A clusterf**k

Stuff reports:

The manipulative killer on the run in South America is now playing mind games through his New Zealand lawyer, police believe.

Phillip John Smith, 40, who fled the country while on temporary release from Springhill prison in Waikato, has contacted human rights lawyer Tony Ellis by email from Brazil saying he wants to make a media statement tomorrow, and telling his victims not to be concerned about their safety.

He was sending encrypted emails so his location could not be identified, Ellis said.

Authorities in Chile say Smith never entered that country after flying from Auckland to Santiago on Thursday. He took another plane to Sao Paulo, and then to Rio de Janeiro.

There are several inquiries underway, but to say the least, it it totally unacceptable that Smith managed to get a passport and leave NZ. Also the decision to give him temporary release looks a very bad one, albeit with hindsight.

Also Stuff reports:

Prime Minister John Key has apologised unreservedly to the family of ’s victims for his flippant comments yesterday.

And he announced overnight the government was also considering if a ministerial inquiry should be held into how Smith was able to flee the country.

Key had talked on Monday about fugitive killer Smith having “done a runner” and had said he would tell Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, whose country Smith was thought to be in: “I’ll just let her know that someone could be out there from New Zealand she may not want to invite round for lunch.”

An insensitive joke.

The family of the man the escaped killer had killed and the boy he had abused said they were revolted by Key’s joke and disgusted that he laughed about it.

Speaking to reporters at the Apec summit in Beijing, Key said he was sorry.

“Obviously it was a very poorly placed attempt at humour and I regret that and I unreservedly apologise.”

“I just misinterpreted the question,” he said.

He said he “absolutely” apologised to the family. They deserved a personal apology from him, and if they wanted one, “I am more than happy to give that to them.”

When you stuff up, apologise.

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