Prime Minister John Key says he is paying for legal advice about his tugging of a waitress' hair out of his own pocket.
Mr Key told reporters this afternoon he was not worried about any legal action, and he only hired a lawyer because he might be required to answer questions in relation to a private prosecution taken against him.
He had hired the lawyer in his personal capacity and would be paying for the legal fees himself.
Former accountant and serial litigant Graham McCready has filed papers in the Auckland District Court, alleging that Mr Key assaulted waitress Amanda Bailey when he repeatedly pulled her ponytail in the Parnell café which she worked.
Ms Bailey, 26, is also considering separate legal action against the Prime Minister.
Mr Key would not comment on what he would do if Ms Bailey took him to court. He also refused to comment on other aspects of the case during his post-Cabinet press conference, saying the incident had been "well-traversed".
Ms Bailey will meet with Unite Union Tuesday to decide whether she will take her complaint of harassment against Mr Key any further.
The union said it was advising her on employment issues.
It is believed that Ms Bailey asked Mr McCready to drop his private prosecution in case she wanted to take legal action herself.
Mr McCready said the waitress approached him through her union last week.
"The union did say she might want to do it some time in the future, but she didn't want to do it now."
Mr McCready refused her request, saying "we don't take instructions from anybody".
In an anonymous post on the website The Daily Blog published two weeks ago, Ms Bailey said the Prime Minister had repeatedly tugged on her ponytail during regular visits to Rosie Café in Parnell, where she worked.
Mr Key continued to pull her hair despite her telling him to stop, and he later apologised by giving her two bottles of wine.
The Prime Minister told Radio New Zealand this morning that he misread the situation and regretted it, but rejected accusations of sexism and said he could have also done the same thing to a man.
"There is a bit of context there. And the context was a very good natured environment that we were in and it was very much a sort of thing in jest. So yes, technically it would have been possible."