The Herald reports:
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters is emphatically denying he or any of his MPs sent covert photos of reporters investigating the NZ First Foundation to a Whale Oil-linked blog.
The photos, which emerged on BFD blog last week, showed Stuff and RNZ reporters – who have been looking into the mysterious NZ First Foundation – meeting with former NZ First President Lester Gray.
Peters’ denial today comes after Peters and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern have come under considerable pressure over the photos, which were leaked to the BFD blog last week.
Although Peters told media today he does not know who took the photos and who sent them to the blog, he confirmed this afternoon it was not any of his MPs.
“Let there be no doubt that after caucus today I can confirm no NZ First Minister or MP sent any photos to any website,” he tweeted before Question Time this afternoon.
The BFD will be pleased with all the publicity no doubt resulting in increased traffic to the blog.
As for Winston’s denial, it is ridiculously thin. All he has ruled out is that an MP personally e-mailed the photos. He has not ruled out that it was a ministerial staffer, a parliamentary staffer, a party staffer, a NZ First Board member etc etc.
Also knowing how Winston plays semantic games he might be arguing that no MP sent photos to a website, but they did send photos to a person.
Speaking to Magic Talk again today, Peters said he had “no idea” how the photos and the videos ended up on the blog.
“I’m a busy man, I’m flat out – I’m not wasting my time with this. I have no idea who did what or when.”
But senior NZ First MP and Minister Tracey Martin told media this morning she did know who took the photos – but wouldn’t say who.
I find it hard to believe that Tracey Martin could know who took the photos, and Winston doesn’t.