Winston Peters returned to court today in his long-running battle to hold someone accountable for leaking details of his superannuation overpayments.
It comes after the media was tipped off about the payments just before the 2017 election.
The former deputy PM's lawyer, Brian Henry, argued the Ministry of Social Development weaponised information it held on Peters, likening it to “someone having a tiger in their midst and if that tiger gets released, they know it will cause damage”.
He added that the Ministry had got the privacy breach ball rolling by telling ministers Peters’ name.
“The privacy of Mr Peters was utterly breached by disclosure to the ministers, not necessary, not required. The minister can do nothing and they're political opponents,” Henry said.
However, those hearing the case were unable to follow Henry’s argument accusing just one ministry of breaching his privacy when multiple agencies were aware, including the State Services Commission.
"But the proposition that you're saying that it went to the SSC and there was no breach in them getting it, that doesn't mean to say that logically, it's impossible for someone in there to have been the leaker,” Justice French said.
“In fact, there are four government departments that seem to have had this information,” another justice added.
Henry admitted they will never know where the leak really came from.
“We have somewhere, a breach that follows whatever chain. We cannot ever hope to prove where it got into that journalist’s hands,” he said.
Peters has accused multiple people - without proof - of being the culprit including the Ministry for Social Development and the ACT Party in collaboration with a National Party staffer.