Prime Minister John Key was wrong when he refused to answer a Parliamentary question about his discussion attack blogger Cameron Slater about the mother of a car crash victim, Parliament's Speaker David Carter has ruled.
Facing Parliamentary questions yesterday from Greens co-leader Russel Norman about his phone and text conversations with Slater as reported in Nicky Hager's Dirty Politics book, Mr Key refused to answer.
Mr Key said he did not speak with Mr Slater in his capacity as Prime Minister and therefore was not obliged to answer drawing fierce criticism from Dr Norman and Labour's Chris Hipkins.
Having reviewed Mr Key's responses overnight, Mr Carter today said that was likely correct for most of Dr Norman's questions. However, one where Dr Norman asked if Slater was correct when he said Mr Key had told him the mother of a car crash victim was "the same woman f-ing feral bitch that screams at him when he goes to Pike River meetings" should have been answered.
The question "made a connection to the actions of the Prime Minister in response to Pike River Mine Tragedy," Mr Carter said.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
"A connection having been made to a matter of ministerial responsibility an informative answer should be given."
Earlier today Mr Key stood by his claim that his conversations with Slater were not in his capacity as Prime Minister.
"I wear a number of hats obviously, one as the leader of the National Party, one as Prime Minister of New Zealand and one as a citizen."
Which capacity he was acting in was determined by "the context around what I think I was doing".
On that basis Mr Key was "quite comfortable that in the correspondence and discussions I've had with Cameron Slater, which are not that great in number, are done so not in my capacity as Prime Minister".
Mr Key denied that stance was deceptive.
"At the end of the day, people have a variety of different relationships with different people."