9 Aug 2008

Privileges Committee meets over donation complaint

5:42 pm on 9 August 2008

Parliament's Privileges Committee has met to discuss how it will proceed with an examination of a complaint about a donation to the legal fund of the New Zealand First Party leader Winston Peters.

Complaints about a $100,000 donation from the businessman Owen Glenn have been referred to the committee by Parliament's Speaker.

ACT Party leader Rodney Hide and independent MP Gordon Copeland complained that Mr Peters did not declare the donation on the MPs register of pecuniary interests.

The Speaker says the donation is a matter of privilege because there is high public interest and implications for the reputation of Parliament.

The privileges committee will initially hear evidence from Mr Peters and his lawyer Brian Henry.

Among the terms of reference will be consideration of whether or not a debt existed, the definition of "gift" and whether if a debt or gift existed, Mr Peters knowingly provided a return that was inaccurate in a material way.

The committee is due to meet again on 18 August.