National MP Todd Barclay has been accused of inventing complaints against a former employee who went to the police alleging Barclay secretly recorded her.
Barclay denied recording the conversations of his former electorate agent Glenys Dickson, whose complaint to police sparked a 10-month investigation.
In a sensational development, Prime Minister Bill English yesterday confirmed he had provided a statement to police and told them Barclay had told him he left a dictaphone running in his electorate office and had recordings of his staff.
That statement was redacted when police released the investigation file to the Herald under the Official Information Act in March, but documents did reveal Barclay had declined to be interviewed - despite publicly saying he would fully co-operate.
At the time, Barclay told the Herald: "I had received complaints about the conduct of a staff member from members of the public and I referred the matter to Parliamentary Services. As the legal employer of support staff, they acted as they deemed appropriate and embarked on a disciplinary process. It is an employment matter and as I've said in the past I can't go into details through the media."
After reading that, Dickson followed up with Parliamentary Services. In a letter seen by Newsroom, the service's general manager David Stevenson said no complaints existed against Dickson.
"Parliamentary Service has neither received any complaint about you nor has it carried out any employment investigation or taken any disciplinary action against you."
Dickson told Newsroom the Clutha-Southland MP's statements were misleading, dishonest and defamatory.
Parliamentary Service has refused to comment on the Barclay allegations, saying it is an employment matter.
The Herald has approached Barclay for comment.
He is under building pressure to step down after yesterday's bombshell admission by English showed the MP had misled the public - but he appears to be digging in.
The Clutha-Southland MP read a short statement to media last night in which he confirmed English's statement to police was correct, and apologised for making "misleading" statements earlier in the day.
Flanked by National whip Jami-Lee Ross and Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie, Barclay walked away before answering questions.
In a further development last night, Newstalk ZB reported that the recordings may have been made by CCTV rather than a dictaphone. A private security firm was alleged to have put cameras into Barclay's office, at his request, to observe a staff member.
This morning the Politik website reported party officials as confirming former Minister Kate Wilkinson had been charged with investigating allegations of improper votes and "delegate stacking" involving Barclay's family and supporters. If evidence was found, a formal inquiry could be launched.
Members of the electorate opposed to Barclay have called for police to re-open the investigation against him, now Barclay says he "accepts" English's statement about the recordings.
Yesterday Newsroom reported that National's rules committee is understood to be investigating allegations of improper votes and "delegate stacking" involving Barclay's family and supporters.
Labour leader Andrew Little said English's leadership had been found lacking and he must now compel Barclay to front up to police.
NZ First leader Winston Peters said: "There has been a cover-up all the way to the Prime Minister's office."
Dickson had previously worked for English, who held Barclay's Clutha-Southland seat for 18 years before becoming a list MP.