Police involved in MP complaint

It has been reported that the problems with MP Todd Barclay in the Clutha-Southland electorate involve the police.

Two electorate staff members and National’s electorate chairman have all resigned recently – see Three’s trouble in Clutha-Southland?.

The ODT reports that one of the ex-staff members has made a complaint to the police.

Barclay staff member to talk with police

A Clutha-Southland electorate staff member has confirmed she is in contact with police over a complaint about National MP Todd Barclay.

Barbara Swan, who is working out her notice period in the MP’s Queenstown office, confirmed that a meeting with police had been arranged, but yesterday it was postponed.

‘‘[The police] had requested that, and then they rang and said: ‘It’s been delayed’.” Ms Swan had ‘‘no idea” what police wanted to talk to her about, and she declined to comment further.

The ODT understands the complaint stemmed from the ‘‘employment issue” that led to Gore electorate secretary Glenys Dickson’s departure, and it involves a claim the MP made a secret recording.

It is also understood police in Gore have contacted another person connected to the electorate about the complaint.

Earlier this week Prime Minister John Key played down the problems swirling around New Zealand’s youngest MP. Radio NZ:

PM backs Clutha-Southland MP on staff resignations

Prime Minister John Key is backing Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay following the resignation of three staff members.

Mr Key told Morning Report such staff turnover in an electorate office was not unusual with a change of MP, and Mr Barclay had his full confidence.

“I’ve had the discussion with Bill about it, because he was the former MP, but it’s not something of major significance,” he said.

“I mean there’s clearly been a desire to have a change in staff and it’s changed. It’s not, as I said, entirely unusual when you get a new MP.”

It’s quite unusual when an electorate chairman says that his position is ‘untenable’ and an ex electorate employee makes a complaint to the police.

Wednesday’s Southland Times editorial:

Even safe seats can be high-maintenance

Todd Barclay has now acknowledged he hasn’t “always got it right” and still has a lot to learn as Clutha-Southland MP.

What he hasn’t done is provide even a skerrick of detail about what, exactly, his mis-steps have been and exactly what these areas of profitable study that lie ahead of him may be.

If it clarifies nothing much, his new position is at least a measure of improvement on his unconvincing “problem, what problem?” stance over the resignations of his senior electoral agent in Gore, Glenys Dickson, electorate chairman Stuart Davie, and Queenstown-based electoral agent Barbara Swan.

There’s even murmurs of dumping Barclay:

Now comes the suggestion, we grant you from an unnamed source, that some party members are keen to choose a different candidate to contest next year’s election.

It is hard to escape the view that Barclay has some serious catching-up to do among his own people. That is not to say it can’t be done and the party hierarchy is optimistically saying annual meetings are the place to do it. Can the problem really be that tidily corralled?

It seems far from tidy at this stage. More from Stuff:

Disquiet over MP Todd Barclay’s performance could spark selection challenge

Disquiet over a spate of resignations in Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay’s electorate could spark a challenge from within the National Party at the next election, a party source says.

Stuff.co.nz understands that the “employment problem” which led to Dickson’s resignation relates to unproven allegations of a secret recording made by Barclay, although what was allegedly recorded is unclear.

A number of party sources expressed concerns about Barclay’s dealings with both his staff and his constituents.

Several people suggested the 25-year-old’s age was behind some of the problems, due to his lack of experience.

While one source said the party was working hard to deal with the situation, another person said they were not sure whether officials were aware how widely concern had spread.

“I don’t think that the party has come to grips with ill-feeling in the electorate: I’m hearing a lot of things like ‘We won’t be voting for National again’, and there’s a lot of people who need to be listening.”

National have what should be a very safe majority in Clutha-Southland – one of their largest – but in their third term they can’t afford to lose party votes. It won’t be just Clutha-Souhtland voters who have concerns over these southern rumblings.

Leave a comment


  1. Patzcuaro

     /  11th March 2016

    It would appear that National are paying the price for selecting a candidate with too little real world experience.

  2. Janet

     /  11th March 2016

    Problem seems (and I’m from down here) that he keeps making poor judgement calls and has a questionable temperament. He has a reputation already for being difficult to work with and enjoying the high life. Botswana Butchery seems to be his HQ.

  3. jamie

     /  12th March 2016

    “the MP made a secret recording”

    Doesn’t sound good, but the boss says there’s nothing significant about it. I hope Key isn’t backing another prominent New Zealander.


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