44% don't believe Key over SIS briefing - poll

Prime Minister John Key on Breakfast (TVNZ)

John Key says it is "a bit soul-destroying" that a new poll has revealed people do not believe him over a Dirty Politics revelation.

In his book, Nicky Hager discusses SIS documents that were embarrassing to then Labour leader Phil Goff being handed over to Cameron Slater with unusual speed following the Whale Oil blogger's OIA request.

Mr Hager speculates the PM likely did know about the release, writing: "The head of the SIS would surely never have done anything so unusual, so public, and so political without their minister’s knowledge and approval.”

Mr Key said his office was briefed but he was not.

The latest ONE News Colmar Brunton poll found 41% said they do believe him, 44% say they don't and 14% said they didn't know.

"Every time you ask the public whether they believe a politician or not the answers wither a bit like that or much worse," Mr Key said this morning on Breakfast.

"Every time I lose one of those polls I find it a bit soul-destroying. But I can tell you what I know I wasn't in the country, the head of the SIS said I wasn't involved, and the Chief Ombudsman backs him up."

Mr Key said he welcomed the inquiry being conducted by Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn

The inquiry does not focus on whether the prime minister knew about the release of the documents but whether they were released for political purposes. 

Yesterday, it was revealed senior members of Mr Key's staff plus Mr Slater had been summoned to meet with the Inspector-General. 

Asked if he would be questioned by Ms Gwyn, the PM said this morning, "Apparently not. There’s a little bit of confusion there."

Collins/SFO inquiry
The Prime Minister also said an inquiry would take place into an email that suggested the Justice Minister Judith Collins had tried to undermine (then) SFO boss Adam Feeley in 2011. The email led to her resignation Saturday.

Mr Key said he had taken advice overnight and expected to announce the terms of the inquiry on Tuesday or Wednesday.

Click to zoom.

Race tightening
TVNZ also released the latest OneNEWS-Colmar Brunton.

The poll of more than 1000 eligible voters was taken from August 23 to August 27, before two major events: the first leaders' debate and Judith Collins' resignation.

The survey found the race tightening, with National down 2 to 48% and Labour up 2 to 28%.

Translated into seats, National would have 59, unable to govern alone.

With ACT (1), UnitedFuture (1) and the Maori Party (3), it would have 64 seats. However, it is still very much up in the air whether ther Maori Party will hold all of its three electorates.

Labour (35), the Greens (14), NZ First (8) and Internet Mana (2) could muster 59.

The result – although already taken over by events – indicates a possible kingmaker role for NZ First or the Maori Party.

What do you think? Do you believe Key over SIS briefing? Click here to vote in our subscriber-only business pulse poll.

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