Bill English needs to explain why he failed to be upfront with the public over the actions of Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay, following revelations that he knew about the secretly recorded conversations in the MP’s electorate office, says Labour Leader Andrew Little.
“The Newsroom investigation makes some disturbing allegations. It alleges that Mr Barclay secretly taped conversations involving his office staff and possibly involving private discussions with constituents.
“This was the subject of a criminal inquiry by the Police. Mr Barclay refused to be interviewed by the Police and the matter went nowhere.
“But now we know the Prime Minister was aware all along about the problems that erupted in the office of the MP who succeeded him in the seat.
“The Prime Minister has not been open with the New Zealand public about this. In March last year he said he did not want to ‘overdramatise’ the situation, describing the problems as just a transition period for a new MP. He was asked if he knew about the allegations and said no.
“Clearly, as Newsroom reveals, Mr English knew a lot more than he was prepared to tell the New Zealand public about.
“It’s seems unethical to me that a person in public office facing a Police inquiry should fail to cooperate and be supported by senior National Party members in doing so.
“People are right to ask if there’s been a cover-up.
“Why is Mr English still protecting his MP in the wake of these fresh revelations?
“At the end of nine years we are seeing a government that is starting to look increasingly tawdry.
“All this coming after Nicky Wagner preferring to spend time on Auckland Harbour than meeting disability groups, Simon Bridges frustrating OIA requests and Alfred Ngaro threatening community groups. It’s time for a change of government and a fresh approach,” says Andrew Little.