Simon Bridges' expenses leaker sends anonymous text pleading for end to inquiry

  • 24/08/2018

A person claiming to be behind the leaking of Simon Bridges' expense data has come forward pleading for the inquiry by Speaker Trevor Mallard to be called off.

Newshub can verify that both the Opposition leader and Mr Mallard were sent an anonymous text message last week asking not to be exposed.

The leak to Newshub's political editor Tova O'Brien showed Mr Bridges had spent far more money on travel and accommodation in the past three months than MPs usually manage to chew through.

Travel and accommodation topped $113,973, and most of that - $83,693 - was spent on travelling the country by road.

In the anonymous text, the leaker said they had released the information because Mr Bridges was "arrogant" and they disliked his leadership.

They also claimed they had previously suffered from mental health issues and the investigation could imperil their life.

The texts contain confidential information that points to the leaker being a National MP.

Mr Bridges has repeatedly said he is confident a National MP isn't behind the leak, although he believes every National MP had access to the information.

Mr Bridges will hold a press conference at 9:30am this morning to address the leaks.

He told The AM Show on Monday he still has no idea who gave the documents to Newshub - but suggested the leak came from "a Government that has been trying to distract".

"It's in the hands now of Trevor Mallard, so I suppose we'll see where he takes it and how it goes. I wouldn't overplay it in as much the figures were always going to come out, so in a sense, kind of, who cares?

"The other side of it is though, look, I think it is important for Members of Parliament to have a confidence about what happens with this sort of stuff, and so I hope we get to the bottom of it."

Appearing on The AM Show on Friday, National MP Judith Collins said there had been a "development" and Mr Bridges would release more information shortly.

"It's a matter that Simon's taken very seriously, as we all have, and we would like to find out what's going on. He's going to be updating everyone today," she told host Duncan Garner.

Ms Collins says if it turns out a National MP was behind the leak, she would be "extremely disappointed" and wouldn't rule in or out expulsion from caucus.

"I might know the person, but I don't know who it is. I do not know who this person is," she says.

"We want to get back to our business… of holding the Government to account, rather than talk about ourselves."

Mr Bridges and Mr Mallard have been contacted for comment.