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Goff complains to SIS about PM's briefing claim

Published: 6:42AM Monday July 25, 2011 Source: Newstalk ZB/ONE News

Labour leader Phil Goff denies he was briefed on the SIS investigation into suspicions that Israeli backpackers were spying in Christchurch.

Goff is furious over the Prime Minister's entire handling of the affair, including claims yesterday that the Labour leader was kept in the loop.

Goff insists he was not briefed before, during or after the investigation and says he has texted the head of the SIS to complain about John Key's comments.

Key told TVNZ's Q A programme yesterday: "I personally didn't brief him, but my understanding from the director of SIS, Warren Tucker, is that he was briefed and he was shown the same note and report that I saw."

Goff told The Dominion Post that Key was wrong.

"I have not received that report, I have not seen any report, I was not aware of the allegations," Goff said.

Key has admitted he didn't handle initial questions on the scandal last week, very well.

"Sometimes you don't get it perfectly right in the first moment," he told reporters in Washington, saying he later realised the impression he had first left "wasn't sustainable".

Goff said the prime minister's comment on the killings in Norway were also wrong.

Key told reporters after learning the news that if it is an act of global terrorism, it shows that no country large or small is immune from that risk "and that's why New Zealand's played its part in Afghanistan".

Goff said: "I'm sorry, the appalling murders in Norway have nothing to do with Afghanistan. They had a lot to do with a Right-wing, probably psychopathic, zealot who is anti-immigration."

He said the prime minister has to understand the responsibilities of his office and cannot "mouth off" without checking his facts first.