Peters blusters through another QT

Winston Peters is determined to keep banging on about Bill English and texts, and the media keeps feeding his bitch, but so far it has been little more than bluster absent anything of substance.

In Question Time today he quoted one of the gazillions of texts English sent every day, but that happens to be one that has already been made public.

Peters has past for for saying, suggesting, insinuating and hinting that he has heaps of damaging communications, the media buy into it, and he doesn’t front up. He seems to expect the media, or Parliament, or the Police to come up with evidence to back his assertions.

So far though this has been a lame attempt at getting back attention sucked away from him by Labour and the Greens.

I’m not sure if he has a cunning plan or he is flailing in hope.

2. Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Leader—NZ First) to the Prime Minister: Does he stand by all his statements on the Todd Barclay matter; if so, how does he actually do that?

Rt Hon BILL ENGLISH (Prime Minister): Yes; because I said them.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why, at yesterday’s Prime Minister’s press conference, did he tell reporters that he “wasn’t aware of the employment settlement” relating to the Todd Barclay matter, when one of his texts says: “settlement was larger than normal because of the privacy breach”?

Rt Hon BILL ENGLISH: That was the text that came out with the police report. That was the discussion that was had with them at the time. There is absolutely nothing new in that. [Interruption]

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I will have the supplementary question.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Why, at yesterday’s Prime Minister’s press conference, did he tell reporters that he “wasn’t involved and didn’t know about the nature of the employment settlement.”, when his text message states that Glenys Dickson’s settlement was “part paid from prime ministers budget to avoid potential legal action.”—his words?

Rt Hon BILL ENGLISH: I stand by what I said at the prime ministerial press conference.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Which of the following statements does he stand by: (a) “I wasn’t involved and didn’t know about the nature of the employment settlement.”, or (b) “The settlement was larger than normal because of the privacy breach”, and “Had to be part paid from prime ministers budget to avoid potential legal action. Everybody unhappy.”? Which one of those two statements does he stand by?

Mr SPEAKER: Order! I just remind the Prime Minister that in rising to answer the question, he does not need to make any comments around the leader’s budget. He has no prime ministerial responsibility for that.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. With respect, he put it at issue at his Prime Minister’s press conference yesterday, which makes it relevant, and that is why he should be answering the questions, not ducking behind—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member will resume his seat immediately.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Well, I will resume my seat, but you answer that question.

Mr SPEAKER: In the first two—I advise the member that when I ask him to resume his seat, he does so. In the first two questions, he certainly referred to statements made at the press conference. In the third supplementary question, which he has just asked, he did not, and that is why I gave that warning to the Prime Minister.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. That will not do. The Prime Minister at his press conference said he—

Mr SPEAKER: Order! The member will resume seat immediately, and if he carries on behaving like that—

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Don’t threaten me.

Mr SPEAKER: Well, I will threaten the member. If he carries on behaving like that, I will be asking him to leave the Chamber. Does the Prime Minister wish to address the question that was asked?

Rt Hon BILL ENGLISH: I have no ministerial responsibility for that.

Richard Prosser: I raise a point of order, Mr Speaker. Without questioning any of the previous rulings that you have made on this, with reference to Speaker’s ruling 170/2AA—which has not previously been canvassed—by Speaker Carter, it states: “Although considerable weight must be given to Minister’s claim that actions or statements were not made in a ministerial capacity, this can never be definitive. Where I judge a question to reveal a reasonable likelihood of a connection to ministerial responsibility, an informative answer must be given.” I would contend that given that it was the Prime Minister’s office that arranged that additional payment, I would say that there probably is a reasonable likelihood of a connection to the ministerial responsibility that is there for you to judge.

Mr SPEAKER: I thank the member for his scholarly study of Speakers’ Rulings. Can I refer the member to Speaker’s ruling 173/1: “The Prime Minister is not responsible for funding provided through Parliamentary Service to the party.”

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Can the Prime Minister tell us why he deleted hundreds of his text messages relating to the Barclay matter, according to the media, yet insisted upon Judith Collins producing her telephone records when she was a contestant against him for the job of leader of the National Party?

Mr SPEAKER: The right honourable Prime Minister, in so far as there is prime ministerial responsibility.

Rt Hon BILL ENGLISH: I have no idea what the member is referring to.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Of the times he has been down to the Clutha-Southland electorate since he retired as its MP, how often were those trips primarily to meet with Glenys Dickson?

Rt Hon BILL ENGLISH: I have no ministerial responsibility for that, that is for sure.

 

2 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  August 8, 2017

    I watched that live. Farcical.

  2. This is classic Peters; all bluff, bluster and innuendo. 456 texts over the course of a year is nothing, especially given the close working relationship English had with Ms Dickson. It’s around 1.3 texts per day, on average.

    What is more to the point is who leaked the texts to Peters, and what their motive was. If one presumes that the texts were solely between English and Dickson, and that English didn’t leak them, the conclusion is pretty obvious.