The staff member who was recorded by Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay turned up to hear New Zealand First leader Winston Peters speak in Gore on Sunday.
Gore District councillor Glenys Dickson declined all comment yesterday, but NZ First Clutha-Southland candidate Mark Patterson confirmed her attendance.
“She was there. It was a public meeting. She was just there as an interested citizen.
“As far as I know and I think I probably would know if she did she has no formal role within the party,” Mr Patterson, a Lawrence beef and sheep farmer, said.
“There seems to be efforts to link her to NZ First somehow, which is not the case, unfortunately. It would be great if she was.”
Mr Barclay last month announced he would step down at the September election.
His decision came after Prime Minister Bill English revealed Mr Barclay had told him last year he had audio recordings of Mrs Dickson, just hours after Mr Barclay denied any recordings were made.
Police have reopened the investigation into Mrs Dickson’s allegation that Mr Barclay had secretly recorded her.
They had previously found insufficient evidence to carry out search warrants of take matters further, following a 10-month investigation during which time Mr Barclay declined to be interviewed.
Mr Barclay has not been at Parliament since confirming he would leave politics.
Mr Patterson said he knew Mrs Dickson from his time as a National supporter, and said her treatment by the party had disappointed people in the area.
“At a local level a lot of people have known the truth but they have been prepared to turn a blind eye to it. So that’s not really the southern way. People trade on their integrity down south.
“Yes, I think they have (lost votes). But I think it has got to be seen in a wider groundswell of discontent.
“In many ways it would have been better for us if Todd had stayed, because he was quite unpopular within the local electorate, particularly the more rural parts of the electorate who felt he ignored them.
“We were probably disappointed in the end that he’s not standing.”
Mr Patterson said key issues in the electorate included a sense the regions had been neglected by the Government while m oney went to infrastructure projects in Auckland.
Foreign ownership of farmland and supply chains was a point of difference to National, he said, and the NZ First policy to put GST back to the provinces had strong appeal given the tourism spend in Queenstown and Milford. NZME