John Key distances himself from MP Mike Sabin
Prime Minister John Key today distanced himself from MP Mike Sabin, currently the subject of a police investigation into assault claims.
MPs have been heard openly speculating about a by-election in his Northland electorate.
But Key refused to be drawn on Sabin's future, as an MP or as chair of Parliament's law and order select committee.
Repeatedly quizzed on the allegations, Key would only say: "I have no comment to make."
Pressed on why he wouldn't answer questions, he said: "Because I comment on things I want to comment on, and I don't on things I don't."
Also notable was an absence of support from Key for for the second term MP and anti-drugs campaigner. Key said he has not talked to Sabin this year.
Asked if he is "abandoning" his MP, Key replied: "No I'm not. I've just got no comment to make at this time."
But he does expect him to present at next week's Waitangi celebrations, because he is the local MP.
News of the investigation into the 46-year-old broke just before Christmas. At the time, Key's office refused to even confirm if he knew about the assault complaint.
Detectives in north Auckland are working on the case, as Cooper's Beach-based Sabin was a detective in Whangarei until 2006.
Sabin could not immediately be reached for comment, but has said nothing publicly about the case to date.