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PM won't say if Barclay recordings exist

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 26/06/2017 Karen Sweeney

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Confusion remains over whether Prime Minister Bill English believes the alleged recordings of staff members that National MP Todd Barclay offered to play him ever existed.

After providing conflicting views on the subject over the weekend, Mr English fronted the media on Monday afternoon unwilling to elaborate any further on the existence of the recordings.

It's six days since Mr English admitted Mr Barclay himself told him he had recordings of Gore electorate office staffer Glenys Dickson, who was involved in an employment dispute with the Clutha-Southland MP.

That admission and Mr Barclay's initial denial of it ultimately led to Mr Barclay standing down as candidate in the September election and his decision to retire from politics at the election.

Mr English on Saturday told TV3's The Nation that it was yet to be determined whether the tapes existed, while on Sunday admitted Mr Barclay had offered to play him the tapes.

Finance Minister Bill English is spending a few days in Australia talking to counterparts and finding out how the economy is getting along. © Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images Finance Minister Bill English is spending a few days in Australia talking to counterparts and finding out how the economy is getting along. On Monday Mr English rejected that the statements reflect two different positions and was unwilling to declare one way or the other whether he believed the recordings exist.

"I don't have anything to add to what's already been said," he said.

"There's been the police have had 10 months to have a look at that and any other detailed issue and they've come to their own conclusion which is evident to everybody."

Police spent 10 months investigating whether Mr Barclay obtained the recordings illegally but closed the case without laying charges after determining there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.

They're now considering whether new information will lead to re-opening the investigation.

Mr English said he had not been contacted by police in the last week, nor had he sought legal advice about his knowledge of recordings.

"No I haven't sought legal advice. There's no need to," he said.

"Again I have nothing to add to what's been said. Are there questions on anything else?"

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