David Fisher in The Herald has more on the Barclay scandal – Bill English fought to have his police statement over Todd Barclay affair withheld
Prime Minister Bill English fought to have his police statement over the Todd Barclay affair withheld from the public despite arguing in Parliament it was a police decision to keep his involvement secret.
So he lied to Parliament, and therefore to the country.
Documents released under the Official Information Act show police believe English’s statement should have been released.
But all mention of English was removed from the file when it was released to the Herald in March.
It later emerged the Prime Minister had been interviewed as a witness in the police investigation into allegations Barclay secretly recorded a staff member, raising questions over how his involvement had been hidden from the public.
English distanced himself, saying the decision was one for police. He told Parliament he was aware an OIA process was underway but he did not really take part in it.
“I am sure that all discussions were conducted consistent with the Official Information Act, and the police, in the end, have statutory independence. In addition to that, like any other agency, it makes the decisions about what information it releases, taking into account whatever factors it thinks are relevant.”
The new OIA documents show an advocate for English pushed hard – successfully – to have the Prime Minister’s involvement scrubbed from the file.
This is the report on events that English told reporters he “couldn’t remember” – Bill English had answers, but four hours too late. He lied to the media, and therefore to the country.
Fisher goes on with more detail. The summary on Stuff – PM’s office sought to have his Todd Barclay police statement withheld
Prime Minister Bill English’s office fought to have his involvement with the Todd Barclay affair withheld from media and the public.
New Police documents released to NZME under the Official Information Act show that the original release of their file on Barclay – which made no mention of English’s involvement – was subject to heavy pressure from his office to keep him out of it.
The Barclay scandal has been a huge self-inflicted wound for National – PM Bill English accused of cover-up over Barclay
Slumped in his seat for much of question time, a grey-faced English tried to defend his actions and lack of actions, but ended up being pummelled over why, despite knowing of Barclay’s illicit recordings, he tolerated his re-selection and the payout to keep it quiet. Bridges’ attempts to stifle questions from all three Opposition leaders simply delayed the inevitable and made English look even weaker and more diminished.
The trouble for English is that in the 16 months after hearing directly from Barclay about the secret recordings he did nothing to make Barclay talk to the police and sat by as Barclay was re-selected in a bitterly contested process that tore his own National Party apart in his home electorate. Barclay’s decision on Wednesday not to stand again has not changed those facts, or that English initially said he could not recall the now famous face-to-face conversation with Barclay – even though he gave a police statement on it in Dipton in April last year.
But the inquisition was not over for English as potential coalition partner Winston Peters attacked the Prime Minister personally and called for his resignation. The New Zealand First Leader also suggested in Parliament that English himself may have commited a crime.
“Is it not a fact that he deliberately did not tell the truth when first questioned yesterday because he himself was deeply complicit in trying to avoid legal action, with taxpayers’ hush money, and he knew full well that a confidential agreement or contract to cover up a crime is an illegal contract?” Peters asked.
Billshit, coverups, lies, English is unfit for office. We have the chance, in a month, to remove him.
It's interesting all these Ministers were told about Peters' super, yet Police Ministers, past & present, weren't told about the Barclay inq
— Felix Marwick (@felixmarwick) August 29, 2017
Bill English basically lied about his Barclay statement. https://t.co/4BtJmSvRvr
— Russell Brown (@publicaddress) August 29, 2017