Published: Tue, June 20, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

New Zealand leader faces questions over alleged secret tapes

New Zealand leader faces questions over alleged secret tapes

Prime Minister Bill English has known for more than a year that National MP Todd Barclay had secret recordings of staff conversations.

Mr Barclay yesterday denied making secret recordings or telling Mr English about them - only for Mr English to reveal he had informed police Mr Barclay had told him he left a dictaphone running in his electorate office and had recordings of his staff.

"The biggest threat to his career is that he is saying things that directly contradict his Prime Minister".

Embroiled in an embarrassing electorate staffing dispute, the National MP has thought again about whether he told Bill English about a secret recording he had of his staff bagging him.

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Three months away from an election, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English is facing awkward questions about how he handled a lawmaker who is accused of making secret recordings and then lying about what he did. Whether he feels able to continue now that he's in a position where his word appears to directly contradict his Prime Minister's - that'll be a judgement call for him but I also suspect for his party.

Just hours later, Mr English's office released a copy of the prime minister's statement to the police on April 27, 2016.

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"Yeah, he said he had just left the dictaphone on", Mr English said.

Barclay told reporters early Tuesday that he was aware of the allegations and "totally refute them", a statement that echoed earlier denials.

Labour leader Andrew Little says the behaviour is unacceptable for a political figure.

In BUSINESS PULSE poll, which has been open since midday, 82% of readers say Mr Barclay should go.

"I read Mr English's comments to the police and accept it, the period in question was a very stressful one as I was in the midst of a hard employment dispute".

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Ms Dickson had previously worked for Mr English, who held Mr Barclay's Clutha-Southland seat for 18 years before becoming a list MP. "The settlement was larger than normal because of the privacy breach".

It is illegal for anybody to intentionally record private communications which they are not a part of.

"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.

"Given Mr English was my predecessor for Clutha Southland, I no doubt spoke to him as the dispute escalated". "The police conducted an investigation", English said.

Those statements were made after Mr English had texted Mr Davie. "I can't override that", Mr English said.

Mr Chambers said there was not enough evidence to seek search warrants during the Barclay investigation.

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