The National Party has a leak, and it's sharing the party's secret poll results with one of its foes, Winston Peters. Or so Peters says.
The Nats are denying the leak, with party president Peter Goodfellow calling Peters' claims rubbish.
During a break at his party conference in Auckland yesterday the NZ First leader told the Herald on Sunday he had inside knowledge of National's private polling, indicating that while John Key and his party may be doing well in public polls, behind the scenes there was some scepticism about the results.
Goodfellow responded with a blunt: "This is the type of rubbish we'd expect from Winston. None of it's true. It's all part of his on-going campaign to make himself relevant."
In the NZ Herald's Digipoll survey released yesterday, voters were asked their preferred party if an election were held tomorrow.
NZ First received just 0.9 per cent, compared with National's 52.3 per cent.
But Peters said that NZ First routinely fared much better in elections than in political polling, and he did not believe the poll.
Asked whether he did polling himself he said, "Yes, I do. I have access to the internal polling of the National Party as well and they don't believe their polls - that's why they're going into these sordid little deals."
National is fielding Paul Goldsmith in the Epsom electorate. Some believe this leaves the way clear for Act candidate and former Auckland mayor John Banks to win.
When asked who in National was sharing information, Peters laughed and said, "Do you think I'm going to tell you? There are some people in the National Party who still love Winston Peters. And more and more I understand why."
Since his party failed to gain a seat in the last election, Peters returned to law, enjoyed fishing, doing up old boats, riding and training horses as well as attending meetings aimed at maintaining party support.
About 300 of his faithful followers attended the annual conference and a greater number were expected today to hear the leader's speech.
Most delegates were aged over 60 but the party known for attracting the older voter could also be fielding one of this year's youngest candidates if 21-year-old Curwen Rolinson, leader of the party's youth section, gets the nod.
Rolinson is understood to be seeking the nomination to go up against Banks in Epsom.