Mike Williams on a tough week in politics – Bill English

My experience is that friction between MPs and their staff members is not uncommon and the employer of these people, Parliamentary Services, has a smooth severance path when an MP wants to get rid of an employee.

Mr Barclay obviously fell out badly with one such electorate agent, Glenys Dickson, who was a holdover from Bill English’s time as the MP.

Although Mr Barclay seems to have had friends amongst established National MPs, no one told him that removing an electorate agent wasn’t difficult and that a declaration of something like irreconcilable differences was about all that would be needed for Parliamentary Services to write a severance cheque.

This obvious approach wasn’t taken and what seems to have begun as a clash between the MP and Glenys Dickson descended into ferocious factional fighting, leading to a challenge to Mr Barclay for the National Party nomination for Clutha-Southland.

Mr Barclay survived this challenge but the problems festered.

Rule number one when taking over an electorate is to flush out all the old staff.  Especially when their loyalties lie with the person you just kicked in the pants.   This is where Barclay’s first mistake was. 

The National Party factions were by this time leaking like sieves, as anyone who consults the Whale Oil blog will discover.

Hi Mike.

This payout with a confidentiality clause, inevitably branded hush-money, was rumoured to be $100,000.

This confidentiality clause was what Todd Barclay hid behind when questioned but this didn’t stop Glenys Dickson spilling the beans to Newsroom.

Inexplicably, when a phone call would have sufficed, Bill English sent a text message to the former electorate chairman, Stuart Davie, who Whale Oil identifies as one of the “Evil Six” dissidents opposed to Mr Barclay.

This text message confirmed that Mr Barclay had indeed made the surreptitious and illegal recording and that the leader’s fund cash was involved in the settlement.

Mr Barclay maintained the falsehood that no illegal recording had occurred until Bill English, who had also been a stranger to the truth in these matters, took fright and released his deposition to the police investigating the illegal recording containing the damning text messages Mr English had sent to Stuart Davie.

It’s hard to avoid the conclusion that there has been a high-level conspiracy to cover up a crime.

Oh, there has.

The Prime Minister’s reaction has been disappointing to say the very least. He was clearly deeply involved in this nasty sequence of events yet there has been no explanation or apology.

Nope.  Bill has sucked the kumara.  Luckily for him, this is totally beltway and it won’t reflect in National’s support.  Especially since the story got killed stone dead by #SlaveLabour


– Mike Williams, Hawkes Bay Today

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.