Peters versus everyone he hasn’t already lost in court against

Winston Peters already seemed tetchier than usual over the weekend and since. Perhaps it was his recent operation that unsettled him, or the smaller than usual attendance at his campaign launch speech on Sunday, or the awarding of $320K costs against him on Friday, or the exposure of him employing the services of misinformation hit men from the UK after first denying it, or the poor poll results for NZ First, or staring down the barrel of being dumped from Parliament again.

Maybe all of that.

And it’s likely the constant digging at him by David Seymour has worn thin, because that’s who he launched an attack on under the protection of Parliamentary privilege yesterday.

Here is the court case he lost: PETERS v BENNETT & ORS [2020] NZHC 761 [20 April 2020]

Lawyer Graeme Edgeler thinks that Peters had a legitimate grievance about his overpayment of his super (despite the obvious question about how Peters failed to fill in a form properly and failed to notice an overpayment for years), but he points out that if Peters was really concerned about fixing the ‘no surprises’ procedure rather than political utu there was a far cheaper and more effective way of dealing with it:

There is another option, of course: the no surprises principle isn’t “law” – it’s simply stated in the Cabinet Manual, which Cabinet could change. Peters is the deputy prime minister, and a member of Cabinet: and as he didn’t have success in the Courts in vindicating his rights, he could push for it to be changed for the rest of us. That wouldn’t fix the breach of privacy that occurred in his case, but it would hopefully make similar breaches less likely in the future.

But Peters is a very political animal and having already launched attacks on partner parties Greens and Labour already this week, decided to attack ACT and National by making serious accusations – but he was only prepared to do this under parliamentary privilege, not in public without legal protection.

In General Debate yesterday:

Rt Hon WINSTON PETERS (Deputy Prime Minister): Today, I am going to outline the truth about the leak of my superannuation. There have been news reports about the case. The matter is not sub judice. But a source totally connected to both the ACT Party and the National Party has revealed that the leak was one Rachel Morton.

Morton heard about the case because she was present when former Minister Anne Tolley told her ministerial colleague Paula Bennett about it—not outside by the lifts, but in a ministerial office. Ms Morton then, thinking it would be kept in confidence, told ACT Party leader, David Seymour, but, desperate for any sort of attention, Mr Seymour contacted Jordan Williams of the wage subsidy – receiving taxpayer union fame. Williams—no stranger to dirty politics—told John Bishop, father of National MP Chris Bishop, and the details were then leaked to Newsroom’s Tim Murphy.

Williams also told another dirty politics practitioner, National Party pollster David Farrar. Farrar tried to shut it down, seeing the risk it exposed to the National Party, but then went along anyway, although he later tried to steer the story away from National’s guilt, which is its usual modus operandi.

But Newshub wanted to control the story. Barry Soper and Newshub knew more about the story than Tim Murphy, who nevertheless tweeted about—and I quote him—”the mother of all scandals” about to break a day before the story leaked publicly. Ms Morton used to work for Newshub and Newstalk ZB. Newshub was trying its best to protect her after David Seymour tried to get the story leaked through channels not connected with Morton. Three Newshub journalists—Jenna Lynch, Lloyd Burr, and Patrick Gower—looked collectively stunned when they were told that they had burnt Ms Morton as a source. They knew they’d been tumbled.

When this was put to the Newshub reporters that it would also expose National and Jordan Williams’ dealings with Tim Murphy, one of the Newshub journalists paused and said that National were “distancing themselves” from the story, but it was an ACT-inspired hit job to damage me politically, in collaboration with a senior National Party staffer, Rachel Morton, who was the source of the leak and the source that led to Jordan Williams weaponising the information during the election campaign. Every last one of them—Morton, Seymour, Williams, Bishop, Murphy, Farrar—played dirty politics to breach my inalienable right and the inalienable right of every New Zealander to privacy.

My source also revealed that National Party members joked amongst themselves about the leak, but realised they couldn’t do anything with the “no-surprises disclosure”—their risk was too high. That, of course, didn’t prevent Ms Tolley from telling her sister, nor did it prevent 42 people being made aware of my super case. All it took was for that private information to fall into the hands of David Seymour, who craved media attention but couldn’t claim the limelight, because that would have placed a spotlight on Rachel Morton, his source.

This is what dirty politics looks like.

That’s why I have brought this case on principle, at a huge cost—the principle of privacy.

The collusion between the National Party, ACT, and these grubby figures in and around politics is what turns people off politics. The characters in the story of my super leak viewed dirty politics as their religion, but it’s the worship of jackals by jackasses.

What I now know, and I didn’t know it as I went to court, is that during my court case, there were witnesses who gave evidence who knew the truth, even as they were not speaking it, and journalists—but not Barry Soper—who sat in the court who knew the truth, but printed a tissue of lies. That I now know. Shame on them, but now they’ve been exposed for what they truly are.

Maybe Mr Seymour could tell the precise circumstances in which he was told this information. Will he tell them, or will I have to? This has been a disgrace, and Mr Seymour is now outed.

I have got the witness. I never had it until the court. The judge said to me, “But you must tell me who did it.”, as though—with all their resources—one man against them, paying for his own costs, could be expected to do that.

Mr Seymour, I am resolved that this is day one of the truth fightback, and he is going to be in my line.

DAVID SEYMOUR (Leader—ACT): I seek leave to make a personal explanation.SPEAKER: The member has sought leave to make a personal explanation. Is there any objection? Yes, there is.

So Seymour was blocked from responding directly to the allegations.

“This is what dirty politics looks like” is somewhat ironic from Peters.

Seymour has since strongly denied doing what has been accused. Morton has strongly denied, Farrar has strongly denied.

Peters says this won’t go to court until after the election. So he is putting all this out there, under protection, obviously aimed at doing as much political damage as he can as we approach the election.

He filed his original court action a day before the last election, just before going into negotiations with National ‘in good faith’.

Faith in a miracle may be all Peters has to go on this campaign. He seems to have jumped the shark. Unless he fronts up with evidence soon his claims can be dismissed as dirty campaigning.

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50 Comments

  1. John J Harrison

     /  23rd July 2020

    Peters is both amoral and an absolute embarrassment as an MP and a human being.
    He is gutless when he uses the protection of the House to make outrageous and untrue claims against both fellow MP’s and the general public but refuses to make the same claims outside the protection of parliament.
    Clearly, he is suffering a serious mental episode and his so- called friends in NZ First should encourage him to take leave and retire from a 40 year career which has always been about himself to the detriment of taxpayers.
    He is a proven liar and charlatan.
    The sooner he departs the better for our democracy.

    Reply
    • Duker

       /  23rd July 2020

      So you are saying its was ‘fairies’ who leaked Peters details, cant have been any of those named ‘because they have denied something’

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  23rd July 2020

        Only one is hiding behind Parliamentary privilege and known to be a serial liar and false accuser. He, of course, is your champion.

        Reply
    • Blazer

       /  23rd July 2020

      As you know John Peters honed and perfected his craft while serving the National Party.

      Reply
  2. duperez

     /  23rd July 2020

    Agree with all the stuff about Peters’ headspace. I wonder if one of the named people knows who first leaked the info.

    Peters used the label ‘dirty politics.’ Is that reasonable? Of course it is. It clearly was.

    Reply
  3. Gezza

     /  23rd July 2020

    So Seymour was blocked from responding directly to the allegations.

    No, he wasn’t. His point of order request to make a personal statement had to be put to the House & as there was objection it was declined.

    But a National MP surrendered his slot to speak in the same General Debate to Seymour & Mallard allowed that. So Seymour used that opportunity to respond directly to Peters’ allegations.

    He was required to stand, withdraw and apologise right at the very end, when he said Peters’ allegations were lies – because members are not permitted to accuse each other of lying.

    Reply
    • I should have said ‘initially blocked’ (by Peters or an NZ First MP?) – Seymour just happened to find a way around it.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  23rd July 2020

        Probably. I read about it in The Herald so found the video & watched it. He said he didn’t see why he should apologise for his speech. Mallard told him knew why he needed to aopologise so ordered him out of the Chamber. Think I read he was later ordered to return & apologise & did so.

        Mallard’s inclined to do that – say the member knows why he has to withdraw & apologise without saying specifically what the offence was. Hard to say if Seymour knew what he’d done & was playing Mallard or just hadn’t twigged to what he’d said.

        Reply
  4. lurcher1948

     /  23rd July 2020

    Wow J J Harrison you are doing the work of the National party and god,having managed to put an insult into every line of your post abusing Mr Peter’s…they will be proud for you

    Reply
    • John J Harrison

       /  23rd July 2020

      Lurcher, so thoughtful of you to think of me on this fine morning.
      I am not a member of any political party.
      I am grateful that you are so proud of me.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  23rd July 2020

        Heres someone you are proud of…

        Reply
        • To those with dirty minds, all things are dirty.

          To the rest, this is a fatherly gesture with no sexual connotations.

          I can’t see what sort of mind reads anything else into a casual gesture.

          Reply
        • reads anything into

          Reply
          • Jack

             /  23rd July 2020

            Just like you Kit. A few days ago you were happy to use anyone for attempting to mock a fellow Kiwi, over matters of which you are ignorant.
            Watch now. See Blazer side with me, if he can.

            Reply
            • I won’t ask what you are talking about, Jack. I have no idea, and am not that interested in what you imagine that you saw.

          • Gezza

             /  23rd July 2020

            I never read anything dirty into it but I still think pulling girls’ or womens’ ponytails as an adult is a weird & personally invasive a thing to do, & doing so as PM was just inappropriate behaviour because that makes objecting to it especially problematic.

            So, could just John Key do that, or can we all go around pulling girls’s and young women’s pony tails as long as we’re just being fatherly, or playful?

            It’s being overly familiar & taking liberties. It was inevitable sooner or later someone he did it to was going to object to it.

            Reply
            • Jack

               /  23rd July 2020

              Yes, it makes arguing against it into a rabbit warren.
              One obvious point imo is that Key’s theme of familiarity did us no favours politically. Would be nice to see leaders knock that one on the head. This time round it’s been ‘innocent’ gushy, not just ‘innocent’ fatherly pony tail pulling. Would be good to see the media being tamed too.

            • This video makes it seem as if he was doing it over and over rather than moving the child’s ponytail once.

              I agree it can be seen as over familiar, but we all know that everything depends on context. All someone needs to say is that they’d rather the person didn’t do that. This child didn’t even seem to notice. There is a massive difference between a casual, paternal gesture and a sexual one, which Blazer seems not to realise.

              And how many years ago was this ?

            • Blazer

               /  23rd July 2020

              The Holocaust was a long time ago.

          • Duker

             /  23rd July 2020

            KC its you thats reading things into it”

            Key s own words were reported and its NOT Fatherly
            ” As he rounded the corner behind me he commented ‘that’s a very tantalising ponytail’.”

            “the prime minister had, on at least six occasions in 2014, tugged on her hair while she served him:
            “He would come up behind me when I was at the ordering terminal, tug on my hair and then pretend that his wife, Bronagh, had done it (much to her embarrassment), and she would tell him to stop it. As he rounded the corner behind me he commented ‘that’s a very tantalising ponytail’.”

            The woman wrote that she objected to his “school yard bully” behaviour, but it didn’t stop. Instead, Key began to make “scary suspense sound effects, like from the movie Jaws” as he approached her to again yank her hair.”
            https://www.crikey.com.au/2016/12/06/farewell-to-john-key-the-kiwi-prime-minister-with-a-thing-for-ponytails/

            Reply
            • Gezza

               /  23rd July 2020

              And how many years ago was this ? asks Kitty above.

              I think that’s a fair enuf question. Key’s gone. We are just resurrecting an old incident & debate that has nothing to with the current political situation.

            • Duker

               /  23rd July 2020

              Well why is dredging up the past Ok with Peters and not OK for Nationals leaders….they are a continuum where the conveyor belt moves faster.
              Helen Clark was long gone but Key himself was dredging her time up as late as 2016 , 8 years or so.
              We are only halfway there with Key., being 4 years later.
              Im sure Muldoon was still being excoriated 10 years after , even by his own side.

            • There’s significant differences in relevance.

              Key has been out or Parliament for years and this post isn’t about him at all.

              Peters is still an MP, Deputy PM, party leader, and this post is all about him.

              If you ant to dredge up stuff about Key or Muldoon then start a new thread in Open Forum.

              But if you keep doing it off topic here are in any post about Peters then you’re at risk of being held to account for deliberate diversion, something you frequently do.

            • Gezza

               /  23rd July 2020

              Yes but this is because Peters himself has launched an attack claiming he knows by who and how his information was leaked, but no proof has been provided. And he has a history of making allegations without ever providing proof. That makes HIS history of doing this relevant.

              We’ve now strayed into territory that involves others not connected to this because someone’s claimed others in other parties have been caught out in bad behaviour. And that kind of squirrelling just gets messy & right off topic. And it’s so easy to do.

            • Is easy to drift off topic, but that’s different to deliberate diversions aimed at getting others off topic, which happens quite a bit here.

              And then there’s more comments complaining about being criticised for running diversions.

            • Gezza

               /  23rd July 2020

              Yeah, PG, I accept that. But when I scroll thru the day’s efforts, duperez very early on made Collins’ history on honesty a topic for debate, then artcroft made Ardern’s one by suggesting she lied about the 100,000 houses in 10 years policy … it’s a bit of a minefield knowing where to draw the line. Blazer Dragging John Key – and then the holocaust – into it is where I’ve decided to try & get off.

  5. duperez

     /  23rd July 2020

    I see in the Herald today Chester Borrows says voters don’t trust politicians who’ve been shown to be deceitful.

    I take it by that standard you’ve ruled Peters out for being trustworthy. How about Judith Collins?

    Reply
    • artcroft

       /  23rd July 2020

      How about ‘We’ll build 100,000 houses in ten years’ Ardern?

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  23rd July 2020

        That’s less likely to be seen as deceitful. I’ve always seen that as “remains to be seen how”, assuming there might have been some credible plan of policy & legislation to somehow achieve it. 10 years is quite a long timeframe.

        It rapidly became obvious there was neither, nor was one capable of being developed once they were in government & had full access to departmental advice & information. Labour eventually conceded that with the “reset”.

        All parties have histories of failing to deliver promised policies, but I doubt that means they are perceived as lying when they promise them during election campaigns.

        Reply
        • artcroft

           /  23rd July 2020

          Houses promised: 100,000. Built in first term 1,500 (many for too much $ and in the wrong place – thanks Phil).

          Labour will require 75 terms in office to reach their goal. There’s heroic optimism and fabrication. This is fabrication.

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  23rd July 2020

            This was unparrallelled incompetence & hopeless inexperience, in my view. It was a major policy plank.

            Had they known in advance it was going to be hopelessly unachievable (& obviously nobody knew the Mosque Massacres & Covid-19 were going to give Ardern opportunities to shine as PM) they’d have known it would be electoral suicide for the next election to promise something they knew they had absolutely no chance of achieving.

            Reply
            • Duker

               /  23rd July 2020

              80% of the problem is the houses are too dear for the people they are aiming for. lack of buyers is the main issue.

              At first there was a ballot but now its they are up for any takers
              The intention wasnt to give home buyers a capital gain from the taxpayer by selling below cost.
              Initailly even Collins was writing to Twyford asking for builders in her electorate to be considered or something.
              Twyford isnt a construction person, and the way the public service works neither were the people who were in charge of Kiwibuild.
              So the main building done was first to empire build, with the usual public servant job hoppers.

              Collins has her own project failure …the 3 cars crushed, which is for weird reasons called a success. That number every week would have been a success…but you wont hear Mikey going on about it.

      • duperez

         /  23rd July 2020

        That’s okay, they’re all ‘no increase in GST’ not to be trusted.

        It’s just that in a week when Peters does something in the style he’s always done Judith Collins is the new great hope. No big deal about that except for one little thing.

        In many years of following politics and observing the extremes of what is said, done and happens there are some seminal moments. One (well, a series) for me was Judith Collins deliberately lying. Forget the ‘no increase in GST’ and ‘the targets were aspirational’ angles.

        You spend a bit of your life expecting, demanding that the truth be told, having comfort in the rightness of truth, having that as a baseline. Then you see the Minister of Justice, the Minister of Justice no less, calculatingly lying, over a period.

        John J Harrison has Peters as ‘amoral and an absolute embarrassment’ a ‘proven liar and charlatan.’ I won’t argue about that. It gives me something to ponder though when I hear Peters being rubbished and hear words like ‘strong’ and ‘integrity’ being applied to Collins by those doling out truckloads of scorn on him and having unfathomable contempt for him.

        Reply
        • Jack

           /  23rd July 2020

          Unfathomable contempt. I baulk at that too. I’ve always liked Mr Peters and don’t see him as any of those things listed about his character. I believe he is an honest individual. As for the ‘headspace’ argument, I think that is elder abuse. He’s down and still fighting hard, where he’s been other times in his political career. To use his age against him this time is cowardly.
          I agree with Parti about National being extremely difficult as a ‘broad church’. I see Mr Seymour heading the same way, sadly.
          No need for PDT here. Where’s Maureen? — It’s all in the cross. (And you have no idea what I mean by that, without giving my books a go.) If Mr Peters had carried his cross consistently all those years he could have done very well for us all. And if Mr Peters was now carrying his unique, easy, pleasant cross he wouldn’t be coming across as losing his marbles again. My book proves these things.

          Reply
          • Winston Peters has proved over and over that he is dishonest. The latest fiasco cost him $320,000. Do try to keep up.

            He is extremely racist; do I need to repeat his witless racist jokes ?

            He has been goading David Seymour ever since David became an MP; he even heckled his maiden speech (the only time this has ever happened during a maiden speech in Parliament) Is it any wonder that David retaliates when he’s driven to it ? Everyone has a limit.

            Reply
            • Jack

               /  23rd July 2020

              The more logic rises, the less imagination is needed.
              David is already proving that he does not cherish his cross. It’s discussed in my last book, “F your F”. Should read them dead Kit. You might find your name in there.

            • Jack

               /  23rd July 2020

              ‘dear’, sorry!

            • Blazer

               /  23rd July 2020

              Sick of hearing about your…..’book’ quite frankly.

            • duperez

               /  23rd July 2020

              I can’t work out how Winston Peters has proving over and over that he is dishonest relates to the ‘latest fiasco’ costing him $320,000.

            • That’s because I didn’t say that as you are presenting it. You are distorting my words.

              I said that he has proved it over and over…and that this is the LATEST fiasco, which means that others have gone before it..

  6. Duker

     /  23rd July 2020

    https://www.noted.co.nz/archive/archive-listener-nz-2012/judith-collins-hear-her-roar

    Collins too has used parliamentary privilege to say things she wouldn’t say outside the house.
    lets not be all false dudgeon about Peters being the only bad boy in parliament who doesnt always tell the truth and who ‘names names’

    Reply
    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  23rd July 2020

      A nice review. I doubt Winston’s will ever be so complimentary.

      Reply
  7. Duker

     /  23rd July 2020

    Sherlock Holmes – The Adventure of Silver Blaze
    “Gregory (Scotland Yard detective): Is there any other point to which you would wish to draw my attention?
    Holmes: To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.
    Gregory: The dog did nothing in the night-time.
    Holmes: That was the curious incident.”
    If probably get into trouble if I expanded on that…

    Reply
  8. Brian Johnston

     /  23rd July 2020

    In the 1996 election many worked hard for Peters who achieved 14%.
    Subsequently Peters alienated all his supporters by doing deals for himself.
    Peters all on his own crashed his support to 4%.
    The supporters could have helped him get to 24%.
    Nothing more really needs to be said.
    Hopefully he will be gone at this election.

    Reply
  1. Farrar, Morton have denials of accusations by Peters put on record | Your NZ

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