Two people in serious condition after incident involving NZ First bus

Police say the two victims were found lodged “firmly underneath” the bus.

Police say the two victims were found lodged “firmly underneath” the bus.

Two people are in a serious condition this evening after an incident apparently involving the New Zealand First campaign bus. They are presently unable to be identified.

Authorities say two people were found underneath the bus shortly after 5pm this evening. It is unclear at this stage exactly how they got there.

Witnesses say they saw two people – both believed to be male – milling about the bus shortly before the incident, while one witness said they appeared not to enter the path of the bus voluntarily. That witness believes the men were “pushed” or “somehow thrown” into the bus’s path.

Police are treating the circumstances as suspicious.

News of the incident came just as New Zealand First’s leader, Winston Peters, was addressing media about charges brought in the Serious Fraud Office investigation into the New Zealand First Foundation.

Peters claimed total exoneration, and wished to emphasize that the party and the foundation are separate entities.

“Now if this is going to be reported as it pertains to New Zealand First, then you’d better have one thing clear,” Peters warned assembled journalists. “Whatever charges have been brought, none whatsoever have been brought against the party or any of those involved in the party. We’re talking about a wholly different entity.”

Peters explained that New Zealand First was a “discretionary beneficiary” of the foundation, which makes its own decisions about who or what to support.

“We have no way of knowing the political motivations, interests, we have no way of knowing who or what party the New Zealand First Foundation supports, politically speaking, as a matter of primary interest. I have no clues as to that and, frankly, neither do you.”

Asked about foundation trustees Doug Woolerton and Brian Henry, the latter of whom has worked as Peters’ personal lawyer, the Deputy Prime Minister explained that these are also separate people.

“Whoever it is that manages the trust, and I won’t cast any aspersions here or anywhere else about who that may be, these are also separate people,” he said. “Winston Peters and Brian Henry are not the same person. Brian Henry and Doug Woolerton are not the same person. Doug Woolerton is not the same person as Doug Howlett. Why would he be?

“Brian Henry, my personal lawyer, is not the same as New Zealand First Foundation trustee Brian Henry.”

“They are in fact the same person, though, aren’t they?” asked gallery journalist Barry Soper.

“Not at all,” snapped Peters. “They occupy the same body, they sleep in the same bed, but as far as I know, there’s no Barry Soper Drive, is there Barry?”

Soper immediately backed off.

Peters added that the money donated to New Zealand First and the money in question in the SFO investigation “aren’t even the same money.”

“Listen, if I pick up a bag of $1,000 cash in the South Island and I deposit that into a private bank account and wire the money to another private bank account in the North Island, and then someone else withdraws that $1,000 from a relatively unfrequented ATM at 2am in the morning, is that money the same money? How did it magically teleport from island to island? The answer is it didn’t, because it isn’t the same money. It’s separate.”

After further explaining that, in some philosophies of time, the alleged activities haven’t even occurred yet, and that it’s impossible to hold someone liable for something that hasn’t occurred, Peters was finally asked about the bus incident.

“I can’t comment on that,” he said. “You know I can’t comment on that, because the New Zealand First party is entirely separate from the New Zealand First Bus. The New Zealand First Bus is its own separate entity.”

Peters later confirmed, via written statement, that the bus was donated to the party by the New Zealand First Foundation.