After acting indignant about a minor dig from John Key in Parliament that he either took major exception to or saw it as an excuse for getting some media attention – see Peters back to barrel scraping – Winston Peters has proven he is as adept as any politician in making up allegations.
In Question Time on Wednesday Key suggested that Peters spent time in his Northland electorate on his boat fishing – “Not if you count time in your electorate being on a boat, fishing”.
Just prior to that Peters had himself made a claim without proof (and unprovable) – “is it not a fact that I have spent more time in my electorate in the space of just 9 months than he has for the whole time he has been an MP in his electorate?”
Peters followed this up with a $100k challenge to Key to prove his jibe. Key declined.
Then yesterday Peters made the headlines again.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is demanding an explanation from the Education Minister — after being barred from travelling on a school bus.
In a press release titled, “Minister throws Peters off bus”, the MP for Northland said he was today scheduled to visit the Mangakahia Area School, which is at Titoki about 23km northwest of Whangarei.
The community there has been campaigning against the amount of dust thrown up from unsealed roads.
However, Ministry of Education officials informed organisers that the NZ First leader would not be able to join the children on their school bus, as planned.
He suspected that directive came from the National Party, that “will stop at nothing to thwart the Northland MP from doing his job”.
“Minister of Education Hekia Parata must provide answers as to today’s appalling and disgraceful decision-making.”
So Peters has accused the National Party of interfering. This is from his press release:
Banning Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters from a bus was an act of petty bullying by the government, the MP says.
“For Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye and ministry officials to claim my presence would breach a certificate of loading is bizarre.
“This is a government pushing their officials to tell porkies, to cover up a nightmare of political decision making that went so horribly wrong. They bullied the bus company.
“For the Associate Minister to say, as the media reported, that there were safety concerns if a bunch of politicians went on board with the schoolchildren is absurd.
“This was about one MP, who is a former teacher, has a police clearance, and was invited by parents and a school principal, being banned for political reasons.
“Now we have the government resorting to a cover-up described appropriately by broadcaster Willie Jackson and his commentator today as Busgate – that’s when those in power lie to cover up wrongdoings.
There’s serious repeated accusations of lying to cover to cover something up.
Radio NZ reported: The wheels on the bus grind to a halt for Peters
Mr Peters was going to take a trip on a school bus in his Northland electorate today but was stopped from doing so after the Education Ministry alerted Associate Education Minister Nikki Kaye’s office.
Ms Kay said it was an operational decision based on safety concerns, not a political one.
The Herald explained:
Kim Shannon, the Ministry of Education’s head of the education infrastructure service, said its transport agent had been advised by Ritchies that Mr Peters wanted to travel on the bus.
“Ritchies had health and safety concerns about this. Under the terms of Ritchie’s contract, they are not able to carry adults or any other ineligible passengers without our permission.”
The bus is a 20-seater vehicle and Ritchies advised that it carried 20 primary and secondary aged students on it.
“Our transport agent advised us that carrying Mr Peters and other adults in his party would placed the company at risk of exceeding the limits of the Certificate of Loading and could mean not all children would get seats,” Ms Shannon said.
“As this request was made at such short notice, it wasn’t possible to ensure that we could ensure the health and safety of the children on the bus under these circumstances. We informed our agent to turn down the request.”
If more notice had been given Mr Peters may have been allowed on the bus, Ms Shannon said.
Peters says Key should apologise, “pay $100,000 to a Northland charity of my choosing, and stop wasting Parliament’s Question Time with such blatant untruths.”
If Peters thinks a jibe in Question Time is worth $100k how much should he have to pay if his accusations of lying are blatant untruths?
Peters is well known for making things up to attack MPs and not substantiating his accusations.
Does this make him a million dollar muck raker? Or can he back up his claims of Ministers lying with some substance?
Another point – I can’t see any indication when this bus saga happened. Monday was a public holiday and Peters was in Parliament at least on Tuesday and Wednesday, so when was he denied a school bus ride, and why was the story put out yesterday?