Monaco-based businessman Owen Glenn presented compelling evidence at Parliament yesterday suggesting New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has lied over what he knew of the billionaire's $100,000 donation.
Mr Glenn arrived at the privileges committee armed with evidence of phone records, emails and an affidavit from Matamata horse trainer Paul Moroney to back his claim that Mr Peters solicited the donation.
Mr Moroney has sworn that he heard Mr Peters thanking Mr Glenn for the money at a lunch at the Karaka sales in 2006.
Mr Peters has denied knowing about the donation until July 18.
Prime Minister Helen Clark last night acknowledged that Mr Glenn's evidence was "pretty disturbing" but she wanted to hear what Mr Peters had to say tonight in his right of reply.
Mr Peters has stood down as Foreign Minister while an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into other party donations issues is conducted but he is still a minister.
Asked if he could be fired before the privileges committee produced its report, Helen Clark said: "I don't really want to speculate on any particular course of action at this point but just to say we're watching it extremely carefully."
Yesterday Labour MP Russell Fairbrother, a member of the committee, suggested Mr Glenn may have confused Winston Peters' with his youngest brother Wayne in a vital phone call about the donation.
Wayne Peters laughed out loud when told of the suggestion.
Mr Fairbrother said he had no evidence to believe it was Wayne Peters, but had asked Mr Glenn "to test his evidence".
Winston Peters says his lawyer Brian Henry phoned Mr Glenn about funding Mr Peters' Tauranga electoral petition in 2005 and told him about it only in July this year. Mr Glenn yesterday said he believed he was giving the money to Mr Peters "personally." "I wasn't donating the money to Mr Henry."
The critical day was December 14, 2005. Mr Glenn had breakfast with Labour Party president Mike Williams in Sydney. He said he consulted Mr Williams after Mr Peters approached him for the money earlier in the month to ensure Labour did not see it as unhelpful to its interests.
After the breakfast he called Mr Peters on his cellphone - he produced the phone record yesterday - to say yes to the donation and spoke to him for more than six minutes. The call finished about 1.32 NZ time.
About eight minutes later, Mr Glenn received an email from Mr Henry saying "further to your discussion with my client at 1.30 NZ time I provide my bank details ... "
Mr Glenn's evidence suggested Mr Williams and Helen Clark knew more than they have publicly said.
He said that at a meeting with Helen Clark in February he told her Mr Peters had asked for a donation for the legal costs of his electoral petition.
Helen Clark recently admitted Mr Glenn told her about the NZ First donation and that it had been solicited by him.
The Prime Minister said last night through a spokeswoman that he had not said it was for legal costs, otherwise she would have raised it with Mr Peters.
Mr Glenn's evidence about consulting Mr Williams contradicts Mr Williams' claim that the first he knew of a donation was on July 12 - when the Herald published emails from Mr Glenn to PR man Steve Fisher confirming he had given a donation.
Mr Williams said last night his recollection was that they had discussed the likely outcome of Mr Peters' electoral petition.
"I have no recollection of being asked or offering any comment on whether or not Mr Glenn should provide financial assistance to Mr Peters and I certainly did not discuss that possibility with anyone else."
GLENN HITS BACK
Owen Glenn's opinion of politicians hasn't been enhanced by his experiences since the donation scandal broke.
Asked on Campbell Live how he felt after having given $500,000 to the Labour Party and $100,000 to pay the fees of Mr Peters' lawyer, he replied:
"They could have been a little more supportive and not left me to the lions."
He also made his views clear on Mike Williams, Helen Clark and Winston Peters with these comments:
Owen Glenn: Mike Williams came over in June, he invited himself, stayed on my yacht, and asked me for further funds.
John Campbell: What did you say to him?
OG: What time's your flight leaving, Mike?
JC: Do you think Helen Clark knew he was there?
OG: In one day she phoned him four times.
JC: What do you make of him [Peters]?
OG: He probably needs help.
- Paula Oliver and Patrick Gower