Winston Peters' shifting story over pension overpayment

  • 28/08/2017

In the space of 24 hours, Winston Peters has told two different versions of what happened with his pension overpayment.  

Below is a transcription of an interview with Newshub's Lloyd Burr on Saturday at 5pm.

WP: "I know the circumstances, I know who the hell, who filled the form out I know all that stuff, but I don't know why on Earth you're making this enquiry."

LB: "Well, it's just that you're not giving me a straight-up answer, that's why I'm keeping on asking about it."

WP: "I'm giving you a straight-up answer. I don't know who the hell your informant is but he doesn't know what day it is."

LB: "So it's a no from you. That you haven't claimed more pension."

WP: "No, no, no, no. Nobody is going to call me up on this one of these sort of classic questions which is 'have you stopped beating your wife' type stuff. No one responds to that sort of stuff."

LB: "I'm not ask... I mean this is a bit different."

WP: "In this campaign I've been called this that everything else and I decided I am not going to answer respond to any of this sort of crap at all."

LB: "With respect Mr Peters, why are you getting so defensive about this?"

WP: "I've got nothing to say at all."

LB: "So you're not even going to deny it, you're not going to rule it out."

WP: "I'm not going to have any comment to make about people running around making malicious statements about Winston Peters."

LB: "It would be wrong of me if I didn't go to…"

WP: "I'm keeping straight on my job. I am not going to give you any answers at all."

LB: "Why not? If it didn't happen, why can't you just rule it out?"

WP: "Simply because I'm not going to respond to malicious statements which are not true. I'll say to you one more time real slow Lloyd, you're not going to get any response from me at all."

An about-face

At 7:04pm on Sunday, Mr Peters admitted that he had received a pension overpayment, in a statement saying: "A mistake that was fixed."

Below is Mr Peters' full statement released to media.

"Some media contacts have called to alert me about a possible story about superannuation.

"From what I can glean it is about the following:

"In early 2010 I applied for superannuation, in the company of my partner, and in the presence of a senior official at the Ministry of Social Development.

"In July of this year, I was astonished to receive a letter from the ministry to advise there was an error in my superannuation allowance and a request that I meet with them.

"I immediately contacted and met the area manager of MSD.

"It was unclear on both sides how the error had occurred leading to a small fortnightly overpayment.

"Suffice to say, we agreed there had been an error.

"Within 24 hours the error and overpayment had been corrected by me.

"I subsequently received a letter from the area manager thanking me for my prompt attention and confirming that the matter was concluded to the Ministry's satisfaction.

"I am grateful to the ministry for their courtesy and the professional and understanding way they handled this error.

"Like the ministry I believed the matter had been put to rest."