PM offers phone records

Last updated 05:00 23/08/2014

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Prime Minister John Key has taken the extraordinary step of offering his phone records to prove he was never personally briefed by the Security Intelligence Service about a document sent to shock jock blogger Cameron Slater.

National is bracing for fresh emails to emerge in a bid to derail its campaign launch tomorrow, when Key is tipped to unveil a major policy initiative to seize back the political agenda after a week of distractions.

There is nervousness, however, that the concerted campaign to destabilise National’s campaign will step up a gear with the release of fresh emails hacked from Slater’s private computer.

Thousands of Slater’s emails were hacked and used for the latest book by author Nicky Hager, Dirty Politics, drawing a link between Key’s ninth floor office and the Auckland-based blogger.

The emails have since started appearing on an anonymous web page and forced Key onto the back foot on the campaign trail this week.

Yesterday, a 2011 video emerged apparently contradicting Key’s earlier statements that he was not briefed about an Official Information Act request to Slater by the Security Intelligence Service.

The OIA request appeared to have been expedited for Slater and the blogger seemed to be aware of its contents before receiving it, according to hacked emails.

Former SIS director Warren Tucker and Ombudsman Beverly Wakem have both said Key was never personally briefed about the OIA, and Key says he could not have been as he was in Hawaii at the time.

But in the 2011 video, Key refers to Tucker briefing ‘‘me’’.

Key reiterated yesterday, however, that he meant his office, not himself personally.

He would release his phone records to prove that.

Intelligence watchdog the inspector-general of Intelligence and Security has announced an inquiry into the allegation of political interference in relation to Slater’s OIA request appearing to get preferential treatment compared to requests from other media.

‘‘I’d be more than happy for my phone records to be [seen],’’ Key said.

 ‘‘There’s no dispute that somebody in my office was briefed. I don’t think anybody disputed that and, in fact, ultimately the inquiry [will be] undertaken and those people will be spoken to.’’

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