“His appointment was made by the State Services Commissioner,” Key told Parliament on 27 March.

He later denied remembering meeting Fletcher during their school days together, although conceded they “may well” have met.

Key claimed to not be able to recall the phone call he made to Fletcher in which he asked whether Fletcher would be interest in the job.

Responding to allegations that he had “lied by omission” Key said: “I 15 seconds, with no warning, on a process that happened 18 months ago.

“What I should have done, and what I will be doing in the future, is saying, well, the member needs to put that down to me in writing, and I’ll be doing that to the journalists as well,

“If you want perfection of everything I have done, two, three, four, five years ago, I will get you all that information for you, but I’ll get you the whole lot and give it to you.”

Key refused to name any of the other candidates he had inline for the role.

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