Labour's high flying new Napier MP Stuart Nash says an email which has emerged linking him to controversial Dirty Politics figure Simon Lusk, and a bid to start a new political party, did not force him out of the Labour leadership race.
The email obtained by 3News was to Mr Nash from his campaign manager Rob Johnson about 18 months ago in which he says: "You had two friends of yours commission a report from Simon Lusk to the tune of 10 grand as to whether you could gain more influence by establishing your own political party in competition with Labour, or whether you should just essentially buy-off your colleagues".
Mr Johnson warned Mr Nash that working with "enemy strategist" Mr Lusk ? who was alleged in Nicky Hager's book to be involved in a campaign to promote far right candidates within the National Party - "showed a lack of strategy, naiveté and poor judgment".
"If Lusk's involvement gets back to certain members of Labour Caucus, or NZ Council then your entire campaign and career could be torpedoed," Mr Johnson warned, adding that "Lusk now has leverage over you ? for several reasons ? indefinitely".
Mr Nash last night confirmed to the Herald the email was genuine, however Mr Johnson who continued on as his campaign manager, had incomplete information when he wrote the email.
He said he had been approached by his friend, Wellington property investor Troy Bowker and another man "Ned" who he refused to identify, about starting a new political party, but turned them down.
He said the pair nevertheless commissioned the report from Mr Lusk who eventually told them their plan was infeasible.
Mr Nash said Acting Labour Leader David Parker had obtained a copy of the email and rang him about on Sunday, the same day he decided to pull out of Labour's leadership race, but it wasn't a factor.
"In fact I'd made the decision earlier and this email had absolutely no bearing at all."
In a statement to 3News, Mr Lusk said Mr Nash "has not paid me".