Dirty Politics saga: Andrew Little claims John Key 'misled New Zealand'

Labour leader Andrew Little says John Key has misled New Zealand about his communications with Whaleoil blogger Cameron Slater and New Zealanders should be worried.

There’s been a new twist in the Dirty Politics saga tonight. Source: 1 NEWS

Earlier tonight the Prime Minister was forced to return to Parliament to correct a statement he had made earlier that he hadn't been in communication with Mr Slater about the spy watchdog's report on the Dirty Politics scandal.

Mr Key had been asked in Question Time today by Labour MP for Wigram, Megan Woods: "Did he have communications with Cameron Slater between the 23rd and 25th of November regarding the Chisholm inquiry or the Inspector-General's inquiry?"

Mr Key replied: "Mr Speaker, No."

Mr Key returned to Parliament from his office in the Beehive this evening and gave this statement to clarify that: "On Monday the 24th of November, I received an unsolicited text message from Mr Slater with a reference to the IGIS [Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security] report. There was a very short exchange where I briefly acknowledged that text message."

Mr Key says he misinterpreted the question. He thought when he answered "no" he was referring to the Collins inquiry report.

Mr Little told reporters the Prime Minister "was asked a very straightforward question about it in Parliament that required a yes or no answer. The answer was yes and he said no. He has misled New Zealand."

"This is a disturbing development at a time when the Prime Minister's Office is under question for its lack if integrity and ethics and we are seeing more of it yet again.

"It shows me that we have a Prime Minister who has no ethical bottom lines at all, no integrity, no moral fibre. He just carries on as if there is no difference. This is very disturbing. New Zealanders should be worried."

Mr Little says the Inspector-General's inquiry into the alleged leak of the report now has to be widened to look into the texts to see if they breached the embargo on the report.

"And I expect the Prime Minister to co-operate fully with the Inspector-General."

Mr Little says the Prime Minister should release the texts that have been exchanged between him and Cameron Slater. The Inspector-General, Cheryl Gwyn, has already said she's looking at possible action over Phil Goff leaking information about her report.

Slater admits texting Key

Cameron Slater says he did text the Prime Minister, but only in relation to Phil Goff being behind the leak of some information contained in the spy report. He said he had "confirmation from two journalists as to that".

"And that was the sole extent of the conversation via text with John Key. And he replied to me 'thanks', " Mr Slater said.

Mr Key's correction came after a screen shot of Cameron Slater's correspondence with another blogger on Gmail emerged in which Mr Slater was bragging about knowing the contents of both the Judith Collins inquiry report and the spy watchdog's report.

Mr Slater says what he was doing with that blogger was trying to test him.

"And I've given him some tests and this is one of them and he's failed it," Mr Slater told ONE News. "He's promptly gone and leaked that, probably to Annette King who he keeps in close communication with."