21 Nov 2011

Police delay enforcing search warrants over teapot tape

7:39 pm on 21 November 2011

Police are holding off enforcing search warrants on four media organisations until after a High Court hearing on Tuesday.

Freelance cameraman Bradley Ambrose is seeking a ruling in the Auckland court over whether a conversation between National Party leader John Key and ACT's candidate for Epsom John Banks was private or not.


Mr Key laid a complaint with police following his meeting with Mr Banks at an Auckland cafe on 11 November, saying the recording of the conversation was illegal.

The politicians met over a cup of tea at the cafe, widely viewed as a signal to National supporters that they should vote for Mr Banks in the Epsom electorate. The cameraman gave the recording to the Herald on Sunday.

The details of the conversation have not been made public.

Police have warrants to search Radio New Zealand, APN, which owns the Herald on Sunday, TV3 and Television New Zealand for material relating to the tea tapes controversy.

A spokesperson for police says they have advised the media outlets that they will wait for Mr Ambrose's case to be heard in the High Court before executing the search warrants.

Radio New Zealand does not have the original tape and is refusing to hand over any material gathered by news staff that has not been broadcast.

Newspaper to hand over material

Herald on Sunday editor Bryce Johns expects to hand over material on the 'teapot tape' to police this week.

Mr Johns told Radio New Zealand's Morning Report programme on Monday the newspaper is co-operating with police and has gathered the information they are seeking.

He says the paper decided not to publish a transcript of the tape because he believes recording a private conversation breaches the ethics of journalism.

Mr Johns says the paper is still considering whether it will support Bradley Ambrose.