Key to release text message from Glucina

John Key in Sydney (Getty Images)
John Key in Sydney (Getty Images)

The Prime Minister says he will release a text message in relation to the ponytail-pulling saga, after the Ombudsman ruled he had to.

The Ombudsman has found that the Prime Minister should not have refused to release a text message from Rachel Glucina about the incident, when it was requested under the Official Information Act.

"The reason we didn't want to release it is because we've always worked on the principle that there is communication with journalists and actually we like to sort of protect that," Mr Key says.

"I felt that actually the Ombudsman should have taken into consideration that view. In the end it doesn't really have any impact on me.

"I mean if that's his ruling we'll release it and people will see it."

The person who made the complaint to the Ombudsman was the blogger 'No Right Turn'.

Ms Glucina, who was working for the New Zealand Herald at the time, ran a story identifying Amanda Bailey as the waitress whose hair John Key pulled.

Ms Bailey appeared in a story alongside her managers from Rosie's cafe, but later criticised the piece, saying she didn’t know Ms Glucina was a journalist.

Both Ms Glucina and the Herald defended the article and the paper’s editor said Ms Bailey was made aware that Ms Glucina was a journalist.

The text message in question is one from Ms Glucina to Mr Key. The prime minister says it was an unsolicited text and he did not respond to it.

"I just left it and that was the end of it," Mr Key told journalists today.

"There was no preceding conversations or discussions or anything else, I just got it out of the blue and I left it."

The Chief Ombudsman, Judge Peter Boshier, said there was no "blanket exception" under the Act for "off the record communications between ministers and members of the media" and that each case must be looked at on its merits.

It appears the information was withheld by the Prime Minister's office under Section 9 of the Official Information Act, which aims to protect privacy or an obligation of confidence.

But Judge Boshier decided the request should not have been refused.

"Even if an obligation of confidence existed, I consider it is outweighed by the high public interest in the information," he wrote in his response to the complaint.