One of the "top donors" named in Nicky Hager's The Hollow Men yesterday refused to answer questions about whether he gave money to the National Party under Don Brash.
Former Telecom chairman Peter Shirtcliffe, who lives in Wellington and was a prominent campaigner against introduction of the MMP election system, said whether he gave money to National was "my business".
"That is a totally personal and inappropriate question," he said.
Mr Shirtcliffe said he had not read the book because he had been in hospital but had heard about it.
Former Labour Party minister and now professional historian Michael Bassett features in the book as an adviser to Dr Brash, and yesterday was scathing about its author.
"Nicky Hager, in my view, is incapable of damaging any decent person's reputation," Dr Bassett said on National Radio. He said he had the original emails between himself and Dr Brash, which Hager had obtained and used in his book.
"I've got clear evidence he has suppressed some emails which don't help prove his points," Dr Bassett said. "He sees Brash, business, the National Party, as illegitimate.
"The conclusion I'm beginning to arrive at is I think he is like David Irving, the Holocaust denier, only of course Nicky is from the extreme, anarchist left."
Dr Bassett said he had been checking information about himself in the book.
Asked whether he would consider legal action, he replied: "Why would I bother with that little creep?"
Political party funding rules require donations of more than $10,000 to be recorded in a public register. Anonymous donations are allowed, provided identities are not known to the party receiving the funds.
National has received only one donation of more than $1 million since 1996 - from the Auckland-based Waitemata Trust, which gave $1.25 million last year. It is not known who is behind the Waitemata Trust.
Of the $1.88 million in donations National declared last year, $1.74 million was channelled anonymously - though legally - through trust funds.