‘Put up or shut up' Key tells Shearer
Tuesday 16 Oct 2012 4:48 p.m.
By Political Editor Duncan Garner
Two senior MPs were kicked out of Parliament today amid increasing rancour around Prime Minster John Key and what he knew about the GCSB operation into Kim Dotcom.
Mr Key corrected previously incorrect answers in the House, leading Opposition politicians to call him a liar.
Now all the focus is on whether Mr Key's February speech to GCSB staff was filmed, as claimed by Labour Party leader David Shearer. It has emerged there was a camera in the room capable of filming the Prime Minister. So was it deleted?
When Mr Key tried to put the record straight, the Opposition wouldn't let him, leading speaker Lockwood Smith to dismiss Labour MP David Parker and New Zealand First Party leader Winston Peters from the House. But they didn't go to the sin bin quietly.
Mr Key then clarified his wrong answers. He now accepts he first heard of the GCSB's involvement in the Dotcom case in February, not September as he has claimed.
“Mr Speaker, my answers were based on my recollections of events and the view of the director,” says Mr Key. “There was no intention to mislead the House."
But then Mr Key launched at Mr Shearer.
“He should put up or shut up. In fact, he should apologise for his unsubstantiated claims.”
Mr Shearer has claimed there was a tape of a speech Mr Key made to GCSB staff in February, where he arguably mentioned Dotcom. The problem is no tape has emerged.
Mr Shearer was cornered and today got angry.
“All I'm saying is exactly what our sources have told us, and we ask those questions of John Key,” says Mr Shearer.
Still photographs were taken of Mr Key speaking to GCSB staff on February 29, in what the GCSB today described to 3 News in an Official Information Act request as an "address" or "speech" from Mr Key. And Mr Key admitted today a camera was in the room and was capable of filming.
“I'm advised there was a camera there – certainly a camera of capable of making a recording," says Mr Key.
But Mr Key says the spies say no recording was made or deleted, and we should trust them.
“There was no tape taken by the GCSB, and the leader of the Opposition has besmirched."
We asked Mr Key how sure he is that no tape is out there, and if he will resign if one does emerge.
“No,” he says. “I'll respond to the tape."
But Mr Shearer has proven two things – Mr Key spoke to staff and, at best, Mr Key can't remember if he mentioned Dotcom. Now Parliament's biggest brawlers are accusing Mr Key of not telling the truth.
“I know that John Key told lies,” says Labour MP Trevor Mallard.
“I'm saying he's not telling the truth, and if he doesn't like [that] he can sue me,” says Mr Peters.
Mr Key won't do that, but this issue is grubby, and neither Mr Shearer nor Mr Key is covering himself in glory.