Over the past few months we have been treated to the sight of two bulls competing for dominance in the bull pen - Rodney the upstart and Winston the twice anointed king-maker.At stake is the right to decide which of the two big parties will form the government at the end of this year. Hide sees himself in that role as witnessed by the ACT party pamphlets distributed around the country in recent months.
This means that the donation saga is not about faulty book-keeping, not about poor management and inadequate systems within the N.Z.First machine. It is not about Owen Glenn's generousity to either N.Z.First or the Labour Party. It is about Winston Peters and his political survival. It is about the manipulation of the political landscape in an MMP environment.
Hide, whose motivations on the political field can be questioned, has set out to destroy Peters in the interests, he says, of ensuring stable government in New Zealand. (Morning Report interview. august 2008). For stable government read one supported by ACT and none other.
Hence the constant barrage of innuendo, of demands for Privileges Committee interrogations, of Police investigations and SFO inquiries coupled with theatrical presentations of files to various authorities in front of cameras and supporters. Hide's campaign strategy is to throw allegation after allegation at Peters in the knowledge that eventually a crack will appear or a daub of mud will stick so that guilt by implication can be established and the "crime" elevated to credibility.
For Peters, the problem has been one of his own character fault, a propensity to bluff and bluster when confronted with a barrage of questions. It is this character fault that cracked. It was this fault that allowed the daub of mudto stick. It was this fault that Hide has manipulated to his advantage over the past few months as he campaigns to exert his right to be seen as the new stud in the Bull-pen of Parliament.
If Peters had paused, reflected and analysed his position on the issue he was challenged on he may have responded in a more considered and strategically advantageous manner. But that isn't his nature and Hide knows it.
If Peters had admitted and provided evidence that monies had been sought and paid to N.Z. First through whatever vehicle and that the monies had been fully accounted for he would have not found himself in the ignominious position he is presently in. For now his position as an "honorable member" whose word must be, by statute, taken as true is called to question.
In the face of the evidence presented by Glenn to the Privileges committee Peters will now have to prove that his position is and always has been that of a truthful and honorable member. If he cannot prove that, if he resorts to the bluff and bluster, he will be found wanting and his political demise, so long predicted, will be assured. However, he won't he destroyed by an accounting failure. He won't be destroyed by faulty management processes. He won't be destroyed by his strange relationship with his lawyer. He will be destroyed by his own character faults for that is Peter's hubris and that is what Hide has exploited throughout this whole sorry saga.