Acting Prime Minister Winston Peters says he is not able to recall who invited him to a celebration for Deputy Commissioner Wally Haumaha last year.

This is despite telling Parliament last month he was invited to the event by "the Government of the day".

Speaking to reporters at Monday's post-Cabinet press conference, Peters was unable to recall where exactly his invitation to the event had come from.

Just a month earlier, he told Parliament a different story.

Advertisement

"It is true that I was invited to the marae to celebrate the appointment as an assistant commissioner of police of Wallace Haumaha by the then Government of the day," he told Parliament.

But documents, obtained under the Official Information Act reveal the event was organised by Waiteti Marae.

National Deputy Leader Paula Bennett, who was the Minister of Police at the time of the event in June last year, has no record of inviting Peters to the celebration.

"Mr Peters needs to explain why he went out of his way to tell Parliament that the previous National-led Government invited him to this event when this clearly wasn't the case," National's Police Spokesman Chris Bishop said.

When pressed about where his invitation came from on Monday, Peters was unable to say for sure.

"I was passing through Rotorua at the time and I can't recall accepting [the invitation.]"
He says he has been to "thousands" of these type of events over the last 50 years.

"In the Maori world, that would be as common as anything to be told, 'look there is a big thing down at the so called Marae – [for] your campaign that's the best place to be.

He said he just assumed he had been invited by somebody as he was greeted by senior members of the police when he arrived at the event.

"I can remember [Labour MP] Tamati Coffey sitting right in front of me. I was put right at the front in the seat where the speakers were, probably by accident."

Haumaha is at the centre of a Government inquiry – announced by Peters when he was Acting Prime Minister in July – over his suitability for the new role.
Mary Scholtens, QC, is heading the inquiry.