Key sticks to Dotcom story amid rowdy debate
"Hmm. I remember when John Key said he didn't know beforehand about the buying of that fleet of new ministerial cars. It turned out he did... That he'd forgotten."Featured comment
The prime minister's personal statement to the House, much anticipated in some circles, turned out to be a damp squib.
John Key has reiterated earlier comments about when he knew of the GCSB's involvement in the Kim Dotcom matter.
The prime minister has earlier said he was not aware of the GCSB's involvement until September 17, despite revelations he attended a briefing at GCSB headquarters on February 29, during which Kim Dotcom was mentioned.
Before question time in parliament this afternoon, he told the House the February 29 briefing was not about Mr Dotcom specifically.
"I was advised that the talking points of the presentation included a short reference to the Dotcom arrest as an example of co-operation between the bureau and the police.
"The cover slide was a montage of 11 small images, one of which was Dotcom. Neither the presentation nor the talking points was provided to me in hard copy.
"Neither the director of the GCSB or me can recall the reference to the Dotcom matter during the visit, but I accept it may well have been made.
"I wish to make it clear that I was not briefed by the GCSB on its role in the Dotcom matter, nor any issues of potentially illegality until Monday September 17.
"My answers to questions were based on recollection at the time, and there was no intention to mislead the House."
A rowdy question time was mainly noteable for the ejection of Winston Peters from the house and Labour's Trevor Mallard and David Parker leave the chamber as they boisterously demanded to make points of order before the prime minister spoke.
After making his statement, Mr Key continued to come under fire during question time from Labour party leader David Shearer, deputy leader Grant Robertson.
While Mr Shearer continued to emphasise Mr Key's alleged inconsistencies in his earlier statements about the GCSB, Mr Key took a shot at Mr Shearer's allegations last week.
Mr Shearer had said a video tape had been made of Mr Key making reference to Kim Dotcom while speaking at GCSB headquarters on February 29.
He later said such a tape had been wiped, and therefore no longer existed.
Today, Mr Key told the house: "I've been advised by the director that there was no video, that there was never a video, and nothing has been deleted from the GCSB's system.
"So quite frankly, Mr Shearer should put up or shut up. In fact, he should apologise for his unsubstantiated claim."
However, Mr Key confirmed, under questioning by Mr Robertson, that a camera "capable of audio visual recordings" was present when he spoke at the GCSB on February 29, but it was not being used.
He says internal investigations by the GCSB showed the tape was used on February 21, and then not used again until April.
"The GCSB then went to every camera operator that they have, including some that are currently posted overseas, and confirmed that they did not take any video of me."