24 Oct 2008

No change in National's stance on Winston Peters

4:10 pm on 24 October 2008

National Party leader John Key says he would still not work with New Zealand First, despite the Electoral Commission clearing it of any offence over party donations.

The Commission says no offence was committed by New Zealand First's Party secretary when she did not declare an $80,000 donation from the Spencer Trust in last year's donation returns.

Mr Key said while he has not seen the decision, New Zealand First was required to update its 2007 return so there were obviously discrepancies.

He said despite leader Winston Peters also having been cleared by the Serious Fraud Office, National would not enter a coalition arrangement with the party.

"National's ruled out Winston Peters and from our perspective we took a very considered view when we did that.

"We based that largely on our inability to reconcile his version of events with that provided by Owen Glenn to the Privileges Committee.

"At the end of the day he was censured by a majority of Parliament."

On 22 September, Parliament's Privileges Committee recommended that Mr Peters be censured for knowingly providing false or misleading information on a return of pecuniary interests.

The committee was considering whether the New Zealand First leader should have declared a $100,000 donation towards legal costs from expatriate businessman Owen Glenn in 2005.

The following day Parliament censured Mr Peters, by 62 votes to 56, with Labour and New Zealand First voting against the censure motion.