19 Nov 2011

Media 'can't ignore tea tapes'

7:17 pm on 19 November 2011

Commentator Paul Norris says the 'tea tapes' saga cannot be ignored by the media and the National Party leader and ACT's candidate for Epsom only have themselves to blame for not approving the release of their recorded conversation.

John Key has laid a complaint with police, saying his conversation with John Banks over a cup of tea at a cafe in the Auckland electorate on 11 November was illegally recorded by a cameraman who gave it to the Herald on Sunday.

The National leader is refusing to authorise the publication of the tape and has said the investigation is a good use of police time.

Some political leaders are calling for the election campaign to get back on track, saying there are more important issues to be debated.

But Mr Norris from the Broadcasting School of Christchurch Polytechnic says John Key and John Banks have done their best, inadvertently, to keep the story going.

Mr Norris says the media can hardly ignore it - especially as police have done an unusual and extreme step of looking to issue search warrants for four media organisations.

He expects the issue will run into the last week of the campaign, which he admits is a serious distraction from the election.

Police on Friday said they had warrants for Radio New Zealand, APN, TV 3 and Television New Zealand regarding unpublished material and other information relating to the recording.

Radio New Zealand's Head of News, Don Rood, says the public broadcaster will be talking to police and consulting its lawyers.

Mr Rood says the organisation does not have the original tape at the centre of the complaint.