Fighting talk from Peters before showdown

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says he is happy for the public to hear what he has to say to the privileges committee next Monday and wishes the hearing was earlier in the day so more people could attend.

The committee begins a hearing at 7pm into claims Mr Peters broke Parliament's rules on declaring interests. The MP's lawyer Brian Henry will also give evidence.

Mr Peters told Radio Live this morning that he had written to the committee asking for an earlier start time.

He said he wrote to ask why the hearing was not being held at 9am, or much earlier than 7pm, and to say that he wanted the hearing "open to public." According to the schedule for select committees the hearing will be open but it can be closed if a submitter asks and the committee agrees.

Mr Peters said he was happy to have an open hearing.

"Most certainly. I want to dispose of this sham and I intend to do so." When asked on radio to clear up the donation issue, Mr Peters said he was constrained by committee rules.

Questioned about his strong condemnation of big business donating secretly to parties because of possible influence, he said: "When I made those allegations I was in the National Party, and outside of it after that, and I was making them with knowledge it never happened with my party." The committee will look at whether Mr Peters failed to disclose a gift, a debt and the name of the person who discharged it.

It has to decide whether Mr Peters committed a contempt of Parliament by not disclosing a $100,000 donation from billionaire Owen Glenn, which was used to pay his legal bills.

Other questions have been raised about NZ First's donation and use of them including:
* the party receiving cheques from the racing and fishing Vela family which were made out in amounts just under the $10,000 threshold where donations have to be declared;
* that Mr Peters solicited and got a $25,000 donation from Sir Robert Jones which was not declared and went into the Spencer Trust when Sir Robert thought it was going to the party; and
* that the party got donations from Simunovich Fisheries which Mr Peters previously ruled out.

The Serious Fraud Office is considering whether to investigate.


Our journalists are your neighbours

We are the South's eyes and ears in crucial council meetings, at court hearings, on the sidelines of sporting events and on the frontline of breaking news.

As our region faces uncharted waters in the wake of a global pandemic, Otago Daily Times continues to bring you local stories that matter.

We employ local journalists and photographers to tell your stories, as other outlets cut local coverage in favour of stories told out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

You can help us continue to bring you local news you can trust by becoming a supporter.

Become a Supporter