I suppose by now Owen Glenn is sitting in the Koru Lounge awaiting the boarding call of his flight out of town. He might permit himself a small smile of satisfaction for a job well done.
For Cyclone Glenn leaves behind him a trail of destruction and devastation that makes Bola look like a gentle breeze. In less than 24 hours he has eviscerated the reputations of Winston Peters and Mike Williams, shamed the Labour Party, and has likely brought about both the sacking of a minister of the Crown and the naming of an election date.
The Prime Minister herself has not escaped either, having her own word questioned by Glenn at the privileges committee hearing yesterday, when the billionaire said Helen Clark was aware of his donation to Peters before February this year.
And if yesterday's privileges committee hearing was bad, today's press conference in Auckland was far, far worse. Helen Clark was "self-serving'', Peters wasn't fit to be a minister, Williams was "a fabricator of veracity'' and Michael Cullen "a bully''.
Not only must Peters' word now be questioned, but Williams' too. Glenn says he discussed Peters' money with Williams in detail. Williams says he didn't mention it. Who do you believe?
It was clear a steamed-up Glenn had come to New Zealand with a purpose. It was payback time for the parties that had treated him like dirt. Happy to take his money and be his friend when it suited them, Labour and NZ First then dropped him like a stone when it became necessary to do so. No wonder Glenn told Williams to take a running jump off his yacht when he turned up asking for more money.
When all of this is over, an objective and calm reflection on the Glenn/Peters affair may well conclude that big money and politics in New Zealand simply don't mix. Perhaps state funding really is the best idea after all.
I thought Clark suffered a rare pasting in Parliament this afternoon, with National leader John Key finally getting on a roll and managing to land a few punches on the Prime Minister: "The reason she has never sacked Winston Peters is because she is up to her eyeballs in this and what happened yesterday was that the truth jetted into town.''
It was a great line - so good he repeated it at least three more times. It's a pity National didn't follow this up with a more sustained assault rather than reverting to business-as-usual questions. But Key was right, however; Clark is up to her neck in this fiasco and it's plain she's had enough.
She is now using the word "disturbing'' to characterise Glenn's evidence to the privileges committee, and it's becoming clear that bar a miracle at tonight's rematch of the committee, when Peters gets the chance to have his say, he is going to be given his marching orders - possibly as soon as tomorrow.
I reckon if she does sack Peters she will call the election date as well. It would be a good way of brushing the ongoing fiasco off the front pages and cutting Peters and his party loose. Not that she'll need to do that - NZ First will be furious if she sacks Peters before the privileges committee reports back and its agreement with Labour will be toast.
That won't bother Clark - the last time she needs NZ First's votes is later today, when the Emissions Trading Scheme has its third and final reading.
But NZ First will have a point. Clark has long championed Peters' right to due process and natural justice. Sacking him half-way through the hearing would be a bit like the judge at a murder trial telling the defence that she's heard enough - just take him out the back and hang him.
But politics doesn't really operate like a court - even at the privileges committee, supposedly one of the highest courts in the land. Politics is neither as orderly as a court nor as fair. And it's becoming obvious that Peters' right to natural justice exists only as long as it is politically expedient for Clark to allow it.
There's no question she is running out of time. Peters is an albatross around her neck and if she doesn't cut the strings soon she will sink along with him.
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