Jason Ede still has Beehive access

ANDREA VANCE
Last updated 16:39 17/08/2014

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Prime Minister John Key says he can't explain why "black ops" spin doctor Jason Ede still has a staff access card to Parliament.

Ede is at the centre of claims in Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics book, in which it is alleged he fed gossip, research and tips to Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater.

Paid by the taxpayer as a ministerial services staff, Ede is also accused of infiltrating a Labour party database, which contained sensitive personal information. Slater said the website was insecure.

Ede was spotted in the Parliamentary complex last week - with a security access swipe card - despite National saying he is employed by them at the party's Wellington head office.

"I don't know, you'd have to ask whoever is responsible for that. But it's not me," Key said.

"He works for the National party now, that's all I know."

Key didn't know why Ede was at Parliament and he wasn't visiting his office.

"You'd have to ask him. He hasn't been in my [physical] office for years... He was originally a press secretary years and years ago. Again Hager's got it wrong, he's not two doors down from me. I hardly ever talk to him. Most of the work he did in research and communications was either with backbenchers or other people."

Key said he doesn't know what Ede's role with National was now. 

He also reiterated there would be no action after Justice Minister Judith Collins admitted passing the name of a public servant to Slater, resulting in a vicious online attack. 

"At the end of the day, should people pass names, I don't know... Labour does that too," Key said.

Collins was "welcome" to talk to Slater.

"If I have a particular reason to call him, I will. It's three or four times a year. I might call the mainstream media three or four times a day."

Key insists Slater was a "force of nature into himself" with "sources all over the show."

He also defended a text message to Slater, following public outcry at offensive remarks the blogger made about the mother of a Pike River victim. He also called the blogger on the phone.

"I didn't text him about that woman. It was something completely different.

"I said absolutely, and I stand by it, that I recognised her. Those are the only words I've said... I said I knew the woman in the picture, that's all I said. I didn't ring him about that issue, I was ringing him about something completely different."

Labour has called on National to release the name of a staff member who accessed its database.

"I don't have that information," Key said.

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"I mean it was three years ago... they left their website open."

- Stuff

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