Bill English not worried about leaked text details

  • 07/08/2017
Prime Minister Bill English
Prime Minister Bill English

Prime Minister Bill English appears entirely unconcerned with the idea that someone has leaked details of his personal text messages to New Zealand First leader Winston Peters.

Mr Peters revealed in parliament last week that he had evidence Mr English text former staffer Glenys Dickson 450 times in the year leading up to her leaving the office of retiring National MP Todd Barclay because of an employment dispute.

The prime minister says he's not looked into how Mr Peters accessed details of the texts - including some sent after 1am, 22 in the day before Ms Dickson's resignation and 25 in the week after.

"If the material's in the public arena, it's in the public arena ... I'm not that concerned about it," he said.

Mr English hasn't checked his own text messages to make sure the allegations being made are accurate, nonchalantly telling reporters "Mr Peters seems pretty sure about it".

He also hasn't sought to find out whether it was Ms Dickson who handed over the details or asked for an investigation into how a third party might have come across and leaked the information.

Mr English confessed he does "sometimes" text staff and former staff in the early hours of the morning because that is "when I can get hold of them".

He said he can't recall his last contact with Ms Dickson.

Many of the texts were sent at a time when Ms Dickson, who worked for Mr English when he was Clutha-Southland MP, was involved in an employment dispute with Mr Barclay.

Mr English has repeatedly claimed to have had no involvement in the settlement of that dispute.

"I think everything that can be said about that matter has been said and I now don't have any further comment about that," Mr English said.

"I can't comment on this particularly given that they're the subject of further investigation."

Police have re-opened their investigation into allegations Mr Barclay secretly recorded Ms Dickson during the dispute.

The claims prompted Mr Barclay's decision in June to stand down as the candidate for Clutha-Southland in September and to retire from politics at the end of this parliament.