The "employment issue'' in a National Party electorate
office is understood to involve a claim a secret recording was
made by Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay.
Long-serving staff member Glenys Dickson left Mr Barclay's
Gore office last month after 18 years in the job.
The circumstances of her departure have been kept under
The Otago Daily Times asked the National Party if it
was investigating a claim about a secret recording, but party
secretary Greg Hamilton said in a statement it was not the
role of the party to investigate or comment on staffing
Mr Barclay said he could not comment because it involved
Last week, Gore branch secretary Maeva Smith said an
"employment issue'' was behind Mrs Dickson's departure.
At the weekend, electorate chairman Stuart Davie resigned,
calling his position untenable, but he declined to comment
It is understood some southern party members feel the matter
warrants further investigation.
A central issue is whether the recording was made, or whether
its existence was an unfounded claim.
A party member, who declined to be named, said that the issue
was sensitive for the party because of the prominence of
surveillance and spying issues during its time in office.
The Parliamentary Service, which employs electorate
secretaries, declined to comment.
Mrs Dickson had worked for Deputy Prime Minister Bill English
when he was Clutha-Southland MP.
Yesterday, Mr English declined to comment, but earlier this
week told reporters in Wellington the resignations reflected
a transition phase in which an MP builds their own team, and
he was not concerned about the situation.
Queenstown electorate secretary Barbara Swan has also
resigned, and is working out a notice period.
Earlier this week, Mr Barclay apologised for releasing Ms
Swan's resignation letter to a media outlet.
Mr Barclay (25), who grew up in Dipton and Gore, was elected
to Parliament in 2014 after Mr English opted to become a list
His youth and previous employment at Phillip Morris New
Zealand prompted comment when he was selected for the
Mr Barclay worked as corporate affairs manager at Phillip
Morris for eight months.
He also worked in National Government ministerial offices,
and had a short posting in Prime Minister John Key's office.