An inquiry into the events surrounding Judith Collins'
downfall will not examine the relationship between her and
Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater or the Serious Fraud Office
investigation into Hanover Finance, Prime Minister John Key
Opposition parties are calling for a broad inquiry, but Mr
Key said it will instead be confined to the conduct of Ms
Collins and her relationship with Adam Feeley, the former
head of the SFO.
Ms Collins is accused of trying to undermine Mr Feeley when
she was Minister of Police. An email from Slater in 2011 said
the minister was "gunning for" Feeley. She has denied any
Other private emails released over the weekend appear to show
right-wing bloggers were being paid to run a smear campaign
against the Financial Markets Authority and SFO, overseen by
Carrick Graham, the then-PR handler for former Hanover boss
The terms of reference will be released today or tomorrow,
but Mr Key outlined the nature of the inquiry during his
post-Cabinet press conference yesterday.
Opposition parties are asking for a Commission of Inquiry or
a Royal Commission to look into wider issues raised in Nicky
Hager's Dirty Politics book, including the possible misuse of
information by ministerial offices and government
departments, and the accessing of Labour's computer system by
Jason Ede, who was then working in the Prime Minister's
But Mr Key rejected a broader inquiry.
"I just don't think that's warranted. The Opposition would
want to make those claims because they simply want to use
this as a way to make it bigger than it is, or to smear the
"This sort of quaint little notion that there's a lot more
going on, or that the left of politics don't talk to
bloggers, don't do things, all the rest of it, it's a lovely
little notion that might be running around in David
Cunliffe's head but it's [not true]."
He noted the release of SIS information to Slater was being
investigated, and invited the public to make police
complaints if they had any criminal suspicions about the SFO
investigation or other issues.
He said it will be independent, likely chaired by a retired
judge or a QC, and include all the powers in the Inquiries
Act, passed last year.
He would not say if the terms of reference would allow the
inquiry to expand during its work.
"It won't be a Royal Commission."
It will also not look into Ms Collins' conduct when she gave
the details of a public servant to Slater, who then abused
the public servant on his website, prompting death threats.
"It was dealt with when I looked at it and said it was
unwise," Mr Key said.
"It's not in dispute that she gave those details. I could
spend time on that, but I don't think it's really worth it."
Under the Inquiries Act, public or government inquiries have
the power to summon witnesses and order evidence including
documents or other information.
Refusal could see a conviction and a $10,000 fine.
Mr Key said he did not condone what seemed to be a smear
campaign against the SFO, but said there was no evidence to
suggest that it affected the SFO's operations.
Meanwhile, he confirmed that his office's staff will give
evidence to the Inspector-General of Intelligence and
Security, who is investigating the release of security
information to Slater.
- by Derek Cheng, NZ Herald