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Key comfortable with Gwyn inspecting staff’s personal emails

At a stand-up with media after a visit to Mt Roskill Grammar School in Auckland, John Key iterated his previous statements about not having personally been briefed about the release of SIS documents to Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater.

First, though, Mr Key took a swipe at the New Zealand Educational Institute, which represents around 50,000 primary school staff and has overwhelming rejected the Government’s flagship Investing in Educational Success policy.

It was, he said, an example of “the union playing politics at the time of an election, as opposed to doing what’s actually right for the future of young New Zealanders.”

If leading the post-election government, Mr Key said he planned to “push on with the policy.”

When questions inevitably turned to whether the prime minister had been briefed by then-SIS director Warren Tucker about the release of the previously classified SIS documents, Mr Key repeated his earlier assertion that his office had received the briefing, not him.

He also categorically stated he wasn’t briefed about the issue while in Maui, where he was having a few days off after an official visit to the US, at the time Mr Tucker decided to release the documents.

Asked about the video that emerged of him this morning saying he had been briefed on the subject, Mr Key said that in that context he’d really meant his office, not himself personally.

He conceded he “probably should have” been less loose in his language but “to be honest it wasn’t a big issue at the time. And, honestly, if Labour want to keep on train-spotting with this sort of stuff, fair enough.”

If Labour persisted in doing so, however, rather than “talk about the issues that really matter to New Zealanders,” Mr Key predicted the rival party would continue to languish in the polls.

Asked if he would be willing for his staff to surrender private email records as part of Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn’s investigation into the matter, Mr Key said he’d be comfortable with however Ms Gwyn chooses to conduct the process.

More by Nick Grant

Comments and questions

When will those on the left ever learn?
Who really cares about any of this time-wasting smear campaign initiated by Hagar the Horrible. I'm looking forward to another three years of a stable Key led government - with the majority of New Zealander's returning National with a clear mandate to govern alone.

Stable? I think you mean arrogant, dogmatic and uninspired. There is no way they are going to be governing, let alone on their own. Their so called support partners are a joke.

So you think the support partners on the other side are sane and sensible? We'll see who's laughing after the election!

And aren't the support partners on the right just as bad?

You're right. The trouble is that their opposition is also arrogant, also dogmatic (very), also uninspired, as well as being imcompetent into the bargain.

Or to paraphrase Churchill, National is the worst possible option, apart from all the others.

The alternative is the 'stability' of a Labour/Green/Mana/Internet party conglomeration with a Labour prime minister who lacks any support from his own caucus.

And how stable will National be with JK due to stand down during a third term and all the games that will go on to succeed him?

Most unlikely. If National wins this one, Key will go for a forth term.

But he's previously said he's unlikely to

If Key isn't being "comfortable", he's "relaxed."

This man specializes in cliches.

It's time we grew and stopped being over-borne by political parties which carry on exactly as they like - John Key being well-known for this - except to pause briefly and promise the earth around election time.