Bridges put up a good performance again Corin Dann on RNZ, arguing convincingly that National’s visit from the SFO related to the donors not to party officials, NZF was suspect on a number of fronts, even the PGF forestry application so Ardern does not have the luxury of not forming an opinion. It was up to Andrew Little to propose changes to electoral law if it was needed, and Nick Smith is the go to person if Dann wants to find out in detail about National’s views. Bridges is coming across as a straight talker who keeps on message. If he stammers a bit and says the odd stupid thing, he is not alone in NZ politics.

Second time around
SFO probe adds to reasons Winston Peters must step down – Simon Bridges

National Party leader Simon Bridges says the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) investigation into the New Zealand First Foundation adds weight to calls for Winston Peters to be stood down.

[…] Bridges told Morning Report that putting everything together, it was not a good look for New Zealand First and that Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had adopted a “hear no evil, see no evil” position on the matter.

“We’ve been asking him to stand down before we knew about an investigation by the SFO announced yesterday,” he said.

“The matter that we originally called for action over was the photograph of journalists, what I consider to be unethical behaviour. I think there’s also the Provincial Growth Fund allegations and a raft of things there

[…] Peters has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and when asked if he would step down as a minister he said: “Why would I do that…if the Electoral Commission didn’t speak to me why would you ask that question?”

Last week Peters also tweeted: “NZF has no interest in following Mr Espiner or any other journalists. The very reverse applies. No private investigators have been engaged to follow Mr Espiner or anyone else. A supporter thought it odd seeing ex-president Lester Grey with Mr Espiner so took a photo. Simple.”

But Bridges rejected a statement from the New Zealand First caucus that it had nothing to do with taking photographs of RNZ journalist Guyon Espiner and Stuff reporter Matt Shand this month. […]

“That’s not what Winston Peters first said and it beggars belief the fact you’ve got in one case a very well-known journalist, another not, with photographs of them ending up on a political blog. I think those circumstances mean New Zealand First was clearly involved in it. It was planned… Clearly because Winston Peters won’t say anything about the details of it, there’s more to this.”

[…] Bridges would not be drawn on Serious Fraud Office charges relating to two $100,000 donations made to his own party.

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