I would love to know what was really said between John Key and John Banks when they met over a “cuppa” last week, but on the other hand I have no right to know.
If the pair said anything remotely controversial while all those cameras were near, then they are idiots, and it would in many ways be just desserts for their conversation to be published.
But I don’t like the idea of people’s private conversations being recorded without their knowledge, regardless of the legal position.
Some people are claiming that it is in the public interest to know what was said because Key and Banks were discussing matters potentially critical to the make-up of the next parliament. But how many of those people now demanding a release of the recording would be comfortable if someone bugged a private conversation between Phil Goff and one of the Greens co-leaders during a public event?
I have no opinion on whether the recording was accidental or deliberate, and I suspect the only person who knows the truth of the matter is the freelancer who took the recording. If it was an accidental recording then the Herald on Sunday may have the legal right to publish details of what was said.
But the Herald on Sunday has said it will not publish details of what was said, which renders laughable the fervent claims by some National supporters that this is some sort of NOTW-style covert operation.
However, it may be in National’s interests to keep talking about this issue. A story like this that keeps the opposition parties off the headlines this close to an election can only be good for the governing party.