Tuesday, March 29, 2005

More puke

Not content with slurring one person under parliamentary privelege, Winston P accuses the entire Act party as defenders of "paedophilia behaviour and paedophiles in New Zealand."

As an Act (and Labour) party member, this stunt is getting a little out of hand. I do not like being accused of supporting paedophiles. As someone who has been sexually assaulted as a child, I find Winston P's comments more than a little distasteful.

After much sound and fury, Winston P withdrew and apologised to Act MPs. I doubt he will apologise to the rest of the membership.

It's a pity his father didn't withdraw and apologise in time. It would have saved everyone a lot of bother.

Question Time today:

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Has the Minister received any information
or reports that in this House there is a political party that
seems to be a defender of paedophilia behaviour and paedophiles
in New Zealand?

Madam SPEAKER: The Minister has no responsibility for another

Hon Richard Prebble: The matter does not settle there. Mr Peters is making a serious slur on parliamentarians. That is most certainly out of order, and if he was suggesting that I am defending paedophilia he is most certainly mistaken. I require him to withdraw and apologise for that very serious slur. It is all right for Mr Peters, and we cannot stop him from slandering anyone outside this House, but under our rules he cannot slander a member of this House.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: First of all, the caucus of the ACT party is not a party—or anything like it, apparently. Secondly, I was prepared to allow that Rodney Hide had made a serious mistake
in helping someone who walked into his office, or had others walk into his office seeking an MP's assistance, and I am still prepared to. But when some member of Parliament rises, knowing that the evidence that is out now clearly points to such a person, then I resent in any way, shape, or form that it is me who is guilty of a breach of privilege, or has in any way offended the rules of Parliament.

Hon Richard Prebble: It is all very well for Mr Peters now to refer to some other MP. The person who asked the question was myself, and I take very deep offence at Mr Peters' statement. I was seeking clarification as to whether any crime had been committed, and as far as I can tell no crime has been committed and no evidence has been given of it. So I am now being slurred as being a defender of paedophilia, and I take very great exception to that. Mr Peters may make it his practice to slander people outside this House and may get popular support for doing so, but he may not do it to MPs. I am asking you, Madam Speaker, now that I have been so slurred by Mr Peters, to require him to withdraw and apologise, even though he has great difficulty in admitting that he has made mistakes.

Madam SPEAKER: I think I have heard sufficient argument on this. Obviously the question when it was first asked was out of order. Members know that they should not imply infamous or damaging conduct on other members. If the member did imply such conduct then he should either deny he was making that allegation or he should withdraw and apologise.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I wish to raise a point of clarification for you to make on this judgment, and it concerns an event. I referred to a political party that stood, to a man and a woman, and cheered Mr Jim Peron just 2 weeks ago at its annual conference. I referred to a political party. I did not refer to anybody in this House, and Hansard will disclose that.

Madam SPEAKER: However, a member felt that the inference was to that particular member, so is the member denying that there was any such inference to an individual member?

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I am saying that my reference was to a political party. The specific details are of a political party, after the matter had been raised in this House, cheering, to a man and a woman, at its last annual general meeting, one Jim Peron.

Madam SPEAKER: Is the member saying, and I ask this for the last time—[Interruption] The member has taken exception to what was a serious allegation, from which a reasonable inference could have been taken, even though reference was made generally. I am asking the member, for the last time, either to withdraw and apologise or to state that no such inference was applied to an individual member.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I wish to make it very clear to you that a political party—and a parliamentary party—[Interruption] No, I am not going to apologise.

Hon Richard Prebble: Of course you are.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: No, I am not. I am not going to apologise for accusing a political party—and I have given the House evidence for it—of being a defender of a paedophile.

Madam SPEAKER: The member is not going to withdraw and apologise. Are you denying then that the implication was that individual members of that party were supporters of paedophiles?

Rt Hon Winston Peters: Well, obviously. I referred to a political party. But no one in this House can demand that because I referred to his or her party I therefore referred to that member.

Stephen Franks: Mr Peters said that the ACT party, to a man and a woman, stood and applauded Mr Peron. That is untrue for a start; I was there. He has included me in his inference, and I demand that he withdraw and apologise to me, for a start.

Madam SPEAKER: I refer members to Speaker's ruling 47/4, for those who are interested in these matters, and I know that those who are participating in this matter are interested: 'It has
traditionally been ruled that it is perfectly in order for members to say that the Government or a member has been influenced by somebody outside Parliament or has had advice from somebody outside Parliament. It is not in order to say that the Government or a member has been dominated by, has received instructions from, has received directions from, or has been dictated to by somebody outside Parliament.' That was the implication. Would the member then please withdraw and apologise.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I will not, because I have made it very clear where my allegation lay, and with respect that Speaker's ruling covers no such thing; there is no reference to this matter
at all.

Madam SPEAKER: I refer the member, then, to Speaker's ruling 47/1.

Hon Richard Prebble: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. We have here deliberate defiance of the Speakership. Just asking Mr Peters to withdraw so that he can make some TV stunt is not
sufficient. I believe he should be named. I take very great exception to what Mr Peters is saying. I say to you that, in my case—because I can speak only for myself—what he is saying is totally untrue.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: If Mr Prebble and Mr Franks are offended by what I have said, then I apologise personally to those two members.

Madam SPEAKER: The member has apologised. We will now move on to the next question.

Rodney Hide: I raise a point of order, Madam Speaker. I, too, am offended by the Rt Hon Winston Peters' implication in what he said. I think you were right the first time you ruled—that
he should withdraw and apologise totally.

Madam SPEAKER: Would the member withdraw and apologise to all members of the ACT party in the House whom he was referring to in that statement.

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I withdraw and apologise to all those members, whether or not they stood in support of Jim Peron.

Madam SPEAKER: No; does the member withdraw and apologise?

Rt Hon Winston Peters: I withdraw and apologise.