On Thursday, private investigator Wayne Idour was still denying he’d been hired by the sect to tail Clark and her husband as part of the group’s campaign to unseat the Labour government.
But on Friday he told New Zealand’s TV3 that he and a colleague had in fact worked for the Exclusive Brethren to uncover information on any illegal activities committed by Labour. That included Clark and her husband Peter Davis, he said.
“A lot of this information is not yet public. I don’t want to go into it, but we do know a lot,” Idour said.
“It relates to the prime minister and some of the information relates to her husband.”
Idour described some of the things he’d found out as alarming.
“A lot of information I’ve been uncovering about the government is very dishonest,” he said.
“And if the public knew, and they have a right to know, my view is … there would be a by-election (sic) tomorrow.”
Idour, who would not give specific examples, said he had been subcontracted by a colleague, who he now understood had been hired by a member of the Exclusive Brethren.
He said the pair snooped on Labour MPs. The information had then been passed to sect members, who decided on how to reveal it to the media.
But he also claimed to have reliable information that Labour supporters had hired their own private eyes to tail National leader Don Brash and to go through his rubbish and that of his finance spokesman John Key.
Personality politics reached new lows in New Zealand this week, with Clark saying she’d been told the Exclusive Brethren religious sect had hired a private detective to follow the couple in an effort to dig up personal dirt.
She also linked the sect to false rumours being spread about the sexuality of her husband.
Clark has been forced to defend Davis against claims he’s gay, after some media outlets published a photo of him being hugged and apparently kissed by the couple’s close friend Ian Scott.
The picture was not new and was taken out of context from election night coverage.
Clark has also blamed the main opposition National Party and its supporters for spreading the false rumours, saying an “extreme right-wing rhetoric” had evolved under Brash’s leadership.
The prime minister has denied the Labour Party had ever hired a private detective to dig dirt on its opponents.
“It’s a complete concoction and fiction by a man who yesterday would not tell the truth about his activities to three media organisations and had been caught out,” she told NZPA.
She also did not believe Labour Party members or supporters would have informally pursued such actions.
“I’d be amazed, surprised. I just don’t believe it.”
She said the tactics of the sect were reprehensible.
“The Brethren stand condemned for this activity and frankly if the National Party does not now renounce any support either now or in the future from the Brethren then its credibility goes down the gurgler with them,” she said.
Clark said she was not particularly concerned about what information sect members might hold, as the information they had produced so far – namely false rumours about her husband – was so weak.
“If that’s the quality of their information then there would be very little to be worried about.”
National’s deputy leader Gerry Brownlee has denied his party had anything to do with the Brethren’s actions.
“It’s absolutely deplorable. There is no place for this in New Zealand politics,” he told NZPA.
Brownlee said Key had caught someone looking through his rubbish during the election campaign, but the party believed at the time it was probably someone looking for details of National’s closely held tax policy.
Idour said he was unaware of any National Party link to the Brethren hiring detectives.
But he said he had good information that someone in the Labour Party had hired an investigator to look at Brash and Key for several months.
They had also tailed Brethren members to find out where they went and who they met.
Idour said he had not spoken directly to the detectives, but knew the firm involved.
Another detective had also told him he was approached to do the job and had turned it down.
“This thing has got very dirty,” he said.
The Exclusive Brethren has denied hiring detectives to follow Clark or her husband, but seem committed to working to unseat Labour.
The sect waged a campaign worth more than $NZ500,000 ($A437,600) attacking Labour in the lead-up to last year’s election and correspondence with the Chief Electoral Officer, released under the Official Information Act, shows they wanted to spend $NZ1.2 million ($A1.05 million) in support of National.
But they were told they if they did, that would be counted in National’s spending.
Since the election Exclusive Brethren members have been frequent visitors to parliament, watching from the public gallery on most sitting days.