Topic: Politics

National MP Todd Barclay taps out of Parliament

By Talisa Kupenga

It's bye-bye for National MP Todd Barclay, he has resigned and announced he will step down as a candidate for this year's election and will exit parliament at the end of this term. But some MPs say he should have left sooner.

Prime Minister Bill English says "he's made a very difficult decision for a young politician, but I think it's the right one."

Māori Party Co-leader Marama Fox says“If they break the rules it's right they should go, just like Claudette Hauiti."

National's youngest MP has been under pressure to resign after allegations he illegally recorded a former staff member at his electoral office, who later resigned and was paid taxpayer 'hush-money' as part of an employment dispute.

Green Party’s David Clendon says "If people do wrong and endeavour to hide it, to conceal, to mislead or tell half-truths then the integrity is lost and at some point, the lesson has to be learned."

Fox says “no doubt he is upset and given the allegations, extremely embarrassed about the situation."

After refuting allegations Barclay admitted reading and accepting a police statement made by the Prime Minister which confirmed not only did Barclay make the recordings but that Barclay told the Prime Minister directly. Police are investigating new information relating to the inquiry.

Clendon says "It is very complicated as there is an employment issue with the staff in Southland that apparently has been resolved but there is arguably a case to be brought against Mr Barclay. Certainly, if there is new evidence then the police may be in a position to re-open that investigation and I believe they should take that course if there is new evidence."

The Prime Minister did not announce who would now take his former successor's Clutha-Southland electoral seat.