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Bill English is no John Key

Written By: - Date published: 9:00 am, June 22nd, 2017 - 37 comments
Categories: bill english, Dirty Politics, john key, national, same old national, spin, the praiseworthy and the pitiful, you couldn't make this shit up - Tags:

As a somewhat lapsed catholic I feel sorry for Bill English.  He must be reflecting on the content of the eighth commandment.  This bans bearing false witness against thy neighbour.  The colloquial phrase is lying.

Maybe he did not lie about his knowledge about what happened in the National Party Clutha-Southland office.  Who knows.  Maybe he made an honest mistake.  But I think he should visit his closest church and take the sacrament of penance, otherwise known as confession and mention the eighth commandment.  Just in case.

Because over the past couple of days this is how the event involving Todd Barclay played out:

  • 7 am Monday – Newsroom publishes this article.  Among the claims are that English knew his former EA Glenys Dickson had her work conversations recorded by Todd Barclay and spoke to her about it, despite telling media he had not been directly involved in any discussions.  There is also the content of a text from English where he said “He [Barclay] left a dictaphone running that picked up all conversations in the office Just the office end of phone conversations. The settlement was larger than normal because of the privacy breach.”
  • 7 am Monday – Newsroom also reports that Todd Barclay says he did not do anything wrong.  He claimed that he did not discuss any aspect of the matter with Bill English, and that he fully cooperated with the police inquiry into the matter.  He also said that he did not yell at his staff.
  • 10 am Tuesday –  English said he couldn’t recall who had told him about the Barclay recording.
  • 10 am Tuesday – Barclay again denies he has done anything wrong.  From Stuff:
    Barclay fronted media on Tuesday morning and “totally refutes” using a dictaphone to record her.

    Asked about the settlement package, he said a package had probably happened, but this was normal.

    “The employment relationship is between Parliamentary Services and the employee. She had been a longstanding staff member and it was quite a quick exit, so there would have been a package of some sort.

    “Employment disputes happen in all workplaces all the time, and I don’t think there’s anything out of the ordinary about an employment settlement taking place.

    He said she had “possibly” broken a confidentiality agreement, but he wasn’t sure.

    “I certainly don’t intend to break any confidentiality agreement myself, whether she has or not that’s a matter for her.”

    His lawyers said he didn’t have to speak to the police so he didn’t.

  •  2 pm Tuesday – English said he had gone back and checked the statement he gave to police.  “In that statement I said to the police that Todd Barclay had told me that he had recordings of his staff criticising him.”  This is the statement referred to in the Newsroom article.
  • 5:50 pm Tuesday – Barclay appears and says in a prepared statement that he accepted what English said.”It is important that I clarify and correct my comments to the media earlier today.”I have read and Mr English’s statement to the police and accept it.Mr Barclay said the time period in question had been very stressful for him as he was in the midst of a ‘difficult employment dispute’.”Given Mr English was my predecessor as the MP for Clutha-Southland, I no doubt spoke to him as the dispute escalated.”Like any break down in a relationship I accept that there was fault on both sides, looking back I could have handled the situation differently and I regret that.”

    Mr Barclay said he shouldn’t have been as ‘specific’ in his comments to the media about the allegations.

    “For legal reasons I am unable to comment further, the employment dispute has been resolved and is the subject of a confidentiality agreement.

    “I’m sorry if any of the answers I gave this morning were misleading in anyway.”

  • 1:50 PM Wednesday – Barclay is goneburger.  And English is reeling.

Barclay was facing multiple problems and his departure was almost inevitable although the size of the severance package will rankle.  According to Newsroom there is an investigation into the bona fides of his selection.  And elements of the Southern National party are calling for the police investigation into Barclay’s actions to be reopened.

Bill English’s basic problem is that he is not John Key.  I can recall a comment made to me about Key during the 2014 election shortly after publication of the Dirty Politics book.  He would front a press conference and lie about what had happened.  The reporters knew he was lying.  He knew the reporters knew he was lying.  Everyone went along with it and it was because he was so confident and so good at it.

This video shows what happened in painful detail.

English is not able to do this.  This week we have seen him struggle.  We saw him realise that he had said something that was not true and it had been discovered and he had to acknowledge this.

English should acknowledge formally and openly that he has done something wrong.

Only then will his catholicism be at peace.

He is not out of the wood yet.  His latest claim, that he reported the allegation to the police, should be easy to resolve.  His statement, given on April 27, 2016 suggests that he was a somewhat reluctant witness, not the cause of the investigation.  The text discussion with Stuart Davie happened on February 21, 2016.  No doubt further questions will be asked.

37 comments on “Bill English is no John Key ”

  1. Kevin 1

    I think English’s problem is that lying does not sit naturally with him and probably causes a bit of internal conflict. They why would you choose politics Bill?

    For Key, on the other hand, lying comes as naturally as breathing so no internal conflict.

    Kudos to Newsroom. In one fell swoop they have set the standard for journalism in NZ, moving forward.

    • Sabine 1.1

      I think that Ehnglish’s problem is that lying does sit naturally with him and cause no internal conflict what so ever. The problem was that he was found out.

      • WILD KATIPO 1.1.1

        You got it in one, Sabine.

        That man English has been lying through his teeth for year after year about his true motives. One only has to look at who the driver of economic policy’s was while he was under Key and see who benefited and who was treated as expendable waste to be treated like cattle .

        Unfortunately for liars like him you cannot hide indefinitely the fall out of Globalism and its destructive effects on a society , and nor can you hide the real demographics of just who those neo liberal policy’s were designed to benefit at the expense of the many.

        Bill English gets into the boxing ring for ‘ charity’ and later on further down the track so does Cameron Slater,… yet the real motives even in doing that was to present a bonhomie ‘I’m one of you lot ‘- in other words – a PR stunt and nothing more.

        This guys whole political career has been marked by one of stealth like Key , – but unlike Key , – English relied on being tight lipped and minimalist for his defense.

        And now that tactic and basic dishonesty has caught him in a web of his own making.

        No confidence whatsoever in the man.

        Vote him out.

        • weka

          Wild Katipo, you are in moderation, please see the moderation note in today’s Open Mike.

  2. Skinny 2

    How about this mornings allegations gridlock deliberately caused by delaying the opening of Waterview Tunnel to massage figures for the East West Link. Shocking revelation;


  3. English is a liar. He gas been caught. Just because key was a better liar is no credit to English. He has been shown as a person with low standards and morals. As penny said on another thread – the billshitter.

    Resign liar.

    • Yes… the Double Dipper from Dipton Billsh*t English.

      And he didn’t earn the tag ‘ the Double Dipper from Dipton ‘ for being a fresh faced choir boy , either.

  4. Wayne 4


    You are making things up (and that is a charitable description).

    Darby is not reported as saying “gridlock deliberately caused by delaying the opening.” He said the delay meant the figures that would have useful to assess the East West are now not available. Rather different to saying the opening was deliberately delayed to avoid having the figures.

    In short you have zero evidence that the delay was for any other reason that the publicly stated reasons, which was about the safety of the fire systems. Actually the inability of the pumps to get rid of the water from the sprinklers as I understand it. Given the risks if there was a disaster, I would have though it a prudent thing to make sure everything works as it is supposed to.

    • Ad 4.1

      Exactly right.

      Nothing like a decent fire to focus everyone’s mind on getting it right before you open.
      Many of NZ’s major contractors, and the careers of many NZTA staff, ride on this job.
      Better a small delay and some surety.

      • dukeofurl 4.1.1

        Just a coincidence that the university mid year holidays happen when it does open.
        Traffic data for a project like this wouldnt be useful until at least 6 months after opening as the traffic patterns settle down.
        I dont really see the connection to the other side of the isthmus, the choke point is at Onehunga and traffic will increase the traffic there as drivers switch from the Penrose end.

    • Skinny 4.2

      Wayne, I am going off what the watch dog group are basically saying. I have read a traffic movement report with a graph that is quite revealing also. Will try track it down.

      Stop trying to spray perfume to the odious smell of rot.

      • Ad 4.2.1

        They are wrong.

        The left activists are focusing on trivia and useless conspiracies.

        They should be focusing on carbon lock-in and infrastructure lock-out; how the full Auckland motorway network locks 1/3 of New Zealand into preferring cars over any other kind of mode, for a century.

        It also locks us into high unproductive time costs.

        It also promotes travel, which is a wasteful drag on the economy by itself.

        Labour’s announcement today re Christchurch is far more useful and productive.

  5. Keith 5

    English knew Barclay had done what was alleged.

    Of course he knew there was hush money.

    Of course he will know they have done it before again and again to rid themselves of uncooperative MP’s or idiots.

    But even then English did nothing and that is a huge failing because like the rest of them he was comfortable with that.

    That Barclay exercised his right of silence as criminals do seems to rankle people who don’t know people can thumb their noses at police and the justice system but it is his right to do so. And how lawyers howl at the moon in court when that right is even vaguely breached.

    The trouble for Bill English is he has inherited John Keys government, one molded on his ethics and morals or more aptly the total void of them. And that man is no longer there to front for the environment he created. He is off in Hawaii knighting it or something.

    Rather than form an ethical government after the King Rat left the ship, one that doesn’t select tobacco lobbyists and arseholes as MP’s, English is still trying fake it. More fool him.

    • Sabine 5.1

      Bill English has not ‘inherited John Keys government’.

      Bill English has been ‘complicit’ in John Keys government, and his only problem is that he is a boring, uninspiring, holier then thou god botherer who gets caught stealing (doubling dipping welfare fraud who would have gone to prison if he would be a WINZ “Client’ instead of a thief masquerading as an MP) and lying.

      Bill English needs to go away, he needs to go to confession, he needs to do repentance and above all he needs to go away.

      Bill English is the John Key Government as is Paula Bennett, Judith Collins, Nick Smith, Todd Barclay, that Sabine Dude from Northland, Nikki Kaye, Joyce and all the others that have on purpose fucked this country over various ways for the last nine years.

      Bill English is the John Key Government. That is all he ever achieved in his life, a caught welfare fraud, and a liar.

  6. ianmac 6

    I do know some strongly National supporters who agreed with Key that Left wing Conspiracy theorists who don’t tell the truth and who steal emails and therefore were not interested in reading “Dirty Tricks.”
    The same will apply here for National supporters. Storm in a teacup and loyalty to PM will remain.
    After all we loyally stuck with Helen when she was under attack

  7. ianmac 7

    Davie shows us that integrity exists in sharp contrast to English’s lack of integrity.

    “Davie resigned as chairman (Clutha Branch of National Party.) four days after that AGM. He says he quit not because of pressure from Kate Hazlett but because he couldn’t work with an MP who wasn’t telling the truth.

    “I was confident that he had secretly recorded conversations, which was breaking the law, and when this came out people would say that I had known about this and had done nothing, then I would be regarded as complicit with the crime and I wasn’t about to let that happen — this was the main reason I resigned.”
    https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2017/06/19/34825/the-politician-the-police-the-payout (Melanie Reid’s piece after Glenys photo.)

  8. mac1 8

    One very important piece of advice given to candidates of a large political party by a well-known media man was ‘to never lie because you will be found out.”

    Obviously, that advice was never given to, or heeded by, the National Party.

    One corollary is that politicians will continue with some more justification to be dismissed as liars. That is a word that may not be used in the House, interestingly, as credibility and honesty are crucial to democracy and healthy politics.

    The legacy of John Key is partially that younger politicians like Barclay learned this behaviour was acceptable to continue to practise.

    In the clips of Key above, in the midst of all his lying, he said that the dark arts were practised across the political spectrum.

    Firstly, that is a lie in itself, it denigrates other politicians, it is offered as a “they do it too” excuse for his own mendacity, it furthers his own interests in dirtying his own nest. =Remember the “Don’t vote, it only encourages them” meme in past elections?

    Who can not understand the change happening in the world’s politics as the old ‘style’ is rejected in favour of uncontaminated politicians.

  9. gsays 9

    Apparently now when referring to a national party debacle (operation Burnham, gcsb spying on behalf of grosser, housing homeless in motels etc) it is to be pronounced debarclay.

  10. And then we have a few others issues that while not hogging the limelight , are AS serious or even MORE serious as Curwen Rolinson so clearly pointed out ….

    Are Todd Barclay And National High-Ups Guilty Of Witness Tampering …

    • And from the comments that followed, this:

      FRANK MACSKASY says:
      JUNE 21, 2017 AT 11:23 PM
      The most disturbing fact is that Glenda Hughes is an ex-police officer and that the Police dropped the case because of insufficient evidence.
      Indeed, Hughes is a former police officer.
      If the allegations are true, then Hughes could be charged with perverting the course of justice or obstruction.
      What else can one call it where a witness is persuaded not to co-operate with a police investigation?
      If Glenys Dickson signs a statement to this effect, a lorry-full of shit is about to be dropped onto a very large fan, from a very great height, aimed squarely at Bill English’s head.
      At this moment, Andrew Little has the ‘best job’ (Leader of the Opposition) and Bill English the worst (Prime Minister and target for a lorry-full of shit).
      Stay tuned to Radio NZ, folks. My guess is that there is more to come on this.

  11. Penny Bright 11

    Labour MP Grant Robertson skewers Prime Minister Bill English in the House 21 June 2017:

    “GRANT ROBERTSON (Labour—Wellington Central): For the last 18 months, the current Prime Minister of New Zealand has been at the centre of a cover-up.

    He has known that one of his MPs covertly taped one of his staff members, and that that MP went on to mislead, dissemble, and not tell the truth about what had happened.

    The Prime Minister of New Zealand knew this.

    He knew it from the beginning of last year, and he has done nothing to bring that member of Parliament to account.

    What is more, when the Prime Minister of New Zealand has been asked directly about what he knew about what Todd Barclay had done, he has not told the truth.

    On 1 March last year Bill English was asked on the radio what he knew of the reasons for staff resignations in Todd Barclay’s office, and whether he had personally spoken to any of those staff. Mr English answered: “No.”

    That was on 1 March.

    On 21 February, we now know that the Prime Minister of New Zealand texted the then electorate chair of the National Party in Clutha-Southland to tell that man, Stuart Davie, that Todd Barclay had indeed recorded his staff member in a covert manner.

    The Prime Minister has not told New Zealanders the truth about what happened in Todd Barclay’s office.

    He has dissembled, he has avoided answering questions, and he has failed the basic test of a Prime Minister in this country.

    Honesty is the very least that New Zealanders can expect from their politicians, and all the more so from their Prime Minister, and Mr English has completely failed on that account.

    When he was given the opportunity to talk to police in April last year, he told them that Mr Barclay had indeed told him that he had recorded Glenys Dickson.

    When he then had the opportunity to see that document, that police statement, released as part of an overall police Official Information Act release, Mr English made sure his statement was withheld.

    This is not a Prime Minister who wants to be open or transparent.

    This is not a Prime Minister who was being honest with New Zealanders about what has happened.

    It makes no difference that Todd Barclay has left today.

    This is about Bill English and Bill English’s credibility to be Prime Minister, because for politicians it is not about what happens when something is exposed by the media and what you then do.

    It is about whether you do the right thing at the time that you know about it.

    It is not a sign of credibility to come forward only when you are being exposed by the media.

    It is not a sign of credibility or leadership to change your mind within 3 or 4 hours yesterday because you worked out you had been caught out and found out.

    Those are not the actions of a real leader or a Prime Minister, and they are not the actions of someone whom New Zealanders can trust.

    The Prime Minister has broken the basic bond with New Zealand people of the trust that they should have in him.

    He did not tell the truth about what he knew. He stood by an MP who has told lies.

    He has allowed a staff member of 16 years to be bullied and covertly recorded out of her job, and even yesterday he wanted the issue to go away instead of actually fronting up to New Zealanders about what he and his protégé have done.

    This is not a leader.

    This is a person who has become Prime Minister, and now that he is in that role he is cruelly exposed to New Zealanders as someone who does not have the fundamental capabilities and attributes that they need in their Prime Minister—that is, that he would be straight-up with New Zealanders, that he would show leadership and deal with people who break the law, rather than try to cover it up.

    The last 24 hours have taught New Zealanders a lesson.

    This is a squalid shambles, as the Fairfax editorial said today, and, as other commentators have said, this has now cast great doubt on Bill English’s credibility.

    At this election it will be about a contest between a leader in Andrew Little who is straight-up and tells New Zealanders how it is, and Bill English, who has lied on behalf of his MP. “

    • mordecai 11.1

      Penny did you watch Parliament yesterday? I did, and the opposition were pale.

      • Penny Bright 11.1.1

        No – missed it.

        This is a BIGGIE for the National Government’s political credibility.

        There will be thousands of New Zealanders, including National voters who will be deeply disturbed about Todd Barclay’s actions and the role of PM Bill English in effectively, in my view, defending the indefensible.

        Decent Kiwis don’t like BILLSH*T!

        • mordecai

          No, it’s beltway. The NZ Herald site is driven by clicks, and this is already off the page.

  12. Ad 12

    The only guy looking Prime Ministerial out of this is Winston Peters.

    And for that I will pop up to St Patrick’s, like the good Catholic I am, and get to the 12.15 mass for my penance. Maybe light a candle for a change of government.

  13. RedLogix 13

    I don’t think it’s helpful to over-egg this.

    Yes English was too close to the people involved and probably allowed this to affect his judgement. Absolutely he should have acted much sooner, certainly the moment Barclay refused to speak to the Police. Doing nothing and hoping it would all resolve itself was poor political management.

    Yes the affair has compromised him, yes he has finished up misleading and lying by omission. But I don’t see malice in this, just an honest hope things would work out blowing up in his face and seriously denting his reputation.

    As the OP points out, English is no John Key. He doesn’t lie nearly as well, and is probably too loyal to a fault.

    Unless there is more to come out, English will survive this to the election at least.

    Edit: Robert Guyton at 10.1 above is on the money; the Glenda Hughes aspect has a very wrong feel to it.

  14. Penny Bright 14

    Winston Peters skewers PM Bill English – Press Release 21 June 2017:


    Prime Minister Bill English’s DNA is all over the cover up involving a secret recording in a National MP’s office and will deeply trouble National Party supporters, says New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters.

    “Mr English has been party to a confidential settlement to cover up a crime, and that’s illegal.

    “He condoned a settlement and hush money being paid to cover up MP Todd Barclay’s actions in which he secretly recorded a conversation – an offence under the Crimes Act.

    “Mr English had even told the police that was the case, yet he said nothing when the MP both refused to be interviewed by police and denied the breach of privacy.

    “Mr English claims he was not involved when in fact he aided and abetted the attempted cover up.

    “Mr English’s behaviour over the Barclay Debacle is a sorry new low in New Zealand politics,” says Mr Peters.

  15. greywarshark 15

    Over at TDB Martyn Bradbury is getting his knickers in a twist about bigger clandestine shenanigans by Gnashional government. I think he has a point.


  16. Cinny 16

    Was reflecting on this very topic last night after watching a doco about Media and War. The War You Don’t See a fine piece of work created by John Pilger

    I came to the conclusion, after learning about politicians using embedded (in bed?) journalists, the PM who quit probably had lots of journalists in bed with him.

    Either the outgoing PM isn’t aware of this strategy or NZ journalists are reporting the facts and not allowing themselves to be shut down. Hope it’s the later, some NZ journalism can be highly questionable at times, look over there… distractions, diversions and often the inability to ask hard questions. After all the majority of people out there get their information via the media.

  17. Pete 17

    Credit where credit is due – English does have some of the Key qualities – he is a liar.

  18. reason 18

    The media lied FOR key …. http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/573560/Key-pledges-PMs-salary-to-charity … headline big porkies.

    The media covered up for Key ….. not reporting interesting but undermining information ……….. such as the large bailout the u,s,a taxpayers gave him when his former employer went bankrupt, and his large shareholdings in them became worthless.

    I’m betting he took millions in charity from u.s.a taxpayers when he was gifted Bank of America shares for his then worthless Merril lynch ones.

    Or the cover and non-reporting our media ran for him, as he turned NZ into a tax haven …. leaving New Zealanders confused and uninformed when the Panama papers whistle blower personally named him.

    The whole Key media image was a lie …………… apart from the fact he was rich ….. and I bet they lied about just how rich.

    Is Bill a fall guy to restore media credibility? …. from the one sided dirty partisan hacks that rule their roosts.

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