Government

Emotional ‘junior’ staffer resigns

Brian Anderton, the Parliamentary staffer at the centre of the scandal surrounding the disappearance of the National Party’s migration petition from the party website, has resigned. 

Newsroom understands his resignation has already taken effect. 

Media, including Newsroom, reported that a petition against the United Nations Migration Compact disappeared from the National Party’s website soon after the Christchurch Terror Attacks on March 15. 

This implied the National Party was sensitive about the links between the migration compact and the attack, which were underlined by the fact the alleged gunman scrawled references to the compact on his ammunition. Opposition to the migration compact had been a rallying cry for far-right groups in Europe.

However the party corrected media reports saying the page with the petition had been archived before the attack. This was later proven to be incorrect, as cached records showed the petition live on the party’s website on the afternoon of the attack. 

National blamed the episode on an “emotional” junior staffer who took it upon themselves to take the petition down.

But the scandal entered another phase the next week when stuff.co.nz revealed Anderton was in dispute with the National Party. Sources told Stuff Anderton had asked Simon Bridges press team whether he should take the petition down and decided to act himself when no answer was forthcoming.

It also reported Anderton had engaged Kensington Swan lawyer Linda Clark to represent him, although Clark did not confirm these reports. 

Later that week Anderton was named as the staffer, which itself raised eyebrows as he had worked for the party for six years in various roles and was not considered to be “junior”.  

Although a member of the opposition press team, Anderton was technically employed by Parliamentary Services.

A National Party spokesperson said the party would have welcomed him staying.

“While we would have welcomed him staying, we respect his decision to resign and wish him well in his future endeavours,” she said. 

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