'No interest' - Winston Peters backtracks on photos taken of journalists investigating NZ First Foundation

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has fired back at allegations he had two journalists followed and photographed - saying the party has "no interest" in following them after previously claiming "we took the photograph".

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The agency is looking into the secretive foundation bankrolling New Zealand First. Source: 1 NEWS

In recent months, both RNZ reporter Guyon Espiner and Stuff reporter Matt Shand have been involved in investigative pieces looking into a scandal around political donations and the NZ First Foundation.

The Serious Fraud Office is now investigating those donations.

Today RNZ reported that Mr Peters had "claimed responsibility" for photographs taken of the two journalists with former NZ First president Lester Grey.

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Donations made to NZ First Foundation referred to Serious Fraud Office by police

The photos were published alongside an article criticising the reporting around the NZ First Foundation donations, according to RNZ.

During an interview with Magic Talk Radio this week, Mr Peters discussed the photographs.

When it was raised to him, he responded: "We took the photograph just to prove that that's the kind of behaviour going on."

But tonight, after the RNZ story was published online, Mr Peters distanced the party from the photographs.

"In response to media inquiries, I can confirm that NZF has no interest in following Guyon Espiner or any other journalists. In fact, the very reverse applies," he told 1 NEWS.

"No private investigators have been engaged to follow Mr Espiner or anyone else. 

"A supporter did think it odd when they saw ex-president Lester Grey with Mr Espiner so took a photo. Simple as that."

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Allegations around Deputy PM Winston Peters’ party came up last year. Source: 1 NEWS

After Mr Peters' initial comments were published, National's deputy leader Paula Bennett told 1 NEWS the news of the photographs was "chilling".

"This goes to the heart of our democracy and journalism in New Zealand," she said.

"It's chilling that Winston Peters has done this. Having a journalist followed and photographed at the request of the Deputy Prime Minister shows an appalling lack of trust and integrity. 

"Jacinda Ardern needs to hold her deputy to account."