Prime Minister John Key has hinted his tip-off about NZ First leader Winston Peter's visits to the Dotcom mansion came from blogger Cameron Slater and said if a spy agency was found to be involved, as Peters has claimed, it would mean the end of his political career.
Mr Peters and Kim Dotcom have both alleged they were spied on after Mr Key spoke about Mr Peters' three visits to the mansion.
Mr Key has earlier denied it was a spy agency, but would not say who told him, although he said it was not someone in the National Party. He said somebody had contacted him about it, and there were reports of the visits in the Herald by Rachel Glucina and on Cameron Slater's Whaleoil blog a week ago.
"Contrary to what [Peters] might want to believe, I can read. A member of the public, for want of a better term rang me up and said what was the case. I assumed it was right. I said it, it turned out to be right. I didn't think it was that controversial, to be honest."
He would not confirm it was Mr Slater, but said he did speak to Mr Slater "every so often," and had called him earlier this week during which they briefly discussed Kim Dotcom. He said that did not mean he agreed with everything Mr Slater wrote on his blog. "I speak to lots of blogsters [sic]."
He said no public agency was involved. "And if there was, it would be an immensely serious thing. It would see the end of myself as Prime Minister and the end of the Government." The NZ SIS are not supposed to spy on or have files on sitting members of Parliament.
Mr Key said he would be happy to see any evidence Mr Peters had that it was a spy agency and was happy to comply with any inquiry into it. However, he did not believe Peters' genuinely thought he had been spied on.
"It might suit Mr Peters to try and set some little squirrel off to ensure nobody looks at the issue of why he misled the NZ Herald or why he wouldn't answer the questions." On February 7, Mr Peters had dismissed Glucina's questions about three visits as "false".
Mr Peters has said that surveillance was the only way Key could have found out about all three visits.
Whaleoil blogger Mr Slater said "if the Prime Minister says I'm a source, I guess I must have been."
He said Mr Peters was the author of his own misfortune. "When he did that [media] stand-up, he ran off and said 'you watch, it'll all come out in the wash.' Yeah Winston, it all came out in the wash.'"
He said there was plenty more to follow.