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.
Still waiting for the Taxpayers Union to condemn Mike Sabin for the cost of the by election he's forced #nzpol
— John P (@MrDuttonPeabody) January 30, 2015
And the media sense a change in position by Key.
Key now says he's known about Sabin's issues since December. As late as Friday, he refused to answer that exact question.
— Laura McQuillan (@mcquillanatorz) February 1, 2015
The positions are irreconcilable. Key needs to explain what he knew and when.