There's one foolproof way for Prime Minister John Key to avoid accusations of lying about having contact with Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater - have no communications with the man.

You would think that with the stench of Dirty Politics still lingering in the corridors of power after this year's madcap election build-up, Mr Key would know better than to conduct a text conversation with the figure at the centre of the controversy.

Mr Key, who gave Mr Slater his new cellphone number after he changed it during the election campaign, says he is "fundamentally not" in contact with Mr Slater, and hadn't rung him or "proactively texted" him.

Though according to at least one report he also said he phoned Mr Slater on Wednesday to confirm his recollection of what they discussed in their text exchange on Monday night as he'd deleted the texts.


On Wednesday night he had to back down on his earlier claims he'd had no contact with Mr Slater ahead of the release of Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security Cheryl Gwyn's report into the SIS's role in Slater's 2011 political attack on former Labour leader Phil Goff.

Since then he has vehemently denied lying about his contact with the blogger, saying he thought the question was in relation to another report, also blaming the release of three reports containing a huge amount of information on one day, time pressures and noise in Parliament.

It's not a good look, much like admitting deleting texts within a day or two of sending them.

Earlier news reports say Mr Key refused to answer questions about his contact with Mr Slater, saying it was in his capacity as National Party leader, not as Prime Minister.

That really doesn't cut it. When you're Prime Minister, everything, even dropping your kids off at school, is done in your capacity as Prime Minister.

Labour leader Andrew Little, who is dining out on events this week, couldn't have asked for a better start to his new role.