Editorial: What on Earth was Peter Dunne thinking?

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Ex-minister must now justify getting party-leader funding

Peter Dunne. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Peter Dunne. Photo / Mark Mitchell

So Winston Peters was right. Peter Dunne, a minister, had unnaturally intense email relations with a journalist around the time she reported on a secret government document on the intelligence agency GCSB. Mr Dunne would not fully co-operate with an inquiry into how she obtained that information, despite the Prime Minister encouraging ministers to do so, and has left the Key ministry. He still denies leaking the report but the denials are undermined by his actions before and after the leak occurred.

The report was to have been released publicly a week later, so nothing "secret" was revealed. Why, then, did the leaker do it? Who benefited, apart from the journalist, from the premature revelations? The inquiry by former Inland Revenue chief David Henry does not address the leaker's motivation, saying quaintly the "literature" on such matters suggests intentions are "complex".

If it was Mr Dunne, which is the only conclusion available from his withholding an 86-email exchange with the Dominion Post reporter, what did he or his party have to gain? Was it the thrill of beating the Prime Minister to the punch, or the desire to stop the GCSB spinning its activities in a more favourable light? Or something not political at all?

His ministerial warrant gone, Mr Dunne must also defend his receipt of parliamentary funding as a party leader, his party having too few members to be registered with the Electoral Commission. On this, too, Mr Peters is right.

The money must be withheld until United Future can prove it has a present.

- NZ Herald

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