National MP Todd Barclay refused to speak to police over 'bugging' investigation
National MP Todd Barclay refused to speak to police about allegations he had secretly recorded conversations between staff in his electorate office, newly released documents show.
Prime Minister Bill English has brushed off the revelations from his former Clutha-Southland electorate, saying it is "time for everyone to move on".
Police announced last December that Barclay would not face charges over the allegations, as there was insufficient evidence to prosecute.
However, a copy of the police investigation file released to media has shed new light on the investigations that took place, and Barclay's own involvement in the case.
Barclay's Gore-based senior electorate agent Glenys Dickson resigned in February last year, with a party official citing an "employment problem" between the pair.
Later that month, National's Clutha-Southland electorate chairman Stuart Davie resigned, saying it was "untenable" for him to carry on, while Barclay's Queenstown-based electoral agent Barbara Swan resigned in January, reportedly to spend more time travelling and with family.
In March last year, Barclay said he had not spoken to the police regarding any complaint but would "cooperate fully" if they contacted him.
However, in a statement taken as part of the investigation, Detective Inspector Tony Hill said he had twice tried to speak to Barclay about the allegations in July last year without success after being asked to manage the case.
On July 12, Hill left a voice message on Barclay's phone and received a text saying the MP was out of the country on a business trip until July 29.
Hill then called Barclay on July 29, again leaving a message after he did not answer.
"I subsequently received a call from Mr Barclay's solicitor advising that he would not be making a statement in relation to this investigation," he said in a statement.
The attempts to contact Barclay came after a number of interviews with the electorate staff and National Party officials to determine whether the first-term MP had illegally intercepted private communications in his office, using a Dictaphone.
'REAL CONCERNS I HAVE BEEN RECORDED'
In a statement to police on February 29, Dickson said she had been asked to stand down from her position following "employment issues which arose" after Barclay replaced English in the electorate.
"I stood up to him and challenged him on a number of issues as I believed it was quite inappropriate the way that he was behaving."
After an employment lawyer started negotiating with the Parliamentary Service regarding her severance pay and conditions for leaving the job, she was "told about the recordings that Todd had".
Further negotiations took place, and the Parliamentary Service "came back within a day and accepted the original offer that we had asked for".
"It seemed strange that they had changed their decision so quickly within a day," Dickson said.
She had "real concerns that some of my private conversations have been listened to and recorded".
BARCLAY: 'I DID NOT TAP ANY PHONES'
In mid-January that year, Barclay had asked Dickson "if I realised that he could go to Spark and pay $5000 and get copies of my telephone conversations".
Dickinson believed the comment was made as a threat.
Dickson's name was redacted from the police statement, but Stuff has been able to confirm it was given by her.
In a statement to police on March 7, a former National Party official said he had talked to Barclay about a rumour "that phones had been tapped" in his office.
"Todd denied this, he said that he never tapped any phones ... his answer to that was again to say, 'I did not tap any phones'."
Emails between police show they discussed complications with obtaining a search warrant for Barclay's office at Parliament. A police spokesman said no warrant was ever obtained, due to insufficient evidence.
PM: TIME TO MOVE ON
Asked about Barclay's decision not to speak to police, Prime Minister Bill English said it was "time for everyone to move on".
"Oh look, that's a matter that's been resolved. It was an employment dispute, police have had a look at it, he's been re-selected and I think that's pretty much the end of it."
English, who held the Clutha-Southland seat for 18 years before Barclay, would not comment about his involvement in the problems within the electorate.
"Well look, I was the local MP, I knew the two people pretty well, but I'm not going to comment any further than that - I think the matter's been dealt with."
BARCLAY: 'MY RIGHT' NOT TO TALK TO POLICE
In an emailed statement, Barclay said his lawyer had been asked by police if he wanted to make a statement regarding the case.
"We talked about it and decided to decline the police's invitation, as is my right."
Police had looked into a complaint made by his former staffer and decided against taking action, which Barclay said was "the end of the matter for me".
"I've got a great, loyal team working across my three electorate offices and I'm focused on moving forward and continuing to work hard supporting and representing the great people of Clutha-Southland."
In November last year, Barclay faced a selection challenge from former Merrill Lynch funds manager Simon Flood, who was understood to have been National's preferred candidate in 2014 before withdrawing due to family reasons.
However, Barclay was re-selected as National's candidate in late December, saying he was "thrilled" and proud of what he had achieved in the electorate.