- Date published:
6:40 am, June 26th, 2017 - 21 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, bill english, national - Tags: bill english, liar, lies, National Party Board, Parliament, Todd Barclay
Newsroom has published another piece of investigative journalism by Melanie Reid on the Barclay affair, this time looking at what the National Party president and board knew.
The National Party President Peter Goodfellow and the board allowed Todd Barclay to be selected as a candidate for the upcoming election despite knowing that he was clearly unsuitable to be an MP.
Very detailed written accounts of the now disgraced MP’s behaviour had been provided to the board and the candidate selection committee before they allowed his nomination to go forward.
The board and the select committee knew:
– Barclay had already broken National Party rules by releasing the name of a challenging candidate.
– Had breached the rules by speaking to the media between the close of nomination and the close of the pre-selection process.
– Had spoken to his electoral office staff about employment matters that breached a confidentiality agreement.
– That Barclay didn’t declare that police had asked him to be interviewed over the taping of conversations of staffer Glenys Dickson on his candidate nomination form.
– Had got staff in his Gore electorate office to canvass delegates to support his reselection when it was outside their contractual obligations and a misuse of taxpayer money.
– There were issues around a $5000 loan that Barclay had been given by the party for campaigning. At this point the loan had not been repaid or disclosed in the campaign donation register.
The information was contained in a letter handed to National Party President Peter Goodfellow at 10.45 am at the pre-selection meeting in the Balclutha sports complex on December 9, 2016.
National Party sources say they saw Goodfellow open the letter, read it and then put it in his jacket pocket.
The letter warned that if the media learned more about what Barclay had been up to it would prove very embarrassing for the National Party and particularly Bill English who knew about the unlawful recording of conversations. The letter also said that Barclay had tried to denigrate English for his own means but didn’t say how.
Worried that the board was doing nothing, National Party members from Gore sent further letters to Goodfellow and the board on December 21, 2016, January 24, 2017, January 30, 2017.
The article then looks at the last ten months and what happened in the Clutha Southland electorate during the candidate selection process. Local National Party members and office holders tried to get the issues addressed but were repeatedly ignored. Clutha-Southland electorate chairman Stuart Davie eventually resigned because he didn’t want to be involved in a cover-up.
Prior to this, in February 2016, former Clutha-Southland electorate chairman Stuart Davie had spoken at length to the Southern Regional chair Rachel Bird and National Party board member Kate Hazlett.
Davie was confident Barclay had acted illegally because the former local MP, Bill English, who was then Deputy Prime Minister texted him on February 21, 2016 saying:
He 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.
Stuart Davie did deal with it as he should have. As well as going to the regional chairperson he turned to the Southern electorate National Party Board member Kate Hazlett.
Hazlett responded by telling him “he should not stand again for the electorate chair as he clearly didn’t support Todd”.
Davie told Newsroom that he resigned a few days after this conversation because he knew Barclay was lying when he denied the secret recordings and he didn’t want to be part of any cover-up.
Full details in the article including the involvement of board member Glenda Hughes.
More good work by Melanie Reid and Newsroom. I’m impressed by Davie in addition to Dickson, as well as the other locals who decided to do the right thing. It takes courage to stand up like that in a small conservative community, and both Davie and Dickson have talked about the abuse and harassment that followed as well as the pressure that was applied from seniors within the organisation.
We’re not looking at not just the mistakes of one MP. The seriousness of the lying and covering up by the Prime Minister is now complemented by a level of corruption throughout the party hierarchy. None of this is particularly surprising given National’s involvement in Dirty Politics, but it’s still shocking to the many of us who believe that the government of NZ should be honest, law-abiding and competent.
One thing that remains unexplained is why the National Party would take such risks over a junior and relatively new MP. Perhaps it was hubris and complacency after 8 years of getting away with the abuse of power, or perhaps there are still things we don’t know about what was so important about Todd Barclay.
It’s time to change the government, and as Gareth Hughes said in parliament last week, it’s time to clean up the government as well.