13 Nov 2011

Key won't allow release of tea party secret recording

7:02 pm on 13 November 2011

National Party leader John Key says he will not give permission for the release of a secret recording of him and ACT candidate John Banks.

Mr Key met with Mr Banks informally for a cup of tea at an Auckland cafe on Friday as a public endorsement of Mr Bank's campaign to win the Epsom seat.


John Key says he noticed a bag on the table at Cafe Urban and when he looked inside, he saw a tape that was running. He says it was a deliberate act by a freelancer working for the Herald on Sunday newspaper.

It is illegal to record people in New Zealand, unless one person is aware that the conversation is being taped.

Mr Key says he is refusing to give his permission for the recording to be published, saying that would just reward what he describes as News of the World behaviour.

"Frankly, I think there's just no place for News of the World tactics here in New Zealand and once it starts with me, it'll move to Phil Goff and then it'll move to other well-known New Zealanders. And I think we can see the way the British public have reacted to (the) tactics. It was deliberately put it there."

However, Mr Key says he is not worried about the contents of the tape, saying his conversation with Mr Banks was very bland.

Earlier this year, media mogul Rupert Murdoch killed off the 168-year-old tabloid newspaper as a phone hacking crisis threatened to infect the rest of his empire.

The News of the World printed its last edition on 10 July after it was accused of hacking into the phones of teenage murder victim Milly Dowler, the families of soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan, and relatives of victims of the 2005 London bombings. Scotland Yard believes up to 4000 people may have had their voicemails accessed.

In the following months, a number of former News of the World journalists and editors were arrested and News International executives were asked by MPs to explain themselves. British Prime Minister David Cameron also launched a judicial inquiry into phone hacking and the ethics of the press.