Wealthy friends of the Foreign Minister Winston Peters were invited to go to Antarctica partly in the hope they may donate private money to the redevelopment of Scott Base, the New Zealand First leader says.
The Deputy Prime Minister was reacting to revelations that two women closely linked to one of the richest families in South East Asia were granted prized spots to the ice on his direction.
Emails show Antarctica New Zealand pushed back against the move worrying it could derail Antarctic science - but Mr Peters says he was actually trying to help the government agency raise money.
But the Prime Minister won't say whether his behaviour was appropriate and the women who took the trip say they were never asked for money.
Guyon Espiner broke the story this morning and filed this report.