The Prime Minister says the public may pick up the tab for legal bills relating to the defamation suit threatened by ACC Minister Judith Collins.
Ms Collins has accused Labour MPs Andrew Little and Trevor Mallard, as well as Radio New Zealand of defaming her over the leaking of the name of ACC claimant Bronwyn Pullar to the media.
Ms Collins is adamant the leak did not come from her office.
John Key told TVNZ's Q & A show Ms Collins is entitled to ask for legal bills associated with any case to be paid for by the Crown.
He says the Cabinet manual makes it clear Ms Collins can seek such help but says a decision on whether it would be granted has not been made by Cabinet.
Mr Key says he backs Ms Collins, who is a person of the highest integrity, and feels her reputation has been impugned.