At MyThinks we are committed to making the news both paletable and nonsensical. With that in mind, we’ve created a handy timeline of the Winston Peters superannuation thing.
Early 2010: Winston Peters, the NZ First leader and owner of a $2.3 million mansion in Auckland, applies for superannuation.
19 June 2017: Brendan Boyle the head of the Ministry of Social Development, is told about Mr Peters’ superannuation during a routine briefing about a range of other stuff that was none of his business either.
27 July: Boyle is told the matter has been resolved to officials’ satisfaction. He then discussed the case with the State Services Commission to see whether they should continue to flout New Zealand privacy legislation and tell the responsible ministers.
July: MSD sends Mr Peters a letter notifying him of the incorrect superannuation payments that had been overpaid over the previous seven years. Mr Peters corrects the error, believed to be in the tens of thousands of dollars, within a matter of hours.
31 July: Social Development Minister Anne Tolley is verbally informed by MSD’s chief executive about the matter under the “no surprises” policy. Tolley quietly rubs her hands with glee as the MSD boss leaves her office. Unofficially she is quite surprised by the “no surprises” information.
1 August: State Services Minister Paula Bennett is briefed by State Services Commission. Bennett quietly rubs her hands with glee after hanging up the phone with the official at the Commission.
15 August: Mrs Tolley is briefed again by MSD just in case she didn’t understand quality of the private information she had received during the first meeting.
27 August: Mr Peters puts out media release saying he’d paid all the money back and people should keep their noses out of his business.
28 August: MSD and Inland Revenue confirm investigations into Mr Peters’ leaked information.
29 August: Mrs Tolley and Mrs Bennett confirm they were briefed about Mr Peters’ case. Peter Hughes, State Services Commissioner said ministers were briefed but only after officials realised how juicy all the private information was. Prime Minister Bill English says, even though previously National has leaked this kind of information either through their various bloggers or attack westie Paula Bennett, neither Beehive nor the National Party had leaked information.
30 August: Mrs Bennett tells Jack Tame on the TVNZ Breakfast show that, even though she and her party have everything to gain from any scandal surrounding Mr Peters, she did not leak the information because she and her party have nothing to gain from any scandal surrounding Mr Peters.
30 August: National Party word magician David Farrar tries to distract attention from his party’s fumbles by suggesting Winston should have received a declaration form every year. Nobody gave a toss and Peters kept hammering away at National.
31 August: In a desperate attempt to position himself ahead of the expected election day carnage, former darling of the Beehive 9th floor Cameron Slater tells Newshub, “It was someone very close to Paula Bennett who arranged the hit job on Winston Peters.”
MyThinks will update this timeline as more information comes to hand…