Labour allege English misled Parliament

Not surprisingly Labour is continuing their pressure on Bill English over his responses to the Todd Barclay isssue.

For some reason Grant Robertson is fronting this:  Bill English misleads Parliament on Police statement

Bill English’s attempt to restore his damaged credibility over the Todd Barclay affair has backfired after his claim to have “reported” Mr Barclay’s actions to Police has proven not to be true, says Labour MP for Wellington Central Grant Robertson.

“Yesterday in Parliament, Bill English claimed in response to a question from Andrew Little that he had ‘reported to Police’ the information he had that Todd Barclay had recorded his staff member. In fact Mr English had only spoken to Police after they had requested him to do so when they became aware that he had this information.

“Today, Mr English has been forced to admit that he did not initiate contact with Police. In Parliament Gerry Brownlee speaking on the Prime Minister’s behalf said he had been ‘imprecise’ in his answer.

“That is not good enough, and I am writing to the Speaker today to ask him to assess if there has been a breach of Parliamentary privilege.

“Bill English was trying to make out to the New Zealand public that he had done the right thing when he found out what Todd Barclay had done. That is not true. He only spoke to Police because they requested it.

“This fits with the whole way Bill English has dealt with this matter. He not told New Zealanders the truth about his involvement, and he has allowed Todd Barclay to mislead the public as well.

“New Zealanders need to know that their leaders will act honestly, ethically and with integrity. Bill English has failed that test,” says Grant Robertson.

This seems a fairly lame attempt to me, playing with semantics. Surely there are stronger grounds with which to hold English to account.

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25 Comments

  1. High Flying Duck

     /  June 23, 2017

    It remains an employment matter in which BE co-operated fully with the police, and all parties accepted the redress offered, even if it made everyone unhappy.
    Bill was only deputy PM at the time, so I assume it was John Key’s call as to whether Todd Barclay should step down at the time.
    It’s not a good look by any means, but I still cannot see what the hanging offence is that some are clinging to.
    I think National are somewhat hamstrung in that they cannot say anything against the “former staffer” who appears to have been the troublemaker who started everything.
    The fact Todd Barclay maintains support and popularity among the caucus and the electorate seems to upset some in the media who think he should be a pariah.
    But 24 hrs is a long time on politics and maybe there is a smoking gun yet to be found?

    Reply
    • NOEL

       /  June 23, 2017

      No mention of the need to top up from the PMs descretionary fund and why.

      Reply
      • High Flying Duck

         /  June 23, 2017

        The discretionary funds are a red herring – they are discretionary and can be used for almost anything. If the party agreed their member was somewhat culpable in the dispute they could have agreed to to top up parliamentary services settlement offer – or even if they just wanted to sweeten the deal to avoid adverse publicity of a messy internal dispute.

        The only important issue is – was there a crime?

        Andrew Geddis:
        It’s not an offence to record yourself in conversation with others, even if they don’t know you are doing so.
        Nor is it an offence to record other people without their knowledge if they are not engaged in a “private communication”.
        But the allegation against Barclay is that he left a dictaphone running when he wasn’t in his office so as to record what Dickson was saying in conversations with constituents.

        So the fact that there was a recording does not necessarily mean there was a crime.

        If it can be determined that there was a crime, then that is on Todd Barclay who is already resigning.

        So it then moves to whether BE knew there had been a crime and tried to cover up. Only then is there a real scandal.

        We’re not there (yet) by any stretch, and the Police’s initial conclusion was they had insufficient evidence to to prove the necessary criteria that a crime was committed. The review will bring more on this.

        And of course now the other (and potentially much bigger) issue is if there was a conspiracy to defeat justice by threatening or otherwise intimidating Dickson.

        As i said above, for now it is still a messy employment issue for now despite many rushing to convict on the maybe’s.

        Reply
        • High Flying Duck

           /  June 23, 2017

          * Sorry should clarify the Andrew Geddis quote is one para and ends at ‘constituents’.

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  June 23, 2017

            It’s far more complex than that anyway. As per the link to the Privacy Commission I posted previously, firstly arguably a conversation with a constituent in the employment and on behalf of an MP is not a private matter at all. Secondly, if the employer is seeking to uncover and document wrong-doing by the employee it may anyway be legal.

            Reply
    • Blazer

       /  June 23, 2017

      some more background for you to ponder…’According to Bill English’s text message to electorate chair Stuart Davie on 21st February 2016, Glenys Dickson was given an extra payout from the Leader’s fund “to avoid potential legal action.” Besides English all parties knew at the time that the legal issue involved an unauthorised recording of Dickson’s conversations by Todd Barclay MP, potentially an offence against the Crimes Act.

      As of today Bill English is insisting that Dickson’s payout was as a result of an employment dispute, and that in February no-one understood that there was any question of illegality involved. His exact words to John Campbell were: “While now there is an understanding that there was a potential offence, at the time that was not the case.” The text message gives the lie to that. Watch this and judge for yourself.’M.Smith.

      Reply
      • High Flying Duck

         /  June 23, 2017

        ‘Legal action’ can apply to civil proceedings as much as criminal.
        The legal action comment could easily have (and probably did) referred to unjustified dismissal.
        But when you conflate these things it’s easy to get lathered up isn’t it?
        The text changes nothing.

        Reply
  2. Reply
  3. duperez

     /  June 23, 2017

    HDF is right to say it’s no hanging offence.
    We know there are divides which clearly define not just geographical realms but worlds of the mind.

    For example, recording some office woman in the deep south on purpose is no hanging offence but inadvertently recording two politicians over a cup of team in an Epsom cafe is. Actually describing the inadvertent recording of two politicians over a cup of team in an Epsom cafe as a hanging offence is a gross understatement if my recall of the reaction at the time is right.

    Reply
    • High Flying Duck

       /  June 23, 2017

      See above. And Ambrose was not convicted – so recording people in private conversation is not necessarily a crime and perhaps the police learned from that?
      Or do you think that because the police got that one wrong they should have rushed in again?

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  June 23, 2017

        they rushed in to Hagers house in fine style,but tread very carefully if the ‘blue’ team..are involved.

        Reply
        • High Flying Duck

           /  June 23, 2017

          They never went near Helen Clark either on a variety of matters, but there have been several cases where the police have been more than happy to step in –
          Taito Phillip Fields, a certain Northland MP, John Banks, Chester Burrows…

          They did get involved here but concluded they had insufficient evidence. There are strict rules around executing search warrants on an MP which complicated matters in this case:

          https://www.parliament.nz/media/3990/signed-search-warrant-agreement-170601.pdf

          Not sure what your point is Blazer? Are you calling corruption?

          Reply
      • duperez

         /  June 23, 2017

        My comments were more about ‘the public’ than the Police. Words like “rushed in” are very emotive. Events usually unfold slowly with the Police, methodically and with careful consideration.
        Sort of like you might do if you set out to surreptitiously record someone and cover that up. Or as methodically and with the due consideration someone with knowledge might seek to help anyone involved in such and mitigate the action and blur their own involvement.

        Reply
        • High Flying Duck

           /  June 23, 2017

          That’s true. The police must hate political cases – they are in a no-win situation as while they go about their job people on the outside view their every move through a partisan lens.

          It will be interesting how this unfolds – it still lies somewhere between employment spat and resignation of Prime Minister!

          Reply
      • Joe Bloggs

         /  June 23, 2017

        In light of the furore over the Ambrose tapes it’s naive in the extreme for anyone from National to claim that:

        “I don’t think [it] had occurred to anybody that there may be some potential offence”

        http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11880729

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  June 23, 2017

          Rather depends on how the recording was made and what was done with it. Do we even know that? I’ve seen various claims.

          Reply
  4. PDB

     /  June 23, 2017

    PG: “For some reason Grant Robertson is fronting this”

    About the only senior Labour person not involved with the student saga……whether directly involved or promising to give speeches.

    Reply
  5. High Flying Duck

     /  June 23, 2017

    This is as good a summary as I’ve seen so far of the actual story sans any politicised allegations of cover ups. Not sure if it is accurate, but it ties some loose ends I was struggling to put together:

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/93967811/this-is-not-how-we-do-things-how-nationals-composure-was-shattered-by-the-todd-barclay-affair

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  June 23, 2017

      Interesting. Sounds about right.

      Reply
      • Conspiratoor

         /  June 23, 2017

        G, i think labour’s flirtation with slave labour might resonate more with voters than earnest Todd’s clumsy attempts at surveillance. What say you Sir Gerald?

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  June 23, 2017

          Yeoman

          Distinct possibility, have to say, young fellow.
          Many more legs to that one, it seems.
          Many-headed monster, by all accounts.
          Possibly now down to who best wields the available weaponry.
          Must away. See whether Sir Alan is still rampaging about?
          Chop chop

          Sir Gerald.

          Reply
  6. PDB

     /  June 23, 2017

    There was a young man named Todd,
    Who was an untrusting sod,
    He recorded his staff,
    Having a laugh,
    [Nope, don’t go there. PG]

    Reply
  7. Gezza

     /  June 23, 2017

    God. Poor us, the bloody voters.

    National – another entitled little rich prick gets his comeuppance for blatantly lying & his saintly boss gets splattered with the stain of knowing about, & thus being involved, in doings that all sound, well, pretty shifty, & possibly not “pretty legal”.

    Labour – I don’t know where to start but it’s a total mess, involves a series of internal knife fights, & also sounds like it might also possibly not be, “pretty legal”. All of which seems to add up to them & their immigration policy & principles now becoming so incoherent the’yre pratically demented.

    😕

    Reply

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