Audrey Young

Audrey Young is the New Zealand Herald’s political editor.

Key denies Peters' corruption claim over teapot tape inquiry

Prime Minister John Key last night rubbished allegations of corruption by Winston Peters who suggested in Parliament the PM's office had been in cahoots with the police to seize Mr Peters' phone records during the teapot tape inquiry.

"He is completely and utterly wrong as per normal," Mr Key said.

The police also issued a statement saying it had neither accessed Mr Peters' phone records nor had there been any application for a warrant to access his phone records.

Police spokesman Grant Ogilvie said Mr Peters' name had come up during the inquiry because of public statements he made at the time about knowledge of the tape's contents.

"The Prime Minister was the complainant in this case. As is normal practice, the complainant was kept updated on the inquiry."

The teapot tape investigation was based on a complaint by Mr Key. He claimed a conversation he had during a publicity stunt with Act leader John Banks in the 2011 election campaign had been deliberately recorded by cameraman Bradley Ambrose. Mr Ambrose denied the allegation and charges were never laid.

The New Zealand First leader said in Parliament yesterday he had seen briefing notes from the Wellington police to the Auckland police. He claimed the notes showed the police wanted to seize his phone records and lay charges against Mr Ambrose.

He said the notes stated that Mr Key's chief of staff, Wayne Eagleson, should be "kept in the loop". If Mr Eagleson was being kept in the loop, Mr Peters said, "it stands to reason that his boss John Key would also have been in the loop as well".

Mr Peters said it was the worst abuse of power he had seen in his years in the House.

"This is corruption that goes to the core of this country's activities."

Mr Key said Mr Peters was talking "nonsense".

- NZ Herald

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