National MP Todd Barclay stands to pocket $80,000 by hanging on until the election - but what will he do?

That was the question after the Clutha-Southland electorate MP announced a staged exit from Parliament three months from now.

When the New Zealand Herald asked the Prime Minister's office, a spokesman emailed a statement saying: "Todd Barclay will remain an MP until the election and will continue to carry out his usual duties and represent his community in that time."

But Green co-leader James Shaw said that's ridiculous and Barclay can't carry on as if nothing has happened.

Advertisement

"It's going to be very difficult for him to carry out his duties as a constituency MP in Clutha-Southland because his reputation is in tatters.

"He's not going to be part of the National Party election campaign," said Shaw, and there wasn't much in the way of legislation working its way through Parliament.

"I struggle to think what he could do other than some appropriate charity work."

Shaw said Barclay should have quit immediately. "I couldn't see how he could possibly stay on as a Member of Parliament given what we know and what has come out."

Barclay has recently accrued fresh outgoings with the $721,000 purchase of a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Arrowtown.

His decision to exit came after the revelation the 27-year-old MP told Prime Minister Bill English about recording a staff member while publicly saying he had not done so.

Around the same time, police announced detectives were making fresh inquiries into the allegation Barclay had made a secret recording after previously closing the case.

Todd Barclay with the National Party's Hekia Parata and Nikki Kaye.
Todd Barclay with the National Party's Hekia Parata and Nikki Kaye.

It's three months until the country goes to vote and in that time Barclay will have the benefit of taxpayer-funded travel, a taxpayer-funded car and his $40,000 salary - a quarter of the basic MPs' pay packet of $160,000.

Those benefits and another three months pay then come to Barclay as part of the arrangement enjoyed by politicians who are leaving Parliament.

In contrast, the median New Zealand wage is $32,292 a year and the median take-home-pay for men the same age as Barclay in Southland is $44,616.

Barclay's statement announcing his departure carried no clues as to what he would do with the three months left in Parliament. He said he would not be standing for the seat of Clutha-Southland again but would not leave until his term is up.

But he said being elected was the "proudest moment of my life" and that he got into politics "to make my contribution" as had role models like Prime Minister Bill English.