National's deputy leader Paula Bennett has bristled at the suggestion she was behind the leaking of information about Winston Peters' super overpayments, citing her personal integrity and claiming any leak was against the party's own interest.
Speaking to Jack Tame on TVNZ 1's Breakfast today, Ms Bennett said although she was aware of Mr Peter's superannuation overpayments before it was reported in the media, she did not "tell a single soul" about it.
But as to who did leak the private superannuation history of the New Zealand First leader, Ms Bennett said she has "absolutely no idea" what current investigations will reveal.
"Why would we attack Winston Peters and give him oxygen on the very day that it's our campaign launch and we want it to be all about us?" Ms Bennett argued.
"I can tell you that I kept it extremely tight. In fact, so tight that only I knew.
"You're jumping, as Winston Peters is, to a really long bow. Our integrity and our role as ministers and holding confidential information is absolutely pivotal to out roles, it's something we're used to doing."
However, when referred to claimed past information leaks from her own office, Ms Bennett passionately denied she had acted unethically.
Citing when Ms Bennett revealed information about two beneficiaries who had criticised the National Party in 2009, Tame said: "So, with respect, you don't have a great track record when it comes to this private information."
Ms Bennett quickly replied: "Well you're not doing that with respect."
"Back in 2009 I certainly didn't go around anyone's back and leak information to reporters.
"I was in a debate with people and what I did was put out how much benefit they were getting which was public information anyway.
"So I'm not someone who sneaks around people's backs and does things like that, and I haven't done it in the past, and I'm certainly not doing it now."