‘Teapot tapes’ raise questions

  • 14/11/2011

By Duncan Garner and 3news.co.nz staff

3 News has obtained a copy of the ‘teapot tapes’, the audio recording between John Key and John Banks made by a freelance cameraman last week.

The recording is of the eight minute conversation the Prime Minister had with Mr Banks at Urban Café in Newmarket, a set-piece event designed to show Epsom’s ACT candidate has National Party endorsement.

The National Party says the recording is illegal and have laid a complaint with the police.

At a news conference today, Mr Key was adamant he would not release a transcript of the conversation as he believes it was recorded covertly.

“I’m not going to reward News of the World tactics,” he said.

“What I will say is: a) I’m not bothered in the slightest with what’s on the tape, b) I am very bothered by the tactics that I believe have been very deliberately deployed by the Herald on Sunday and c) I personally want to take a stand against that.

“It’s all very well and good starting with me but if you start having that tabloid, covert taping going on, it will extend to other people.”

3news.co.nz editor James Murray blogs on the 'teapot tape' and Key's 'News of the World' claims

Watch John Key's news conference today, where he is asked about the recording

3 News considers the tape raises some questions so went to talk to the men involved.

3 News: Did you talk about Don Brash at all?

John Banks: I talked to the Prime Minister about a number of things, most of which were not very important at all.

3 News: Is there going to be a restructure of the ACT Party after the election?

JB: Not to my knowledge, we gotta get through the election.

3 News: Do you think people have the right to know if Brash will be there after the election?

JB: I don’t know what you are talking about, is this something you are fantasising about?

ACT Party leader Don Brash says he is not worried about the content of the recording.

“I’ve spoken to John Banks several times since Friday and he assures me there is nothing of great sensitivity on it,” he said.

“My objection is principled, it is unethical to release it.”

It is against New Zealand law to play the tapes publically, even when the two men are high profile politicians who invited the media to witness their meeting.

One of them has to consent to let the public hear what they talked about.

But neither will budge.

“I’m not going into the tape and the contents of it because I don’t have a copy of it,” said Mr Key.

“I’m not going into the content of the tape in any form because I don’t have a copy of the tape and I haven’t listened to it.

“I’m more than happy with what I have said [in the conversation with John Banks]. I think it was a pretty bland conversation”.

The root of the Prime Minister’s issue with the recording is that he thinks it was a deliberate tactic used by the Herald on Sunday.

However, the cameraman at the centre of the fiasco told Newstalk ZB that it was not deliberate and he forgot about the microphone when he was hustled out of the room.

He says he put the microphone on the table before when he was getting audio from an interview with John Banks.

"I had enough time and enough space just to reach my arm and drop it on the table to try and get his questions," he told Newstalk ZB.

"I wasn't able to get a shot so I backed off and while I was backed off trying to get other shots we were basically hustled out of the room, told to get out."

After being thrown out, the cameraman says he completely forgot about his microphone.

Opposition parties including Labour, New Zealand First and the Green Party have called for the tapes to be released.

NZ First leader Winston Peters told 3 News he thought Mr Key should “release them”.

But Mr Key says that will not be happening and police have confirmed a complaint has been laid under s216B of the Crime Act 1961.

The offence carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment.

3 News

source: newshub archive