Winston Peters called the Opposition's argument "utter poppycock" in the House over a text sent by anti-violence campaigner Richie Hardcore to the Prime Minister over the Karel Sroubek saga.
Today, Jacinda Ardern confirmed she did receive a text from Mr Hardcore following the initial decision to keep Karel Sroubek in New Zealand. That decision was later changed and Mr Sroubek is now liable for deportation after a review by Immigration NZ.
"I received an unsolicited text just acknowledging that this individual Richie Hardcore knew was the individual in question. That was essentially it. I didn't respond, I didn't engage. I had no involvement in this case," Ms Ardern told the NZ Herald.
She said they were friends but she did not respond to the message.
"Why isn't she... releasing the text? She's playing around on that. This is a serious matter," Mr Bridges said today.
When asked by Mr Bridges if the text would be released, Mr Peters, who was answering on her behalf, said due to the large amount of correspondence Ms Ardern receives it would not be in the public interest.
Mr Bridges asked Mr Peters to elaborate on her earlier comments about Mr Hardcore knowing Mr Sroubek.
"That means he expressed an opinion in a text supporting a decision that had been made prior to him sending the text," Mr Peters said.
"To construct that as to be some way enraged in persuading the decision maker is utter poppycock.
"No reply was sent back from the Prime Minister, to impute some sort of malicious, malignant engagement... shows what a bunch of Philadelphia lawyers they are."
Mr Bridges pushed to know why the message would not be released.
Mr Peters said it would a be a privacy issue.
In a statement, Mr Hardcore said: "I’ve known Jan (Karel Sroubek) for roughly 10 years through professional fighting. I text the Prime Minister only after the decision was made regarding his residency to commend their compassion. It was in line with my views on drug rehabilitation and the work I have done and continue to do around addiction, mental health and reintegration."