One would assume that Winston Peters – given his many and varied attacks on all and sundry over years – would know the rules about disclosing pecuniary interests like the back of his hand. Given his utterly bumbling recent attack on Judith Collins, it seems not. And he confirmed his ignorance yesterday, following Brendan Horan’s allegations that Peters failed to declare an interest in a racehorse.
Mr Peters doesn’t deny that he had a 10% stake in a syndicate lease of a horse, something that he bought at a charity auction in 2008 (the lease has now expired). However, he says that there’s no requirement to declare ownership in a horse, let alone a stake in a lease of a horse. Besides, he says, he lost money on the whole deal anyway.
It’s horribly simplistic reasoning from Mr Peters – “It’s a lease, not ownership! And I didn’t make any money from it!”
Why would a syndicate lease a horse? Presumably because they want to enter it in races, which offer prize money to those that win. In fact, this particular horse, sired by Zabeel (apparently a famous racehorse, to those that follow such things), made $20,000 in prize money last year. A share in the lease of said horse means that you get a share in the prize money. That’s a pecuniary interest, and it doesn’t matter that you don’t actually own the horse.
Further, Mr Peters’ line of reasoning that it didn’t matter anyway, because he lost money, is absurd. Is he really trying to say that MPs shouldn’t have to declare shares in companies that are making losses?
Judging by Mr Peters’ recent performances, it may be time to put the old nag out to pasture. (See what I did there?)