Todd Barclay apologises for 'misleading' statements denying secret recordings

Both Prime Minister Bill English and MP Todd Barclay have made a complete u-turn over allegations that Mr Barclay secretly recorded a staff member.

In the span of just four hours on Tuesday, Mr English changed his story on the secret recordings from "I can't recall" to "I told police".

And Mr Barclay has changed his tune too. On Tuesday morning he was repeatedly denying the allegations, telling media: "I've seen the allegations and I totally refute that."

He also told media he did not tell Mr English anything about secret recordings, and when asked if he made any secret recordings, flat-out responded: "No."

But the Clutha-Southland MP apologised at around 5:55pm on Tuesday, saying: "I'm sorry if any of the answers I gave this morning were misleading in any way."

The statements in question were him saying, "No", he did not tell Mr English about secret recordings and, "No", he had not made any secret recordings.

Mr Barclay quickly withdrew from the press conference without answering any questions.

The allegations were revealed by a Newsroom investigation on Tuesday morning, which found Mr Barclay had paid a significant amount of 'hush money' to settle an employment dispute.

Mr English later admitted telling police "Todd Barclay had told [him] that he had recordings of his staff criticising him" - a far cry from earlier, when he said he "could not recall" who told him about the recordings.