TODAY |

'That's for them' - Ardern distances herself from funding scandal enveloping NZ First


The Prime Minister today was peppered with questions over New Zealand First, but distanced herself as the funding scandal enveloping Labour's coalition partner continues.

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The funding scandal enveloping New Zealand First continues. Source: 1 NEWS

The question came after the lawyer for Winston Peters, Brian Henry, sent an email to National leader Simon Bridges and MP Nick Smith threatening legal action of up to $30 million if statements made in Parliament are repeated outside the House. 

"What any decision a private citizen chooses to make in relation to another political party, that's for them, just simply not for me," Jacinda Ardern said today from a police graduation. 

Winston Peters' lawyer threatens to sue Simon Bridges, Nick Smith for up to $30 million

Ms Ardern was asked if the standards of a Minister was being upheld. 

"Some of the statements that have been made in that regard ultimately still need to be determined by the Electoral Commission," she said. 

The Electoral Commission received a complaint this week about the New Zealand First Foundation and will be seeking further information.

She was asked if she had spoken to Mr Peters to gain assurances and answered, "again, the assurances ultimately need to come from the Electoral Commission". 

"It would simply not be appropriate for a politician to investigate another political party or politician in the same way that I did not involve myself in the Serious Fraud Office investigation that is currently underway with the National Party, it's not for me to involve myself in any investigation by the Electoral Commission."

Ms Ardern then said "of course I have had conversations with the deputy Prime Minister over the issues he is currently dealing with but they are best determined by the Electoral Commission". 

Despite Mr Peters being present at the police graduation, the pair did separate media conferences. 

"It's not my habit of doing joint press conferences," she said. 

When it was pointed out Police Minister Stuart Nash was standing behind her, she told media "he's the Minister of Police and you might have some questions".

"Joint press conferences between political party leaders," she clarified, "it was not even my understanding (Winston Peters) was doing one".