Nick Smith resignation: audio recording of ‘verbal altercation’ at center of dispute

The complaint that ultimately led to the resignation of longtime National MP Nick Smith was not filed by the staff member he was in “verbal altercation” with.

Instead of, Thing Understand, the altercation was overheard by another National Party staff member who recorded the incident and filed a complaint.

Thing understands that one of the reasons the investigation is being delayed is that Smith is seeking a copy of the audio file, citing natural justice concerns.

He was made aware of the recording in April and says it was made available for investigation as early as September of the previous year. The altercation took place last July.

The longtime national deputy abruptly announced his impending resignation on Monday after 30 years of continuous service.

He cited both the loss of Nelson in the last election and a Parliamentary Service investigation into a “verbal altercation” in his office.

Nick Smith at his selection meeting ahead of last year's election.

Braden Fastier / STUFF

Nick Smith at his selection meeting ahead of last year’s election.

“The Parliamentary Services conducted a confidential investigation into a verbal altercation in my Wellington office last July which was unsuccessful,” Smith said.

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He said details of the incident had been leaked to the media and were due for release on Tuesday, and that he believed it was inappropriate for employment issues to be argued in this way.

“I was informed on Friday that the investigation and its details had been released to the media for publication tomorrow. It is inappropriate for labor disputes to be dealt with in public, ”said Smith.

“I will publicly state that I regret the incident, I apologized at the time and I apologize again today. I have decided that the best course of action for the parties involved, the National Party, my family and myself, is to retire now.

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Fellow MPs said today they had no idea until media reported Nick Smith’s resignation on Monday.

Deputy National Party Leader Shane Reti said he had no knowledge of the incident until Smith’s press release sent on Monday.

“I was surprised, then I thought about it for a while, then I continued with my work,” Reti said.

He declined to answer questions about the Parliamentary Service investigation and said he did not know when Smith would return to Parliament.

“I am not commenting on the issue between Dr Nick Smith and the parliamentary service, it is an employment issue.”

Chef Judith Collins thanked Smith for his long service Monday.

“Nick has been a dedicated Member of Parliament for Nelson and the New Zealand mainstream for three decades. I want to salute his career and wish him the best for the future, ”said Collins.

“Since there is an ongoing investigation into a labor dispute, it would be inappropriate to comment further on this issue.”

Other MPs from across the House declined to comment directly on the employment issue, but praised Smith’s decades of work.

National Whip Matt Doocey said there had been no further inquiries into employment in other national MPs.

A spokesperson for the parliamentary service said the organization would not comment on employment issues or investigations.


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About Ethel Nester

Ethel Nester

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