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What Todd Barclay did

The Wireless logo The Wireless 20/06/2017

A Newsroom investigation reveals secret recordings and blatant lies in the deep south.

A photo of Todd Barclay out in Queenstown with Bill English and John Key © Provided by Radio New Zealand Limited A photo of Todd Barclay out in Queenstown with Bill English and John Key Todd Barclay, right, out in Queenstown with Bill English and John Key


Today, an investigation by Newsroom journalist Melanie Reid revealed the web of lies and threats - and the payout from John Key’s office - that surrounded the resignation of three National Party employees in the Clutha-Southland constituency. 


According to documents obtained by Newsroom, National’s Todd Barclay, who became the area’s MP after the 2014 General Election, illegally recorded private conversations between Gore staffer Glenys Dickson and others - including her employer Parliamentary Services. 


Barclay has publically denied making the recordings. Quoting a talking Mr Spock toy from Big Bang Theory, he told one reporter who asked about the allegations: “I’m not going to dignify that with a response.” 


But a series of text messages obtained by Newsroom, between English and a National Party employee, suggest that English - who was Deputy Prime Minister at the time and was Clutha-Southland MP for 24 years - knew Barclay had made the recordings. 


The text messages revealed part of a payout to one of the victims came from the Prime Minister’s budget, suggesting that John Key, Prime Minister at the time, was also aware the recordings were made. 


But at the time, both English and Key said they were not bothered by the three Clutha-Southland resignations, with Key telling RNZ that staff changes in an electorate office were not unusual with a new MP, and that Barclay had his full confidence.


Dickson took allegations of the illegal recordings to police in February 2016. Barclay refused to speak with them as part of the investigation and in December, police announced there was insufficient evidence to lay charges.


Today’s Newsroom investigation also revealed a series of threats were made towards Dickson and her family, and to others who resigned as a result of the recordings. 


In one instance, Dickson says her phone rang late at night. A man at the other end of the line told her not to go to a National Party meeting, Newsroom reported. The caller followed up, saying, “your son’s partner is a pretty little girl.” 


In response to the revelations, English told reporters in parliament today that he couldn’t remember who told him Barclay had made the illegal recordings. 


Barclay continues to deny that he ever did so.




Ahead of 2014’s General Election, The Wireless profiled Todd Barclay, who at 24 years old was set to (and did) become New Zealand’s youngest member of parliament.  

You can read the story here, if you like. 

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