The Press

More revelation­s threatened as Nats hunt perpetrato­r

- Colin Espiner Political editor

The source of secret recordings of National MPs is threatenin­g further revelation­s, despite the party vowing to hunt him down and prosecute.

TV3 reported last night that the man who made the recordings of senior National MPs Bill English, Lockwood Smith and Nick Smith had still more tapes made at a private cocktail function during National’s annual conference in Wellington.

TV3 reported it had spoken again to the source who ‘‘wants to lie low’’ at the moment but ‘‘may release more recordings at a later date’’.

National claims it is hot on the perpetrato­r’s tail, with several MPs at the function recalling a well-dressed young man asking plenty of questions.

Smith said yesterday he would recognise again the man whom he said kept asking him about his views on nuclear power.

The party has been poring through television footage of the conference and of a protest outside the event but as yet cannot pinpoint who may have been responsibl­e.

The Scoop website claims to have published the first audio tape before TV3, but reporter Kevin List yesterday denied any part in what he said was a ‘‘a witch hunt’’ to find the ‘‘poor young chap’’ involved.

It appears National’s chances of prosecutio­n depend largely on closed-circuit television camera footage of the cocktail party in the Wellington Town Hall, however, and the party has been unable to obtain it.

Wellington City Council owns the town hall and is reluctant to release the tapes without taking legal advice. Council spokesman Richard Mac- Lean said footage was not normally given out, except to police. There were privacy concerns about releasing footage and the council was seeking a legal opinion on its obligation­s under the Official Informatio­n Act.

Party leader John Key told The Press that National would not let the matter drop and if necessary would go to court to get the footage.

In Parliament, deputy Labour leader Michael Cullen said Key had ‘‘no basis in fact’’ for blaming Labour for the recordings, which he described as ‘‘an unorchestr­ated litany of truth’’ about what National really planned to do if in office.

Labour also ridiculed Key’s claim that Labour was behind the turning over of the rubbish bins outside his electorate office, with Correction­s Minister Phil Goff producing a large photograph of a dog, which Goff described as ‘‘the prime suspect’’ in the rubbish bin mystery.

Goff also mocked Key for his suggestion that the secret recordings had been ‘‘doctored’’.

The Press can confirm that the tapes were edited by the person who made the recordings to remove his own voice from them.

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