National MPs and staff named in Peters’ legal action deny involvement
All the National Party MPs and staff being sued by Deputy Prime Minister and NZ First leader Winston Peters over a leak about his national superannuation overpayments have denied their involvement.
A spokesman for Mr Peters confirmed Mr Peters is suing a group of people he believes are responsible for causing him damage over the overpayment of his pension.
The NZ First leader has sent legal letters to nine individuals, but he was unable to comment further as the matter was “now before the courts.”
A spokeswoman for National says the people named as being served papers – National leader Bill English, deputy leader Paula Bennett, MPs Steven Joyce, Anne Tolley, former chief of staff Wayne Eagleson and former campaign press secretary Clark Hennessy – "all continue to deny any suggestion they were involved in the leak of this information and will be responding accordingly.”
Asked if he was aware of receiving the letter this afternoon, Mr English said he hadn’t seen anything. Regarding what will happen if he does receive it, “it will be a legal matter and I won’t comment on it.”
In August, Mr Peters admitted his pension had been overpaid after a story on Newhub revealed he had been overpaid since 2010.
Mr Peters later said in a statement that it was a “mistake that had been fixed” and he repaid all the money in July this year.
The focus quickly shifted to where the leak of Mr Peters’ superannuation information came from. The NZ First leader blamed National ministers in the saga: the then state services minister Paula Bennett and then social development minister Anne Tolley.
The former prime minister’s chief of staff Wayne Eagleson had also been informed of Mr Peters' superannuation situation.
An investigation by both the State Services Commission and Inland Revenue both found neither minister was responsible for the leak and Mr English also denied the leak came from the Beehive.
Mr English claims he was never told of the overpayment.