Key Points:

A tiny crucifix sits on the desk in front of Owen Glenn. It is wooden with a silver Christ and is the first thing he gets out when he sits down and the first thing he picks up when he is done.

"He's my staunchest ally," he says of the figure on the cross.

It hasn't been a pleasant hour for the Catholic billionaire.

The select committee room is packed to see if he could stack up his claims that New Zealand First leader Winston Peters asked him for $100,000.

Ministers' assistants, almost the whole National Party caucus, Rodney Hide, media, commentators and political scientists have all come to see this lesson in politics at its most visceral play out.

Gone was the affable face Glenn wore at the Wellington airport that morning, when he said travelling to New Zealand for one hour in front of politicians was not such a nuisance because, "Oh, I like the beer."

He is here to clear the waters. But about half of the people he's facing are desperate to muddy them.

Glenn reels off his evidence. He lives a scrambled life in different countries, so the list of emails, records of phone calls, of talks with Labour president Mike Williams, notes in the diary, payment confirmations, have all been collated by the two PAs who "arrange" him.

Glenn has provided records showing a call to Winston Peters' cellphone, but Labour's Russell Fairbrother suggests perhaps he had muddled up Peters' voice with that of his brother Wayne Peters.

Michael Cullen then comes up with the theory that perhaps the phone conversation was not with Winston Peters after all, because it was short and Peters was not known for being so succinct.

Glenn begins to look as if he thinks he's dealing with idiots.

He knows Winston Peters. He rang Winston Peters' personal cellphone number to tell him he would give the money. The man who answered sounded like Winston Peters and referred to himself in the first person.

He can't remember if the man who answered actually declared "I am Winston Peters" but there was "no doubt" he spoke to Winston Peters. When Cullen raises the same question, he says: "I knew it wasn't you Dr Cullen. You already had your $500,000."

He admits he doesn't know the niceties of the hair-splitting game of politics. NZ First and Winston Peters were interchangeable from his perspective. But one thing he knows is business, and "I'm not in the habit of sending $100,000 out of a whim and a fancy".

At points, there is belligerence.

"I'm here voluntarily," he says after NZ First's Dail Jones appears to question his veracity. "And if you guys don't like it, I'll leave."

When the MPs later return to the topic of whether it really was Winston who answered Winston's cellphone, he sighs: "Oh, we're back to that again."

Often he is good-humoured. A question about his health - he had surgery for a subdural haematoma about a year ago - is batted off with a "carnations at my funeral, please".

At the end of the questioning, the good-naturedness is gone.

He says he hasn't come to town to bring down Winston Peters. Peters' racing tips don't always work out, he says, but "I actually like Winston".

"I didn't come all this way to [shoot him down]. I'm just telling the truth."

But he doesn't like being attacked. He tells the committee he takes "no pleasure" from having to do what he is doing. But he has seen members of the committee question the authenticity of a letter he wrote to it, and describe him as "confused" and "a liar".

"When people I don't know call me confused and a liar, I object. And it is my reputation, and if they want to stand outside Parliament and say it, I'll meet them in court." Cullen at least has the decency to flush.

Glenn's evidence ends, he slips his crucifix into his pocket and leaves.

He says he hopes the committee has seen the truth. He doubts he will donate to a political party again, but the advantage of MPs is "they come and go" so who knows?

And later on TV3's Campbell Live, he gets a bit of his own back. Labour had "fed him to the lions" to ensure Peters was safe, he says. "I wouldn't want them next to me in the trenches. They'd push you out."


Owen Glenn says Winston Peters thanked him for his $100,000 donation during a lunch at the Karaka sales attended by brothers Philip and Peter Vela.

It puts two of Mr Peters' known big-money donors at the same table together.

The 2006 lunch was held in the Pencarrow Stud tent. Mr Glenn sat next to Mr Peters and said the others present were his assistant Laura Ede, his Melbourne Cup-winning manager Paul Moroney and "the two owners of Pencarrow, two brothers, I don't know what their names are".

Mr Glenn said he asked Mr Peters "did that money arrive okay?" to which Mr Peters replied "Yes, thank you very much, it was very helpful".