Key Points:

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has defended his party's decision to donate money it overspent at the last election to a victim of crime.

The Susan Couch and Crime Victims Charitable Trust, which was set up after the Panmure RSA murders in 2001, has received $78,000 from New Zealand First.

The funding is almost half of the $158,000 the party has donated to charities instead of reimbursing Parliament.

Mrs Couch was the sole survivor of the Mt Wellington killings which claimed three lives. She was beaten by William Bell and left for dead.

Mr Peters told a public meeting in west Auckland today that he made the donation public because Ms Couch was being hounded by a reporter.

He said National leader John Key might disapprove, but National changed the ACC laws in 1999 meaning Susan Couch did not get any compensation.

Mr Peters said New Zealand First helped bring back lump sum compensation payments, but Ms Couch was not eligible.

Mr Peters said Ms Couch was an extremely plucky woman who was left in a terrible plight through no fault of her own and the system had failed her.

In December, Mr Peters donated money to the Starship Foundation, which turned it down.

Six months later, it was given to a number of charities, but the $10,000 which went to the Cystic Fibrosis Association was returned.

- NEWSTALK ZB