United Future leader Peter Dunne exchanged personally embarrassing emails with Fairfax journalist Andrea Vance, NZ First leader Winston Peters claims.
Mr Peters told TV3's The Nation he had seen the email exchange that Mr Dunne refused to hand over in the inquiry into the GCSB report leak.
He said information on national security had been leaked multiple times, not just on the Kitteridge Report,but also other material including leaks about cabinet appointments.
“The fact is, he’s demanding privacy when the very thing he was doing was putting the privacy of secure information for the nation’s interest at risk."
Mr Dunne says the contents of the emails exonerate him, but that they are a private exchange and he won't release them as as point of principle.
Fairfax Group executive editor Paul Thompson has strongly defended Ms Vance, whom he says has done "terrific work." Mr Thompson flatly rejected insinuations that there was more to the pair's relationship, and said a claim by Michelle Boag that Ms Vance had leaked the emails to Mr Peters was "ludicrous". Fairfax will fight any attempt to force it to release private communication, Mr Thompson said.
On TVNZ's Q+A, Mr Peters chose a more ambiguous response when asked if he had seen the emails.
"Let me just tell you, because there's much more and wider than you think. The electronic records are very, very clear. Mr Dunne's denial is, frankly, futile in the extreme," he said.
"Those denials are bound to fail, and they concern far more than one leak from the GCSB on a classified document. There are other sets of information items from the GCSB which he leaked as well to the same journalist."
Call in police, expel Dunne from Parliament
Mr Peters also used his Q+A, appearance to reinterate his stance that Prime Minister John Key should have lodged a complaint with the police over Peter Dunne and the leaked GCSB report.
“He [Key] had the report and all the information a long time before me, and he still hasn’t lodged a complaint with the police,” Mr Peters said. “It means he’s not doing his job.”
Mr Peters said Mr Dunne should quit Parliament altogether. “This is deadly serious, and I want a proper response from the Prime Minister that suggests for the first time he understands how untoward the behaviour of Mr Dunne was – sufficient that he should go from Parliament as a clear signal on what was and is capable of being construed as a criminal act.”
The NZ First leader has called for a formal inquiry, saying it would reveal “all of the electronic record, which you are entitled to, against a minister who has offended seriously the
laws of this country.”
ABOVE: Peters on The Nation. See his Q+A interview here.
Mr Peters said the electronic record was "very, very clear”, showing “that a minister is leaking like a sieve” and concerns “far more than one leak from the GCSB on a classified document. There are other sets of information items from the GCSB which he leaked as well to the same journalist. One was to do with the very low morale of the GCSB, none of which would’ve been helped by leaking that sensitive report, again from the same minister to the same journalist.”
Asked why Mr Dunne had done what he did, Mr Peters said, “There’s no fool like an old fool.”
Door open to coalition
Asked about his relationship with John Key at the moment, Mr Peters attacked the government’s asset sales programme, saying New Zealand First “will not tolerate the assets built up by generations of this country being treated as some temporary cashbox.”
But he left the door open if National could “rein back that sort of behaviour and make themselves acceptable”.
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