3 Aug 2013

Minister backs GCSB inquiry head

9:19 pm on 3 August 2013

A senior Cabinet minister says he believes retired public servant David Henry when he says he did not ask for logs of phone calls between MP Peter Dunne and a journalist.

Emails released by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet on Friday reveal an inquiry led by Mr Henry asked for and received emails between Fairfax reporter Andrea Vance and then-Revenue Minister Peter Dunne.

Steven Joyce.

Steven Joyce. Photo: RNZ

Mr Dunne said Mr Henry also asked for records of phone calls between himself and Ms Vance, but the inquiry head denies this.

Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce told TV3's The Nation programme on Saturday he believes Mr Henry.

"Don't forget Mr Dunne was refusing to supply the information. Mr Henry has no particular reason to offer a different view.

"At the end of the day there were two people having a conversation - we can all debate what they might have meant and it's obvious the two of them took different things out of that conversation."

Labour Party deputy leader Grant Robertson said the emails support Mr Dunne's view. "What we can see from the emails that were dumped out last night is that on that same day that the emails were requested by the Henry inquiry they also requested the phone logs to and from Peter Dunne and Andrea Vance. So it's quite clear David Henry asked for those phone logs."

Prime Minister John Key established the ministerial inquiry led by Mr Henry to find out who leaked the Kitteridge report into the Government Communications Security Bureau to Ms Vance. The head of Parliamentary Service, Geoff Thorn, quit on Thursday over handing over Ms Vance's phone records.

The Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet says Parliamentary Service mistakenly sent the emails between Mr Dunne and Ms Vance to the inquiry, and they were recalled within an hour and deleted without the attachment being opened.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says there are serious contradictions between information released about the inquiry and what the Prime Minister and the inquiry head have said about it.

Mr Peters says no-one is going to believe the emails had not been opened and there are serious questions about contradictory information that is emerging.

"People are going down left, right and centre whilst the Prime Minister and others are trying to say that nothing untoward happened. This is a serious cause for public disquiet now."

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says it is clear the Prime Minister's office pressured Parliamentary Service to release information such as phone logs and emails that it was reluctant to release and should never have released.