NZ First leader Winston Peters used parliamentary privilege to unleash "dirty politics" allegations at people in National and Act, who he claimed were behind the leak of his superannuation details in the lead-up to the 2017 election.
But the six people targeted by Peters have all poured scorn on the allegations, and Peters refused to oblige when he was challenged to repeat his comments yesterday without the protection of parliamentary privilege.
Peters was then accused of trying to distract from headlines about whether he had improperly arranged for two people to travel to Antarctica on the taxpayer dime - a claim Peters has rubbished.
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The Deputy Prime Minister spoke in the House during the general debate yesterday, alleging former National press secretary Rachel Morton was behind the leak which led to a political hit job orchestrated by National and Act.
He claimed Morton heard about the details of his case because she was in the ministerial office when former minister Anne Tolley told Paula Bennett.
Peters claimed Morton then told Act leader David Seymour, who she was in a relationship with, and Seymour told Taxpayer Union director Jordan Williams who passed it on to John Bishop, the father of National and Hutt-South MP Chris Bishop.
Peters alleged the information was then passed to Newsroom editor Tim Murphy and blogger David Farrar.
"It was an Act-inspired hit job to damage me politically in collaboration with a National Party staffer, Rachel Morton, who was the source of the leak and the source of Jordan Williams weaponising the information during the election campaign," Peters told the House.
"Every last one of them - Morton, Seymour, Williams, Bishop, Murphy, Farrar - played dirty politics to breach my inalienable right, and the inalienable right of every New Zealander, to privacy."
Peters said that Seymour couldn't claim the limelight as it could expose Morton as the alleged source.
"The collusion between the National Party, Act and these grubby figures in and around politics is what turns people off politics. The characters in this story of my super leak view dirty politics as their religion - it's the worship of jackals by jackasses."
Chris Bishop spoke in the debate after Peters and said the NZ First leader was "fabricating things, alleging things without foundation".
"Will Mr Peters repeat those statements outside this chamber ... and mention all the names - my Dad, David Seymour and Rachel Morton? My bet is he won't.
"We all know why it's happened - because of the Antarctica NZ story that broke this morning on RNZ. Forty years he's been doing this, and he'll continue to do this as long as he's in this Parliament."
Seymour, given a National Party speaking slot, then told the House that Peters' accusation was "categorically untrue" and described it as a "disgraceful, sleazy, innuendo-fuelled speech."
He was later ejected for calling Peters a liar, and then had to return to the House to withdraw and apologise.
Morton, Farrar, Murphy and Williams all dismissed Peters' comments, with Williams saying they were "pure fantasy".
Under the Parliamentary Privilege Act, politicians are not liable for anything they say in the House, and Peters wouldn't oblige when asked to repeat his claims outside the chamber.
"No no, you heard my general debate speech," he told reporters.
Asked again about what he said in the House, Peters told reporters "not to be repetitively stupid".
Seymour told reporters outside the House that Morton did not give him information and he did not pass on any information.
"The reason this accusation is being made is we were in a personal relationship – he's abusing that fact and I think that's a new low for New Zealand politics."
Seymour said Peters was struggling in the polls.
"[He's] finished and is now trying to drag other people down with him ... Winston Peters is a desperate man making it up and, in this case, telling lies."
Last week the High Court ordered Peters to pay nearly $320,000 in costs after his failed court action over the leak of details of his superannuation payments.
In April the court found that Peters' privacy had been deliberately breached to cause him harm, but his case fell short because he couldn't prove who had leaked the information.
Peters, 75, had asked for damages against former government ministers Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley, State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes, the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and its former chief executive Brendan Boyle.
Peters had been wrongly paid the single person's pension for seven years despite being in a long-term relationship, but later repaid the $18,000 difference.
The details were made their way to journalists in August 2017, a month before the general election.