Labour Party president Mike Williams has denied seeking a job from Owen Glenn, disputing what the expatriate billionaire told a press conference today.
The Monaco-based magnate gave evidence to Parliament's privileges committee yesterday to support his claim that NZ First leader Winston Peters knew about $100,000 Mr Glenn donated to his legal fund.
Mr Glenn told a press conference in Auckland this morning that Mr Williams visited him on his luxury yacht off the French coast in mid-year.
Mr Williams asked him for a job as an "administrator", he said.
Mr Williams told him that he was a good administrator and he was "articulate".
Mr Glenn turned him down, he said.
Mr Williams visited Mr Glenn to seek more money for Labour. Mr Glenn had previously given the party $500,000.
Mr Glenn said Mr Williams was clearly tired of his role and dealing with controversies such as the furore over donations to NZ First.
But in a statement this afternoon, Mr Williams denied ever seeking a job from Mr Glenn.
Mr Glenn may be recalling a conversation the pair had a couple of years ago, Mr Williams said.
"Owen was interested in setting up or buying a logistics company in New Zealand and discussed with me the possibility that I could play a role in managing it. I declined."
Meanwhile, he stood by his recall of previous discussions with Mr Glenn.
"They did not involve any discussion of a specific donation to Mr Peters. I have no recollection of being asked or offering any comment on whether or not Mr Glenn should provide financial assistance to Mr Peter and I certainly did not discuss that possibility with any one else."
GLENN'S WITHERING BROADSIDE
At a press conference in a darkened room at the swank Auckland Hilton this morning, Glenn assailed Prime Minister Helen Clark, Labour Party secretary Mike Williams and New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.
On Miss Clark: "She's very self-serving... I am expendable. I wouldn't want them in the trenches next to me. It's not the money, it's the way you are treated, then you turn the dogs on me... toothless dogs."
On Mr Peters: "People in those elected positions and privileged position need to act ethically and be trusted and I doubt he can be... I don't think people with forgetful memories should be Minister of Foreign Affairs."
On Mr Williams: "Mr Williams is wrestling with the truth. He is an unmitigated falsifier of veracity."
On Finance Minister Michael Cullen: "He's a bully... He's not the sort of guy I would want to spend a weekend with on an island with. But he is just following orders."
Mr Peters had earlier denied talking with Mr Glenn.
The billionaire called the press conference before leaving the country tonight.
Mr Glenn said Miss Clark and Mr Williams knew about the donation to Mr Peters because he told them.
Mr Williams now says he cannot recall, drawing fire from Mr Glenn who agreed that the Labour secretary had lied.
He said Mr Williams was really a "bag man for the Labour Party" who wouldn't take "a second breath unless the prime minister tells him too".
Mr Williams though was a "great bloke to have a beer with" but it was shame on him that he lied: "You don't treat mates like that."
SURPRISED BY LABOUR ATTACKS
Mr Glenn yesterday appeared before Parliament's privileges committee where, he said, he was surprised to be attacked by Labour members and he could not understand their motives.
Dr Cullen though was trying to rip him apart and was just following orders.
"It's very worrying to think he could run the country one day."
He said in February at the opening of Auckland University's business school he had a private meeting with Miss Clark.
"I felt she was distancing herself from me on the day," he said, and he felt she was trying to make up for it.
He said Miss Clark was clearly aware of his donation to New Zealand First.
"I am not exactly cheering for Labour any more. Not if they abandon you and turn the dogs on you. What is there to cheer about?
Now the prime minister saw him as expendable.
He believed she thought she was playing a good hand.
"What would be the best solution in her mind is if I just went away quietly."
He would have done just that had not New Zealand First deputy leader Dale Jones called him a liar.
Asked if Mr Peters should be fired, he said it was up to the prime minister.
"People in those elected positions and privileged position need to act ethically and be trusted and I doubt he can be."
He said there was an honourable way out for Mr Peters, short of dropping on his sword.
"Let's see what the calibre of the man is tonight."
He was being judged by his peers at the committee but it was a "hung jury" that would clear him.
"You could see who the wolves were and who the lambs were."
ASSISTANT TO SWEAR AN AFFADAVIT
With him at the press conference was his executive assistant, Laura Ede, who told the press conference that she checked her boss's voice mail on December 5 and heard a message from Mr Peters.
She wrote an email to her boss asking what to do about it and on December 14, she phoned Mr Peters and established it was him. She then handed the phone to Mr Glenn who received an appeal for money from Mr Peters.
Ms Ede will swear an affidavit on that point.
Mr Glenn said Mr Peters talked to him about his electoral challenge in Tauranga and that he needed a donation of $70,000. Mr Glenn agreed and made it up to $100,000.
He did not find it credible that Brian Henry – Mr Peter's lawyer – would not inform his client about the money and provide no invoices.
"No one has asked the lawyer what he did with the money."
Asked if his statements would affect the outcome of the election, Mr Glenn said "a lot of people are going to think twice."
But he defended Mr Peters as being not all bad.
"In his mind he is a Damon Runyon figure, he's bigger than life. He just got caught up and tripped over his feet a bit."
CLARK 'DONKEY DEEP' IN IT - KEY
National leader John Key said on TV One's Breakfast programme this morning that the privileges committee could only look at the narrow issue around declaration rather than getting to the substance of who was telling the truth. He believed Mr Peters was lying.
He also criticised Miss Clark for not speaking out when Mr Glenn told her about the donation in February.
"This is a person (Miss Clark) who has been donkey deep in this stuff, she has wanted to keep the New Zealand public in the dark about it," Mr Key said.
"She could end up firing Winston Peters ... for a donation the Labour Party organised and sanctioned and that is just incredible really."
He said she should apologise and call the election so the country could move on.
- with NZPA
WHAT MR GLENN TOLD THE PRIVILEGES COMMITTEE:
"I said to him, 'Did you get the money all right?' and he said, 'Thank you very much, it was very helpful'."
On a conversation with Winston Peters at the Karaka sales in 2006.
"I don't accept phone calls and agree to donate $100,000 if I don't know who's on the line."
After repeated questions about whether he was sure the person on the other end of the line was Mr Peters.
"When people I don't know call me confused – which is just a shade past lying – I object."
On reports that senior Government ministers have been questioning his credibility.
"I am only asking for common courtesy. I am here voluntarily and, if you guys don't like it, I will leave."
After his evidence was challenged by NZ First MP Dail Jones.
"I don't want to be known as the man who shot Liberty Valance. I didn't come all this way to do that. I'm just telling the truth. I think they're both good people, Helen and Winston."
"If my country doesn't want me, I'll become an Australian."
On the Government's failure to appoint him honorary consul to Monaco.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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