PM responds to secret plans to push the Nats to the right
The Prime Minster says he has not read secret documents which detail plans to form a hard-right wing faction within the National Party, essentially forming a party within a party.
The plans are reportedly the work of political consultant Simon Lusk, who has managed the campaigns of several National backbenchers, including Sam Lotu-Iiga, junior whip Louise Upston, and Botany MP Jamie Lee Ross.
The documents label senior National MPs as "wet" who need to be "blackballed" and replaced with fiscal conservatives.
John Key says there are a wide range political views in the National party caucus, but says he is and will remain, a centre right leader.
"Mr Lusk might have a view if that's what the papers show, and I haven't read them but he may have a view that we're not right wing enough. That's actually the view of some other National Party members as well, but I am a centre right leader. I've demonstrated it in the nearly five years I've been Prime Minister, the way I want to lead the country. And if that's not right wing enough for Simon Lusk well so be it, but it ain't gonna change," Mr Key says.
Of Mr Lusk's services, the Prime Minister says they filled a void in the past but the party is able to develop candidates and manage campaigns itself now.
"So he's had quite a successful little business actually in providing those services to people, from what I can see. The party has responded to that by saying well look he's filling a void, but actually it would be more logical for the party to fill that void itself. So we now have candidates' colleges, we have training sessions, and we provide a lot of those services."