Former cabinet minister Nick Smith has hinted about a possible return to the top table after Prime Minister John Key this week indicated such a move was not out of the question.

Police this week announced that no charges would be laid over ACC's allegation of extortion against whistleblower Bronwyn Pullar who revealed a massive privacy breach by the organisation.

Ms Pullar was a close friend of Dr Smith's and it was revealed he had weighed into her case in support of her claim while he was ACC minister.

He was forced to resign over the perceived conflict of interest.


Mr Key was asked about Dr Smith's future in Cabinet in light of the police decision and he said that while he could not rule it out, it depended on the outcome of other inquires.

Dr Smith, who was in Ashburton yesterday at a Federated Farmers water forum, was asked whether he would be back in Cabinet.

He quoted Winston Churchill in reply: "Politics is almost as exciting as war, and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times.''

Also at the water forum was Green MP Eugenie Sage, who said she was living proof that political death was not permanent, having been killed off by Dr Smith when she was an elected member of Environment Canterbury but was now in Parliament for the Greens.