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Key may face more teapot tape accusations

Wednesday 16 Nov 2011 7:12 a.m.

By Peter Wilson, Political Writer

Prime Minister John Key could face more damaging accusations that he made derogatory comments about older New Zealanders during the secret teapot tape recording.

Mr Key's private conversation with ACT's Epsom candidate John Banks was recorded on Friday when a radio microphone was left on a cafe table, and later given to a newspaper.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says he knows what is on the tape, and he's making the most of it on the campaign trail as he woos the Grey Power vote.

• Live updates from the election campaign – click here

Mr Key is in damage control, refusing to talk about what he said to Mr Banks and unable to refute Mr Peters' accusations without revealing details of the conversation.

Mr Peters is taking part in a TV debate with other minor party leaders on Wednesday night and could use that to launch another attack on Mr Key.

On Tuesday he told a public meeting attended mostly by elderly people that the tape proved what Mr Key really thought of older New Zealanders.

"What you're going to hear in these tapes is what some young turkey thinks of your efforts and your sacrifices," he said.

"It's that some people think they're superior to you just because you're going grey - that doesn't show much gratitude, does it."

3 News, which has a transcript of the conversation, asked Mr Key whether he talked to Mr Banks about NZ First's diminishing support and linked that with the age of its supporters.

It reported Mr Key had said in the past that Mr Peters' supporters were "dying" and that was why the party wouldn't make five per cent of the party vote.

Mr Key said he couldn't remember what was said, and turned down TV3's offer to give him a transcript to refresh his memory.

NZ First is polling up to four per cent in some surveys and if Mr Peters can get traction with his teapot tape accusations he could make it back into parliament, where he hasn't been for the last three years.

Freelance cameraman Bradley Ambrose left his radio microphone on the table in the cafe where Mr Key met Mr Banks on Friday.

Ambrose says the conversation was recorded inadvertently and gave it to the Herald on Sunday.

Mr Key on Monday laid a complaint with the police, who have warned the media that publication would be an offence which carries a two year jail sentence.

NZN

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