Anne Tolley told husband, sister about Winston Peters' superannuation overpayments

Former National Minister Anne Tolley says she told her husband and sister about Winston Peters' superannuation overpayments. 

Tolley and National MP Paula Bennett are today giving evidence about the leak of Peters' superannuation overpayments in the Auckland High Court. 

Tolley was Minister for Social Development and Bennett was Minister for State Services in 2017, when it was leaked to the media that Peters had been overpaid nearly $18,000 in superannuation between 2010 and 2017.

Tolley told the High Court in Auckland that she told her family despite her understanding it was a sensitive, private matter.

She told her sister during a trip to Queenstown. She says her sister made a flattering remark about Peters, and Tolley countered with information about the overpayments to "impart to her that he wasn't perfect".

Tolley also told the court she was disappointed to learn that senior members of her office had told other Ministerial staffers, despite her telling them in confidence. 

Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters is taking legal action against a cast of powerful political figures over the leak, including Bennett and State Services Commissioner Peter Hughes. 

Peters had filled out his superannuation application form wrong. He had indicated he was living alone when he was actually living with his partner of 17 years, Jan Trotman.

At the High Court yesterday, lawyers for Tolley and Bennett said that at the time of the leak, at least 29 MSD staffers knew about the overpayments, and Tolley had told her husband.

The High Court at Auckland yesterday heard from the woman who informed Peters of his overpayments. Meredith Nugent, an acting regional director for MSD, said, "his tone was indignant and offensive, and the clear undertone was: how dare we contact him about such a thing".

She said Peters, in 2017, did not appear to understand how superannuation worked: "Mr Peters indicated he didn't understand why he was entitled to less if he was in a relationship," she said.

Peters says his superannuation is a private matter and should not have been raised with ministers.

Tolley said she "has no knowledge of who did make the phone calls" to the media, which resulted in Peters' overpayments becoming public knowledge.