Will Newsroom apologise for their slanted coverage and will Bill reinstate Barclay after being cleared by the board?

A couple of days ago Newsroom started their bent column with these paragraphs:

The National Party President Peter Goodfellow and its board allowed Todd Barclay to be selected as a candidate for the upcoming election despite knowing he was clearly unsuitable to be an MP.

Very detailed written accounts of the now-disgraced MP’s behaviour had been provided to the board and the candidate selection committee before they allowed his nomination to go forward.

The board and the selection committee knew Barclay had:

– already broken National Party rules by releasing the name of a challenging candidate.
– breached the rules by speaking to the media between the close of nomination and the close of the pre-selection process.
– spoken to his electoral office staff about employment matters that breached a confidentiality agreement.
– not declared police had asked him to be interviewed over the taping of conversations of staffer Glenys Dickson on his candidate nomination form.
– got staff in his Gore electorate office to canvass delegates to support his reselection when it was outside their contractual obligations and a misuse of taxpayer money.

Those are categoric claims, that they were completely true and therefore the board should not have confirmed his candidacy.

Sounds bad, and that was how they ran it as they continued their orchestrated hit job at the behest of the “Evil Six. These claims, of course, came directly from the “Evil Six” and they had been bombarding the board. Other media have championed this as brilliant investigative journalism when it is actually no better than taking dictation from bitter and angry losers who couldn’t countenance a democratic result.

And how about those claims?

Well Richard Harman at Politik explains:

POLITIK has learned that the National Party’s Board as recently as last Thursday agreed to a report clearing Todd Barclay of charges that he was not suitable to be a National MP.

Which makes one board member’s claims to me two days ago that the board would find Todd Barclay unsuitable to be an MP if he put his name in the hat again somewhat amusing considering that same board member already knew the board approved this report.

The committee says the electorate selection meeting last December knew of the allegations against Barclay but still voted for him.

“That he was successfully elected indicates that most delegates did not consider prior conduct or events significant for them not to wish to vote for him,” the report says.

The report was prepared for the party’s Rules Committee by three lawyers — the former Minister, Kate Wilkinson; veteran Waikato official, Ian Davidson and former Nelson electorate chair John Sandston.

POLITIK has been leaked a copy of the report.

Oops. A report that clears Barclay now leads to questions over why Bill English wanted him rinsed.

The report specifically deals with a complaint about the process which saw Barclay re-selected as candidate last December.

That selection was contested by Hong Kong- based merchant banker, Simon Flood but the report makes it clear that Flood was not involved in the complaint.

“It is interesting that he would have been the person with the most to gain (or lose) from any alleged flawed process – yet he does not feature in either the complainants’ case or the selection organisers’ case,” the report says.

The eight complainants who signed the letter (dated 23 February) included three of the so-called “evil six” who campaigned against Barclay including Glenys Dickson, the former electorate agent who alleges she was the subject of the illegal taping.

Their complaint centred on what they alleged were irregularities during the re-selection process last year.

Donkey deep in undermining their own MP, and working with complicit media. I suppose it is just a coincidence that the major funder of Newsroom is a major donor to the Labour party.

These were arcane issues about whether the correct quorums had been present at branch meetings to select delegates to the actual selection meeting.

Wilkinson’s committee found after an exhaustive examination of branch records that no delegates were ineligible.

They also held two phone conferences in April with the complainants and local and regional party officials and the aprty’s Wellington-based General manager, Greg Hamilton.

There were other matters apart from the quorum allegations.

Because of a mistake in the printing of the ballot paper, Barclay’s name was in capital letters and Flood’s in lower case.

There were other allegations about the ballot paper which the committee said “border on hyperbolic licence.”

“The real question is whether despite the difference in uppercase/lower case was it understood by voting delegates that it was a choice between the two candidates.

“In answer to that question on our conference telephone call with the complainants the response was ‘of course we did, we are not silly.’”

The committee said that while the mistake on the ballot paper was regrettable, it was not sufficient to render the process unfair.

There were complaints about the questions asked at “Meet the Candidates” meetings which the complainants claimed favoured Barclay, but the Committee rejected that.

There were complaints about the seven MPs who attended the final selection meeting Those MPs included Health Minister Jonathan Coleman; Chief Whip Jami-Lee Ross and MPs Todd Muller, Matt Doocey and Sarah Dowie.

There were claims the MPs “actively influenced” support for Barclay.

Ironically the selection took place only 14 days after Coleman had challenged English for the National Party leadership.

Some of the complainants about Barclay’s selection were strong supporters of English before he resigned as the electorate’s MP in 2014.

But the report says the party could not and should not ban open endorsement of candidates.

“We can, however, insist and require proper fair processes.

“That does not mean that because one candidate may garner more support than another that the process is unfair.

“If voting delegates have been subjected to undue influence or duress or have been coerced by some to vote against their will then that is not an acceptable process.

“If they are hoodwinked by the political rhetoric that is the nature of political debate.”

The committee found no delegates were coerced or pressured.

So all their complaints were completely without foundation. Newsroom should be apologising for their biased reporting.

The committee was also asked to look into some Whaleoil blog entries — which they declined to do and then to look at whether Barclay was eligible to be a National MP.

Lol, good luck looking into those reports, which it turned out were 100% accurate. I was exposing a nasty little campaign against a sitting MP, ostensibly being run out of Bill English’s office that ironically may have cost Bill his job. They didn’t like the pressure of being exposed for the dirty little plotters they are. Some have rung and threatened me. Those recordings sit waiting for any action on their part.

The complainants obviously listed a number of incidents that they thought the committee should consider.

But the committee said these incidents were in the public arena and known to the pre-selection panel members.

(National candidate must first go before a pre-selection committee before they face the wider selection meeting.)

The committee says the pre-selection deliberations were secret, but by allowing both candidates to go to selection, there were obviously no issues of suitability.

“It is our role to look into the selection process not to make judgement on police investigations,” the report says.

“We do note that ultimately the voting delegates did not have to vote for Todd and if the majority of voting delegates were sufficiently concerned then logically they would not have voted for him.

“That he was successfully elected indicates that most delegates did not consider prior conduct or events significant enough for them not  to wish to vote for him.”

 

So, their complaints held as much water as a colander and have been dismissed out of hand by the board.

Bill English and Newsroom have some explaining to do. Why run hits and attacks based on allegations that have no foundation in truth.

It begs the question though, if these allegations have proven false how many other allegations levelled by the “Evil Six” are false as well.

 

-Newsroom, Politik


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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.

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