Resign now, former staffer tells Todd Barclay

The woman secretly recorded by disgraced soon-to-be-former MP Todd Barclay says he shouldn't be waiting until the election to end his political career.

Mr Barclay, born the same year Bill English entered Parliament, took over the National Party leader's Clutha-Southland seat in 2014. He soon fell offside with staff he inherited from Mr English, and after more than a year of denials, this week admitted covertly recording their conversations.

Glenys Dickson resigned from Mr Barclay's Gore electorate office, Mr Barclay falsely claiming other staff had laid complaints about her. She was paid a settlement out of then-Prime Minister John Key's leader's fund - taxpayer money.

Mr Barclay was widely tipped to resign earlier this week, but instead said he'd stay on until the election, but wouldn't stand. Ms Dickson says he should have quit as soon as his lies were exposed.

"I feel the honourable thing to do perhaps was to just resign immediately," she told Fairfax, adding that she takes no joy in seeing his downfall.

"He had a very bright future ahead of him and he just let himself down."

Deputy Prime Minister Paula Bennett agreed with Ms Dickson that Mr Barclay's potential has gone to waste.

"He's a young man that actually loved his job and did a really good job for his constituents," she told The AM Show on Friday. "It's a brutal reminder just how politics can be really, and it's all played out in the media and it's pretty awful."

Mr English's reputation has also taken a battering, after telling Parliament he went straight to police, then later admitting police not only came to him, but he'd lawyered up in advance.

"Bill English consistently claimed he knew nothing about this, and this week we had it revealed that not only did he know something about it, he was interviewed by police in Dipton explicitly about it," Labour deputy leader Jacinda Ardern told The AM Show.

"He then came out and said the reason he lied was because it was under investigation... you say 'this is a matter that's under investigation' or you say 'I cannot comment on this at that time'."

Ms Ardern didn't shy away from saying Mr English straight-up "lied" about his involvement.

"He lied to the media. He said he knew nothing. He said he wasn't involved and it wasn't anything that he knew anything about.

"He might have a whole rationale for why he's done that, but the barefaced facts of it are that he lied."

Ms Bennett says there was no "cover-up", and that Mr English chose to stay quiet on the matter because it was an employment dispute that had been settled.

"As an ex-MP for the area you try and stick your nose out of that business, particularly when you know all of the people involved. That's what he was doing.

"He is not a liar, and that is completely wrong."

Mr Barclay refused to cooperate with the initial police investigation, which police say was eventually dropped due to insufficient evidence.

Mr English has now told NZME he didn't go to police right away because it hadn't "occurred to anybody that there may be some potential offence".

"For those who weren't involved it was hard to know what exactly happened. There was no implication of behaviour that could be an offence."

The Crimes Act 1961, section 216B, states "everyone is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years who intentionally intercepts any private communication by means of an interception device" unless they are a party to the conversation, or have been authorised to under spying, terror or search and surveillance laws.