Below is a full text of John Key’s apology this morning:
Firstly, let me say what a tremendous honour and privilege it is to be a member of this parliament.
I entered politics because, like all members, I wanted to make a difference and make our country a better place.
I am in awe of those in the House who made this nation of ours what it is. I am immensely proud to be a member of this parliament.
However, I am not proud of my actions on Tuesday May 7.
First, I want to offer my apologies to the Labour Party and Greens.
I am sorry for claiming that they rorted the citizens initiated referendum system by presenting a petition with 101,000 bogus signatures.
This was rude and arrogant of me, especially when the very next day it turned out that barely a quarter of those who pre-registered for Mighty River Power shares took up the offer.
If there was a dickhead that day it was me.
If there was a petard hoisted yesterday it was mine.
I have written to David Shearer and Dr Russel Norman offering them my unreserved apologies. I was out of line.
Nobody deserves to be accused of dishonesty, corruption or wrongdoing in the absence of any evidence. I accept now that that the volunteers taking petition signatures had no practicable way of verifying the identity or electoral roll status of those people signing.
Just as I hope Labour and the Greens accept that the failure of most people who pre-registered for the Mighty River Power float to take up the offer doesn’t really signify much, and that these games political parties play over numbers make us all look like clowns.
I behaved badly and I crossed the line. It will probably happen again.
Secondly, I want to apologise to the National Party and all other MPs in parliament.
My actions were unbecoming and embarrassing. I’ve learned a tough lesson, one that I will probably forget soon enough.
Thirdly, I want to apologised to my wife, family and friends. This past week has been one of mild embarrassment for them, and I’m sorry for any slight inconvenience my actions have caused, though I guess they must be used to it by now.
I still believe I have a contribution to make to this parliament, and I hope I can put this lapse in judgement behind me.
Finally, if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that I need to operate my life with far more dignity, humility and grace.