22 Oct 2014

PM refuses to answer Slater questions

8:55 pm on 22 October 2014

John Key is refusing to answer questions in Parliament about his contact with right-wing blogger Cameron Slater, saying he never called or texted him in his capacity as Prime Minister.

John Key

Prime Minister John Key Photo: RNZ / Diego Opatowski

It is the first parliamentary Question Time since the election on 20 September and the first time that questions stemming from Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics book could be asked in the House.

Green Party co-leader Russel Norman asked Mr Key today how many times since November 2008 that he had spoken with Mr Slater or texted him.

Mr Key replied "none" in his capacity as Prime Minister.

He also said whether he used his ministerial services phone for contact with Mr Slater was not a test of whether it was done in his Prime Ministerial capacity.

Dr Norman said it was shameful Mr Key was avoiding questions over the issue, and that all the contact was all about party politics and Mr Key's role as Prime Minister.

"Cameron Slater wanted to talk to John Key because he was Prime Minister of New Zealand. That's what it was all about," he said.

"The Prime Minister is poisoning our Government from the very top by refusing to take responsibility for his actions."

Labour's Chris Hipkins asked Mr Key if any of the calls were made on his ministerial phone.

"I'm not 100 percent sure of that, but what I can say is ... that's not the test of whether it's in my capacity as Prime Minister, " Mr Key replied.

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