The name of the Whangārei school that Act leader David Seymour claims made a child speak of their "white privilege" has emerged - and it's absolute news to the principal.
The claim has filled talkback radio and served as a platform for Seymour to decry what he claims is a race-based approach by the Labour government.
Seymour has told the Advocate the school where the incident took place was not a primary school - as originally reported and as he has tweeted - but was Whangārei Girls' High School.
"I'd love him to be able to put the facts to that," said Girls' High principal Anne Cooper. "I've certainly had no complaints about it."
She has heard nothing that sounds at all similar to Seymour's claim a child "was asked what they had done to acknowledge their white privilege that day".
Cooper said the Girls' High school community was one that strives for open dialogue, yet the claimed incident had not been raised by deans, teachers, students or their parents.
"Kids talk and we encourage kids to talk. Parents are very good at coming forward. I'd certainly like to know if it is the case."
Pat Newman, Hora Hora Primary School principal and president of the Te Tai Tokerau Principals' Association, said the initial allegation it was a primary school had fellow principals looking at each other and finding no answers.
Told that Seymour had now identified a secondary school as the alleged source of the story, Newman points to the difference in public perception of a child of, for example, seven years and a student 10 years old discussing racism.
"I think he's finding what he thinks is a niche and he's targeting it to get votes. I'm absolutely sad and appalled that a political leader would use children in his political argument."
Newman said he had noted the timing of Seymour's "white privilege" story and National Party leader Judith Collins' leadership rating collapsing in the Newshub Reid Research poll in May. It was a fall some linked to her claims the government was introducing "racist separatism" to deal with social issues affecting Maori.
In the wake of the poll - released on May 16 - Collins spoke less on the issue as Seymour began speaking louder after raising the claim of the child forced to "acknowledge white privilege" at school.
"The coincidence is too close not to be true," says Newman. "Judith Collins' poll numbers collapsed and David Seymour picked up the baton."
The "white privilege" claim first emerged in a NZ Herald report published that same day - May 16 (and online the evening before). In the interview, Seymour referred to a "school". He told the Advocate "misreporting" was responsible for it appearing as a "primary school".
But that same day Seymour tweeted the story, saying: "Primary school kids are being forced to stand up in class and say what they'd done to acknowledge their 'white privilege'."
In subsequent interviews, the "primary school" claim was repeated in questions to Seymour, which he did not correct. Instead, he expanded his attacks on the government, insisting "white privilege" was being taught in classrooms.
In an interview with the Advocate, Seymour said the incident "definitely happened". He said he had checked with his source since making the claim and did so again before speaking to the Advocate.
"If they want to say it didn't (happen), that's fine. But we're pretty sure it did."
Seymour said he had not spoken to the student himself and did not know what subject was being taught at the time the supposed incident took place.
"I suspect it was probably some enthusiastic graduate on a mission to put the world to rights. It may not have had an official sanction."
Seymour said he did not accept "white privilege" existed, although "it would be true as a statistical artefact" that people with white skin enjoyed better outcomes than people of colour. He said people who were taller also enjoyed advantages.
Seymour has previously said "white privilege" was a "core part of a new education programme being used across the country". When Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said it was not "used anywhere in the New Zealand education curriculum", Seymour sent a press release saying: "That's incorrect."
He told the Advocate he accepted "white privilege" wasn't part of the national curriculum. Instead, Seymour pointed to a press release that offered two documents in which the term did occur, saying it was evidence of wider government moves to target racial differences to find solutions to social issues instead of focusing on specific issues.
One document was a Ministry pilot project called Te Hurihanganui that aims to "support communities to work together to address racism and inequity". While it does refer to "white privilege" in one part, the pilot programme is not classroom-focused and incorporates the wider community.
The other was a pilot programme called "Challenging Racism" for Year 9 and 10 children produced by a company called School Kit with Ministry funding. A spokeswoman for the Ministry said it was funded after requests from secondary schools and was voluntary.
Enough kits were produced for 1250 classrooms with 606 classrooms requested so far, she said. Even then, "white privilege was not a phrase put before students.
"Classroom materials do not reference white privilege."