity. As you said yourself, you did not quite hear what was said, but a member is being asked to withdraw on the basis that another member took exception. We all take exception to things that are said in here every day, and certainly it would have been better if you had heard it before coming to a judgment about whether it was out of order and does merit withdrawal.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): Can I just say that the member—
Ron Mark: Maybe I could be of some help. My understanding is—and you are well versed in the Standing Orders and I am pretty sure that you would quickly come to the relevant provision—that it is improper to suggest the corruption of a vote. It is out of order to suggest that someone is coerced into voting a particular way. That is a clear contravention of the Standing Orders and he should be required to withdraw and apologise.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): I thank Mr Mark.
GERRY BROWNLEE: Firstly, I would point out that there has actually been no vote, and that was the point, so there cannot be any coercion around that. But if it makes it easier I will withdraw and get to the substance of what I want to say, which is simply this. Did everyone notice that after the meeting with Helen Clark yesterday, suddenly the Order Paper changed and the confidence vote was gone? That was the deal, so what is to be concluded from that?
Mr Peters has repeatedly said in the media that he will clear things up, and I think he should, because there has been a crusade in this Parliament by New Zealand First for disclosure, for transparency, to expose influence, to get rid of graft, and to get a regime where people could know what is going on. New Zealand First members voted for that appalling bill that got passed last year—a bill that is totally anti-democratic. Now, when they find themselves caught in the headlights, they cannot explain two donations. So we need to have some answers from Mr Peters today.
First, Mr Peters might like to tell us whether he can deny ever giving the Spencer Trust, or any agent of the Spencer Trust, any instructions. It is a relevant question, because we are told that there was a meeting with Bob Jones. There was a discussion, and, at a later time, Bob Jones said: “I won’t give you $50,000, but to get rid of you I’ll give you $25,000. Send one of your people down to see me.” Then Mr McClay goes down there—
Hon Member: Who’s that?
GERRY BROWNLEE: Mr Roger McClay. A staff member of New Zealand First goes down there and asks Mr Jones—I am sure, politely—“Please make the cheque out to the Spencer Trust.” Where did he get that instruction from—because apparently Mr Peters, who is the beneficiary of that trust, did not know it existed? So there is a question to be answered there.
Then there is, of course, the issue of: if Mr Peters genuinely thought the cheque was for the New Zealand First Party, why did he not declare it?
Ron Mark: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I apologise to the member for interrupting him, but amongst all the noise I could not quite be clear whether the Roger McClay he mentioned is the father of the National Party candidate—
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): The member knows that is not a point of order. [Interruption] Order! I am on my feet. Points of order are to be heard in silence. The member knows that is not a point of order.
GERRY BROWNLEE: Why is it so hard for New Zealand First to answer the question? Why is it so hard to answer a simple question? What happened to the money? Why was it not declared either in the 2007 disclosures or in the pecuniary interests?
Then there is the issue of the Owen Glenn cheque. This is truly puzzling. Here we have Winston Peters, a man with 14 legal actions on the boil, with lawyers crawling all over the top of all sorts of things—some against him, some he has brought himself, but clearly with very big legal bills. What are we being told? That he never looked at the invoice and noticed there was a $100,000 credit on it? That he never bothers about what he owes in these circumstances? That he never bothered to find out whether there was a
gift to him to help him out with his legal fees, because if there was it needed to be declared?
Then there is, of course, the question about the process by which it became known that Owen Glenn, who gave half a million dollars to the Labour Party and $100,000 to Winston, got in line to be the consul.
Hon PETE HODGSON (Minister for Economic Development)
: Let us not worry about Winston Peters and what happened to the cheque that Bob Jones gave him or where it went. Let us ask this question. Let us ask why the National Party, on purpose, set up the Waitemata Trust, and why, on purpose, it set up the Ruahine Trust, not to receive one cheque and have it disbursed but to receive dozens and dozens of cheques over the years and launder them. Let us ask why the National Party set up two big laundering factories to receive all of the egregious blessings from its corporate mates—dollars for policy, as far as we know, because they were kept secret. Tell us what happened in the past with that party, and tell us, indeed, why even last December those trusts got swept. The reason they had to be swept is that this House decided that the rules were too loose, that the accountability was not good enough, and that the workarounds were too easy.
So the Labour Party, the New Zealand First Party, and other parties voted for legislation to increase accountability, to reduce the workarounds, and to make the whole process of financing for elections more transparent. And who voted against it? National members voted against it. They voted against it right through with feeling and with vehemence. They were vigorous and tireless in their opposition to the legislation, because they did not want the workarounds taken away from them. National members have the temerity to stand up and spend the first 5 minutes of this general debate attacking one party over one cheque, when they have been doing it for hundreds of thousands of dollars over many elections shamelessly—without shame!
Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Just so we can get back on to the topic—
Hon Clayton Cosgrove: This is a general debate.
Gerry Brownlee: It is a general debate—the member is right.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): It is a point of order, Mr Brownlee.
Gerry Brownlee: Does that member go?
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): I am listening to the point of order, Mr Brownlee.
Gerry Brownlee: Firstly, I point out that Mr Hodgson knows about all this, because it was published in the document listing registered parties’ donations and declared by us. Secondly, I seek leave to table the Electoral Commission’s 2007 register of party donations, which makes it clear that many Labour members donated to their party last year.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): Mr Brownlee, that is not a point of order. The member knows that it is common courtesy to seek leave to table those things at the end of a member’s speech. The member is very experienced, and he knows that.
Gerry Brownlee: With all due respect, you can refer to any convention that you like, but the fact is that members can take a point of order and seek leave any time they like. I am seeking leave, right now, to table the Electoral Commission’s 2007 register of party donations, which shows everything that Mr Hodgson is talking about, all of the significant Labour member donations to the party, and nothing from New Zealand First.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): Is there any objection to that course of action being taken? There is.
Hon PETE HODGSON: Notice how National members seek to break up the speech. Notice how they do not like it when someone reminds them that they have set up trusts, or had them set up, specifically to launder cash—specifically for that purpose. When legislation was passed in this House to try to stop that—and that legislation succeeded, thanks to the support of New Zealand First—these people voted against it. There is a word for that. It begins with “h”, and it is unparliamentary.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): No, no.
Hon PETE HODGSON: It is unparliamentary.
I want to know from the National Party where its policy is. Where is its policy? When will it stop creeping around the skirting boards, hiding under the radar, and trying to dodge the cameras? When will it stop failing to reveal its plans about any of its policy? How much longer can it continue to take the advice of Crosby/Textor that it should try to keep a small target, and that it should say nothing and stay below the radar? How much longer? That is what I want to know, because the National Party has less than 4 months to go, yet National members sneak around saying they will tell us about their policy later. Well, I say that sooner or later—
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): I am sorry to interrupt the honourable member, but I cannot hear. Chaos may be the parent of creation, but not in this place—we will have order. It is my duty to run the House according to the Standing Orders and the Speakers’ rulings that have been crafted over 150 years of parliamentary democracy in this country.
Hon PETE HODGSON: That is slippery behaviour. Those members think they can run down the clock; they say that it does not matter. I say to the National Party that before long the agenda will be the National Party’s secret agenda. Those members need to out themselves or the opposition parties—the parties that oppose them in this House—will do the outing for them. Of course, on occasion they are outed unwittingly. Some guy, who did not mean to, outed the National Party on accident compensation policy recently—someone in Australia did it. The National Party responded with a policy that was 83 words long. Most radio commercials are longer than that. But even in that brief utterance we learnt of the agenda of the National Party. Can members guess what it was? It was that dear old 1990s policy “Let’s get it privatised. If it moves, we’ll privatise it.” National members did not think they wanted to tell anyone about it before the election until the guy over in Australia let the cat out of the bag.
The only policies that are released by the National Party are ones that are already part of this Government. John Key has been getting up and saying, chapter and verse: “I hate this policy.”, then getting up a year later—or in some cases a month later—and saying: “We’ll do it.” He has done it time and again. It is a Crosby/Textor technique to make sure that the National members find something that the people like and make sure that they support it, even if they did not like it the first time when they were declaring what they really felt. Crosby/Textor says that if U-turns are needed, they should get on with their U-turning. Boy, have they been doing so! In May of this year John Key said that buying back the railways was a dumb idea. In the same month of this year, the same man said National would have no option but to hang on to the asset. In November 2005 John Key said of student loans that they were “an unaffordable … and irresponsible cost to the country”. By January 2008 he said: “National will … keep interest-free student loans for tertiary students”—can members believe that? It goes on and on forever. National members are too slippery for their own good.
ERIC ROY (National—Invercargill)
: I seek leave to table a document that outlines the procedure for donating to a secret trust that the Labour candidate had in Invercargill in 2005.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): Is there any objection to that course of action being taken? There is.
Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First)
: This afternoon I would like to start with a quote from
Alice in Wonderland: “Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said; ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’ ‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was younger I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.’ ”
That is how I describe the media hysteria of the past few weeks about New Zealand First. Each day New Zealanders were being asked to swallow six impossible things before breakfast. For the past 2 weeks we have been assailed by innuendo and wild allegations. We have been expecting it. We are not surprised. And it will continue. The media will make frenzied allegations, and we will bat them away with the truth.
What the media do not know is that in May 2005, 3 years ago, we informed the Speaker of documentation, the day we got it, of allegations that are now appearing in the
Dominion Post—3 years ago. Let me give some background. Some of the dirt came from Television New Zealand (TVNZ), via the
Dominion Post. The rest comes from vested interests that have been offering big money for any dirt on Winston Peters. They do not want us around at the next election. TVNZ has had two private investigators, detectives, sniffing around since it was sued for defamation some years ago—an action that is alive today. Members will recall that the then chief executive officer, Ian Fraser, threatened me at a select committee meeting. He claimed to have more information. A reporter called Philip Kitchin from the
was hired by Fraser’s then news chief, Bill Ralston. Kitchin went back to the
with documents and emails given to him by TVNZ. These documents were taken when a former part-time New Zealand First adviser went through an acrimonious split with his partner. She is also part of the defamation case.
In this latest saga Kitchin went to Bob Jones and deliberately misled him about a donation—just to get a story. So far there have been at least six impossibly different versions of this story in different media outlets. To get some more dirt, some branches of the media have been interviewing an individual whom I sacked in 1996. He is now being held up as an expert about something that was supposed to have been happening in New Zealand First. He must have been clairvoyant, because what he has said now never existed back then. This is the same man who used to talk to young teenage girls on Internet chatrooms—like he has got some credibility?
Over the past few months we have been warned about attacks coming our way. The last was given to me at my mother’s funeral. We were told that there is a pot of money for more dirt on Peters and New Zealand First. What we have seen in recent weeks is New Zealand’s neutron news—destroy the facts, but keep the egos of the media intact. Some deeply sensitive journalists and talkback hosts were even ringing me during my mother’s funeral service. To be fair, some journalists have tried to be objective, but most have run round in circles like brainless meerkats. The result of this has been a flood of misinformation. One most disturbing situation arising from this is the constant reporting that I have denied something, when I have simply refused to answer a stupid question. There is a serious difference. I totally accept being reported as refusing to answer stupid questions, but I do not accept that means refusal or denial. But then, perhaps some words in the English language have changed while I was not looking.
We have seen journalists interviewing each other, their computers, my political foes, and anybody who walks past. If we remember
Alice in Wonderland we will remember the Mad Hatter’s tea party. The Mad Hatter’s tea party was sane compared with what we have experienced during the past few weeks. So to end I would like to go back to
Alice in Wonderland: “ ‘Really, now you ask me,’ said Alice, very much confused, ‘I
don’t think.’ ‘Then you shouldn’t talk,’ said the Hatter.” That is good advice. If one does not think, if one does not know the facts, even though they have been with the Speaker for over 3 years, and worse still, if one does not know the law applying to the facts, then one should not talk.
Hon LIANNE DALZIEL (Minister of Commerce)
: John Key told a National Party audience in Christchurch last year that he was going to say some things they would not like hearing over the coming months, but asked them to hold their nerve. There were things that would have to be said if National was going to be elected to Government. However, not even National’s strongest supporters thought this signalled a complete back-down on all of Labour’s policies but particularly on Working for Families. They cannot believe it. They have already heard Mr Key describe Working for Families as a complete, complex, bureaucratic, and costly welfare monster, a last-ditch election bribe, and then, finally, communism by stealth, and now he states: “National wants to offer New Zealand families certainty about the future of the Working for Families system. That’s why we intend making no change to it.”
I am sure, though, that National supporters were heartened by the attacks on the employment rights of the most vulnerable of workers who do not have collective agreements and whose terms of employment are dictated by the employer, not negotiated across a level playing field. However, the decision to remove the mandatory employer contribution from KiwiSaver, which we now know is the real deal, has drawn a mixed response. Some employers have made their employees pay for their contribution, while pocketing the tax credit. But those who really understand that we need a broad-based savings culture in New Zealand in order to generate depth in our capital markets—and KiwiSaver is already delivering on that—are deeply concerned about the uncertainty that National has created by having this coming and going position on KiwiSaver. They want certain messages, and they do not want the messages they are receiving from National. I find it hard to believe, but I truly think that National really would repeat the greatest single act of economic vandalism this country has ever seen, which of course was the National decision in 1975 to reverse the Labour workplace savings scheme that was in existence then.
Despite the trouble New Zealand faces in terms of the inevitable flow-on effects of the global credit crunch, the international commodity prices, the impact of the American dollar on our exchange rate, the climate change challenge, and the instability and conflict in many regions of the world, we have nothing from National that offers any solution or any way forward. Labour, on the other hand, has taken a truly responsible approach to managing the economy, including future-proofing New Zealand superannuation through the New Zealand Superannuation Fund and seeding the savings culture needed in this country through KiwiSaver. That makes me wonder why anyone thinks it would be good to change to a party led by a former money market trader who happily traded against the future value of the New Zealand dollar, when there was money to be had.
What else would be for sale under a National Government? Crosby/Textor says: “Just don’t tell anyone what you are going to do, and then do it anyway.”, and, of course, that was the message that John Key gave his audience in Christchurch last year.
I found a rather revealing insight into the attitude of those in the commodities market in a film called
The Corporation, which I watched earlier this year. I have a quote from a commodities trader who said: “I’ve got to be honest with you. When the September 11th situation happened … It was a really bad thing. It was one of the worst things I’ve seen in my lifetime, you know. But, I will tell you, and every trader will tell you, who was not in that building and who was buying gold, and who owned gold and silver, that when it happened, the first thing you thought about was, ‘well, how much is gold up?’
The first thing that came to mind was, ‘my God, gold must be exploding’. Fortunately, for us, all our clients were in gold. So when it went up they all doubled their money. Everybody doubled their money. It was a blessing in disguise. Devastating, crushing, heart shattering, but in a financial sense, for my clients that were in the market, they all made money. Now I wasn’t looking for this type of help, but it happened.”
And then the commodities trader goes on to talk about the US bombing Iraq back in 1991 and that when “the price of oil went from $13 to $40 a barrel … we couldn’t wait for the bombs to start raining down on Saddam Hussein.” He carries on by saying: “There was not a broker I know of that wasn’t excited about that. This was a disaster. This was … catastrophe happening. Bombing. Wars. In devastation there is opportunity.” Why would anyone vote for a party led by someone like that?
Hon BILL ENGLISH (Deputy Leader—National)
: There is a fairly simple issue at the heart of the controversy, over what is now almost 2½ weeks, around the New Zealand First donations, and it is this: New Zealand First and Labour have run a campaign for a long time on the need for transparency for large donations, because large donations suggest political influence. What has become clear is that those parties cannot meet the standards that they have set for everybody else.
The system is simple. If one runs the risk of taking a large donation—and there is no doubt that that has happened; $100,000 and $25,000 are large donations—then one ought to be able to explain what happened with the donation and why it did not influence one’s decisions. Helen Clark has decided, having spent 2 years ramming the Electoral Finance Act through this House, that the standard now is one of criminal behaviour. After ranting about transparency and big money for a decade, Helen Clark now says a person can be a Minister in her Cabinet provided that that person is not guilty of criminal behaviour, and the way she will find out whether someone is guilty of criminal behaviour is to ask the person concerned. That is the standard. That is ridiculous. That is absurd.
And that issue will not go away until the questions are answered, because that is what every other MP in this House would expect to have to do. If other MPs had received a donation of $100,000, they would expect to have to answer the question, particularly if the donor is a friend of the Government that they are part of. Any Prime Minister should expect any member of the House to answer the questions. But what have we seen instead from Helen Clark? Last week in this debate I talked about the prevarication and procrastination of the Prime Minister. One week and many thousands of words later, we are no further ahead. The Labour-led Government is paralysed by this matter.
Let us measure Labour by its own yardstick. What is happening to the emissions trading system legislation? That was the main plank of Labour’s sustainability theme, laid out by the Prime Minister as being the key to the 2008 election and her Government’s programme. It is going nowhere. It is dead. The Government cannot get the votes in this Parliament to put that legislation through. What about the legislation regarding the financial sector, where today the Guardian Trust has frozen a further quarter of a billion dollars of funds, after a billion dollars were frozen by Hanover Finance just a couple of days ago. The legislation that was meant to apply to that has had to be rewritten from clause 3—after 18 months of the Government saying it would solve the problem. So we are paralysed on that. What about the confidence vote that my colleague Gerry Brownlee referred to? What matters more than maintaining the confidence of the Parliament in the executive, while the confidence vote has been put off?
Judith Collins: Why is that?
Hon BILL ENGLISH: Well, it must have something to do with the people who are meant to vote on confidence. It is an absolutely plausible explanation, however offensive it might be to the Government, that the deal between Labour and Winston Peters that has Helen Clark saying her new standard is one of criminality is about maintaining a confidence vote from New Zealand First till Thursday or next week—because if Helen Clark puts that to the vote and loses it, the Government is gone. So what we do know is that the Government is paralysed by a matter of internal politics between itself and its coalition partner.
The public are facing record high interest rates, record financial collapses, a collapse in house prices, and a coming explosion in unemployment figures, and Helen Clark has spent the last 2 weeks saying she has confidence in a Minister if he is still there. And then she says National is guilty of tautology! Today she said that if the Minister is still there, then she must have confidence in him. The Prime Minister is parsing her grammar, word by word, to try to stay in Government while the public is suffering.
Hon CLAYTON COSGROVE (Minister of Immigration)
: I reflect with interest on Mr English’s speech, where he posed the proposition that there were a number of challenges for the New Zealand economy. He challenged the Government on what it has been doing for the last couple of days. I put this challenge to him, and also to “Old Jelly Back”, who is not with us today: what is his answer to the challenges—
Hon Bill English: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I do not know whom the member was referring to—it might even have been his New Zealand First coalition partners—but he is not allowed to refer to any member of Parliament in that way.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): I am sorry; I have to say I was distracted at the time by the Clerk.
Hon CLAYTON COSGROVE: Speaking to the point of order, I was referring to John Key doing flip-flops. I withdraw and apologise.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): Thank you.
Hon Bill English: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. The procedure is very clear. The member must withdraw and apologise and say nothing else.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): The member is absolutely right. The member will stand, withdraw, and apologise.
Hon CLAYTON COSGROVE: I withdraw and apologise. I think I did so before I was asked, actually. I pose a couple of questions to Mr English. Mr English is very good at asking everybody in this House for explanations. So will he stand in this House and account for every donation in the Waitemata Trust and in all the other trusts? Oh, no. The gelatine creeps down the spine. Will he answer that question? Will Mr Brownlee, who has risen from his slumber in his seat, tell the media now about every donation that was received and whether—to quote Mr English’s words, because he does make a good point that we need to know what happened to those donations—those donations influenced any political decisions? We know, as “Burger King” walks out of the Chamber—
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): No, no, no. The members knows that he cannot refer to the member in that way.
CLAYTON COSGROVE: I withdraw.
Gerry Brownlee: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I think that was extremely unkind. It was hurtful. I much prefer to be known as a single-man rent-a-crowd.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): Thank you for the humour, Mr Brownlee, but you know that was not a point of order.
Hon CLAYTON COSGROVE: I quote Mr English’s words when he said that we need to find out what political influence, if any, was gained from those donations. We know how Mr English’s accident compensation policy was formed at the last election,
and who influenced that. Will Mr English actually get up in the Chamber now—I challenge him to do that—to tell us about all the anonymous donations from the Waitemata Trust, and from various sectors of the economy, so that we can then make assumptions or presumptions, or remove any perception that his policy at the last election may have been influenced? Oh, no! He is mute; there is silence.
If we look at the National members over the last couple of days, we see that they have been obsessed with this issue. But if we ask them about their policy and how they, if they were in Government, would meet the challenges of the economy, we know what happens. They get out the xerox machine. Asking that crew on the other side of the Chamber to come up with policy is a bit like asking a xerox machine to write a movie script. It cannot happen; it will xerox it off. If we look at all the things that National opposed, whether it be KiwiSaver, interest-free student loans, KiwiRail, superannuation—I remember a debate with Mr English, who got up and railed against the inadequacy of New Zealand superannuation—you name it, we see that they have all been adopted. The xerox machine has just rolled off, and those policies have all been adopted.
One has to ask where the depth is and where the background papers are, that Colin James asks for. Where is the depth? Where are the new ideas, as we face—
Rodney Hide: Where’s the money?
Hon CLAYTON COSGROVE: That is the walking egg yolk. Do members remember old Ted Bovis from
Hi-de-Hi! He was the camp entertainment officer. We have Parliament’s own camp entertainment officer here. I have to say that that member is well suited to the colour yellow. I say no more. He is the man who got up yesterday and protested because he felt he had been threatened by another member—
Hon Murray McCully: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I raise two points with you. Firstly, the remarks I heard from the member on his feet that were directed at Mr Hide clearly suggested that the jacket he was wearing was in some way indicative of a lack of courage. You know, Mr Assistant Speaker, that under the Standing Orders that is not permissible. Secondly, I draw your attention to the fact that this is the third offensive reference that this Minister has made in the course of this brief speech, and it must be coming very close to the point where you, Mr Assistant Speaker, should be contemplating the terminating of that speech.
Hon CLAYTON COSGROVE: Speaking to the point of order, I say, with respect, that Mr McCully can try to define in whatever terms he likes what he may have taken from what I said. What I did was identify the colour of Mr Hide’s jacket. Also I had a bit of a poke at Mr Hide, because if he wants to interject on me he has to be able to hack it.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): I listened to the remark, and after reflection I let it pass. Any member, of course, is entitled to rise and make comment, and that has been done. I noticed that Mr Hide let the remark pass, as well. As long as those remarks will not lead to disorder, the member may continue.
Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Just to make it perfectly clear, I, like the rest of the country—and, indeed, the Labour caucus—have never listened to this member, so I have no idea—
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): That is not a point of order, Mr Hide. Those are the sorts of things that lead to disorder.
Hon CLAYTON COSGROVE: There lies the fiscal genius who paid 1,400 bucks for that jacket. I move on. I think that member wants to be a Minister of Finance one day; he cannot organise his own finances.
I challenge the media, and I challenge National members to front up and tell us what they would do. They have adopted damn near every policy that the Government has,
except, of course, its industrial relations policy, which has gone down like a cup of the proverbial.
Jill Pettis: ACC.
Hon CLAYTON COSGROVE: And, of course, there is accident compensation. This is a cracker. National says that it will not privatise it but will introduce competition. Sorry? This is a health issue that all New Zealanders should be very, very concerned about. Accident compensation that has been undermined by that crew will undermine people’s fundamental health protections if they have an accident. Members should not judge what I say to be a fact; they should judge what National did last time, in terms of the deterioration of cover for lost and lonely people out there who may not be able to afford to get in straight away and who are provided for on a no-fault accident compensation system. National’s accident compensation policy is one of the more innovative policies it has come out with that does not copy us; we are opposed to it. That is about the only thing we can say for that crew.
National obsesses about those issues as it tries to build a sort of mist around its inactivity and as it announces one or two pages of policy. I go back to what I think David Farrar said—no friend of the Labour Party but a so-called independent blogger who was a National Party researcher. He came out and said that National should release all the background papers. Well, two things arise. If it ain’t got any background papers, it is hollowed out, there is nothing there, and there are no new ideas—or else it is hiding something.
RODNEY HIDE (Leader—ACT)
: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I started to listen to what the honourable member on his feet was saying. My point of order is that although he is clearly interested in my jacket and what I paid for it, what I am interested in, to test his fiscal genius, is what he paid for the plugs that he has—
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): Those are personal reflections. The member should know better.
Hon CLAYTON COSGROVE (Minister of Immigration)
: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. I just rise to say that I take no offence from that. Sadly, Rodney, my hair is all natural, unlike the desert—
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): No, I will not get into a debate between you guys.
JUDITH COLLINS (National—Clevedon)
: The National Party asked a couple of questions today of Mr Peters. We asked whether he gave any instructions to the Spencer Trust. We also asked whether he, having received all the legal invoices for all the legal actions that he has taken over the last few years, ever looked at those invoices and wondered how come $100,000 was paid off by Owen Glenn. We asked why Helen Clark has not asked those questions.
What we got in return today is some talk from Mr Peters about
Alice in Wonderland. We wonder what that has to do with the issue. Well, quite clearly, the trustees of the Spencer Trust are to be found in this story. Who will be Alice? We have the Queen of Hearts, the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the Cheshire Cat. There is no contest at all as to who Alice is. That is Helen Clark. I would say the Cheshire Cat would be Winston Peters. He is sitting there and holding Parliament and the people of New Zealand in utter contempt. All we have seen today is yet another attack on the media and not one question answered.
What we heard from Helen Clark today and yesterday is simply that she has judged the standard by which her Ministers will now be judged. She said: “Did you, Winston Peters, do something illegal?”. He is supposed to have said: “No, I did not.” That is the standard she now holds for her Ministers. What we have seen from Helen Clark is a new low standard for her Ministers and her Government. Michael Cullen accepted it the
other week when he said it was all about power, and that is all it is about. It is all about power. This Labour-led Government will do anything to stay in power, and we now have the sight of Helen Clark and Winston Peters sitting around for 60 minutes, and all Helen Clark does is ask: “Winston, did you do something illegal?”, and he is supposed to have said: “Alice, no I didn’t.”, and that is it.
Yet all this time the Government is paralysed. It cannot get legislation through and cannot do anything, because it is being held to ransom by somebody who will not answer a question. Why is that? There is clearly something the Minister does not want to answer. We have asked in the media how $100,000 can be paid into Brian Henry’s business account—not a trust account, because he is a barrister—to pay a legal bill that had not actually been rendered. How did Mr Glenn in Monaco know to pay $100,000 into Brian Henry’s business account for a bill that had not actually been rendered? My goodness, Mr Glenn must be clairvoyant! It is amazing, is it not? And how did Mr Henry know to get out the telephone book for Monaco to ring Mr Glenn and ask for $100,000, when an account had not been rendered? It is amazing how clever Mr Henry is. It is a wonder that he has not yet been made a Queen’s Counsel. It is truly, truly amazing.
Then we have to ask about Sir Bob Jones. He said he paid $25,000 after Mr Peters wanted $50,000. It went to something called the Spencer Trust. Did Helen Clark ever ask what the Spencer Trust was and why the money got paid to that trust? Did she ever ask who the trustees of the Spencer Trust were? No, we heard today that she did not. All she did was ask whether Winston did something illegal, and he said: “No, Helen—I mean Alice, I mean Helen—no, I didn’t.”; and she said: “As Prime Minister of this country, well, that’s OK with me, Winston.”
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): The member must use the full names of members in the House. It is common courtesy.
JUDITH COLLINS: The Prime Minister is supposed to have said: “Well, that’s OK with me, Winston Peters. You must be so clever.” That is what she said. That is a new standard for Helen Clark. She previously stood there with Winston Peters and they said they would have this “new transparency” in electoral funding. They certainly did, did they not? It was, in fact, put through as something called “legal fees”; that is the new transparency.
That grouping of New Zealand First and Labour members has put up standards in terms of transparency in electoral funding that it is not prepared to meet itself, and that is a travesty of transparency—an absolute travesty. Those members have said to other people: “You terrible people, you need to meet the standards, but we are not going to.” Helen Clark has the gall to stand up in this House and tell us that the best she can do as Prime Minister is to ask “Were you naughty?” and he said “No”.
LESLEY SOPER (Labour)
: Getting away from the references to
Alice in Wonderland on the other side of the House, I say I once stood against Mr Bill English in the seat of Clutha-Southland. Even true-blue National people in that seat are starting to say they do not know what National stands for any longer. They do not know how they can trust a National Party and a National leader who will say anything and do anything at all in order to be elected. On climate change, Iraq, the ownership of KiwiRail, interest-free student loans, New Zealand being nuclear-free, KiwiSaver, asset sales, early childhood education, and superannuation, Mr Key has flip-flopped so often on them all that his own supporters see him as being slippery. They do not know where he stands. When the latest flip-flop came, Mr Key said he would keep Working for Families, the policy he had previously called “communism by stealth” and a “costly welfare monster”, and had said National members would oppose with “every bone in our bodies.” Well, the bones have become very rubbery indeed. The only hope for some
of those poor National Party members is that if a person can change his or her mind as often as Mr John Key does, that person can always change it back again.
The message for every other New Zealander is that Mr Key cannot be trusted to stick to a policy now, let alone after an election. Although Labour actually plans for the future with “change you can trust”, with policies such as lower doctors’ fees and prescription charges, future-proofed superannuation, 20 hours’ free early childhood education, KiwiSaver, providing more hospitals, building more roads, buying back KiwiRail, delivering fairer options for workers, and providing tax cuts that are affordable—real things that people in Invercargill appreciate in their lives—slippery National raises questions about its hidden agenda with every quietly launched “policy-ette” it sidles out with.
What is the count on National Party skeleton policies so far? There is one page on industrial relations. But let us wait; that includes the 90-day fire-at-will probation period and—I alert any workers who are listening to this—National wants a holiday, and it is their fourth week of annual leave that it wants. That was one page. There are 1½ pages on broadcasting; Television New Zealand is for sale. And let us look at this; there is a two-pager on accident compensation. It is only 83 words, but somehow National has put them on two pages. It includes the line from Mr Key “Ah, um, almost, ah, ah, certainly, likely privatised”. There is one page on early childhood education, boldly eliminating “free” from “20 hours’ free early childhood education” and reducing quality staff by 50 percent. [Interruption] Well, well, let us look; there is half a page on outdoor recreation.
That seems to be six pages of policy, but we have it on very good authority that there are about 30 pages behind each one of those policies. What is National hiding? Some of the media would like to know. Could it be something like Mr Ryall’s revelation that National will remove the cap on doctors’ fees and let the good old market rule again? Could it be something like Miss Wilkinson’s revelation that compulsory employer contributions to KiwiSaver are just not a National Party thing? “Tell Kiwis the real plan.”, I say to Mr Key and the National Party. All of us would like to know. Funnily enough, I have just read another little one-pager that says Mr Key is about to announce the adoption of yet another flagship Labour policy—yet another one—that of having a female leader. In a one-page policy briefing, apparently, Mr Key has stated—or he plans to state—that under a National Government, he would undergo gender reassignment in order to have what it takes to lead the country.
Hon TARIANA TURIA (Co-Leader—Māori Party)
: Tēnā tātou katoa. I stand here today acknowledging the significance of this moment in time and celebrating the pre-Treaty whakapapa relationship that tangata whenua have with all our tuakana of the Pacific. I acknowledge the first official visit to Aotearoa of the new Premier of Niue, the Hon Toke Talagi, and we recognise the historic events taking place in Nuku’alofa this week with the coronation of King George Tupou V.
The partnerships we have with the peoples of Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa provide us with an enduring foundation from which to tackle the global challenges that threaten the sustainability of our world—issues like climate change, the commercial overfishing of the high seas, the peril of global economics, and the rush for growth. The emphasis on manaakitanga, as observed in hospitality and generosity, on kotahitanga, the sense of purpose and unity, and on whanaungatanga, nurturing positive relationships between peoples, are all basic values that we will forever uphold. As the independent voice of Māori in Parliament, we endeavour to influence through the promotion of kaupapa such as these. We stand strong in our responsibility to protect the natural world that our ancestors left to us to look after for future generations.
We have spoken out against the current rate of increasing carbon emissions, the ever-depleting energy supplies, and the lack of viable alternatives, because these are signs
that we are in an energy crisis now. We do not believe that the emissions trading scheme will address the problem of unsustainable growth. All that it does is create a new currency that is disproportionately dispensed to business elites, maintaining the status quo. Our solution instead has been to encourage our communities to look to each other to protect and preserve, to restore and replace, and to recreate and sustain our precious resources. At the level of Parliament we have repeatedly called for collaboration across the House to prepare for an emerging post-carbon world. Our focus is on using collective strength to underpin local control and self-reliance.
Such a focus is also essential in the important task of caring for our communities, and of supporting te pani me te rawakore, the vulnerable and the poor. We are determined that this country can eliminate poverty. We are convinced that whānau ora is essential in restoring our land to being a country that lives by values of social justice.
There is no more important challenge ahead for Aotearoa than the ongoing aspiration for Treaty justice. Unlike some other parties around this Chamber, we will always respect the standing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi as the founding document of this land. We recognise that the Treaty establishes our special status as tangata whenua. The Treaty also places particular obligations on us to look after and protect peoples whom we welcome to this land. The Treaty is a signpost to the nation to ensure that tangata whenua are able to continue to have control and authority over their treasures.
In this time of pre-election generosity and the incredible pace at which the Government is speeding up Treaty settlements, I would ask that this largesse be extended also to the advancement of Wai 262—the flora and fauna claim.
We commemorate today the passing of Dell Wīhongi as a profound loss to the nation. We think of her work, and of the work of those who have passed on before her, in striving to protect and preserve indigenous flora and fauna and the associated cultural and intellectual heritage. Only one original claimant to Wai 262 is alive today, and her name is Saana Murray of Ngāti Kurī from the Tai Tokerau. What a fitting tribute it would be to their leadership if the benevolence of the Government that has been extended to iwi in recent months could also enable Wai 262 to be advanced, rather than waiting until all of the claimants have left this life. Tēnā koutou.
Hon MURRAY McCULLY (National—East Coast Bays)
: Those who have been listening to this debate this afternoon, as I have, and in particular those who have listened to the members opposite who hold the rank of Minister, will be shaking their heads in wonderment. After listening to those contributions, particularly those from Ministers, one would imagine that this country is not confronted by any serious challenges, and that this is a place where there are no serious issues to be debated and where all there is to focus on is the personality of the Leader of the Opposition and the internal workings of the National Party and its policy machine. One could be excused for overlooking the fact that something like 80,000 New Zealanders a year—according to the Government Statistician—are departing these shores to live somewhere else. About 45,000 people are moving to Australia every year because for them New Zealand is no longer the land of opportunity.
It is hard to believe that debate such as we have heard can take place in an environment where finance companies and associated vehicles are collapsing virtually by the day and taking the savings of elderly New Zealanders with them. It is hard to understand, when we listen to the debate, that we live in a situation in which the cost of living—the price of filling up the car or going to the supermarket—places most average New Zealand families under serious pressure. It is hard to believe that this debate is taking place in an environment where the average income in Australia is now 35 percent more than the average income in New Zealand. Dr David Skilling of the New Zealand Institute tells us that, at the current rate of progress, by 2030 that gap will be 60 percent.
At that point the game is all over—as Dr Skilling puts it, New Zealand will be “Fiji with snow”.
With that sort of challenge confronting the country, it is hard to imagine that the people sitting opposite—particularly those with the flash BMWs, the chauffeurs, and the ministerial houses—have the gall to come into this House and focus on cheap shots directed at the leader of the National Party. It is hard to believe that they can come along to the House with nothing better to contribute than a few cute lines about the National Party policy machine. The Labour operation is focused now on one thing and one thing only, and that is political survival, and today political survival for Labour means taking whatever Winston Peters decides to give it.
In the latter stages of 2007 Parliament was dominated by the passage of the Electoral Finance Act. The Labour Government, assisted by the Greens and New Zealand First, conspired to pass legislation that limited donations to political parties, required disclosure of those donations, and moved to constrain what parties could spend that money on. The National Party had accepted some time before that that the previous law needed to be changed, and it offered to assist with those changes. The Labour Government rejected that offer, because its mission was not really just to change the law in a way that might improve it; it was to try to ensure that the National Party and those who might support it would have to fight the 2008 election campaign with one hand—or, preferably, two hands—tied behind their backs. Labour, instead of focusing on laws that would have made sense, created laws that were draconian, and it now finds itself hoist by its own petard.
There are a number of matters that we should reflect on today in the context of the developments of the last week. The first of those is anonymous donations. After listening to the piety from members opposite, one would imagine that no member of the Labour Party has ever heard of or seen an anonymous donation. I want those who are interested to know that according to the official returns of the Labour Party itself, in 1999 it received $824,000 of anonymous donations, in 2002 it received $380,000, in 2004 it received $85,000, in 2005 it received $315,000, in 2006 it received $100,000, and it received $230,000 in 2007—while it was writing the very law that would outlaw those sorts of donations. I want those who understand what is going on here to reflect upon those numbers and on the sort of gall it takes for members of the Labour Party to rail against anonymous donations.
LOUISA WALL (Labour)
: Kia ora, Mr Assistant Speaker. Tēnā koutou katoa. It is my pleasure as a member of team Labour, under the leadership of Prime Minister Helen Clark, to kōrero and take the final call in this general debate. Labour is a team committed to change, and we are the Government that can manage the great changes that are happening, not only in Aotearoa but also globally. I am talking about the need to prepare our country not only for higher global temperatures but also for higher fuel prices and higher food prices. Labour is the only Government for these difficult and changing times.
Labour is the only major party that will work with and for hard-working Kiwis. For us, those who are the most vulnerable are a priority; we make no apologies for that. One of our priority communities is, and always will be, working New Zealanders. We have raised the minimum wage five times in our time in Government, to $12 an hour, and I note that this rate can only change and increase under team Labour.
National, by contrast, seems to have a secret employment policy document—apparently more than the 83 words that is its accident compensation policy—but John Key will not front up with this 14-page background document, which he knows, and we all know, will scare the living daylights out of hard-working Kiwis. What specific policy might such a document contain? Well, we can only assume by National’s actions
alone that as a start there will be a reduction of the minimum wage back to $7 an hour, given that National members have voted against every proposed increase.
How about a policy from the mouth of John Key himself? In late 2003, when he was arguing against team Labour’s push for a minimum of 4 weeks’ annual leave for workers, he urged Kiwis to “go and have a look at the United States of America, which has a minimum of 2 weeks’ holiday a year, and the economic prosperity in the US is so much greater than New Zealand’s.” Apparently, his word is his bond, and when he does not keep it and flip-flops, he does not see anything slippery or deceitful in his change of language. They are only words, after all.
Actually, from the free advertising in the
New Zealand Herald
at the weekend I noted a startling admission from John Key, the wannabe, self-proclaimed magician. Of his flip-flops he said: “My underlying philosophies remain the same.”—that is, the only difference seems to be the language he uses. The real John Key is the guy who thinks that Kiwis deserve only 2 weeks’ annual leave. He is the guy who supported the coalition of the willing’s right to invade Iraq. He would have sent Kiwis to war because “blood is thicker than water”. He is the guy who rallied against the Superannuation Fund, interest-free student loans, early childhood education funding, KiwiSaver, KiwiRail, etc.
This lack of care for those who are most vulnerable is fairly typical of John Key and National, and I think I can go further with a classic example of whom John Key really cares about. Youth magazine
recently interviewed both our team Labour leader—and New Zealand’s Prime Minister—Helen Clark, and John Key. They were both asked what they would do if they suddenly received $1 billion. Do members want to know what they said? Team Labour’s leader said she would give to “development agencies offering education and opportunity and campaigns against HIV and AIDS in developing countries.” What did John Key say? It was something quite profound. He said he would like “a jet, a personal jet”. There was then what seemed like an afterthought comment about donating some of it to charity.
That is what the Opposition calls great leadership—it is all about John Key; forget about the people. It was not such a slip-up, in this instance. John Key was being interviewed about himself, after all. It is his goal to be Prime Minister, lest we forget. There was no mention of serving the people or of being a leader by, with, and for the people—definitely not those from his National team. In fact, John Key is fairly adamant that National must speak with one voice—that is, only his—unless he has to explain himself, and then any of the others will do because, in his own words, explaining is losing. His team must be losers, then.
A cold, hard fact about the man who wants to be New Zealand’s Prime Minister is that he will do whatever, at any cost. His word is his bond, but it depends on whom he is talking to. Fundamentally, he is a mirage, an illusion at whatever place or time. John Key: what we get is what we do not see; what we get is what National does not want us to see, or hear for that matter. If we contrast that with team Labour’s leader Helen Clark, we find there is no comparison.
RODNEY HIDE (Leader—ACT)
: Over the years I have come to gain enormous respect for our Prime Minister, Helen Clark. I do not agree with her socialist policies, but I have respect for her intelligence, her hard work, and indeed her integrity. I think she has set a very high standard for her Ministers, for her Government, and for the country. But I have to say that I have been bitterly disappointed with what has transpired over the Winston Peters money scandal, during which Helen Clark has failed to live by any standard that any Prime Minister has had in this country. I had thought it was because the Prime Minister needed the numbers, but now I do not believe that that is the reason. I believe there is a concern that if an investigation occurred into how this
money came to be, the Prime Minister would be worried about where the investigation would end up.
I do not for a minute think the Prime Minister has done anything wrong, but we ourselves should consider this: we know Mr Owen Glenn to be a very wealthy man, and a very generous one. He gave $500,000 to the Labour Party. He loaned that party money when it was in dire need. He gave $100,000-plus to Winston Peters and, we understand, offered a quarter of a million dollars to the Māori Party if it would support Labour. How would a man who does not live in New Zealand—he lives in Monaco—know to do this? Mr Brian Henry has forgotten who it was that suggested that he contact Mr Glenn. I had never heard of Owen Glenn. So who was the person who was in touch with Mr Glenn—saying it would be quite helpful if he would help out Mr Peters and New Zealand First, and that it would be quite helpful if he would help out the Māori Party—and why did that person not suggest that Mr Glenn help the ACT party? It sort of all points to someone who is very close to Labour, and to someone who knows Mr Owen Glenn, who knows that he is generous with his money, and who knows also that if he is provided with a little acknowledgement, the money is forthcoming. I think that is what has shocked me most about this sad affair.
New Zealanders know what has happened here. They know that a Minister of the Crown had $100,000 appear in what was effectively his bank account—because that is what his lawyer was running for him—so that suddenly the amount of his bill dropped by $100,000 while he was a Minister. If he were a police officer and $1,000 appeared in his account, he would be stood down and there would be investigations if he could not explain that. If he were a council worker overseeing a contract, he would be stood down and investigated. If he worked in business, he would be stood down until he explained how that money came to be. But we have a Cabinet Minister receiving $100,000, effectively into his bank account, and no questions being asked.
Dail Jones: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. First of all, we know that that statement is not true in fact. Clearly there is an implication here of corruption, and I think the member has been warned about this before. He is not telling the truth in the House. As we all know, Mr Henry has indicated that the money was paid to him, that Mr Peters had no idea about the money being received by Mr Henry, and that as soon as Mr Peters was made aware of the situation, he notified the Prime Minister. Mr Peters has acted totally above board. What Mr Hide is saying is totally wrong. There is an implication there, and I ask you to rule on it.
RODNEY HIDE: Speaking to the point of order, I say that, actually, the MP Dail Jones raises debatable points, and that is what we are having. If he wants to settle it and take it beyond debate, Winston Peters would come down to the House and give a personal explanation. Then it would not be debatable.
The ASSISTANT SPEAKER (H V Ross Robertson): I point the member to a couple of things, including Speaker’s ruling 41/6. It is really up to the member himself to raise this, but Speaker’s ruling 41/6 states: “If a member feels that repeated reference to some matter in the member’s private life is a reflection on the member’s integrity, then the member is entitled to the protection of the Chair, and it is improper for another member to pursue the matter.” The other ruling I want to reflect on is Speaker’s ruling 25/5, which refers to allegations of corruption, and I mentioned it earlier when this issue was raised last week. I will share with the House, as well, Speaker’s ruling 25/5, which states: “It is not only the right, but the duty, of a member who can show that there has been anything in the nature of bribery or corruption on the part of other members to bring that matter before the House in the proper constitutional way, but a member must not make veiled suggestions during the course of debate.” I think that is where the issue is at the moment, so I ask Mr Hide to be very careful in how he conducts this debate.
RODNEY HIDE: Let me be clear that I think it does bring into dispute the integrity of the entire Parliament, and indeed of the Government and the Prime Minister. I am saying that $100,000 appeared, and I accept that Mr Dail Jones says it was somehow in the lawyer’s bank account. But we know that Mr Peters’ bill payments dropped by $100,000, so it was to the benefit of Mr Peters. We also know that Mr Peters was considering whether to grant Mr Glenn an honorary consulship, and there has been no explanation about how all this transpired. But people—not me, because I always think the best of people, and I want to make that plain to you, Mr Assistant Speaker—including some of the good people of Epsom, and some people wider afield, are a suspicious lot. They look at that and they ask an obvious question—but not me, because I know that he is an honourable member—and they think that it is corrupt.
- The debate having concluded, the motion lapsed.