Former deputy prime minister Winston Peters has attacked a new book on the National Party's recent turmoil, saying it is factually inaccurate.
The book suggests that it was the decision of Labour leader Jacinda Ardern to offer Peters the role of deputy prime minister at the eleventh hour that clinched coalition negotiations in 2017.
Peters issued a statement attacking Blue Blood and its author, Andrea Vance and saying that the role of deputy prime minister was decided early in negotiations.
"The comical absurdity of Vance's 'work' in suggesting that Jacinda Ardern offered me the deputy prime ministership in the 11th hour of negotiations to clinch the deal is something not one National Party MP believes. Why?
"Because they have a record of day one in negotiations as we do, and as Labour does, in their case. The deputy prime ministership was decided on day one of negotiations, as it was in 1996, or in terms of foreign affairs, on day one of the 2002 negotiations with Helen Clark and her team," Peters said.
Vance said she stood by her sources and her reporting.
When contacted by the Herald, Peters would not divulge the "record" he had that the deputy prime minister role was decided early in negotiations.
A source on the National side told the Herald it was always assumed Peters would be offered the deputy prime minister role, but discussions about positions were not held until the leader-to-leader talks later in the process.
Peters said as far as he could remember, he did not have any one-on-one talks with English and Ardern.
"I never met personally leader-to-leader without my team to the best of my memory," Peters said.
However, on October 17 the NZ Herald saw both English and Ardern entering the negotiation room alone for secret talks - English later confirmed they were one-on-one talks with Peters.
Peters said talks at the late stage were not about portfolios.
"The reality was we were talking to talking to both of them at the last moment. It's all itemised stuff. I can't give it over like that. We were seriously experienced going into negotiations," Peters said.
The book is not really about Peters at all, but the National Party's years strife in opposition.
Vance obtained a copy of the National Party's tightly held election review, which had not previously been leaked.
"The genesis of the many issues faced by the party in the last term stem fundamentally from poor leadership and resulting bad culture and actions by bad actors which were often not called out early," the review said.
The review said that "resentment … pervaded [National's] approach to opposition".