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Key’s question ducking out of order – Speaker

Speaker David Carter says the PM did have his PM hat on when he spoke to Cameron Slater.

Nick Grant
Thu, 23 Oct 2014

Parliament's Speaker David Carter has ruled the Prime Minister should have given a proper answer when asked in the House yesterday about his conversations with Whale Oil attack blogger Cameron Slater.

When John Key was asked by Green Party co-leader Russel Norman about alleged communications between him and Mr Slater as detailed in Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics, the PM declined to answer.

Mr Key said he didn’t speak to the blogger in his capacity as Prime Minster and therefore was not obliged to answer.

Mr Carter allowed that non-reply yesterday but, having reviewed the transcript of Mr Key’s responses, he has said the Prime Minister should have answered at least one of Mr Norman’s question.

That query was about the veracity of Mr Slater’s claim to an associate that Mr Key had told him the mother of a car crash victim whom Mr Slater had smeared on his blog was the same woman who would scream at him when he attended meetings about the Pike River mine disaster.

Mr Carter reasons that because the question "made a connection to the actions of the Prime Minister in response to Pike River Mine Tragedy” and was therefore related “to a matter of ministerial responsibility, an informative answer should be given”.

Prior to Mr Carter’s ruling, Mr Key was sticking to his explanation that he didn’t have his Prime Ministerial head gear on when communicating with Mr Slater.

"I wear a number of hats obviously, one as the leader of the National Party, one as Prime Minister of New Zealand and one as a citizen," Mr Key told media.

Which one of those roles he considered himself to be performing at any one time was dependent on “the context around what I think I was doing”.

As such, the Prime Minister said he is “quite comfortable that in the correspondence and discussions I've had with Cameron Slater, which are not that great in number, are done so not in my capacity as Prime Minister”.

Nick Grant
Thu, 23 Oct 2014
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Key’s question ducking out of order – Speaker