The Barclay Affair and Labour's international student migrant sweat-shops: The week isn't even over and Winston Peters already has maximum points. No one else is even on the winners' podium

The Barclay Affair and Labour's international student migrant sweat-shops: The week isn't even over and Winston Peters already has maximum points. No one else is even on the winners' podium

By Alex Tarrant

The week isn’t even over but Winston Peters has emerged as the only person on the winners’ podium.

Labour had been looking to take gold by default. They really had nothing to do with escalation of the Barclay Affair but by way of being the largest Opposition party, were happily fronting the outcry as Bill English shot himself in the foot on what he knew, and when, about the sordid state of affairs in his old electorate of Clutha-Southland.

It was his own doing. The fact he texted someone that Todd Barclay had told him about secretly recording office staff was key. The second rule of not getting caught is don’t put anything in writing. (The first rule is don’t do anything that you might be caught out by.)

The third rule of not getting caught is make sure you’ve made it look like you did the right thing while everyone else was carrying on with the bad behaviour. English tried this by saying he’d told police about what Barclay had told him.

In Parliament Wednesday he tried to say he couldn’t have taken his concerns further because there had at the time been a police investigation and he didn’t want to be seen talking over it. Also, it can’t be a cover-up when you’ve said what you know to the police, he argued.

It fell on deaf ears. The fact Barclay admitted he’d misled the media over what he had done (or hadn’t done, as per his previous claim) was king. The young man who didn’t know how to properly use the word ‘refute’ in a basic sentence had to go. (Traditionalists would argue that to refute, you have to prove something is wrong, not simply disagree with it – and he certainly didn’t do that).

And so Little led the outrage. Quite rightly – that’s part of his job after all. But did he land any punches on English in Question Time, getting the Speaker to force English into any answers he didn’t want to give? No. Never mind though. Just say ‘cover up’ and get on the front page. It worked. Fair enough politics.

Peters chimed in on the Barclay Affair too. He tried to push the Fuji-Xerox accounting saga in Parliament but was overshadowed by the main news of the week, with the opposition being fronted by Little.

So just as the weekend columnists were gearing up to give the points to Labour, what do they do? They shoot themselves in the foot as well. Sweat-shops, poor living conditions, INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS paid next to nothing to help out on a Labour-linked ‘get out and vote’ scheme run by Little’s former chief of staff Matt McCarten. You could not have made this stuff up.

And this, right after you’ve secured political points for an immigration policy that grabbed the attention of those wanting to be told Labour would get tough on foreigners moving into our houses, and over-crowding our roads, schools and hospitals, without really ruffling feathers in the business community.

All that good work potentially undone by the fact foreign students were drafted in to help boost Labour’s vote, while being paid next to nothing and having to live in terrible digs.

National campaign chair Steven Joyce pounced. “This is truly appalling behaviour both for its lack of human decency and industrial strength hypocrisy,” he said.

“If the allegations are correct, Labour has brought international students to New Zealand on false pretences, failed to look after them, and failed to meet their obligations to the students in the most basic way, while at the same time campaigning against exploitation of migrants.”

Matt McCarten tried to save Labour to some extent by saying it was his programme, that it had become greater than he could manage, and that Labour – good on them – had contacted him earlier this week all concerned about it and offering to fix things. Not going to work. Damage already done.

It was a God-send. Who cares about some kid from Southland when Labour can be accused of running a migrant sweat-shop? Peters hadn’t released a statement at time of writing, but he can be expected to climb all over it as well and claim the middle ground.

How about the Greens? Well, they used their first question in Parliament’s Question Time after the Barclay Affair broke to ask the Prime Minister about refugees.

Sure, it was global refugee day. But it set Peters off. Five thousand more refugees! You’ve got to be kidding. You couldn’t hand it to him on a platter any better than that. The Greens right now are very, very wary about not antagonising Peters. He’s their only hope of getting any Cabinet positions due to Labour’s low polling. Great policy, wrong timing. No political points to them.

The final points for Peters come from Thursday’s migration figures. Headlines of another record annual intake will only add strength to his bow. They should have been points to Labour. Not anymore.

New Zealand First has been trying to push the line that this year’s election is a three-horse race. Party insiders say add a fair whack of the undecided vote to their headline polling figures and you get closer to 15% support, or 20% depending on who you’re talking to.

Mostly, that has been dismissed as a load of hot air. It certainly is. Hot air pushing the New Zealand First balloon ever higher as everyone else tries to patch up self-inflicted holes.

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current comment policy is here.


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And he is promising to slash migration .

Pity he cant be trusted

Sounds like you're saying it's no use voting for him because he's just another Key / English.


No, Boater is a dyed, stained, card carrying, paid up National party Stooge, who promised to vote Labour this time if they produced a Housing Policy, which they have done

The only way Labour can possibly gain power will be with Winston's help in coalition. Hence Boater's constant disparagement of Winston, thus by proxy Labour, to Nationals benefit
The frequency of Boater's plasterings his views around one can only conclude he is on the clock and being paid per post

Haha, everyone having a different opinion must be a stooge eh? ... so you think that everyone is naive on this site to believe such nonsense ?

Labour Housing Policy is a scam - moving needy people from Motels to crapped out Maraes by the looks of it or at best scatter them around the country !!!! - Their immigration Policy is proving to be nothing less than that either ... disguising the status quo as Labour future policy does not pass the honesty test !! the more they reveal they worse they look !!

It is really good to have Matt McCarten managing the campaign - this is where he is heading with it 100 days from election !! The gutters

Winston had his chance once in Government and no one hardly remembers anything positive about that ... Winston is the loud music in the background preventing people of having a quiet dinner .... no one really takes him seriously other than some naive people who still believe he can pull something with his charismatic stances , he bites more than he can chew ... So if Labour is hoping to get him on board then a disaster of epic dimension is waiting to happen for NZers....

Oh, BTW just like Boatman, I get paid by the post too ... :)

Lol , I wish someone paid me to post here .

And by the way , I am still an undecided voter .

I stand by my view that New Zealanders face Hobsons Choice in this election , we might as well close our eyes and accept the horse closest to the stable door , because all the horses are actually good for is the glue factory

My clear views are :-

National have made a spectacular cock-up with immigration .

Labour's immigration policies will not be any different according to Andrew Little

National has made a spectacular cock -up with housing policy and not dealt with the evils of land banking and rampant speculation

Labour 's housing policy is a joke that only an uneducated fool would accept as being achievable . It seems to me to be totally impractical without any thought to practical reality , and with all the will in the world looks to be unachievable especially if they think they can enter the construction business as a government running another SOE and can build any more houses than we are doing right now ...........

There are not enough builders in NZ to do any more .

We will need a massive tax hike to pay for the project because it will lose an incredible amount of money

I will be first on the housing list for 3 houses at $300,000 a piece in Auckland , one for each of my adult children , and I would actually be prepared to liquidate other assets such as shares and bonds and pay cash and register a private mortgage over them myself . And by liquidating those assets , I will actually pay less in dividend tax on the shares and less tax on the interest from the bonds

You see we have a real mess and those overpaid idiots in the Beehive have no clue how to solve the problems in the short term without making things worse .

Criticising National on Land-banking
Boatman owns a 10 acre spread in Greenthithe 15 minutes from the CBD
You still hanging on to that 10 acres in Greenhithe Central? - you landbanker you


You categorically, emphatically, absolutely, 100%, stated you would not vote National if Labour produced a housing policy

Yes its easy to spout whatever you want to get votes but when you actually get in, then everything changes and suddenly there is all that "Red Tape"


Why did the police close a 10 month investigation of Barclay when they had a Deputy PM no less who had made a statement that the crime had been conducted.

Most prosecutors would have been salivating over the slam dunkerness of it all.

Why wouldn 't kiwis think there has been a cover up orchestrated by the PM of the day?


Maybe the police did not find Bill English's testimony trustworthy?

They're six months ahead of the general New Zealand public on that point, I guess.

The big hitters. The heavy weights.

The phone lines would have been singing hot thumping the light-weight Barclay from Southland telling him to step down now and that he had no support left within the party. Those same heavy-weights will have had their tentacles inside the police telling them to quietly bury it. That's how it's done

Barclays a plonker and the Nats should have quietly got rid of him at the last selection round for the seat. The fact they didn't and intended for him to have a patsy seat/cushy job for life speaks volumes. However that should have been (and should be) the end of it. Police have more important things to do than worry about than this case., they make decisions all the time on whether to pursue things and in my book I would rather have my taxpayer contribution to the police budget going on burglary, robbery, meth, family violence.

All the signs of decay from within - to the astute - the party is over

Kingmaker for sure but hard to trust what he says and what he does to be in power but this election who ever in power will be with support of Winston Peter.


He's worth voting for in one way, if only for the other parties fear he'll open his big mouth and do them great damage.

The problem is that often he opens his mouth and damages himself.
Yesterdays man.

... the Gnats ought to call his bluff , and get him to head down the Pike River mine ... as he's so blatantly trying to use it as an issue to score political points ....

They should tell Winston " fair enough Winnie , why dontcha back up your fine words ... and be the first to head into the drift ... oh ... and here's your cigarettes ... "

If anyone can inhale massive amounts of methane and not be affected, it's Winston.


5000 more refugees and we have how many NZers already [semi-]homeless? nuts.......

That is 5,000 per annum
That is 1,000 public housing, up to possibly 2,000 needed each year for refugees

Worst Case scenario
if Kiwibuild could gear up to build 10,000 houses per year, 2,000 of them would go to refugees

The best thing we could do for refugees is stop helping create them!
The USA get us and any other country involved in their invasions and their attacks not because they need us but by being involved we legitimize their behavior.
We don't let our kids hang out with the school bully, why do we hang out with the world bully.
The war on terror is creating terrorists and creating refugees by the million.
The only thing the countries being attacked and invaded have in common is that they don't want to trade there oil or rare metals using the American Dollar.
The American dollar is the USA number one export.
Our involvement with the USA should be one of the main debates at our coming elections.

200 more cars on the road everyday, and 50 new homes everyday to settle down the new immigrants .

Forget about the Barclay affair and see it for what it is , an inconsequential workplace dispute and a sideshow of no significance to anyone in the greater scheme of things .

I had to laugh at Patrick Gower , who took to reporting it in an OTT manner as if it were a 9/11 incident or some equally armageddon affair

Todd Barclay is a silly little whippersnapper who did something really stupid in the workplace as do many Kiwi employers every day .

The consequences for him have been way more severe that the normal slap on the wrist with a wet Jandal one would normally get from an Employment Tribunal hearing .


Views like this...

...and we wonder why tolerance of corruption seems to be on the rise in NZ.

The act itself is illegal. The cover up, lying and potential misuse of the PM's fund that followed is the more pertinent matter.

A functioning democracy does demand some level of esteem for honesty, transparency, not misleading the public or police, accountability to the law etc.

What you're arguing for is basically allowing our politicians (and their mates) to be above the law. That's abhorrent and I hope you don't teach your children this.

I dont see the " corruption " here, the funds used are discretionary and not required to be accounted for .

So taping your staff without telling them is illegal , unless you work in a callcentre or for the IRD .

And NOT PAYING your staff to help your political campaign , is also illegal .

I once had an incident with staff member who was a nutjob and took me to the Employment court for alleged "contstructive dismissal ". I was thrown out

I also fired a young driver for abusing a vehicle and constantly getting fines for speeding and he also tried his luck through the legal system . It was a waste of time for me and we won at huge cost

We have all been there making mistakes and falling foul of some obscure labour dispute precedent , its really no big deal .

Bill English made a statement to Police at the time in 2016 , he has done what he should have done .

Barclay was just plain stupid to deny it , and his age shows his lack of " juno se qua "

je ne sais quoi?

Thank you I stand corrected , my French spelling is terrible


Are you trying to equate the well-known recording of phone calls by IRD and call centres - which is advised to both staff and customers - with illegal recording without consent? Are you claiming that IRD is breaking the law by conducting covert surveillance of its staff? Patently absurd...surely a better example could be found than that?

Re political volunteers, I think you'll find that all parties use volunteers to help with their campaigning, in fact I've worked with National Party volunteers in the past. Not to mention that Kiwis also go overseas (e.g. to the USA) to volunteer in political movements. Volunteering internationally for political causes has existed for a long time - even including notable examples such as George Orwell, Christopher Hitchens and Ernest Hemingway.
Terrible case of good Soviet whataboutism there. Terrible.

Very poorly managed services for their volunteers in Labour's case, that's fair to say.They should at least make an effort to provide better conditions than many NZ landlords do.

Bill allowed Barclay to go on lying to the NZ public, and also claimed to not recall giving a statement to the police regarding what Barclay had told him. If you believe that, I have a lovely bridge to sell you.

Just because "your team" does it doesn't make it okay, Boatman. It's this kind of toleration that is creating a decline of moral standards.

Bill English is our chief lawmaker and he is auditioning to continue in that role. Yet when he was in a situation involving his old job representing Southland and his old staffers, Bill chose not to uphold the law.

Hasn't Bill just destroyed his moral authority?

For instance if my son comes to me and says a friend of his has confessed to wrongdoing/breaking the law and my son asks me what should he do? Do I say- well you could follow the example of our PM -Bill English, who had a similar problem with a friend.

Bill's example is to get someone else to make some payoffs to stop people talking, the wrongdoer then pretended that no wrongdoing occurred....... the problem with this example is eventually the truth does come out......... everyone eventually does get punish..... the wrongdoer does lose their job...... And now lots of people think the PM is a liar, who covers up wrongdoing ...... so son best not follow the example of Bill English.

Who carried the carpet-bag back and forth between Glenys Dickson and John Key - who was the messenger and who was the pony-express rider - only one person fits that description

Bill English knew that Todd Barclay had done wrong/broken the law, because Todd confessed to him that he had secretly taped his staff. Yet Bill let Todd pretend for over a year that no wrongdoing had occurred. Todd was going to public meetings, candidate selection events...... pretending no wrongdoing had occurred....... this in Bill's old patch, his home country, with his old staffers..... and Bill did not tell his old constituents that yes Todd had done wrong, a simple statement of the truth from Bill a year ago would have prevented this mess......

What does that say about Bill? Can we trust his morals? His judgement? His leadership?

It gets worse than that. Bill outright lied, from the looks of it. According to the NZ Herald:

• February 21, 2016: "He left a dictaphone running that picked up all conversations in the office ... the settlement was larger than usual because of the privacy breach." Text message to former electorate chairman Stuart Davie, published by Newsroom.

• March 1, 2016: Asked if he knew the reason for the resignations: "No. These are issues between them and their MP. I keep pretty clear of the electorate. It's not my job to run it, I'm finished [as an electorate MP]." Statement made in a press conference with reporters at Parliament.

If Newsroom had not managed to get hold of the first communication perhaps we are safe to assume Bill would still be insisting he knows nothing about the crime being committed or the subsequent use of taxpayers' money to make the crime go away?

I was hoping that Bill English would clean up the immoral house that the National party leadership has become. But he has the same 'flexible' morals as the rest of them......... That it is only wrong if you get caught.....

This was no privacy breach - it was a criminal offence -

216B Prohibition on use of interception devices
(1) Subject to subsections (2) to (5), every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 2 years who intentionally intercepts any private communication by means of an interception device

and for the attention of Mr Davie ..see section in particular (e) -

117 Corrupting juries and witnesses
Every one is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 7 years who—

wilfully attempts in any other way to obstruct, prevent, pervert, or defeat the course of justice in New Zealand or the course of justice in an overseas jurisdiction.


You may disagree, but I personally object to my money being used to protect a National MP from the consequences of his own actions and allowing him to lie without question to protect his political skin. The party knew that an illegal act had been committed and used public money to hush it up, and you don't see a problem?


This is key, to me. (No pun intended.)

Are we okay with a political party using taxpayer money as hush money to cover up a crime then lying to the public about it?


Well, that's quite the raising of the bar on weak and hypocritical rationalisations.

Dumbnuts deliberately broke the law. He was caught, he refused to cooperate with an investigation, hush-money was paid out of taxpayer-provided funds, and a cover-up attempted.

If you go have a look at the Crimes Act 1961, there isn't a little asterisk at the end with a footnote saying 'This Act does not apply to National Party or their cronies'.


Yes indeed.
The big question for me is why after 10 months of work they dropped the case.
With Farmers statement it would have been a walk in the park.

(WRT Farmers statement I presume this was only obtained after he made the mistake of texting Davies and then Davies phone was sequestered by police. When the police approached Farmer he was trapped.)

How much pressure was put on the police by National to drop the case?

Does NZ Police have a Fearless"James Comey" ? I think not.


I'm still waiting for an explanation for exactly why Blunder Boy was doing illegal surveillance on his staff.

AFAIK, She said nasty things about him to other people. Poor Todd.


unless you work in a callcentre or for the IRD
" juno se qua "

Wow, Boatman I used to actually read what you wrote, but now you are just writing rubbish.


We shouldn't be too hard on Boatman. Not everyone speaks French and indeed,it may be a language that only he knows.
He may have evidence that the IRD secretly tapes its staff and perhaps he will produce it. I can hardly wait.

All IRD calls are taped , and the staff are aware of it at all times

So Boatman - you feel that it is fine for the Law to be broken without repercussion because this is the National Party or because you have scant respect for the Law?

Truly a sad state of affairs when the way to get ahead is to say nothing

It just points to the medias shallowness , and how easy it is for politicans like Winston to gain attention. The Greens policy would look alot better if the media reported our refugee quota is miles behind similar countries. But no , it reports Winstons outrage. Meanwhile , NZ First has not released a single policy , preferring to grab sound bites attacking others. ( Actually they have released the anti smacking referendum policy , if you can call it that).
When I open the Herald's website , and the top story is someones underwear, or some other "The Sun" level dribble, I really wonder if we will get any decent debate leading up to the election.

You're right about the NZ mainstream media and the Herald is collapsing into a joke; infantile scandal and shallow agenda driven nonsense. Thank God for, croaking Cassandra and the international websites. Not so sure we should be encouraging more refugees/migrants given the terrible problems they are causing elsewhere but that's another story.

The media are meant to be the eyes and ears of a democracy.
Our media are as bad as the USA media. They have an agenda and that agenda is where the reporting is used as propaganda.

NZ First's policies are on their website and they are good ones

Here's The Guardian's report on it:-

'Secret recordings' scandal hits New Zealand prime minister months before election'

If any of the opposition wanted a scandalous example of government malpractice & malfeasance, then they need look no further than EQC 's performance in Christchurch over the last seven years, but that just seems to been dumped into the too hard basket just like thousands of houses.

There are also sorts of slimy and horrible things lying under that rock. Just waiting for someone with the guts and grit to overturn it.

All our politicians are self serving scumbags. Just look at how much money they all have made by allowing house prices to get out of control.
In these elections one has to ask oneself who is the best of a very bad bunch?
The answer has to be Winston Peters. Most of our problems in NZ has to do with the massive immigration the National Party has allowed to occur.
Greens want us to pay indefinitely for 5000 refugees, Labour cannot be trusted to cut immigration as per their hypocrisy.
Without Winston we would not have a gold card and other benefits as other countries have.

Any thoughts from commenters here on the viability of this?

I'm sick of the bad bunch and certainly don't trust Winston to do more than add benefits to the Golden Oldies Club, no matter what his policies say. Maybe the best way to send a message is to vote in builders and workers rather than more pigs who've been feeding at the trough for decades. They certainly couldn't do worse.

Zero immigration is impractical and would harm the productive side of the economy.

There is a mechanism for pre-approved design. That means of the government would need to carry out or pay for full design for these homes. Of course there's the question of liability in the event of a design problem. This could be done and would save a lot of time with obstructive Councils. That might work but where's the money coming from?

The biggest issue is that Kiwis are obsessed with making their house a grand design so what sort of uptake would we get? Would Councils block the projects where resource consent is required? Who modifies the design when the house is built on a sloping site? There's a few missing details.

Lastly, would you be forced to listen to Colin Craig's poetry?

With 15% Winston's Party will have 18 MPs. They currently have 12 and I bet most of you couldn't name more than three of them. Currently looks like we'll end up with Peters leading a band of nobodies around Parliament, but wielding enormous influence. Kinda makes me nostalgic for first past the post...

Most people could only name half a dozen Labour, Green or National MPs

Most sit on their backsides doing nothing apart from picking up their perks.

List MPs do not have to even have to try to get elected by the public.

Constituent MPs only have to rely on a tiny proportion of the country to vote for them, the rest of the country are excluded from having a say. If Dunne or Seymour had to rely on the whole country for their endorsement, they would be unheard of.

Itsme - I bet everyone can name the respected member for Crooka Swiftland, the biggest electorate in NZ, as well as the previous rookresentative for that location!

Good - he might even drain the swamp

Leftist Atlantic Mag Admits: ‘Democrats Lost Their Way on Immigration’

… What if [Hillary Clinton] had challenged elite universities to celebrate not merely multiculturalism and globalization but Americanness? What if she had said more boldly that the slowing rate of English-language acquisition was a problem she was determined to solve? What if she had acknowledged the challenges that mass immigration brings, and then insisted that Americans could overcome those challenges by focusing not on what makes them different but on what makes them the same?

Some on the left would have howled. But I suspect that Clinton would be president today.

Breitbart says:

English First would be welcomed by Americans, but Beinart largely ignores the much more important social, economic and political impact of cheap-labor legal immigration, which has greatly helped the high-IQ post-graduate class boost their wealth, political power and status advantage over other Americans in the deliberately fragmented, tribalized, diversified, disunited United States.

Immigration became a marker of social status as mass education produced a new class of university-educated intellectuals (who looked down their snouts at the other).


By the spring of 2016, one top Clinton adviser explained to me, the campaign’s own polling showed that white voters without a college degree despised Clinton … [Clinton] never fully met her most important political challenge: the need to both celebrate multiculturalism and also cushion the backlash against the celebration … Nonetheless, neither Clinton nor her campaign manager, Robby Mook, had any apparent interest in that appeal. They considered Trump’s disreputable [pro-American] character the issue that would carry the election


In reality, 4 million Americans turn 18 each year, yet the federal government invites 1 million new immigrants. This policy of mass immigration spikes profits and stock values by cutting salaries for manual and skilled labor offered by blue-collar and white-collar employees, it drives up real estate prices, reduces high-tech investment, increases state and local tax burdens, and sidelines marginalized Americans and their families. Mass immigration also imposes the social “diversity” which helps Beinart, his allies, and fellow columnists as they claim a right to fragment, divide and rule Americans without any rude interference by the voters on November 8, 2016.

Labour purports to be the saviors of the downtrodden and meanwhile importing students to do door knocking and putting them up in atrocious living conditions.

This stinks to high heaven

That story started to unravel last night - it's a fake

At least they have taken ownership of this and are making sure it is all put to rights, more than you could say about National, Bill English and Todd Barclay.

More to come on this story methinks.
The LABOUR PARTY has put security guards at the gates of the marae to protect the workers privacy.
Methinks too late.

I suspect the guards are there to keep them in the marae. The same way Seaorg works (the nautical branch of Scientology).