Key Points:

National's leader, John Key, is blaming a production company error for a legal warning that forced his party to pull his self-promotion DVD because the music was virtually the same as a Coldplay song.

Mr Key said he had immediately ordered the DVD - Ambitious for New Zealand: Meet John Key - to be recalled after the party received a letter from lawyers acting for Coldplay's record company EMI yesterday.

The letter raised concerns about a music track on it, which is similar to the Coldplay song Clocks.

Yesterday, Mr Key said the party had "relied heavily" on the production company Production Shed TV for advice. He understood National had not specifically asked for music that reflected Clocks.

"That was the music that was presented to us and the advice was that we owned the rights to that, and that it was acceptable. That may still legally be the case because it's a grey area but that doesn't meet the standards I believe in. I set high standards and the standards for the party are arguably different standards than just being close to the law."

EMI would not comment on the matter. The original version of Clocks was used for Mr Key's entry at the party's annual conference in August. He said the National Party had paid for a public performance licence to use the song on that occasion.

Mr Key said it was "unacceptable" to have question marks hanging over the music, even if the party turned out to have technically met the law.

The DVD was launched last Tuesday to mark his first anniversary as National's leader.

Mr Key handed out copies during his heartland tour of South Island provincial centres last week.

The recall of the DVD has left him with egg on his face - and Prime Minister Helen Clark lost no time yesterday rubbing it in, saying at her post-Cabinet press conference that it was "clearly a botch-up".

"I haven't seen it, but everything I've heard about it suggests it was vacuous in every respect. With the music taken out of it, it will be even more vacuous," the PM said.

Yesterday, National's campaign manager, Jo de Joux, said the party would take all steps possible to recall the DVDs issued and would re-issue replacements.

The video was taken off the National Party website and YouTube, where it had clocked 10,000 hits.

By 5pm a new version had been put up, with no musical track at the beginning.

Mr Key said the old DVDs would be destroyed and new ones produced quickly.