When Todd Muller took over as leader of the National Party, his staff couldn't access the secure safe in the Leader of the Opposition's office.
Muller's office has confirmed to the Herald that they turned to a safe cracker to bust it open.
It has now emerged that cracking open the safe - and replacing it with an undamaged safe - was unnecessary because Muller's office had the combination all along.
Former leader Simon Bridges' chief of staff Jamie Gray has told the Herald he provided the codes to a staff member in Muller's office and provided evidence to prove it.
The events played out in the week Muller took over as National Party leader, which began with a train wreck press conference in which deputy leader Nikki Kaye intercepted a question for Muller on diversity in National's front bench.
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Kaye wrongly asserted finance spokesman Paul Goldsmith was Māori when he is not.
There was also fuss over Muller's Make America Great Again cap, which he first said he would keep as a souvenir in the new leader's office and then decided he would not.
But it has now emerged his arrival was even rockier than it appeared at the time.
Muller's office confirmed to the Herald that it was provided sensitive papers in his role as Leader of the Opposition which had to be held in a secure location.
The Herald understands the material to have been information delivered by the NZ Security Intelligence Service for an upcoming Intelligence and Security Committee meeting.
When it came to finding a secure location, the safe in the office of the Leader of the Opposition was the initial, obvious option.
The problem - they did not know how to get into it.
The Herald contacted Muller to ask about issues with accessing the safe. He said: "I'm not visible to details like that."
Told the chain of events and asked if they were familiar, he said: "That wouldn't particularly surprise me that it's not familiar to me." Muller then said he needed to go to take another call.
Since then, Muller's chief media adviser Janet Wilson has confirmed the chain of events.
She said: "The old safe in the leader's office couldn't be opened on the day we received the official papers so they were placed in the Whip's office safe."
Wilson confirmed Parliamentary Services arranged for someone to completely remove the free-standing safe and ship it off-site, where it was physically cracked open.
Wilson said the safe was the property of Parliamentary Services. She said Muller's office never made contact with Gray because "that was the responsibility of Parliamentary Services".
The Herald understands the safe was almost empty, having been cleared out when Bridges' tenure came to an end.
Wilson said Parliamentary Services then replaced the Leader's safe with a different safe - "not a new safe. Another safe".
Gray rejected any suggestion Muller's office did not have the codes to the safe. He said he had personally provided the codes to an individual working in Muller's office.
He said he had been asked for the codes on May 28 - during Muller's first full week in the job - and provided the codes the following day.
"I reject any claim that I withheld the codes to the safe in the leader's office."
Gray provided the Herald with evidence showing he had been asked for, and complied with, a request for the combination by an unnamed staff member in Muller's officer.
The evidence included screenshots - redacted for privacy - showing he had transferred a file to the staff member titled: "Safe - see notes for instructions." Gray helpfully added the safe was "sensitive" and "sometimes takes me a couple of goes".
Bridges was asked if he was aware of an issue with his safe after moving out of the leader's office. He said he was not.