Dunne out to resuscitate political fortunes
UnitedFuture leader Peter Dunne is back and baring his soul as he attempts to refloat his political career.
Mr Dunne talked yesterday about the pressure on his wife and family since he resigned as revenue minister over an inquiry into the leak of a sensitive report on the Government Communications Security Bureau.
Mr Dunne said he had been overwhelmed by support, including from strangers, since his resignation.
But the past few weeks had been "very tough for my wife, very tough for my family".
Mr Dunne was dealt a fresh blow yesterday, when the Electoral Commission refused to fast- track UnitedFuture's re-registration as a political party and insisted it go through the same process as any new party - a process that could take six to eight weeks.
That will put pressure on Parliament's Speaker David Carter to strip Mr Dunne of more than $100,000 in parliamentary funding as a party leader after UnitedFuture was forced to deregister because it did not provide sufficient proof that it has 500 members.
Mr Dunne is also in limbo over Labour's complaint to the Privileges Committee that he may have misled Parliament when he denied leaking the GCSB report.
The Speaker is yet to rule on the complaint.
Mr Dunne continues to deny leaking the report but was forced to resign as a minister when he refused to hand over emails between him and Dominion Post journalist Andrea Vance, who reported on the leak.
An inquiry found that he and Vance exchanged about 80 emails during a period of time and Mr Dunne acknowledged he canvassed the possibility of leaking the report.
Mr Dunne said yesterday that some of the "innuendo and rumours" surrounding himself and Vance after he stepped down had been "the vilest I've seen and heard in my time in politics".
"Some of the bizarre speculation that has now spun off that in terms of commentary by other journalists about the way journalists behave is, I think, at an all-time low . . .
"This situation, I think, has got way out of hand," he told Radio Live.
"Had there been a male journalist involved or an older female journalist there wouldn't have been an issue."
He and his wife had discussed the speculation and he had been "very very lucky in the support of my wife and family throughout".
One unintended consequence, meanwhile, had been a rise in party membership, which was now more than 1000.
"Events surrounding my resignation, funnily enough, also helped."