Sam Uffindell has dodged questions about whether any National Party MPs were aware of his violent past.
It comes after it was revealed National's newest MP was asked to leave a prestigious Auckland private school more than 20 years ago after a violent nighttime attack on a younger student.
Details of the attack emerged on Monday afternoon after Uffindell's victim came forward.
The victim said the National MP had contacted him last year to make amends. He'd accepted that apology until he saw Uffindell was running for Parliament and felt the apology wasn't genuine.
The victim was only 13 when the attack happened and it involved Uffindell and three other teens at King's College.
Speaking with AM on Tuesday, Uffindell said the attack was the "stupidest and dumbest thing" he's ever done and he's incredibly remorseful.
Uffindell said he informed the National Party's pre-selection committee about the attack before he was selected as a candidate and went on to win the Tauranga by-election.
But he wouldn't reveal whether any other National MPs were aware of his violent past.
When asked whether leader Christopher Luxon was aware of the assault, Uffindell said he wasn't aware.
"I'm not aware that he did," he said.
When asked which National MPs were aware of the assault before he stood for Tauranga, Uffindell said it was a matter for the Party to disclose.
"Look I'm not going to disclose who was on the pre-selection committee, that's a matter for the Party if they want to do that," he said.
"There may have been other MPs that did if they were on that pre-selection committee."
However, he did reveal Luxon was not on the pre-selection committee
Uffindell, who has called for harsher punishments for youth offenders, was also asked whether being asked to leave the school was sufficient punishment for the assault.
"I made a significant mistake, I did something that was really bad and the school held me accountable for it," he said.
"Did they though," AM co-host Melissa Chan-Green interjected. "Do you feel your punishment which was to leave school was sufficient?" she asked.
"I thought it was sufficient, I thought the school did the right thing," he said.
On Tuesday morning, National Deputy leader Nicola Willis said she and Luxon were only made aware of the attack yesterday afternoon.
Willis told RNZ her thoughts were with the victim.
In a statement on Monday, Uffindell said the assault was "one of the stupidest things I've ever done and something I deeply regret".
"I've worked hard to be a better person than I was as a teenager and to be a good role model to my children," he continued.
It was only last week in his maiden speech that Uffindell highlighted the need to address violence.
"Our region is beset by gang issues and, unfortunately, like the rest of New Zealand, a growing culture of lawlessness, lack of accountability, a sense of impunity, and significant underlying generational social problems," he said.
"We need friends, family, and, in particular, parents, to step up and show what is right."
In a statement to Newshub, the National Party said it "was proactively informed about this incident" by Uffindell during the selection process.
"It was a significant event reflecting a serious error of judgement by a then 16-year-old for which he has apologised and regrets to this day."
National has had several issues with its selection process in recent years, prompting a review of how wannabe MPs are vetted.
Where else to find help and support:
- Shine (domestic violence) - 0508 744 633
- Women's Refuge - 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)
- Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
- What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)
- Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
- Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email firstname.lastname@example.org or online chat
- Samaritans - 0800 726 666
- Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
- Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
- Shakti Community Council - 0800 742 584