National lied to Police about media bullying | The Jackal

16 Jul 2017

National lied to Police about media bullying

What is it about Todd Barclay that the National party will do almost anything it seems to protect him? Surely the public perception of politicians, although already badly tarnished, is worth more than the Government retaining a majority through Barclay’s single costly vote?

In the beginning, English risked his own credibility when he tried to cover for Barclay’s bold-faced lies. The PM then allowed the disgraced MP to remain a non-attending backbencher on $3000 per week, which further brought the House of Representatives into disrepute.

But what's perhaps the strangest occurrence so far in this politically damaging debacle is the National party lying to Police about Todd Barclay’s staff being bullied by the media.

Yesterday, Stuff reported:

What's behind the strange goings on in Southland?

And anything goes is certainly how you would describe the extraordinary goings on in Southland this week after a local reporter, Rachael Kelly, tried to find out what local MP Todd Barclay had been up to since disappearing from public life last month.

Kelly and a local cameraman have been accused of intimidating and threatening behaviour, even of being physically aggressive.

And the allegations were made at the highest levels, from the Prime Minister's office and Parliamentary Service.

Problem is, it's not true.  A video shows what actually happened.

The video evidence is conclusive.

Kelly, accompanied by a cameraman, knocked on a door to Barclay's Gore electorate office where a receptionist came to speak to them. Kelly is well known to the staff at the Gore office - Gore is her beat.

Kelly and her cameraman were in Barclay's office barely more than a minute. After being told Barclay was not at work, and checking he hadn't been there that week, the reporter said thank you and she and the cameraman left.

Watch it for yourself, at the top of this story, if you like.

Yet in conversations with South Island editor-in-chief, Joanna Norris, it was alleged Kelly and her cameraman "barged" into Barclay's office and harassed and intimidated staff - even pursuing them to the back of the office, leaving the staff feeling threatened and under siege.

Harassment is a serious crime, and carries a prison sentence of up to two years.

There was also a complaint about a [different] journalist shouting and abusing Barclay's PR person over the phone.

Apparently he has one, even though it's highly unusual for a backbencher to have their own media minder.

The allegations were made in two phone conversations between Norris and a senior member of the PM's staff, as well as phone conversations with the head of Parliamentary Service, David Stevenson.

Stevenson also dropped the bombshell that police were now involved.

Knowingly placing a false complaint is also a very serious crime and should be treated as such by the Police. If the Prime Minister’s staff and David Stevenson made false complaints to the Police, they’re obliged under the law to investigate.

The Police cannot turn a blind eye to such misconduct like they did when first deciding to close the Todd Barclay investigation. The public needs to see that justice is being served, especially when our so-called leaders are in question.

The fact that National party officials made a false complaint about media harassment cannot be ignored. That injustice alone is a good reason to not vote for National this coming election.