Glenn's evidence pressures Peters

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters will have to produce a compelling performance tonight if he hopes to rebut telling testimony and evidence given to Parliament's privileges committee yesterday by expatriate Monaco-based billionaire Owen Glenn.

Mr Glenn provided a paper trail of phone calls, emails and an independent witness apparently to contradict Mr Peters' previously stated position: that he did not know about Mr Glenn's $100,000 donation until told by his lawyer Brian Henry in July.

Prime Minister Helen Clark last night acknowledged Mr Glenn's evidence was "pretty disturbing", but she wanted to hear what Mr Peters had to say tonight in his right of reply.

Mr Glenn was confident in his written evidence, and in his answers to members of the committee, that Mr Peters personally solicited the donation from him to help pay for an election petition.

"I am absolutely certain the request for assistance came to me from Mr Peters himself. I was asked by him to consider assisting him with legal costs and expenses. I agreed to consider making such a contribution."

Before making any response to Mr Peters, Mr Glenn contacted Labour Party president Mike Williams to ensure the donation would not be seen by Labour as unhelpful to its own interests.

Mr Glenn was told by Mr Williams that Labour had no problem with him assisting Mr Peters.

Mr Peters is due to appear before the committee between 7.30pm and 10.30pm to answer the claims made yesterday by Mr Glenn.

In evidence, Mr Glenn said he met Miss Clark privately at her request, when she was attending the opening of the new business school building named after Mr Glenn at the University of Auckland in February this year.

Asked whether he had raised the matter with Miss Clark or she had initiated the discussion, Mr Glenn said he had raised the matter and volunteered how much the donation had been.

Earlier in the day, National Party leader John Key raised in the House what many people in Parliament had been talking about: that Mr Glenn had been characterised by senior Government MPs, including Finance Minister Michael Cullen and Environment Minister Trevor Mallard, as being non compus mentis.

Miss Clark said she was not aware of the claims.

Mr Glenn told the committee he was aware members of Parliament, who were members of the privileges committee, had questioned the authenticity of the letters he had written.

"I am also aware it has been said I am 'confused' and 'a liar'. These remarks are damaging to my reputation. These comments are wrong, as the documents I have produced show."


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