Peters lashes out in angry press conference
'Innuendo, misrepresentation and character assassination'
NZ First leader Winston Peters has angrily refused to reveal who and what the Spencer Trust is, the organisation property developer Sir Robert Jones says he gave money to.
Mr Peters today told a packed press conference he had no involvement with the Spencer Trust, into which Sir Robert Jones paid $25,000 when he believed he was giving a donation to NZ First.
Mr Peters also said Sir Robert was wrong when he claimed Mr Peters had asked him for the donation.
"Neither I nor my barrister has any involvement with the Spencer Trust."
To questions about the trust he repeatedly said "ask them".
He assailed media coverage of his party funding, saying it was "unsubstantiated rubbish".
"Every donation New Zealand First has ever received has been legal and no individual has ever personally retained any donations," he said.
"I have been advised by party officials at the time that there is nothing NZ First is required to disclose arising from the Spencer Trust," Mr Peters said.
Peters said his party and he had acted lawfully at all times .
Mr Peters is under pressure about funding issues and at the press conference he accused journalists of unprofessionalism and being part of a campaign of innuendo promoted by interest groups for their own gain.
Sir Robert said yesterday the money he donated was paid into a trust managed by Mr Peters' brother Wayne, a Whangarei lawyer, at NZ First's request.
Now Sir Robert wants to find out what happened to it, and has written to former NZ First president Dail Jones.
Mr Peters' brother Wayne refused to answer questions about the trust.
"It's a longstanding convention and standard among lawyers that you don't discuss the affairs of clients," he told NZPA.
"I do not propose to change what is a longstanding convention."
But he said he was "not uncomfortable" with what Sir Robert had said yesterday -that he had made the donation on the basis the money would find its way to NZ First.
He would not explain, if that was the case, why no declaration had been made to election officials.
He said journalists should again ask Sir Robert if he was still concerned about where his money had gone and he might be prepared to comment further after that.
Winston Peters said Jones memory was failing him.
Before New Zealand First was formed he said Jones announced he would give money.
Peters said it was $50,000.
Peters said he did not solicit the money from Jones; he gave it unsolicited.
Jones "wrote a cheque for the Spencer Trust" but he would not say what the money was used for.
"You had better ask the Spencer Trust."
He added: "I have been advised by party officials at the time that there is nothing New Zealand First is required to disclose arising from the Spencer Trust."
He also said the money from the Vela racing family is lawful.
- With NZPA
- © Fairfax NZ News
How important is NZ's anti-nuclear policy to you?Related story: It's all good, just don't mention the nukes