Winston Peters evades questions on evidence

In a number of interviews Winston Peters has been asked what evidence he has about the Peter Dunne leaks. Peters usually gives vague answers, contradictory answers or simply ignores the question. He has been more evasive than Dunne.

Once exchange was very funny:

CORIN Have you got evidence to back that up?


CORIN What is it?

WINSTON Well, again, I never have pursued that path.

Admitting he has never fronted up with evidence?

Here are edited transcripts of three interviews with Peters over the last three days. I have deleted diversionary waffleand questions and answers not related to evidence.

Radio NZ Checkpoint (Friday).

Watson: Mr Dunne says he still denies leaking it, some of his actions unwise, but he is not the source of the leak.

Peters: I don’t believe that.

Watson: What did you know about this?

Peters: Well anyone that saw the electronic record would have to come to the same conclusion that I came to a long time ago, and this is the reason why I raised it.

Watson: The electronic record, did you see an electronic record of his emails?

Peters: I saw sufficient electronic records to know what I was talking about.

Watson: Where did you get them from?

Peters: Well that doesn’t matter really.

Watson: Well, it would be interesting to know though.

Peters: Ah, I’d never ask a journalist for their source because it’s a matter of professional integrity, you can’t disclose it otherwise you’ll never get any more information, and nor can I.

Watson: But is your electronic records that you have seen, do they give you more insight into what’s in those emails? Are the just a track of traffic, or have you got content?Peters: Well, without content they’d be worthless, wouldn’t they.

Watson: Well, have you got content that you’ll be showing to the police?

Peters: I don’t get up and make allegations that I haven’t properly investigated.

Watson: Have you given information to the police?

Peters: No, I haven’t had a chance to talk to them, I only lodged the complaint today.

Watson: But you will be giving information to the police?

Peters: No, I have made myself available to talk to them if they want me to talk to them then that’s fine by me.

Watson: But if they asked for information, if they asked for email content between Peter Dunne and this reporter, you have it and you could give it to them?

Peters: Well most certainly yes.

Watson: How much have you got? Of the 86 emails how much have you got?

Peters: Well enough to know that a serious issue had people who were not treating it properly, had mistreated the information they got, and that was affecting my country’s national interest. I as a former foreign minister I know how seriously our overseas…

Watson: But is your information, have you got information that proves absolutely that Peter Dunne leaked the report to that reporter…

Peters: Well let me tell you this, I made the allegation knowing that there was a day of inevitable consequence, that day has arrived. That’s all you need to know.


The only details were provided by Watson. Peters gave no specific answers – but by not answering and not disputing what was claimed he left the impression that he has seen emails.

TV3 The Nation (Saturday)

Rachel:   Good morning Mr Peters thank you for joining us this morning.   You’ve seen an electronic record of the emails, were they truly professional.

Winston No.

Rachel:  Why weren’t they?  What did you see that made  you…?

Winston:  That’s all history now, but the fact is any one that saw that electronic record and its content had to know that this day was inevitable…

Rachel:  What specifically was unprofessional?

Winston:  Well leaking when you are on the Intelligence and Security Committee is seriously not just unprofessional it is in some countries, in fact our country as well, potentially a criminal act.

Rachel:  Was there anything in those emails that was potentially personally embarrassing to Mr Dunne?

Winston:  Yes.

Rachel:  Can you expand on that?

Winston:  No, that’s immaterial….

Rachel:  Do you think that that is the reason why Mr Dunne didn’t make the emails, the unedited emails available because there was personally embarrassing information in them?

Winston:  Yes.

Rachel:  And yet someone has leaked this information to you.  So is that not a breach of national security as well.  Does that not make you something of a hypocrite?

Winston        Well you’ve gotta be joking if you think that someone acting improperly as a minister, that is threatening the national security issues with respect to other countries, and that information as to the leak is coming to a Member of Parliament is a national security issue, then you’ve got it all – I’m sure you haven’t personally – but it’s a perverse way of looking at things.   There’s no irony here you know.

Source: Video | Transcript

Once again no answers, and no information about evidence provided by Peters.

TVNZ Q + A (Sunday):

CORIN How did you know when you were at that select committee to raise those allegations?

WINSTON I had information that suggested I should check out three things to pursue the information I had in terms of its disclosure.

CORIN What is that information?

WINSTON Well, that he wasn’t being questioned on oath, he wasn’t being questioned with electronic record, and, in my view, there was most certainly- he wasn’t having checked his electronic records.

CORIN And where did you get that from? Have you seen the emails?

WINSTON Look, I’d like to tell you, but, frankly, how many informants would I get if I start disclosing who they are.

CORIN Okay, so you’re not going to tell us where you got it from, but can you describe to us the nature of what you have seen in terms of have you seen emails? The emails in question?

WINSTON Let me just tell you, because there’s much more and wider than you think. The electronic records are very, very clear. Mr Dunne’s denial is, frankly, futile in the extreme. Those denials are bound to fail, and they concern far more than one leak from the GCSB on a classified document. There are other sets of information items from the GCSB which he leaked as well to the same journalist.

CORIN Can you give us some details of what they are?

WINSTON Well, you know, here’s one – one was to do with the very low morale of the GCSB, none of which would’ve been helped by leaking that sensitive report, again from the same minister to the same journalist. There was one with respect to the appointment of the head of the GCSB, the new one, as well as the one that was seriously classified – the Kitteridge report – at all times. And there is more than that as well.

CORIN So that implies that you’ve seen the nature – you’ve seen the actual emails themselves?

WINSTON I don’t think it’s any help for you to try and ask me for how I got the information-

CORIN Because we need to know whether that’s- how valid that is.

WINSTON Valid? That’s why he’s gone.

CORIN But when-?

WINSTON I don’t know why you guys still doubt. When I said in the select committee that I wanted that information, if anyone doubted that I meant to get to the bottom of it, then they don’t know how important this information is.

CORIN But what we need to know- You’re saying that there are other leaks that have come from Mr Dunne to this journalist, but what we need to know – is that what is contained in those emails that he won’t release?

WINSTON Some of it, yes, but it most certainly leaves no doubt that it’s him.

CORIN So you’re saying these emails contain details about Ian Fletcher’s appointment?WINSTON Yes.

CORIN What did it say?

WINSTON Well, it says something that’s clear to you – that a minister is leaking like a sieve.

CORIN So can you just give us a sense of the nature of what you’ve seen and you’ve claimed to have seen in these emails? Is it.. how does it.. what does it show about the nature of the relationship between Andrea Vance and Peter Dunne? Do you think Peter Dunne was acting in an appropriate way?


CORIN In what way?

WINSTON Well, I don’t want to, you know, go down that path. It doesn’t-

CORIN Because Peter Dunne says he was absolutely professional, that this was simply just a case of a journalist talking to an MP. Are you saying that’s something different?

WINSTON Sadly, that statement is not true.

CORIN What evidence have you got to back that up?

WINSTON Sad for his staff as well, but, sadly, that statement’s not true.

CORIN Have you got evidence to back that up?


CORIN What is it?

WINSTON Well, again, I never have pursued that path.

WINSTON …I asked, ‘Was this evidence on oath? Was there electronic record?’ And to find that the answer is no to both those questions-
CORIN Okay, so you want John Key to do that?

WINSTON Well, because then you would see all of the electronic record, which you are entitled to, against a minister who has offended seriously the laws of this country, and second, who’s now arguing the privacy and the slippery slope down which we might go if his emails are disclosed. Those emails are about him breaching the security and the privacy of classified information.

CORIN Okay. Winston Peters, in the last couple of weeks, you seem to have found some renewed vigour and energy. I mean, you had a big speech on migrants. You’ve used parliamentary privilege to attack an opponent. What’s motivating you at the moment? Are you clearly positioning yourself now as the kingmaker for the next government?

WINSTON First of all, dislodge this idea of parliamentary privilege. I know what the journalists say, and let me tell you this – if I didn’t ask that in a privileged environment, they wouldn’t publish a thing.

CORIN Sure, okay. No, I accept that.

WINSTON …because they’re too scared of being sued. I’m not. They are.

Source: Q+A: Winston Peters interview video

In each interview details were put to him about evidence and he didn’t confirm (or deny) anything at all.

In parliament Peters was more specific. He said all the evidence was in the phone records. The Henry report had no phone evidence, so since that was released Peters has dropped any claims about phone records.

He now uses a more general term – “all of the electronic record“, and he refers to emails generally but provides no specific information about contents.

He has not provided any specific information, and he hasn’t directly confirmed anything.

This is typical Peters – he makes general accusations, allows the media to speculate for him, and then the media give him credit when something from within the vagueness proves to be true.

Radio NZ reported Pressure grows over spy report leak yesterday:

However, Mr Peters told Radio New Zealand News on Sunday he has information which proves Mr Dunne not only leaked the GCSB report before its scheduled release, but also other classified documents.

He said it’s the prime minister’s job to get his hands on the emails and reveal the truth and he wants Mr Key to launch a formal inquiry.

Mr Peters did not rule out releasing the information himself, but said it should come from Mr Key and not from someone outside the Government.

There is no transcript nor audio available so it cant be seen what Peters actually said. He seems to feed the media off air and then avoid answering on air.

I have seem no direct claim of having evidence form Peters. He allows the media to speculate and find evidence for him, he has asked the police to find evidence, and here he claims that the Prime Minister produce evidence.

This is all extremely dishonest of Peters.

He is a master of media manipulation. And they keep letting him get away with it, they don’t hold him to account or insist on substance to his claims, they do all the work for him, and then they give him credit for being right.

Leave a comment


  1. i watched the interviews and they were illuminating. I’m still getting my head around this. two questions remain
    1. is this Treason? that is someone is trying to bring down an elected sitting government.
    2. if the Report was not “classified under National Security” why was it used out loud?

  1. Peters: “I live and die by what I say on this matter” | Your NZ
  2. The fickle fictions of Winston Peters | Your NZ

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