Prime Minister John Key has revealed his office knew of internet mogul Kim Dotcom in July last year - but he maintains the information wasn't passed on to him.
In response to a written question from NZ First, Mr Key said a member of his staff received a phone call from the office of then-Associate Finance Minister Simon Power last July, to say Mr Power was declining an Overseas Investment Office application from Dotcom to buy his rented Coatesville mansion.
"This information was not conveyed to me as it was routine," Mr Key said in his written reply.
Mr Key has previously said he had never heard of Dotcom until January 19 this year - the day before Dotcom was arrested for alleged internet piracy in a joint raid by New Zealand police and the FBI.
NZ First leader Winston Peters says it is hard to believe Mr Key's claim that he did not need to know about Dotcom's application to buy the mansion - which sits in Mr Key's Helensville electorate - because it was "routine".
"Routine is about the last word you'd use when it comes to describing anything to do with Dotcom. Love him or hate him, he is a larger than life figure," Mr Peters said.
"And why would Mr Power relay the information to the prime minister's office if it wasn't for the consumption of the prime minister?"
Opposition parties are keeping the pressure on Mr Key over the issue, after he last month revealed the government spy agency had carried out illegal surveillance on Dotcom ahead of the raid.
It didn't know he was a New Zealand resident, and the Government Communications Security Bureau is forbidden by law to spy on citizens or residents.
Mr Key also admitted last week that the GCSB raised the topic of its surveillance of Dotcom in a February briefing, but he said he could not remember it.
He had previously said he was unaware of the spying until September.