Todd Barclay emerges to criticise local council
Outgoing Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay has broken his silence to criticise a local council in what has been described as an "unjustified attack".
Barclay, who remains an MP until the general election in September, has all but fallen off the public radar since he was forced to announce his resignation on June 21 amid allegations he made secret recordings of an electorate staffer.
He has missed many public events, including MP's visits to his electorate, and has been absent from the House and select committees. Barclay remains on his full $165,000 a year salary, bringing home $3000 a week, and also receives travel and accommodation expenses.
On Thursday, his media and communications adviser Rebecca Ryan answered questions on his behalf in relation to the Government's tourism infrastructure funding.
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Through Ryan, Barclay said he was disappointed the Clutha District Council had not applied for funding through the fund.
Barclay was also critical of the council for not sending a representative to a meeting he had organised with Deputy Prime Minister and Tourism Minister Paula Bennett in late June in Queenstown. Barclay was not at that meeting himself.
However, Clutha District mayor Bryan Cadogan responded: "I bet you Todd is not as disappointed in us as we are in him."
Cadogan said he was personally affronted at the criticism and wanted a face-to-face meeting with Barclay.
"Why his only foray into politics for weeks had to be an unjustified attack on us beats me."
Senior whip Jami-Lee Ross and Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie travelled to Queenstown on Tuesday to meet with Barclay.
Earlier in the week, Ross said "We know he's been going into his electorate office and doing work on a regular basis."
A sign on the door of the Queenstown electorate office on Thursday said "I am currently out of the office in a meeting", and referred all inquiries to Ryan.
When Stuff visited the Gore electorate office at lunchtime on Thursday, staffer Linda Sinclair, who also serves on the Mataura Community Board, said Barclay was not there and she would not confirm whether he had been there on Wednesday.
She referred all questions to Ryan.
Ryan responded to another Stuff employee on Thursday: "Todd is working on constituent issues. As he's previously stated, he remains the MP until the 2017 Election and, until then, he is committed and passionate about being actively engaged in issues, looking out for the people of Clutha-Southland's interests and advocating on their behalf."