Key spoke to Cameron Slater ‘not as Prime Minister’, but as a sponge

Cameron Slater (left), and John Key (right), presumably in his capacity as a kitchen sponge.

Cameron Slater (left), and John Key (right), presumably in his capacity as a kitchen sponge.

Facing fresh criticism about the details of his relationship with Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater, Prime Minister John Key today claimed that, on the occasions he spoke with Mr. Slater, he did not do so in his capacity as Prime Minister, nor leader of the National Party, nor even as a human being.

“On those occasions where I have had dialogue with Cameron, for a variety of reasons, it was never, to my memory, in my capacity as Prime Minister,” Key told Parliament this afternoon. “I spoke to Cameron Slater not as myself, but as a sponge.”

Pressed by acting opposition leader David Parker, Key clarified that, in his conversations with the blogger, he was “more of a kitchen sponge” and “not so much something you’d find in the shower or bath.”

Key refused to comment on the content on those conversations, saying it was “irrelevant” and “not indicative.”

“I think most New Zealanders would agree that, you know, if you find yourself at 11pm talking to a sponge, well, you’ve probably had a good night out, to be honest.

“But frankly, I don’t think you’d take anything you said to your sponge seriously. I mean, I know I didn’t.”

Green Party cochlear leader Russel Norman sought to table a sponge, in relation to an apparently unrelated political point.

The Prime Minister’s explanation evokes memories of when former Labour leader David Cunliffe earlier this year addressed the media not as himself, but as a liar.