Winston fact free

Fran O’Sullivan: Taking up the Peters media challenge – 01 Mar 2008 – Politics: New Zealand Political News, Analysis and Comment including 2008 election coverage – NZ Herald

Fran O’Sullivan fact checks Winston.

Peters: “We have not made a decision with respect to even having a consul in Monaco … It’s an ongoing matter for consideration and has been for 12 long years.” (Parliament press conference on Thursday).

Fact: In June 2004, former foreign minister Phil Goff categorically ruled against appointing a consul to Monaco saying there was “no proven need” for one.

Peters: “Since the formation of New Zealand First, we have assiduously at all times complied with the electoral law of this country.” (Parliament press conference on Thursday).

Fact: Auditor-General Kevin Brady believed NZ First was responsible for $158,000 of a total $1.17 million in unlawful spending of parliamentary funds by political parties at the 2005 election.

Peters contests this saying its expenditure was pre-approved by Parliamentary Services and the Chief Electoral Office.

Peters: NZ First has “had no big business backing since its inception”. (Close Up on Thursday).

Fact: NZ First’s electoral donations returns indeed show the party has not come within cooee of attracting the big business backing which has swelled the campaign coffers of the main parties.

But Contact Energy – surely a big business – did give $10,000 to the party in 2003 and again in 2005.

Peters: “This is a party (NZ First) that has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a great case to do with tax evasion in this country and we don’t recall any journalist or any media group joining us in these battles.” (Parliament press conference on Thursday).

Fact: New Zealand news media companies – particularly the National Business Review, Independent and Television New Zealand – between them spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting injunctions during the 1990s to get the big wine box tax avoidance issue in front of the public.

It is true that NZ First paid for a subsequent challenge to the wine box inquiry commissioner’s findings right through to the Privy Council.

Suggesting the media are a spineless lot hardly fits h the facts – but it does suit Winston’s story.