New Zealand leader faces questions over alleged secret tapes

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Three months out from an election, New Zealand Prime Minister Bill English is facing awkward questions about how he handled a lawmaker who is accused of making secret recordings.

English on Tuesday released a statement he made last year to police, saying that lawmaker Todd Barclay told him he left a recording device running in his office and captured criticism from a staffer.

Under New Zealand law, it is illegal to secretly record other people's conversations. Police investigated Barclay, but the National Party lawmaker refused an interview and police said they closed the case due to insufficient evidence.

Barclay says he did nothing wrong and hasn't faced political sanctions.

English released his statement after an investigation by the Newsroom website revealed English sent texts about the allegations.