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Key Goes for Leadership - Bags Book He Hasn't Read

Key Goes for Leadership - Slams Book He Hasn't Read

National's Finance spokesperson John Key told reporters that he would be putting forward his name for the leadership of the National Party following Dr Don Brash's resignation as leader of the National Party this afternoon.

Mr Key told the assembled media that Dr Brash's resignation had nothing to do with the fact that investigative journalist Nicky Hager had written a (currently legally suppressed) book charting Dr Brash's time as Leader of the National Party.

The book titled 'The Hollow Men' which contains emails and documents leaked from within the National Party is unable to be read by anyone in New Zealand due to the fact that Dr Brash sought and received a High Court injunction blocking publication of material leaked from his office.

Mr Key attacked Mr Hager's book as a work of fiction. When Mr Key was asked by Scoop if he had read the book he replied he had not.

"All I can tell you is that I am totally confident that Mr Hager has made about me are totally incorrect. I stand by any public statement I have made in the past," stated Mr Key.

According to the table of contents of 'The Hollow Men' - which has been released to the media - Chapter One deals with National's uneasy relationship with the Christian fundamentalist sect the Exclusive Brethren.

Mr Key when asked if he had been contacted last year with offers of campaign support by the Exclusive Brethren told the assembled media that he had not had any campaign support from the Brethren.

Later Mr Key clarified exactly what contacts he had with the Exclusive Brethren.

"The first meeting with the Exclusive Brethren was in my capacity as a constituency MP. The [Brethren}came as committed Christians who cared about economic policy. That was the time I introduced them to the Sunday documentary. When they came out to speak to me they talked about two things. The first was their ideas about the economy but [they] mostly talked about their ideas about Defence – which was to increase Defence spending to 5% of GDP."

"The only other contact I had with them - other than at public meetings where they came up to me… I don't know that they were Brethren but they said they were praying for me and praying for the party so I'll make the assumption that they were from the Brethren Church . [The only time] other than that was when they came up to my caravan - not with a formal appointment - to talk about health policy five weeks from the election. They were the only meetings I had and I did not receive any letter correspondence from the Brethren. [I did] receive one email from the Brethren and I received that on the Monday after they had come to my caravan [which was on the Saturday]."

Mr Key then cut short the press conference as the same time as he was asked for the second time whether he had received any offers of actual financial support from the Exclusive Brethren.

Listen to John Key talking to the media immediately after Dr Brash's resignation

Scoop Audio.Scoop Streaming Audio: John Key talks immediately after Dr Brash's resignation as National Party Leader

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