Wee Todd Barclay may have a wee problem

Written By: - Date published: 8:47 am, March 12th, 2016 - 62 comments
Categories: bill english, john key, Media, national, national/act government, same old national - Tags:

Todd Barclay police car

The trouble with a born to rule party full of individuals who think they are a cut above the rest is that they occasionally make mistakes by thinking that the rules do not apply to them.

Young Todd Barclay in Bill English’s seat of Clutha Southland seems to have been afflicted with this disease. And he may have a wee problem to contend with.

Why someone his age should want to become a Parliamentarian is beyond me. At his age I was finishing my degree and thinking about my first basic job, there was no way that I even contemplated diving head first into the shark infested pool that is the people’s parliament. Maybe it is because he was an employee of Phillip Morris Tobacco. If you ever want to see an industry that has less understanding of reality then it has to be the tobacco industry.

Wee Todd has been involved in an employee dispute. This is not a good place for a National MP. Such is their contempt for workers rights that if they ever get involved in a dispute they always stuff it up. The combination of thinking that you are a cut above the rest and that employees should have no rights means that you make legal mistakes every time.

Long serving local Parliamentary Services staffer Glenys Dickson resigned about a month ago. I get the impression she was National’s version of many good people I know who work for MPs, who provide a contact point for ordinary people with problems concerning Government Departments and act as a local contact between people and MPs who are too busy and time constrained to do the face to face stuff. The work is really important. So many of the issues transcend politics and just require a competent and humane approach. People just want help.  Competence and understanding rather than ideology are important.

Dickson’s resignation has obviously caused something of a crisis in the local National Party. Electorate chair Stuart Davie has resigned and has described his position as being untenable.  And a second staff member has also resigned.  National Party members believe that the matter deserves further investigation.

The cause of Dickson’s resignation or at least the last straw may be a secret recording.  And there may be major repercussions.  There is a police investigation under way into the allegation. From the Herald:

A police spokesman would not confirm whether a complaint had been laid, saying he could not comment on individual cases.

But it is understood that at least two current or previous employees in Mr Barclay’s electorate office have been approached by police.

The police involvement is believed to be related to allegations that the first-term MP made a secret recording of a staff member.

What offence could the police be investigating?  Well secret recordings may breach Section 216B of the Crimes Act.  The section says:

… every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years who intentionally intercepts any private communication by means of an interception device.”

A private communication is “a communication (whether in oral or written form or otherwise) made under circumstances that may reasonably be taken to indicate that any party to the communication desires it to be confined to the parties to the communication”.  An Interception Device is “any electronic, mechanical, electromagnetic, optical, or electro-optical instrument, apparatus, equipment, or other device that is used or is capable of being used to intercept a private communication”.

And if, and this is pure conjecture, Barclay is convicted of the offence then the seat of Clutha Southland is deemed to be vacant.  So there could be a lot hanging on this particular investigation although I would anticipate that diversion would be available and a conviction unlikely to occur depending however on the allegations.

And how has John Key responded to this allegation of lawless activity by one of his MPs?  He is relaxed.  Again from the Herald:

Prime Minister John Key backed Mr Barclay this week, saying that he had seen no evidence that he had done anything wrong.

Mr Key said he had spoken to the MP.

It seems to be the closing both eyes and refusing to enquire type of seeing no evidence.  And the comparison to his response to Bradley Ambrose’s accidental recording of the teapot tapes incident is jarring.

[updated with new photo]

62 comments on “Wee Todd Barclay may have a wee problem”

  1. Ad 1

    Spending the goodwill of your patron the Deputy Prime Minister, and then of the Prime Minister, will make him a one-term maximum guy. Molehill though it was, he’s peaked.

  2. Maria Sherwood 2

    Let’s not forget Key was ‘relaxed’ about Sabin too.

  3. Just Me 3

    It does seem the ‘actions’ of the Key government MPs are finally coming home to roost. What goes round comes round as people say.
    The Key government MPs have become arrogant and we can hardly be surprised that problems eg cracks within the goveernment; are starting to appear more so in the media.
    Key is treading on thin ice as he tries to keep the peace or ‘in his words perhaps’ a harmonius government. He(Key)is looking more and more uncomfortable and troubled which is a good thing. He seems to think he is unstoppable.

    • tc 3.1

      Chickens meet roost as the ede/lusk DP styled National MP’s dropped in to replace experienced more old school MP’s are a dull arrogant sample of humanity.

      Mitchell, Jamie lee etc what a crop they are.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.2

      The Key government MPs have become arrogant…

      What do you mean “become arrogant”? They are pretty much arrogance personified and they were that way long before they entered parliament.

  4. Todd’s not prolific on twitter, but in the light of current events, this tweet from last month is both prophetic and ironic:

    “Informative catch up in Balclutha with Inspector Alastair Dickie, Clutha-Taieri Area Response Manager”

  5. Lanthanide 5

    “Young Todd Barclay in Bill English’s seat of Clutha Southland seems to have been inflicted with this disease.”

    Should be “afflicted”.

    [Right you are. Corrected – MS]

  6. ianmac 6

    But for the sake of the National Party, they will all pull together, the players will deny any thing and everything , and Mr Barclay will just carry on smiling. Sadly.

  7. de Withiel 7

    Gosh. He’s wearing long trousers. Whenever I’ve thought about him – about twice during his parliamentary career – I’ve always imagined him in shorts, wearing a cap. How disconcerting.

  8. Worth noting s.216B(2), however:

    (2) Subsection (1) does not apply where the person intercepting the private communication—
    (a) is a party to that private communication…

    So if Barclay simply recorded himself in conversation with a staff member then he’s OK, even if the other person didn’t know what was happening. But you’d expect the cops to know that … so does the fact that they are (allegedly) approaching a number of people mean that Barclay (allegedly) recorded staff members talking while he wasn’t present?

    • mickysavage 8.1

      I received the impression that it was a recording of the latter kind. It is hard to imagine people being upset if all that Barclay did was record a conversation that he was involved in. Time will tell.

      • Indeed. But we should be very clear that if he was involved in the recorded conversation(s), then he’s not done anything wrong under the law. (or morally, IMO) Just because the Nats are willing to be hypocritical doesn’t mean we shouldn’t continue to be careful of it.

      • Yeah – you’d have to think so, otherwise there’s nothing really to investigate!

      • Gabby 8.1.3

        Unless he was ‘using’ the recording for ‘leverage’ in some way. As it were.

        • Aidan 8.1.3.1

          Reading between the lines I would say he recorded glenys then used it to force her to resign

        • You can just say “blackmail,” you know. No need to euphemise the concept, it’s not that far out of context from what the Nats are already doing, sadly.

  9. Mike C 9

    This is a very sad day indeed … that during the past seven years or so … there has not been one single Labour MP that has made a mistake?

    If the Labour Party MP’s are so perfect … then how come they are not in Government? LOL.

    • whateva next? 9.1

      they don’t have Crosby Textor behind them, manipulating their way to the bank, and ultimately to a very dark place, if they are really human.

    • weka 9.2

      This post has nothing to do with Labour. Such derailments are frowned upon. Thought I’d mention it seeing as how you just got a ban down the road.

      • Mike C 9.2.1

        @Weka

        Didn’t realise it was a derailment.

        My apologies.

        Until I get the hang of things around here … I might stick to commenting in the Standards daily post that is named after me … just for a while.

    • Regardless of the state of the Labour Party, John Key made a campaign promise when he wanted to change the government that he would hold ministers to a “higher standard” than Helen Clark did.

      So “how about Labour” is kinda irrelevant, as your leader promised to do better than he thought they did.

    • Tautuhi 9.4

      Disturbed minds and fuzzy thing in the NACT Parties these days the threads are unravelling?

    • Akldnut 9.5

      Mike you got it all wrong dickhead, this story’s about idiotic National MP’s pal.

  10. While we’re here, the whole “Todd is too young for politics” line is a bit off, frankly. Both Mike Moore and Marilyn Waring were elected as MPs at 23, while Darren Hughes was 24 when first elected. Anyone want to say that they shouldn’t have been?

    Frankly, I’d like to see more people under 25 in Parliament. Especially at a time when we’re bemoaning the fact that young people are not voting/participating in every increasing numbers.

    • Anne 10.1

      Sounds like he might have set up some sort of office bug where staff worked and recorded their conversations. Wow… if that’s what happened he’s gotta whole lotta crap comin his way!

      Maybe someone discovered it. 😉

      • Graeme 10.1.1

        Something I’ve noticed around Queenstown is that you don’t mess with the National Party group here, they are tight and those that try come off second best. And what went down that led to the recording of conversations? Not a trusting, co-operative relationship well before the recording happened. And all in 18 months, so it went to bits fairly early.

        I can’t see this ending well for wee Toddles

      • Psych nurse 10.1.2

        Why the assumption of an audio recording ?. Just think of the implications of a well placed camera.

    • Yep, the more MPs under 30, the better, however they should really be people who are cut out for it too, of course. If you mean that they’re an intellectual or political lightweight, or that they’re not ready for parliament yet, say that, instead of calling them “too young.” Because while there’s definitely such a thing, it varies so much by individual that using such a phrase gives people the wrong idea and discriminates against talented young people.

      • Tautuhi 10.2.1

        Disturbed minds and fuzzy thing in the NACT Parties these days the threads are unravelling?

    • weka 10.3

      +1 Andrew.

      We could be better differentiating between age, maturity and experience.

  11. Chris Ford 11

    I agree with Andrew Geddis’s comments regarding the ageist comments in the article. However, the allegations against Barclay could be made against any MP, of any party, regardless of their age. Notwithstanding all that, I think that Micky’s comments around the double standards of John Key on the teapot tapes and now the allegations against Barclay hit the nail on the head.

    Basically, Barclay needs to be held accountable for whatever actions he may have committed and these thoroughly investigated. I also praise the brave National Party officials (or now ex-officials) who have effectively blown the whistle on Barclay’s alleged activities.

    The truth, whatever it is, will come out.

    • Grey Area 11.1

      “… the allegations against Barclay could be made against any MP, of any party, regardless of their age.”

      Could they, really?

      “The truth, whatever it is, will come out.”

      In NZ Inc 2016, will it?

      Or am I feeding the troll?

  12. Nick K 12

    I don’t know why you’re obsessed with s 216 of the Crimes Act. I understand you need to go back 22 sections before you get close to the real behaviour.

  13. corokia 13

    It appears that there MAY be some secret recordings and they MAY be something to do with Barclay, so why does he get away with answering a question about them by saying he won’t dignfy that with a reply? He came across SO offended on Morning report when the subject was brought up!
    I hope they replay that sound bite if it turns out he is in some way involved in recording his staff.

  14. Skinny 14

    Someone was telling me this guy Todd is a good friend of Hooton’s? I can’t quite see that, and yes I know he worked for the tobacco corporates.

  15. Smilin 15

    Typical Key use the law to protect himself from damage, real or perceived .What else would you expect, he is still hiding another of his party members or 2 from exposure

  16. Northsider 16

    Liz Craig should start preparing for a By-election.

    The winning candidate in the 2014 election, Todd Barclay (National Party), captured a majority (64.1%) of the 33,655 valid electorate votes cast for candidates in the Clutha-Southland electorate. The seat was previously won in 2011 by Bill English (National Party) with a margin of 16,168. The National Party also captured a majority (63.4%) of the party votes in Clutha-Southland, up 0.5 percentage points on its party vote share in 2011. Turnout (total votes cast as a proportion of enrolled electors) in 2014 was 78.7%.

    Candidate Valid Votes Share (%)
    BARCLAY, Todd (NAT) 21,561 64.06%
    CRAIG, Liz (LAB) 6,675. 19.83%

    http://www.parliament.nz/en-nz/mpp/electorates/data/DBHOH_Lib_EP_Clutha-Southland_Electoral_Profile/clutha-southland-electoral-profile#_10

    • cowboy 16.1

      The prospect of a by election would be fascinating. Surely National would find someone with some credible rural credentials this time…? If they didn’t and with the rural downturn really starting to hit then it could be all on for young and old.

      Liz Craig did well last time and she might have a shot but I really think salt of the earth rural credentials would be the best shot at an upset.

      • weka 16.1.1

        Look at the 1999 results.

        English 14,700

        L/NZF/Alliance 13,000

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clutha-Southland#1996_election

        Time for the left and centre to co-operate.

        • Cowboy 16.1.1.1

          I agree Weka, I don’t think it out of the realms that the govt could be delivered a huge fright in a by election. Probably the biggest obstical in these circumstances would be the changing of the balance of power in Wellington should the Nats lose another seat. There would be real consequences that might stop the faithful registering a protest vote.

          • weka 16.1.1.1.1

            Do you mean people who might vote for someone other than National as a protest might vote National to keep them in a more stable govt?

            I guess there is a risk here for the left as well.

      • Graeme 16.1.2

        What’ll really get it going is weather the behaviour that precipitated this is confined to Barclay or if it goes up the chain. So stay home / hold nose scenarios could come into play.

        Candidate selection would be critical for both sides, National will need to regain confidence of the faithful (bring back Bill? ), and center / left will have to find a candidate who does it in Lumsden and Queenstown, as well as Mataura. Could be a bit of an ask considering party organisations reflect the 14000 majority.

      • mickysavage 16.1.3

        Liz Craig would be a superb MP. But hell would freeze over before Labour won Clutha Southland.

        • Graeme 16.1.3.1

          Totally agree, she’s a very capable person and got a huge future in parliament, so why not either get her into a winnable electorate, or an electable list position.

          Clutha Southland is not necessarily a lost cause, 1999 is an example, as weka pointed out above.

          But candidates have to be part of the electorate, and understand the local perspective on issues rather than helicoptered in from the big city. Even just campaigning for the party vote if there’s a stronger local left leaning candidate

          • Northsider 16.1.3.1.1

            The people of Clutha were willing to send a cigarette salesman to parliament to replace Bill English.

            They got the MP they deserve. They are sadly lacking in some values.

  17. cowboy 17

    Graeme do you think the Queenstown factor may be overstated? As was pointed out here recently Qtown is about 25% of the total voting. The path to an upset might be to specifically target the 75% heavily rural with a strong candidate focused on those issues.

    If the consequences of a by election were a bringing down of the govt, or at least gridlock it may be enough to keep the Nat voters from going rouge as in Northland. I may be wrong but they have voted National for generations down here and Bill will be down to calm the horses no doubt

    In many ways it would be better for the opposition to have Barclay limp on as a wounded exemplar of National being out of touch with regional NZ.

  18. Trauts 19

    Wee toddy seems to have put his pals in charge at the Clutha southland Agm on Friday night …. Interesting

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