John Key 'genuinely couldn't recall' text messages

  • 27/11/2014

Prime Minister John Key is refusing to apologise for misleading the public by denying he was texting Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, even though he was.

Asked if he had been caught out, Mr Key replied: "No I haven't been caught out."

Did he lie?

"No absolutely not," he says. "I haven't had a brain fade."

But Labour leader Andrew Little insists Mr Key did lie.

"He's lied about the lie. He's corrected the lie. He's lied about correcting the lie. It just goes on."

On Tuesday, Mr Key was asked if he had been in contact with Slater.

"[I] can't recall," he said. "I haven't spoken to him for months and months and months on end. He sent me a text one time and I can't remember when that was."

But remembering the text should have been really easy. Slater had sent a text to Mr Key just the night before.

Now released by Mr Key, it said:  [An unnamed journalist] gave it away to me... [Phil] Goff leaked SIS report."

Mr Key replied, "It's a joke isn't it".

Even though it was only 18 hours later, Mr Key flatly denied there were texts.

The problem was, Slater had been boasting about his texts over email and a screenshot was then leaked.

Mr Key was forced to go back into the House and admit he had misled Parliament.

"On Monday the 24th of November I received an unsolicited text message from Mr Slater with the reference to the [Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security's] report.  There was a very brief exchange where I acknowledged that text message," he said.

How does Mr Key explain his denial?

With two reports released on Tuesday – the SIS report and the Chisholm report on National MP Judith Collins – Mr Key claims he was talking about the report on Ms Collins, but only texted about the SIS report.

He also says he was in a rush and could not be specific.

Whale Oil out for revenge

Slater is furious his email was leaked, revealing his contact with John Key, but he is vowing to keep it up.

"I will continue to text everyone across the political spectrum," he says.

The texts with Slater, which were released by Mr Key's office, reveal Slater saying: "They played the real dirty politics...even tried to kill me...I have evidence of."

Slater alleges it was all part of the Dirty Politics campaign after thousands of his emails were hacked. 

"Part of that was a plan to increase the pressure on me, knowing that I have been open and honest about my mental health issues and suffering depression, to push me to the point where I would kill myself," he says.

"People that were associated with the Labour Party or involved with the Labour Party have been involved with that."

But Mr Little has called it "fantasy land stuff".

Another text alleges Mr Little's chief of staff Matt McCarten was involved in the Dirty Politics hack.

"He was brought in near the end," says Slater.

Mr Little says he knows Mr McCarten is a "very talented man", but has doubts in his computer skills.

"He struggles to open his emails in the morning," he says.

Slater says the email revealing his texting with Mr Key was leaked as part of a set-up by blogger Josh Forman, who Slater says had recently befriended him.

"I sent him a very blunt message yesterday, and I said that you're about to find out what it's like to take me on," says Slater.

Mr Forman did not want to comment to 3 News.

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source: newshub archive