What did Key know about Sabin’s issues?

Written By: - Date published: 11:18 am, February 2nd, 2015 - 116 comments
Categories: john key, national, uncategorized - Tags:

From stuff:

Prime Minister John Key has confirmed he knew of former National MP Mike Sabin’s personal matters last year, but he had confidence in the MP for Northland up until his resignation.

Key rejected any suggestion he knew of the issues plaguing Sabin before the election.

“To the best of my recollection, the first that I knew about it was that last week of 2014, of the Parliamentary term,” he told Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report.

Key said he had “total” confidence in Sabin going into the election.

“And up until his resignation on Friday, I had enormous confidence [in him] as an MP. I think he has performed very strongly, he’s got a great grasp of some of the policy area.

“I actually saw him as someone that would be potentially a future Cabinet Minister if we were back in Government.

In a statement released Friday, Sabin announced his departure saying he made the decision due to personal issues that were best dealt with outside Parliament. He would not make any more comment.

But the NBR has, it appears, more information that National may prefer was kept quiet.

Prime Minister John Key denies he knew about an assault complaint against Mike Sabin before last year’s election.

NBR understands the PM was first made aware of the assault complaint in April last year, months before the September 20 ballot – and that the National Party knew before the 2011 election.

It is also understood that Prime Minister John Key was made aware of the allegation in April last year but chose to neither disclose this to the public nor ask the former police officer to stand down as chairman of the law and order select committee.

The link is to an article behind the paywall.

You would think that the Taxpayer’s Union would be upset by this.

And the media sense a change in position by Key.

The positions are irreconcilable. Key needs to explain what he knew and when.

116 comments on “What did Key know about Sabin’s issues?”

  1. “before the 2011 election”

    Someone please tell me that’s a typo by the NBR. Because that could be massive.

  2. Jones 2

    The positions are reconcilable. Quite simply, and based on past behaviour, I believe John Key is lying and the NBR source (Slater?) is correct.

    • Tracey 2.1

      i was wondering who their source might have been…

      • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 2.1.1

        One of the very familiar and oft-used lines that those of us in the Thorndon Bubble used a lot (it was a habit, or like our own breathing that we never noticed) was to say “you didn’t hear this from me” or “you didn’t get this from me” … and then nek minit, the beans are out and spilling.

        Well practised in government circles .. or Koru clubs:

  3. shorts 3

    yet another potentially embarrassing issue that will now get bogged down in the “when did key know” quagmire

    There is only one fact we can possibly all agree on – we can’t trust key’s recollection of anything

    let the obfuscation continue

    • Anne 3.1

      Yep. A repeat of the Dirty Politics fallout when Key spent weeks lying, obfuscating, confusing the known facts and got clean away with it. My pick is: it was decided to repeat the same strategy because “it worked last time so it should work again”. The difference might be – if Jones is correct – he hasn’t got Slater onside this time.

      According to Mike Williams on RNZ, Labour became aware of the case as early as last April too, so it beggars belief Key didn’t know about it.

      • shorts 3.1.1

        yep….

        I do hope Labour has learnt their lesson of the last 2 terms in opposition… don’t get involved in trying to get the truth out of key, its PR suicide as previous leaders current placing show – leave it to the media Labour… and focus on your agenda

        • Anne 3.1.1.1

          Ummm… a thought has crossed my mind. Is this the reason why Key – against all known sensibility – continued to have a cosy ‘texting’ relationship with Slater despite his (Slater’s) rapid fall from grace?

          • shorts 3.1.1.1.1

            slater is useful…. he’s still useful and key and co will use him and others as they see fit, thats what key does… course he doesn’t control nor own slater, unlike jason eade and others so key will keep slater at arms (or text) distance

          • Clemgeopin 3.1.1.1.2

            Is this the reason why Key – against all known sensibility – continued to have a cosy ‘texting’ relationship with Slater despite his (Slater’s) rapid fall from grace?

            Good point! Remember after the election Key even apologised profusely to Slater!

      • Macro 3.1.2

        Yes – it has been know around parliamentary circles for some time, so I hear – so how Key didn’t know about it ??? Of course his Office might have known about it – but that doesn’t mean he did! /sarc

  4. One Anonymous Bloke 4

    Key thinks he has plausible deniability on this.

    For the NBR to be so confident his story might unravel very quickly.

    I used to have twenty five shares,
    Now I only got fifty,
    Gave those hundred shares to a blind man,
    Who I trust implicitly,

    You know I’m not a crook,
    You know I’m not a crook,
    I just wanna lie about one more thing right now…

    Apologies to FZ.

  5. the trick now is to get key to lie to parliament..

    ..or has already done that..on this issue..?

  6. North 6

    Yet again, serious questions about ‘when’ TheGodKey knew about such and such and ‘what’ he knew about such and such. Yet again. There is no moral compass FFS !

  7. BLiP 7

    Note that John Key is being asked when he knew about Sabin’s “personal issues” and not when he knew Sabin was being “investigated by the police”. Tricksy semantics are tricksy.

    inb4myofficewasinformed

  8. heather 8

    Key will play with words, he will pretend with his vacant, not interested look, the look we all know so well. Then he will get angry and again pretend that he knows nothing.
    Of course he knows, he has always known, he is acting always as he does. What is different?

    • BassGuy 8.2

      I’d put fifty bucks up to start a pot for someone to replace the envelope for an Emmy “best actor” award with one containing John Key’s name.

      • NZJester 8.2.1

        Just an Emmy? With John Keys acting he deserves an Oscar.
        He can fat out lie and when caught in a lie can redefine the meaning of words at will to get himself out of it.
        I am actually surprised that John Key is not into Poker as can deadpan his face and bluff the media so well.

    • Hanswurst 8.3

      Key doesn’t need to play with words. He just says stuff. He wasn’t playing with words when he lied about his Tranzrail shares; he simply lied, then corrected himself. He wasn’t playing with words when he talked about Ian Fletcher, or when he did interviews about dirty politics. “Playing with words” suggests that he does something clever, when in fact he simply says what he wants, relying on others to come up with favourable spin. Unfortunately, it works.

  9. irascible 9

    My contacts in Northland who are not usually involved in Party politics raised the same questions when the MSM wrote up the story. Their comment was along the lines of “we’d heard rumours.. we’d wondered about…”
    Obviously Key had heard rumours, had had approaches asking questions or for intervention but chose to sit on his hands in the hope that the mounds swept under the carpet wouldn’t be noticed.

  10. Skinny 10

    Key knew all about Sabin’s ‘continuing’ troubles. On Friday, September 12 last year 8 days from the election, as part of their campaign Mike hosted a economic forum with Key, Joyce, Finlayson as guest speakers. Lots of business people invited along by Sabin including myself.

    Sat there listening to the waffle thinking Key & Joyce are not very friendly to Sabin, how strange their treating him like he is a leper, considering the effort he has put in organising this large gathering. Anyway it was noticeably strange and stuck out. Seeing first hand the way they were acting I call bullshit Key is lying.

    • Once was Tim 10.1

      “…….I call bullshit Key is lying.”
      Same ici.
      I’m picking Key plans to be off the hook/out of the country/ safely tucked up all before his chooks come home to roost. Hopefully that poor bloody attachment he calls a wife will have woken up by then, along with the kuds.
      As any money trader/gambler knows – timing and luck is all important. So far, the reign’s been great. Just one roll of the dice short of a political hanging or an exit strategy gone wrong (or stretchy as wonderboy would say)

      I won’t hold my breath although my sympathies towards Bro, Mex and …. remain.
      Still …. they’d have a pretty big claim so they won’t have to starve

  11. esoteric pineapples 11

    No one’s saying anything about the nature of this “assault” – that would be interesting to know ……..

    • It’s not very hard to work out what it is.

    • rawshark-yeshe 11.2

      you might want to visit[Sorry RY but best if this site does not link to that site – MS]

      And I believe this will bring Key undone .. because of the exact nature of what he has hidden from the electorate. It is not only unforgivable in almost anyone’s eyes, it is a complete moral failure by Key, and there for all to see.

      And if it is truly since 2011 ? Holy hell.

      I have faith in the decency of the Northland constituents … please, get rid of the stains of this government. Do the wisest and most cleansing thing, and Key’s government will be strung up for the rest of this term.

      Please, don’t let these sods get away with this.

      • Ian 11.2.1

        So you have faith in The Harawiras ??Good luck Bro. Soak your jocks in Janola,kills everything.

        • rawshark-yeshe 11.2.1.1

          Ian .. what are you on about ? I am talking about many decent blue voters both female and male who will be completely disgusted by what Key chose to keep hidden from them prior to at least one election, if not two. I’m not sure there has ever been worse in NZ politics, and that’s saying something isn’t it !

          Assumptions much ? I’m not a bro, And I don’t wear jocks. Soak your own in Janola, and maybe re-read what I wrote.

          Sweet dreams.

      • rawshark-yeshe 11.2.2

        apologies to anyone who tried the ,link .. it shd be [Sorry RY but best if this site does not link to that site – MS]

  12. The main thing we know from all of this is what we already know. And all of that is about the Prime Minister.

    Our dogs are lovely when they’ve been in the slimy creek so I won’t insult them by referring to him as a slimy dog.

  13. veutoviper 13

    “You would think that the Taxpayer’s Union would be upset by this.”

    Jordan Williams of the TU has replied this morning to Mr Dutton Peabody’s tweet included in the post to the effect that he would love to engage on the subject but for reasons that hopefully will become clear later, he can’t.

    In a separate tweet a short time ago, Williams is also trying to source a copy of the suppression orders relating to the Prominent NZer case heard in a District Court somewhere in NZ last Friday. Various MSM journalists etc and others such as Graeme Edgeler were tweeting madly on Friday re the suppression orders but none of them appeared to have seen/found a copy at that time, but I have no doubt the orders will emerge in due course.

    Warning – suggest we leave these people to do their thing re the suppression orders, and watch from the sidelines due to the apparent all encompassing nature of these suppression orders, and the consequences of breaching these.

    But keep the popcorn handy …..

    Incidentally, despite what may be appearing in actual reports in the media, from their tweets this morning,various journalists etc appear to be as skeptical as people here about Key’s statements re Sabin this morning.

    • Ffloyd 13.1

      There is a report under *Whangarei Court News * saying that a *prominent nzer*had appeared at Court on Friday 30th January. He is held at large for three weeks while some disputed evidence is investigated. Who could this be?

  14. Justme 14

    Key has done either one of two things.

    1. He knew all about it, but had to play along because of what was happening in the background, so that everything could be done in a proper manner. A bit like a corporate takeover, or play on the markets.

    2. He knew all along, but was too stupid to do anything about it.

    One hopes the former, but wonders about the latter. Nobody could be that stupid could they?

    • Murray Rawshark 14.1

      Hubris can explain a hell of a lot.

    • Skinny 14.2

      The National Party will have a Northland Electorate committee, any improper conduct whether alleged or proven would be discussed by that committee. The party’s head office informed. The president Peter Goodfellow would raise the issue with the party’s campaign manager Stephen Joyce and the leader John Key. You can’t fool me that this didn’t occur.

      Wearing his Prime Minister, and leader of National Party hat John Key had an obligation to his party and the public, given the seriousness of the allegations, and the likelihood of a by-election costing to the tune of 1 million dollars, to seek Mike Sabin withdraw his candidacy to contest the Northland seat for the National Party. Then open up nominations for a new candidate. If the timeframe didn’t allow for a candidate selection process, the Northland seat should have been uncontested by National.

      It’s very disappointing the MSM are not hauling Key-National over the coals seeking answers like the constitutional ones above. I’m afraid until such time as the MSM do their job nothing will change.

      • joe90 14.2.1

        Most likely locals have known about this for several months.

        The Northern Advocate understands the party’s Northland branch officials have been canvassing for a potential candidate for several weeks.

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11395331&ref=rss

        Although….

        A night out with John Key & Robert Allenby. You wouldn’t remember a thing

      • rawshark-yeshe 14.2.2

        +1000 skinny. but I have hope someone will literally key-haul him over this. Winston should have ideas for the house and question time.

        • Skinny 14.2.2.1

          Yes Rawshark-yeshe Winston doesn’t need the GCSB he has his own very good intel up North. Key will be hitting the bottle hard this long weekend dreading next weeks question time.

          I see Key telling more porkies trying to cover his tracks. First he masks his inaction by keeping Sabin as chair of the law & order select committee as if he knew nothing. Then attempts to fool us with Sabin is very unlucky not to have been promoted to a Minister this term.

          I note the damage control department made a correction from this morning to push back a further week into very early December when Key was first told by his chief of staff of issues surrounding Sabin, quick to point out ‘no written records.’

          Funny that! What sort of banana party are they running because their Northland executives have stated in the local press it was too late to stand another candidate for the election. So you mean to tell me this was kept from the leadership. Of course pinning it on the then Chief of Staff has deflecting the hit for the meantime, but it stinks. Very cunningly played.

          Judith Collins will be prancing about the House laughing how karma smiles on her after Brook Sabin’s attacks trying to remove her from the seat his father wanted.

      • Treetop 14.2.3

        The rules regarding a candidate do not apply yeah right! Like I said @15.1 “Key is trying to steer clear of Sabin’s police file being used politically.”

  15. rational thinker 15

    This is my first post on any blog and I am neither left wing or right wing I believe these two notions separate us as a country and allow us to be divided to the point where we cant work together. I am however staunchly opposed to John Keys BS and read both left and right wing blogs to try and gain clarity on the issues at hand.

    Firstly if you look at the statement of keys “that he was aware of mike sabins personal issues in December” this is simply a use of words to try and portray a sense of innocence in regards to the true issue. The people of NZ do not care about the personal issues of mp in nz. The concern is was key aware of the investigation. His statement is only there to try and smokescreen the real issue and make it seem as though he has addressed or answered the issue. I would bet my left nut that he wont answer if he knew of any investigation into sabin.

    Secondly not a big cam slater fan but if people look at what his comments have been on the issue, though subtle I believe he knows full well the extent of the pms knowledge on the matter and this is probably the info that had the pm over a barrel , no lube , taking it like a champ

    If you go to the question at minute 4 it clarifies my first statement in my opinion. At the end of the interview he also dodges the question when he sought legal advice these two things together lead logic and rational thinking to the conclusion he was absolutely aware before the election http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/20165699

    • Treetop 15.1

      I like your style rational thinker when it comes to the PM being held over a barrel by Slater. Tolley would have been informed by (Bush) the commissioner of police. I do not think for a second that she would not have disclosed this to Key.

      Key is trying to steer clear of Sabin’s police file being used politically. Sabin jumped and Key thinks that this is now the end of the matter.

      I have got a question for Sabin.

      Did you tell Key personally about the police investigation and when?

    • Anne 15.2

      This is my first post on any blog…

      And a good one ‘rational thinking’. Welcome to the blogging world. We all have our differences of opinions but it’s a world where you never stop learning…

  16. Alpha 16

    Key said, ‘To the best of my recollection!”

    bull shit

    • Neil 16.1

      Sounds like Key speak for “I’m lying”
      If look back I think you will find every time Key has used that Phrase, he has been caught out lying.

      • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 16.1.1

        Memory-challenged Key says “to the best of his recollection” … L O L !

        Laffing very hard. That really tickles the credibility of his assertion!

  17. Neil 17

    Key will know more than he is letting on, one only has to look at Keys past form of being more than economical with the truth to the point where it is more aptly called lying. What I cant understand is how the media & the voting public let Key get away with it.

  18. adam 18

    No wonder the roast busters walked under this national government. Even future cabinet ministers can indulge in unsavoury behaviour, till it gets to much to keep a lid on.

  19. Neil 20

    Bugga this bit is behind a pay wall.

    NBR understands the PM was first made aware of the assault complaint in April last year, months before the September 20 ballot – and that the National Party knew before the 2011 election.

    • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 20.1

      For those of us who dipped into the Wellington bubble inhabitants, even in the month prior to the election, stories were circulating.

      One of the many reasons, in my opinion, why the light was not shining strongly on Sabin was because Collins was hogging it all.

      And even then, she could not last the distance and she had to be fired. But it was stage-managed so that the press conference to announce firing her was done at the time during one of the major super graveyard shift of the media lifecycle to absolutely minimise damage: 2pm on a Saturday.

    • Clemgeopin 20.2

      Key also used the words, “to be frank”…..another give away!

      “To be frank […] he was on the list of likely to be a minister, there was a real toss-up between him and a couple of other people who got in. That’s how confident we were or how lacking in knowledge of other issues that we were so it came as quite a shock to me when I was told about the family matters he was pursuing.”

      Key said he did not know when his chief of staff Wayne Eagleson knew of Mr Sabin’s issue!

      If that is the truth, then why not just ask Eagleson? Then SACK him for incompetence, all his other useless ‘advisers’ and crooked spin masters?

      Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/northland-by-election-date-set-2015020216#ixzz3QZD5kIlT

      To rephrase Walter Scott,

      “Oh what a tangled web he weaves,
      When first he practices to deceive!”

  20. Clemgeopin 21

    Labour leader Andrew Little is sceptical about when Mr Key would have known about Mr Sabin’s issues.

    “I don’t think it’s credible for him to say he didn’t know until the last week of Parliament,” he says.

    “That doesn’t line up with the information that was coming into my office at the time. I don’t think the Prime Minister is being straight on that. I think there was information circulating around, who knows whether it was rumour or whether it was substantiated, but there was information circulating around a lot longer than that.”

    If Mr Little became aware one of his MPs was under investigation, he says they would be stood down from any of their responsibilities which would be a conflict of interest or compromise the integrity or Parliament.

    Read more: http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/northland-by-election-date-set-2015020216#ixzz3QZ9AAe5V

  21. outofbed 22

    So after a bit of searching I found on what all the fuss was about and why the media are asking key when he knew. If key knew about this really yucky behaviour before the election and did nothing. Then he must go, abuse of this type cannot be tolerated under any curcumstance. Brook Sabin the tv3 reporter and the former mp,s son must be really under pressure. He probably should be taken off political reporting.

  22. tc 23

    Standards so high you have to get down on all fours with a magnifying glass.

  23. weizguy 24

    In a desperate attempt to deflect, Key used his interview on firstline this morning to bring up Helen Clark. When asked why Sabin wasn’t stood down (after he’d given us another reminder of how poorly he regards the Select Committee process) he helpfully mentioned that Helen Clark was investigated by Police while Prime Minister… and she didn’t step down.

    So gross.

  24. rawshark-yeshe 25

    Andrew Little advised Key’s office on Sabin before end of November …

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/65711498/labour-tipped-off-pm-over-mike-sabin-troubles-andrew-little

    Question time is going to be very interesting!

    • Alpha 25.1

      key said he was informed by chief of staff Wayne Eagleson early december, and says no-one in the National party knew prior to that. ! (Yeah, right!)

      Key said he hadn’t spoken to Sabin about the scandal ! (Yeah, right!)

      but Little suggested Key’s version does not quite stack up. (absolutely right)

    • alwyn 25.2

      I do like the bit where Little says
      “Little …. was confident he would have a record on file to show the contact between his office and the prime minister’s by November 28.”
      They left out the next words to McCarten.
      “Write it now!”.

    • Treetop 25.3

      Little needs to call for an inquiry. Sabin had leverage against Key IF Sabin told Key earlier than what Key says. The rumour would have been in two camps, the political and the police camp.

      Operational matters are left up to Bush. The police need to do their own inquiry to establish whether or not they were the source of the breach and to disclose whether or not the minister of police was informed and when. If Tolley was informed then an operational matter was disclosed.

      Due to there being an investigation by the police into an MP, (also an ex cop), Bush would need to make sure that Sabin’s file was stored securely.

  25. Paul 26

    Has this story the potential to bring down Key?

  26. rawshark-yeshe 27

    Confession 😀 .. I have just visited the blog we never visit but I don’t know how to share the kind of link where you can read it without actually visiting. Today there is some very harsh criticism of Key re Sabin. Actually, very damning of our beloved liar-in-chief who will be seriously displeased and disturbed about this, I am sure !

    Can someone else please post the right kind of link ?

    • lprent 27.1

      Whaleoil has stopped being on the automoderation list for a while. People stopped trying astroturf links to the site.

      However you can use http://www.donotlink.com/

    • Alpha 27.2

      yep, in the article CS says,

      -John Key has a rush of ‘shit’ in his brains.

      also says,
      – National has known about this issue for months, but sat there on the info.

      -he doesn’t believe key.

      -says Key pulls his best Sgt Schultz impression and declares he knew nothing.

      -says the issue didn’t come as a shock to key. says it is pure unadulterated bullshit.

      -says that key has just, with that one statement, ‘bled away a considerable amount of caucus support. The mutterings in caucus can be heard here in Auckland’.

      -in comments he says that key is lying and the sabin information was NOT kept at arm’s length from key!

      -says ‘John Key is going to have to lift his game or he is going to be in serious trouble. Then ends article by asking this very strange or significant question :
      “Would John Key have left a wife beater in a senior party position? Or would that be a surprise to him AS WELL?”!

      • Treetop 27.2.1

        I’m no lawyer (stop laughing).

        Could Sabin say that his case was being prejudiced by Slater and ask for it to be thrown out?

        or

        Defamation by Slater?

        Wonder who Sabin’s lawyer will be?

        Wonder if cops will charge him?

        If incident occurred in 2011, it is now 2015. The time it has taken and will take, smells of stage managing. (Bush would have had to have taken into account the political fallout and Bush was appointed by the government).

    • Treetop 27.3

      Exposing a taboo!

  27. tracey 28

    tv1 just managed to mention it last night…

    if key goes down, hard to imagine, ms collins steps up to joyce. slater motivation bearing in mind pay back double.

    btw sabin is innocent of any crime til proven guilty

    • Treetop 28.1

      “btw sabin is innocent of any crime til proven guilty.”

      Stepping down as chairman of the law and order select committee is one thing, resigning from parliament and forcing a by election so soon after a general election is another matter.

      I think that Sabin could not stay because of having to keep up with the lie and it would be too easy to be caught out or to expose Key.

      Possibly Sabin wanted to avoid the inevitable of being found guilty and then resigning.

      • Kiwiri - Raided of the Last Shark 28.1.1

        What will come through the wash will be too damaging to soldier on or brush aside. So, instead of being stood down, cut to the chase now.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 28.2

      If the prominent New Zealander’s disputed facts hearing is relevant that means he pled guilty, doesn’t it?

  28. Pete George 29

    It’s getting murkier, but a wee exchange at Whale Oil:

    caochladh
    Amongst all this rhetoric, supposition, innuendo and second guessing, where is the primary evidence to prove any of it?

    Pete
    We aren’t allowed to tell you.

    stanace
    Well if you are not allowed to tell us, would JK not have been in the same position, ie would not be allowed to do anything about it?

    http://www.whaleoil.co.nz/2015/02/earth-going-john-keys-mind/#comment-1831426186
    (A different Pete)

    • Te Reo Putake 29.1

      🙄

    • weka 29.2

      Jesus, that comment requires all sorts of special 🙄

    • freedom 29.3

      Helping to build the PM’s defensive line are we? 🙄

      -maybe instead of wasting our time, you could spend some time looking for relevant videos for your own blog instead of just throwing up whatever. Took exactly five seconds on google to find the Python Skit you probably didn’t bother looking for 😎

    • Tracey 29.4

      so pete when was the suppression order made and key could have said “i cant cos it is sub judice” couldnt he?

  29. Pete George 30

    when was the suppression order made

    I don’t know. Does anyone know? There was blanket suppression of something in court last week but does anyone know if that was putting suppression in place or extending it?

    and key could have said “i cant cos it is sub judice” couldnt he?””

    That sounds like the sensible approach to me. It’s hard to fathom why Key is handling/mishandling this they way he is. Looks poor even if he turns out to be not very wrong overall. One day this sort of behaviour from Key will precipitate his political demise. Perhaps he thinks he can always get away with it because he has so far but one time it will prove to be unrecoverable, and his accumulated record will play a significant part in that.

    • Clemgeopin 30.1

      It is not sub judice to state WHEN he was informed that there was a police investigation against his MP who was the chairman of the law and order committee. If he took the line you are suggesting, then that too would have been another lie from Key.

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