http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politic ... ing-for-PM
The secret recording of a cafe meeting between John Key and ACT's Epsom candidate John Banks is embarrassing for the Prime Minister and is likely to change the way some people vote, the newspaper editor holding the tape claims.
Key this morning insisted the conversation was bland and says he has no concerns about its contents.
He again attacked News of the World phone-hacking style journalism, saying inconsistencies in the story of the freelance cameraman who took the recording show it was a deliberate act.
"If there was anything interesting there, that paper would have published it," he told TVNZ's Breakfast programme.
Herald on Sunday editor Bryce Johns said today the National leader was doing "an exceptional job at deflecting the attention in this saga from what he said".
"I've got a bit of disdain for the prime minister right now and the lines they are running."
Senior editorial staff had expected the conversation to be boring but for Key and Banks to "traverse into the areas they did with the media pack less than one metre away is unfathomable".
However, the tape was not Watergate "by any stretch of the imagination".
"It's just some silly 'this is how we are going to rule the world stuff'.
"It's nothing that is going to bring down the Government but it's certainly embarrassing."
Johns said there was one "injudicious" comment that could change the way some people vote.
The freelance cameraman was "absolutely, 100 per cent not a staff member" and Johns said he had no reasons to doubt his motives or his story.
Key said National party staff were now handling the issue and would look at whether any legal action would be taken.
It is illegal to tape a conversation if neither party knows they are being recorded.
The cameraman had never approached his staff to get the device back during the meeting or told staff at the cafe he had a recording. The newspaper claimed he discovered it when he got back to his office.
The Prime Minster said he would not give permission for the tape to be released because "once you start New of the World tactics from a tabloid like the Herald on Sunday, you just encourage them to do it to everyone else".
"Once you start with me, then it just goes to other well known New Zealanders.
"The British public saw what that was like and in the end it's very distasteful."
Johns said the Herald On Sunday may be a tabloid paper in its physical size but "certainly not in its approach to journalism".
"I'm not aware of anybody in journalism in this country who would deliberately tape a conversation outside the bounds of the law.
"Certainly none of my journalists, none of the contractors are ever instructed to do that.
"It's in the public interest and we would love to publish it but ethically we are the ones that have made the right call here by not doing it."