New Zealand leader faces questions over alleged secret tapes

Gladys Abbott
June 20, 2017

Scrutiny should also be given to statements Mr Barclay has made to media today.

In this March 21, 2017 photo, New Zealand member of parliament, Todd Barclay takes a drink of water during question time in Parliament, Wellington, New Zealand.

Both Prime Minister Bill English and MP Todd Barclay have made a complete u-turn over allegations that Mr Barclay secretly recorded a staff member.

Facing media, Mr English repeatedly said he could not recall who told him about the secret recording, but said it was possible that information had come from Mr Barclay.

"I had a conversation with him (Mr Barclay) regarding Glenys Dickson leaving his office and he said to me that he had recordings of her criticising him", Mr English told police.

University of Otago law Professor Andrew Geddis told Larry Williams if someone accidentally records someone, without realising - keeping that recording is not illegal.

"I've seen the allegations and I totally refute them", he said.

Reading from a prepared statement, Barclay said it was important he clarify his earlier statements to media.

"I am sorry if any of the answers I gave this morning were misleading in any way".

He was unable to comment further for "legal reasons" but says the legal dispute has been resolved and is the subject of a confidentiality agreement.

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A spokeswoman for Parliamentary Service declined to answer questions, saying it did not comment on employment issues or police investigations. He would not confirm what he told police.

He is using that as political cover saying police "investigated quite thoroughly", and until the Newsroom story, the matter had been largely laid to rest.

"All I know is the police investigation has come to an end, they have released some information about it, the matter is closed".

A Newsroom investigation has revealed a series of texts between Mr English and the electorate chairman Stuart Davie in February 2016 about the recording, which were detailed in police documents. "The settlement was larger than normal because of the privacy breach". "Everyone unhappy", English wrote in one text, according to Newsroom.

Mr English has long denied talking to anyone directly involved in the employment dispute, despite himself being the former Clutha-Southland MP with close relationships with all involved including Ms Dickson who worked in the office for almost two decades.

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