Winston Peters loses another legal battle over superannuation privacy breach

RNZ/Newsroom
The Detail looks at whether NZ First can stage a comeback, and if it does, whether the party could have any longevity without Winston Peters.

Former deputy prime minister Winston Peters has failed to get the highest court in the land to hear an appeal, over the leaking of a superannuation overpayment he received.

In 2017 it was revealed Peters had overpaid a pension for seven years, due to an error in which he failed to declare he’d lived with a partner. An anonymous tipster informed the media about the overpayment weeks out from the general election.

After losing a High Court case against a raft of Cabinet ministers and senior public servants – including former National Party ministers Paula Bennett and Anne Tolley, then-chief executive of the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) Brendan Boyle and Public Services Commissioner Peter Hughes – Peters appealed to the Court of Appeal but failed.

Now the Supreme Court has dismissed his application for leave to appeal and ordered him to pay $2,500 to the respondents.

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* Winston Peters ordered to pay $317k after failed superannuation legal action

In the recently released decision, Peters’ argument to the Supreme Court was that there were issues of general and public importance and a miscarriage of justice would occur if an appeal wasn’t heard.

Winston Peters with his lawyer Brian Henry (left) at the Court of Appeal in April.
ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff
Winston Peters with his lawyer Brian Henry (left) at the Court of Appeal in April.

He submitted that how his information had leaked from MSD to the media needed to be found.

The Supreme Court said even if Peters’ arguments were resolved in his favour, the result would not change.

Victoria Casey QC acted for the Government agencies.
ROBERT KITCHIN/Stuff
Victoria Casey QC acted for the Government agencies.

“That is because Mr Peters could not establish who made the disclosure to the press or even whether it was on official from MSD.”