Goff throws Key's rubbish to the dogs

By Patrick Gower

A dog wearing a hoodie was outed yesterday as one suspect in the rummaging of National leader John Key's rubbish.

And Labour's diversion from the "dirty tricks" allegations showed the sleuth too - a bloodhound with a police badge.

The dog pictures were produced in Parliament yesterday by Cabinet minister Phil Goff, who said National's photos of rubbish strewn outside Mr Key's Helensville electorate office showed his paranoia rather than any political espionage.

"Here is the evidence of the prime suspect, a small dog - members can see that it is wearing a hoodie. That is probably why it is the prime suspect," said Mr Goff.

"I have a picture of the sleuth - a bloodhound - that we are putting on the trail."

Mr Goff tabled the pictures, the suspect dog complete with a mugshot-style "Helensville PD - John Key rubbish suspect".

National MPs responded with cries of, "Dogs eat paper, do they?" - a reference to claims that the paper and the rubbish bag was taken but food was left behind after Tuesday night's rummaging.

National circulated photos of the rubbish after three of its MPs were caught talking loosely while being secretly recorded at its conference cocktail party at the weekend, which Mr Key blamed on Labour activists and a dirty tricks campaign.

Labour's deputy leader, Michael Cullen, also hit back at National yesterday, saying the recordings showed "an unorchestrated litany of truth".

National's hopes of getting security camera footage from the Michael Fowler Centre where the function was held were dashed last night when the Wellington City Council revealed that no such footage existed.

It is an offence under the Crimes Act to tape a conversation if the circumstances indicated one of the participants wanted it to be private - meaning if the conversations were caught by an eavesdropper, it could be illegal.

However, recording a conversation the person was involved in or could reasonably be expected to have overheard is not illegal - and the infiltrator appears to have initiated the conversations with Bill English, Lockwood Smith and Nick Smith.

The suspect is a tall young man who posed as a National supporter. He has been leaking the tapes to TV3, telling it he is not a member of Labour or any political party.

A burglary at Labour MP David Cunliffe's New Lynn electorate on Sunday saw a radio, a first aid kit and some cash stolen and was one of about 20 break-ins in the area that day.

- NZ Herald

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