21 Jun 2017

Todd Barclay scandal 'an absolute disgrace' - Little

11:06 am on 21 June 2017

National MP Todd Barclay has disgraced himself as an MP and should resign, Labour Party leader Andrew Little says.

Left to right: Bill English, Todd Barclay, Andrew Little

Left to right: Bill English, Todd Barclay, Andrew Little Photo: RNZ

The Clutha-Southland MP denied making recordings of staff in his electorate office or speaking to Prime Minister Bill English about it, only to apologise later in the day for making misleading statements.

Despite the apology, Mr Barclay has shown no intention of resigning.

Pressure is also mounting on Mr English over his handling of the controversy.

Mr Little told Morning Report it was clear Mr Barclay had lost the trust and confidence of the people who elected him to Parliament.

"This could not be more serious. This is an absolute disgrace, it's an absolute shambles.

"This could not be worse for people in government, a prime minister and a backbench MP."

Mr Barclay told reporters yesterday he should have handled the situation better. "I have read Mr English's statement to the police and accept it," he said.

Mr English is also under scrutiny for downplaying the affair over many months and again yesterday morning, saying he couldn't recall who told him about the matter, despite having made a statement to police.

The prime minister yesterday afternoon released his April 2016 statement to police in which he said Mr Barclay told him he had recordings of an electorate staff member criticising him.

"Bill English has known all along and it's pretty clear the person who told him about those recordings was Todd Barclay," Mr Little said. "It was never credible for him to say even as at yesterday morning that he did not know who told him about them."

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters also said Mr Barclay should go.

"I can't believe he's still there given that the National Party knew about it a long time ago," he said.

Police have closed their investigation into the complaint about the recordings but yesterday said officers would assess any new information brought to their attention.

In a statement, police said Mr Barclay did not want to be interviewed during the investigation of the February 2016 complaint. Mr English had given a statement and key witnesses had been interviewed.