Jenna Lynch: Who didn't know about Winston's superannuation overpayments?

OPINION: The list of those in the Beehive who knew about Winston Peters' superannuation overpayment is growing by the second.

It might be an easier task to compile a list of who didn't know.

With the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and Inland Revenue both reportedly conducting investigations into how the information got into the public domain, Bill English must now do the same with ministers and Beehive staff.

The first minister to find out was Social Development Minister Anne Tolley - told under the Government's 'no surprises' policy. The original line was that she was told on August 15 - a month after Mr Peters met with MSD to correct the overpayment and three days before Newshub received an anonymous tip about the matter.

Her office now says MSD CEO Brendan Boyle briefed her verbally on July 31 - two weeks earlier.

The information was then kicked up the chain - right to the top. The Prime Minister's most senior and trusted advisor, Chief of Staff Wayne Eagleson, was told by Ms Tolley on a 'no surprises' basis. At this point it is unclear when he was told, but a spokesperson for Mr English says he did not pass the information on to the Prime Minister.

Deputy PM Paula Bennett is also reported to have been briefed under 'no surprises' in her capacity as State Services Minister.

That is bizarre.

Judith Collins, the Minister for Revenue, wasn't made aware even though her department was involved. A statement from her office says there's no 'no surprises' policy in relation to individual taxpayers.  

"The tax secrecy provisions (section 81 of the Tax Administration Act), means that this is not a matter that the Minister would ever be informed of or briefed on in any way. She would never ask for or receive this kind of information," the statement said.

So why were others notified of a private personal finance matter?

If taxes are kept secret from ministers, benefits should be too.

Jenna Lynch is a Newshub political reporter.

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