Adam Bennett

Adam is a political reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

English: Alleged revenge attack 'not my style'

Finance Minister Bill English has distanced himself from Cameron Slater's activities. File photo / Mark Mitchell
Finance Minister Bill English has distanced himself from Cameron Slater's activities. File photo / Mark Mitchell

Finance Minister Bill English this morning moved to distance himself from Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater's attack on a public servant.

The attack was allegedly in revenge for Labour targeting Mr English's use of a taxpayer-funded accommodation allowance.

Prime Minster John Key has come under pressure over author Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics revelations that Judith Collins passed the name and job details of ministerial services staffer Simon Pleasants to Slater.

The book claims Ms Collins held the "unfounded" suspicion that former Labour Party employee Mr Pleasants, who worked in the ministerial property department, was responsible for leaking details of Mr English's accommodation payments to Slater back in 2009.

Read more:
Why the Whaledump hacker came forward
'Teapot Tapes' cop to look at Slater complaint

After receiving Mr Pleasants' details from Ms Collins, Slater launched a vicious online attack on the public servant prompting a torrent of abuse and death threats from the blog's readers.

Mr English's appearance at this morning's Pre-election Economic and Fiscal Update at Treasury was temporarily diverted into a series of questions about the incident.

"I don't know what went on with all that", Mr English told reporters.

"All I know is there was issues that came up that I was involved with which were dealt with five years ago. Whatever else other people were doing well that's entirely their business.

"I wasn't after revenge, I straightened out a situation that wasn't appropriate and dealt with it."

He said Slater's actions were part of "a style of politics that go with this blogger".

"It's not a style that I like and I don't participate in it. I wouldn't do it, I wasn't involved in any of it it's not my style of politics, it's certainly not John Key's style.

"I certainly wouldn't condone an attack by a blogger on public servant doing their job."

In the face of calls for Ms Collins to resign or be sacked over the incident, Prime Minister John Key continues to back her despite her story shifting in recent days.

Ms Collins last week confirmed she had given Mr Pleasants' name to Slater but over the weekend changed her story, saying she gave Slater only Mr Pleasants' job title.

Public Service Association (PSA) acting national secretary Glenn Barclay said: "Minister Collins must take responsibility for her actions and resign. Her behaviour falls well below what is expected of our leaders."

Labour Leader David Cunliffe said Mr Key should fire Ms Collins, "because she has acted in a way that is unbecoming and unfit" for a minister.

- NZ Herald

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