National's campaign chairman Steven Joyce has backed Prime Minister John Key's handling of the teapot tape saga, despite the controversy showing no sign of going away.
Four newsrooms are expected to be searched today by police, who are seeking material relating to the recording of Mr Key's "private" conversation with Act's Epsom candidate John Banks last Friday.
The Prime Minister has come under fire from political opponents and commentators for the way he has handled the issue -including the laying of the complaint with the police, comparing the taping to the News of the World phone hacking scandal, claiming secret recordings could lead to suicides, refusing to answer questions from the media on the issue, and saying police had some "spare time" to execute their search warrants.
However Mr Joyce backed Mr Key, telling Radio New Zealand's Morning Report it was not the Prime Minister who had handled the taping badly, but rather the media was to blame for the story persisting.
"The public knows the [distraction of the teapot tapes] wasn't created by the National Party, it was created by the behaviour of a certain individual and that's fine."
Mr Joyce said the Prime Minister would not "reward the behaviour" of freelance cameraman Bradley Ambrose, who recorded the conversation, by revealing what was discussed.
Mr Ambrose has claimed the recording was accidental, and is seeking a High Court a declaration on whether the conversation between the pair was a "private communication" under the Crimes Act. He is also considering pursuing a defamation case.
Mr Joyce said public is not interested in the scandal, claiming the party was averaging 51 percent in the past three political polls taken.
"We've done our own internal polling on that," he said.
"One of the issues we've been asking about is actually the media coverage of the secret tape and asked people simply two options; Are there more important issues to focus on, or is it worthwhile of further attention. Weirdly enough, 81 percent say there were more important issues to focus on in this election campaign than that, and 13 percent said it was worthwhile of further attention."
Mr Joyce defended Mr Key's decision to call the police over the incident.
"He's responded to it in the correct way and somehow he's at fault.
He maintained the taping was similar to the News of the World scandal.
"Secretly taping things is secretly taping things."
"The reality is the average New Zealand is not that concerned about this at all.
"The average New Zealander looks across at places like Europe and France, and Italy, and the difficulty that is there economically, and says how come we're spending so much time talking about this, with eight and a half days to go to one of the most important elections in history.
"I actually think there are one or two people in the media that need to do a bit of self assessment over this weekend and decide what they are going to be talking about next week."