To add to all of John Key’s other problems Ponytailgate has resurfaced.
Paul McMahon, chair of the Spreydon-Heathcote Community Board chair, asked the Prime Minister’s office for details of all contact that had occurred between Key and Rachel Glucina concerning Amanda Bailey. The office refused and the Ombudsman was asked to intervene.
Prime minister John Key is under investigation for refusing to release correspondence with a gossip columnist over Ponytailgate.
Chief Ombudsman Dame Beverley Wakem stepped in after his office declined to make public conversations or messages with former New Zealand Herald writer Rachel Glucina over Auckland’s Cafe Rosie.
Wakem will probe the decision not to release any record of contact with Glucina, the cafe’s owners or its employees.
If it can be shown that there was any coordination of efforts between Key’s office and Glucina over Ponytailgate there will be significant political damage caused.
After Bailey’s distress came to light in May, Key was adamant he had “absolutely no part to play” in the newspaper interview. Under questioning from the Greens in Parliament he confirmed he had no contact with Glucina’s Pink PR company, but would not answer questions about personal contact with the columnist.
In refusing McMahon’s request, it is likely his office argued against the release of correspondence with journalists, and will maintain that stance during the Ombudsman inquiry.
Of course refusing to deny that contact occurred leaves open the impression that some sort of contact between Key’s office and [Rachel Glucina] did occur. What will be most interesting is the timing of the contact.