Heat on missing-in-action National MP Todd Barclay to quit and front up to police inquiry video

JOHN HAWKINS/STUFF

PM Bill English talks about MP Todd Barclay.

Prime Minister Bill English says he's expecting MP Todd Barclay back in Parliament next week.

The temperature has been turned up on the National Party's MP this weekend, with mayors in his Clutha-Southland electorate saying he should either show up to work or quit – and he should front up to a police inquiry.

Despite claims from Barclay and senior Government whip Jami-Lee Ross that Barclay had been hard at work, the only time he's been seen in public since announcing his resignation was when he was spotted at the Pig and Whistle pub in Queenstown last week.

Clutha Southland MP Todd Barclay is back under police investigation.
STACEY KIRK/STUFF

Clutha Southland MP Todd Barclay is back under police investigation.

Police want to talk to him about allegations he secretly recorded the phone conversations of his electorate staff member Glenys Dickson, in an ugly falling out.

READ MORE:
* Jonathan Milne: Why the Prime Minister is caught in a bind
Authority receives complaint into police handling of Barclay inquiry
He's making $3000 a week but will Todd Barclay return to Parliament?
Todd Barclay fronts after revelations of secret recording
Strange goings on in Southland

According to a Stuff source, phone records show Dickson was in constant contact with English as she prepared an employment grievance against Barclay.

Prime Minister Bill English and senior Government whip Jami-Lee Ross are sending mixed message on whether Todd Barclay ...
PJ TAYLOR/STUFF

Prime Minister Bill English and senior Government whip Jami-Lee Ross are sending mixed message on whether Todd Barclay will return to Parliament after recess.

She had previously worked for English when he was the local MP, and the two are said to have communicated by phone or text message up to 10 times a day as relations with Barclay deteriorated.

Dickson received a settlement paid in part from then Prime Minister John Key's leader's budget, on condition she stayed silent. But after English revealed last month that he had been told of the covert recordings, Barclay announced he would step aside as an MP at September's general election.

From the day he flew out of Wellington through to election day, September 23, he will run up an estimated $90,431 in salary and allowances, including three months' gardening leave for retiring MPs.

Clutha District mayor Bryan Cadogan says Todd Barclay should do the "honourable thing" and make a statement to the police.
SUPPLIED

Clutha District mayor Bryan Cadogan says Todd Barclay should do the "honourable thing" and make a statement to the police.

In addition, he will continue to charge his flights, taxis and accommodation back to the taxpayer.

Ad Feedback

Our reporters on the ground have documented Barclay's electorate work since June 21. He has not returned to Parliament, he did not turn up to the National Party conference, he has not turned up to any of his scheduled public events in Southland, he has not been sighted at any of his three offices in the large electorate, he has cancelled his local newspaper columns, and he has spoken publicly only three times – each time through a spokeswoman or by text message.

The third occasion was to Stuff for this article.

"I remain the MP until the 2017 Election and, until then, I'm committed and passionate about being actively engaged in issues, looking out for the people of Clutha-Southland's interests and advocating on their behalf," he said.

"As for whether I return to Wellington or not, I still haven't made a decision. Bearing in mind there are a number of other MPs every day who have leave from Parliament, some for extended periods, for a wide range of reasons. So it is not unusual."

But the excuses rang hollow in his electorate. Aileen Clarke, who owns the Catlins Cafe in Owaka, said resentment was building in their community, and that taxpayers shouldn't be paying Barclay's salary when he didn't seem to be doing anything.

Barclay hadn't visited the town since the day before the scandal broke. "He's always been a Queenstown person. And we feel that he wasn't representing us."

"I think the best thing to do under the circumstances would be to resign and stop getting the money."

Clutha District mayor Bryan Cadogan said Barclay should do the "honourable thing" and make a statement to the police.

Southland mayor Gary Tong said he had not seen Barclay at any events recently, and would like to talk to Barclay face-to-face about whether he should resign or return to Parliament. 

"I've got to be honest and say I don't know what he's up to out in the community."

Barclay's only defender was Queenstown Lakes mayor Jim Boult, who said he had spoken to Barclay "a couple of times" since the MP announced his resignation on June 21. 

"From where I sit, he continues to do his job and do his best for the people of our district."

As the Government faces mounting anger over continuing to pay Barclay's salary for no apparent return, senior whip Jami-Lee Ross said Barclay had made no decision on whether to return to Wellington for the final sitting weeks of Parliament. 

He said he was assured Barclay was working on constituency business and had been into his electorate office.

But challenged on whether he's seen any evidence of Barclay doing any work, he admitted: "I don't audit what MP do in their electorates. I take them at their word."

The Prime Minister returned home to Invercargill this weekend. Again, there was no sign of Barclay. 

Despite Barclay and Ross's insistence no decision had been made about a return to Parliament, English was firm about his expectations. 

Asked whether he expected Barclay to return to Parliament after the school holidays recess, English said yes. "I assume he will turn up at some stage." 

He had advised Barclay to co-operate with the police investigation, he reiterated.

The MP was committed to continue working for his constituents, English said. "But, as I said, as we get closer to the election the focus will pretty quickly shift to the new candidate once they're selected." 

Mark Patterson, a disillusioned former National Party electorate committee member who is now running for NZ First, claimed Barclay's denials had been enabled by the National Party and the police. 

"Todd should stand down immediately as he has no credibility to carry on. It will be extremely difficult for him to execute his duties with any effect. He will be lame duck receiving a generous salary and expenses."

HITS AND MISSES: WHERE'S TODDY?

The MP has missed many public events in the past month, including MP's visits to his electorate, and has been absent from the House and select committees. Allowing for a pay rise backdated to July 1, Barclay will be paid at a rate $170,000pa plus a $17,000 expense allowance during his final three months in Parliament.

Weds, June 21: Parliament was sitting and Barclay was in Wellington when he announced his resignation following revelations of the alleged taping of a staffer, which also engulfed PM Bill English.

Thurs, June 22: Parliament sitting. According to his media diary, the last his parliamentary office posted, Barclay was to have hosted Tourism Minister Paula Bennett in Queenstown and attended the Queenstown Winter Festival opening. He was to have met with tourism stakeholders and community leaders.

Fri, June 23: He was to have continued hosting Bennett, attended the winter festival, a business lunch and facilitated an Otago-Southland mayor's meeting, and gone on business visits to Glenorchy. Mirror and Clutha Leader community newspapers were informed that delivery of Barclay's periodic column would be postponed.

Weekend, June 24-25: National Party Conference. He didn't show.

June 26-28: Movements unknown.

Thurs, June 29: Expected to accompany Prime Minister Bill English when he spoke to the Property Institute conference in Queenstown. The Prime Minister's flight was cancelled due to poor weather and there was no sign of Barclay.

June 30-July 1: Movements unknown

Sun, July 2: Housing Minister Nick Smith was in Queenstown to sign a new Housing Accord. No sign of Barclay, but was quoted in a press release welcoming the $50 million infrastructure boost.

Mon, July 3: The last confirmed sighting at the Pig and Whistle pub in Queenstown, on Monday afternoon.

Tues, July 4: Movements unknown.

Weds, July 5: Did not show at the Education and Science Committee, of which is deputy chairman.

Thurs, July 6: Movements unknown.

Fri, July 7: Absent from a National Party fundraiser in Queenstown, which deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett attended. Senior Government whip Jami-Lee Ross said Barclay "had been away for the last couple of weeks".

July 8-10: Movements unknown.

Tues, July 11: Replied to an email from a Stuff journalist, expressing disappointment at the Clutha District Council's lack of engagement.

Weds, July 12: An unconfirmed sighting of his vehicle was made at the Gore electoral office, but no sign of him. Barclay sent texts to a Stuff reporter expressing his disappointment at the reporting of the Tourism Infrastructure Fund and Clutha District Council issue, and how he felt he was portrayed.

Thurs, July 13: Movements unkown.

Fri, July 14: Southern Dairy Hub opening; Bill English was to have opened this but flight was diverted. No sign of Barclay there, but he replied by text message to questions from Stuff.

 - Sunday Star Times

Comments

Ad Feedback
special offers
Auckland

Live: Storm shifts south

Here it comes - the low pressure system nears the country in this MetService satellite image 6am on Thursday.

Low pressure system to soak Canterbury and Otago, with flooding and snow possible.

Power back on for Aucklanders

Traffic built up on Auckland's motorways on Thursday evening as commuters headed home through heavy wind gusts.

Weather warning lifted and electricity restored after strong winds batter region.

Govt apology on passport fraud

Paul Sisson said he hit a brick wall with the Department of Internal Affairs when he complained about alleged passport fraud.

DIA promises to investigate complaint about suspected international money scam.

From loss to blessings video

Emma Farry, author of book 'Beloved' at Muriwai beach where she lives.

A Muriwai author helped deal with loss of her mother by sitting on a rock at the beach.

Wellington

Fraudster's home to be sold

Former Tenths Trust chairman and Te Puni Kokiri chief executive Sir Ngatata Love is serving a jail term for obtaining by ...

Police win order to sell Ngatata Love and Lorraine Skiffington's "tainted" home.

Ngauranga tunnel plan

Ohariu MP Peter Dunne, who is also leader of United Future, suggests a Ngauranga tunnel could run parallel to the main ...

United Future leader Peter Dunne proposes 4km route in case gorge road shuts.

Island Bay cycleway, the sequel

Former Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown cycles along the controversial first section of the Island Bay cycleway (file ...

Some Wellingtonians already worried about plans to extend the Island Bay cycleway.

Tree branch crashes near brothers

The macrocarpa branch fell over the footpath and on to Golf Rd.

"The whole side of the tree fell down," say pair walking near Kapiti golf course.

Canterbury

Conman faked his death

Wayne Eaglesome, alive and well, outside one of his backpackers last year.

Millionaire "Alex Newman" needed super yacht staff. Then he "died", leaving all to charity.

'Something sinister'

Police working on the case of missing Christchurch builder Michael McGrath are asking for sightings of a late 1990s ...

Michael McGrath's brother believes the missing man met "something sinister" as police appeal for car sightings.

Concerns for missing woman

Canterbury Police are looking for 34 year old Melissa Jane Dalgety. She was last seen on Thursday morning and is ...

Police have concerns for the welfare of a woman missing in Canterbury.

Labour to rid contentious fire rule

Labour's Rangitata candidate Jo Luxton.

Rule banning use of woodburners 15 years or older would be scrapped under Labour.

Waikato

Homes, sections shrink

Council rules allow duplexes to be built on a 400sqm section.

At one Hamilton development, 14 semi-detached homes are being built on a section that could accommodate five stand-alone homes.

Sanctions hit kids

Green Party co-leader Metiria Turei says the policy "is clearly not working because so many women are not complying".

Nearly 20,000 children are paying the price for the government's benefit policy.

Dam lowered ahead of weather

The Matahina Dam expects to operate normally thanks to lowering lake levels ahead of the storm.

There is plenty of rain, but there is also plenty of room in Lake Matahina.

Dancer stars in Psy's video video

Psy performs Gangnam Style at the 40th American Music Awards.

A Hamilton 12-year-old dances in Gangnam Style star's latest music video.

Taranaki

Mark makes food his living

A Fridge specialty is manuka smoked salmon.

New Plymouth butcher Mark Wormald talks about his life in the trade.

Best mate's brutal blow

A Taranaki man pleaded guilty in the New Plymouth District Court to a serious assault on his best friend. (File Photo)

He admitted he was stealing from his mate and for his honesty he was punched in the head.

Mary Poppins brings smiles

Mary Poppins finds a treat in her magic bag for Xavier Pike.

The visit went down in the most delightful way - "it's not every day Mary Poppins pops in to visit."

New festival coming

Chefs from the Hobson Hotel's Governors Eatery and Bar will take part in a new food and drink festival in New Plymouth ...

Taranaki's food and beverages to be showcased at new festival.

Manawatu

Greening the gullies up

The Mangaotane Reserve on the outskirts of Palmerston North in 2015 showing the results of native planting by the Green ...

A native planting project had matured into a winner with the birds.

Link broken by neglect

The Saddle Rd is restricted to one east-bound lane during the day as upgrades are carried out.

A Massey University academic is blaming a lack of planning from the authorities for the current Manawatu Gorge woes.

Email interception confirmed

Chief executive David Clapperton and Mayor Michael Feyen are at loggerheads over email blocking revelations at the ...

Emails from councilors not blocked but "quarantined and vetted", council says.

Two-car crash in Woodville

A two-car crash in Woodville injured three people.

Three people are in hospital, one with serious injuries, after a two-car crash in Woodville.

Nelson

Shipwreck danger

The wreck of the Janie Seddon on Motueka's foreshore.

A wooden prop holds up the stern, but children still love climbing it. 

Land grab off to court

Lindsay McKenzie says compensation for the land required for the dam project is unlikely to exceed $2.5m on current ...

Landowners whose properties are earmarked for the proposed Waimea dam are heading to court.

Road layout unsafe?

Nelson City Councillor Tim Skinner with the new signage and curbing on Brook St.

New signage and road layout in the Brook is fuelling the cyclist-driver debate. 

Airport marks milestone video

Abby Nalder, the millionth passenger to arrive at Nelson Airport, is congratulated by her mother Kirsten.

Nelson Airport breaks 1 million passenger a year mark.

Marlborough

For the love of lawn

Blenheim lawn enthusiast Russell Bulfin likes to keep his grass as green and cleanly cut as possible.

Russell Bulfin's answer to perfect grass is simple: mow three times a week and fertilise monthly.

Fifteen people in crash

A minivan, ute and car crashed at the intersection of Alabama Rd and State Highway 1 about 5.30pm on Wednesday.

Minivan, car and ute crash at State Highway 1 intersection.

Funds to finish theatre

From left, theatre manager Andrew Scott, trustee Anton James, Kaikoura MP Stuart Smith, trustee Tim Leslie, trust vice ...

Government commits $900,000 to finish the ASB Theatre, in Blenheim, a year after it officially opened.

Truck company fined after crash

The truck drove down a bank near Ward, Marlborough, after the steering shaft detached.

The truck veered across the road, down a bank and into a swamp because its steering shaft was incorrectly installed.

South Canterbury

Wild weather on the way

Fire service Mid-South Canterbury assistant area manager Steven Greenyer said fire fighters, even those off duty on ...

Wild weather could bring half of South Canterbury's yearly rain fall to the region in one day.

Rain a 'real worry'

Residents encountered a foggy start to the day in Timaru on Wednesday.

Region prepares as a months' rainfall is expected for South Canterbury on Friday.

Labour to scrap fire rule

Labour's Rangitata candidate Jo Luxton.

Controversial rule banning use of old woodburners would be scrapped under Labour.

Jailed for 'predatory' behaviour

Judge Joanna Maze said Maze said Blair Beaumont had a "extraordinarily large amount of dishonesty offending".

Man jailed after gambling habit led him to a "very dark" place.

Southland

Army appealing for donations

Gerry Forde with a gnarly carrot from his community veggie garden where volunteers were growing vegetables to support 20 ...

The Spirit Army are appealing to the public for support as they look to support vulnerable families through winter.

Another speed record video

Watch: Lee Munro - great-nephew of Burt Munro - screams across California desert on high-powered custom Indian Scout

Fifty years after Burt Munro set a land speed record, his great-nephew emulates him.

Government gives oyster removal contracts to oyster farmers

Farmed Oysters removed from Stewart Island being unloaded in Bluff under MPI supervision.

The Government is awarding oyster removal contracts to oyster farmers to support them as they lose their livelihoods.

SBS looks to the future

SBS Bank chief executive Shaun Drylie addresses members at the bank's annual meeting at the Kelvin Hotel in Invercargill.

Catering services to different generations was a key message from the SBS annual meeting.

Ad Feedback