This is no longer a trivial side-issue. This is a flagrant breach of Cabinet rules by Peters - the Cabinet Manual states:
Ministers who accept gifts worth more than the prescribed value must not only disclose them to the Registrar of Pecuniary Interests of Members of Parliament, but also must relinquish them, unless they obtain the express permission of the Prime Minister to retain them.
Helen Clark is now in a very awkward situation. One of her Ministers has shown scant regard for the rules. One of her Ministers has flouted her authority. Were it one of her Labour colleagues, the axe wood have already fallen.
And given, as Kiwiblog suggests, that the money almost certainly came from the Vela family, who have significant interests in the racing industry, is she concerned that Peters may have accepted money for policy? She should be - that is the kind of corrupt practice that Winston Peters has railed against for 15 years.