2 Dec 2014

PM again under attack over Slater link

6:53 pm on 2 December 2014

Prime Minister John Key has been forced once again to defend his contact with Cameron Slater - including how the right-wing blogger got his new cellphone number.

Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater.

Blogger Cameron Slater. Photo: Supplied

Mr Key last week told reporters he could not remember when he had last received a text from Mr Slater. It turned out to be the night before.

He then had to correct an answer he had made in Parliament.

Today, the questions in the House kept coming.

Greens' co-leader Russel Norman asked how Mr Slater got hold of Mr Key's new number, to which Mr Key replied he had texted it himself to both reporters and bloggers who he had texted.

Dr Norman then asked whether Mr Key replied to Cameron Slater, while ignoring gallery reporters, because the blogger was his friend or because he feared him.

"Considering that Mr Slater has verbally abused two dead boys and accused the victim of an alleged sexual attack of making it up, how disgusting would Cameron Slater have to be before the Prime Minister severed all contact with him?"

John Key

John Key Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

Mr Key said he did not condone all of Mr Slater's statements, blogs or actions.

Labour leader Andrew Little waded in, asking Mr Key why he kept in contact with Mr Slater - prompting Mr Key to insist he did not have a proactive relationship with him.

Mr Key then lashed out at Labour, throwing the question back at Mr Little.

"Here's a little question for him... has he made it quite clear to all members of the Labour Party that they should have no contact with Mr Slater? And can he answer this question: when was the last time that they did?"

Mr Key also rejected claims National engaged in dirty politics.

"We don't undertake that on this side of the House but if I could just take a moment to catalogue the long list from the left. Shall we start with Phil Goff leaking reports to try to get a better spin?"

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn.

Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn. Photo: RNZ

The country's spy watchdog, Cheryl Gwyn, is investigating whether Labour's Phil Goff leaked parts of her report into the Security Intelligence Service before it was released last week.

However, she will not say whether she will also investigate whether John Key discussed the report with Mr Slater.

Meanwhile, it was revealed today the police will not investigate a Green Party complaint about claims in Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics book.

However, they are still considering a complaint made by Labour that National staff unlawfully accessed sensitive information on Labour's website in 2011.

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