National Party leader Don Brash today admitted he knew the Exclusive Brethren were going to distribute anti-Labour leaflets.
"I knew they were going to issue some pamphlets attacking the Government and I said that's tremendous I'm delighted about that because the Government's lousy and should be changed."
Talking to Noelle McCarthy on 95bFM Breakfast today Dr Brash said he met members of the church within the last month when they told him they were fed-up with the Government.
"They indicated they were going to campaign against the Government...they were going to issue some pamphlets."
Dr Brash said he was not involved with the contents of the pamphlets.
"...I did not read those pamphlets and I had absolutely no part in reading them, writing them, funding them or distributing them," he said.
National deputy leader Gerry Brownlee said yesterday that the party was unaware of the plan.
"We were not aware that they were coming out, have had nothing to do with it," Mr Brownlee said.
Dr Brash said church members had also put up National billboards and reportedly had delivered National pamphlets along with their own in Christchurch.
"I was not aware they were distributing for the National Party and their own pamphlets together but people from all kinds of backgrounds help the National Party all over the country. There are Catholics and Presbyterians and agnostics and atheists and all kinds of people helping us."
Negative pamphlets about the Greens had also been distributed, he said.
"Labour and the Greens have been trying to portray this as a National Party plot and it is a lie."
Labour and the Greens have attacked National over the pamphlets and continued to do so after the church members came forward yesterday admitting their involvement.
Originally it was unclear who was behind them.
Seven members of the group owned up to the pamphlets yesterday, saying they were friends and businessmen who happened to be members of the church.
One of the group, Neville Simmons, said they had spent $500,000 on the campaign. More pamphlets would be circulated.
And inquiries last night suggest that members of the ultra-conservative group, traditionally apolitical, have been involved in a concerted drive to offer their services to MPs in the past few months, especially National ones.
They have been regular visitors to Parliament.
The disclosure of the meetings has given Labour fresh material for further allegations of covert agendas.
- NZPA and NZ HERALD