Wednesday, July 23, 2008

ZenTiger Flogging a dead horse

It's no secret Winston has a morbid fear of media rats. The question is though, which is more feral, rabid and bubonic? Winston or the rats? When cornered, bluster turns quickly to attack, and Winston seems cornered at this moment.

No doubt Winston was as shocked as all NZ First supporters upon discovering a hundred grand sitting in a legal expenses trust as a gift from major Labour Supporter, Owen Glenn. No doubt Helen Clark is wondering who Owen Glenn hasn't secretly funded.

Ironically, with the Hollow Men movie opening this week, some voters might be confused who the Hollow Men are supposed to be. Whilst Brash was well and truly tarred with the "colluding with shadowy figures" brush, pundits were hoping the mantle might be passed to John Key. At the last moment, Winston has sailed in to grab the crown. The crown looks nice with his baubles.

And speaking of baubles, a series of donations at $9,995 (perfectly legal, you understand) from the mega rich Vela family have put the media rats onto Winston's scent. It's his family jewels that are now in the vice like grip of Speaker Margaret Wilson as she looks for loopholes to keep this out of the privileges committee.

It doesn't look good that Winston, looking after the racing portfolio, has, in his own terms, accepted huge wads of cash for policy. The Vela family were no doubt pleased with Winston's recent 9 million dollar tax payer bet laid track side.

Helen Clark remains the lone voice of reason in these hysterical times. "These are just baseless allegations" she explains. Putting aside the mounting evidence for just a moment, that's a fair comment.

If we ignore circumstantial evidence, emails, testimonies, last minute confessions from Winston's lawyer and the insane lies of the media, then Winston doesn't have much to answer for. Everything is most probably, perfectly legal.

The biggest issue is that Winston has made a career out of throwing similar allegations around, and now we see, with the race to the Electoral Finish Line only months away, the horse has bolted and we find the Electoral Finance Act hasn't whipped any of our political thoroughbreds into the straight and narrow. With Winston now the dark horse in this race, Labour and National might be a bit wary about working with this mare. "Nightmare" might be a better name.

I'm a little disappointed this whole event hasn't actually sparked new debate about the badly written Electoral Finance Act. It has been criticised from the outset as a bit and bridle that doesn't fit the horse. This is yet another example. If we want to have "transparent" political funding, then once again we see that the EFA isn't the solution. Send it to the glue factory and start again.

As for Winston? I'll think he'll ride this one out. Uncovering corruption, impropriety and political hypocrisy in this country is like flogging a dead horse.

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