Revealed: Winston Peters in $3k Indian donation controversy
Winston Peters is caught up in a donations controversy after his New Zealand First party took $3000 from the founder of the new immigrant-focused People's Party.
Newshub can reveal the money was taken after Mr Peters met with Indian businessman Roshan Nauhria over dinner at Auckland's India Gate restaurant in the days before the 2014 election.
The donation is politically embarrassing for Mr Peters because he has been attacking the People's Party as "race-based", and personally criticising its acting leader Mr Nauhria for trying to donate money to John Key's National Party.
Newshub has obtained a copy the $3000 cheque Mr Nauhria made out to NZ First.
Mr Nauhria says he handed the cheque to Mr Peters, who put it in his pocket - which Mr Peters refutes.
On Saturday, Mr Peters told TV3's The Nation that the People's Party was "a National Party front".
"The person that was the spokesperson and the temporary leader for that party just at a recent raffle for fundraising for the National Party offered $20,000 in a bid for the Prime Minister to have breakfast at his place. He got beaten by a bid of $27,000. This is a National Party front," Mr Peters said.
But Mr Nauria subsequently said he had given a donation to NZ First, accusing Mr Peters of hypocrisy.
Rohan Nauhria (Newshub)
Mr Nauhria recounted the sequence of events to Newshub, saying "I made, roughly in 2014, and I said it was India Gate, we had a function there it was arranged by Mahesh Bindra in connection with Giri Gupta and to arrange it. Giri Gupta first approached me for the donation, he wanted $5000 and I said 'no I'll give $3000' and I gave $3000".
Asked about Mr Nauhria's donation, Mr Peters initial response was to say: "Okay well, if that's the case he'll show you a receipt won't he? Has he shown you the receipt? The number one thing you need to do is show me the evidence not just come along and repeat an allegation and think you are going to slide past it like that - that won't do."
Mr Peters refuted Mr Nauhria's claim he took the cheque personally, saying: "That's not true, I don't take cheques and put them in my pocket".
"I have a distinct memory of that function where it was almost what was on the menu," Mr Peters said.
However, Mr Peters did not deny a donation was given, saying: "he may have given it to somebody else at the meeting and I have been to the restaurant, that's true, and a group of Indian people wanted to talk to me, that's a fact, but as for anything else - that would be in the knowledge of someone else but not me."