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National’s Maggie Barry problem

Written By: - Date published: 9:20 am, March 3rd, 2019 - 25 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, accountability, national, Politics, same old national, workers' rights - Tags: ,

This rather strange story has bubbled to the surface again.

And one aspect of it, the use of Parliamentary Services resource for political purposes is very strange given the abundance of National’s resources.  Why use a staffer to perform political work when there is plenty of paid party help to do the work?

The problem for National is that claims of bullying have also emerged.  And this particular story is not going to disappear overnight.

Kirsty Johnston from the Herald has the details:

Staff from three government departments who worked with MP Maggie Barry raised concerns about her behaviour during her time as a minister – and at least one also complained to the head of the public service.

Confirmation of the complaints from government staff about Barry’s conduct follow bullying allegations made by her electorate staff last year.

The Weekend Herald revealed in December the North Shore representative and former garden show host was twice investigated during 2018 for alleged bullying.

Allegations made by a staffer to Parliamentary Service said Barry regularly swore and yelled at employees, belittled their intelligence and appearance, discussed staffers’ sexuality in the workplace, and used derogatory terms like “nutter” about people with mental health issues.

He claimed Barry also expected staff to do political work on taxpayer time, which would be unlawful.

Barry denied all the allegations and said the Parliamentary Service had made no findings of bullying or harassment.

However, the staffer at the centre of the claims said the service did not properly investigate his allegations, and laid a complaint with the Auditor General.

Last week, the Auditor General asked the Parliamentary Service to re-investigate the claims of unlawful political work.

This week, the Department of Conservation, Ministry of Social Development and Ministry for Culture and Heritage – all which had workers seconded to Barry’s Parliamentary office – confirmed to the Weekend Herald they also had staff raise concerns about Barry’s conduct.

Additionally, the State Services Commission (SSC) revealed concerns were raised with its office in respect of Barry during her time as a minister, too.

OIAs have been lodged and each department has refused to provide the details. Interestingly different reasons have been advanced by each department.

Barry denies it all although the language used is somewhat awkward and is not a fulsome rebuttal.  Again from the Herald:

In a statement released yesterday, a spokesperson for Barry said she was never made aware of any formal complaints against her by any government department staff seconded to her Beehive office.

“In the three years she was a Minister, concerns may have been raised and discussed but they did not progress to any formal complaints process,” the statement said.

“No one chose to pursue any concerns and there were no formal complaints which is why Maggie Barry not made aware of them.”

This story will continue to simmer.  Parliamentary Services will no doubt investigate the resources misuse claim.  And I am sure the Ombudsman will be asked to assist in the provision of the information regarding Ministerial bullying.  As taxpayers we ought to be told how our representatives have been treating the staff who are essentially employed by us.

25 comments on “National’s Maggie Barry problem ”

  1. AB 1

    The Nats probably need to disappear her. Maybe a quiet word that the party won’t support her re-selection as a candidate for 2020, some cash and a cushy job offer somewhere else?
    On the other hand Simon might argue that workplace bullying and humiliation is part of “the kiwi way of life”. And if he did, he’d be right for once.

    • greywarshark 1.1

      She could take Jenny Shipley’s place on some Chinese directorate?

    • woodart 1.2

      nth shore nats will replace her with someone still in a country that rhymes with lina. will get voted in by “new” New Zealanders….barry will disappear into the directorship world, where high pay guarantees high performance(ask mainzeal creditors)…

    • Michael 1.3

      Keep her on. She must be worth a few thousand Party Votes to Labour from all the people who detest her. OTOH, Labour’s still saddled with Curran – perhaps the Coke and Pepsi parties could do a swap?

  2. Sacha 2

    “This rather strange story has bubbled to the surface again.”

    Dragging out OIA responses does tend to produce that result.

  3. Anne 3

    As a constituent of Ms Barry’s she is not popular on the Shore at least among the people I know or have met at some time. How widespread it might be I don’t know.

    Maggie is in the habit of cluttering (slight exaggeration) the electorate with her billboards even though there is no election looming. After the allegations surfaced late last year they all disappeared but in the last few weeks they started appearing again. Looks like her local lackeys will have to take them down again. Poor wee Maggie. 😥

    • OnceWasTim 3.1

      Prima Donna is an apt description of Barry I think.
      The gNatz have had a few of them over the years (both male and female)

      • Anne 3.1.1

        I got a chance to observe her during the last election at a combined candidate meeting. There were 5 candidates… plus Maggie Barry. She sat at the end of the row nearest the door and not once acknowledged the presence of the other candidates. Except when it was her turn to speak, she remained bent over her phone texting for the entire hour then disappeared before the meeting finished. It was plain that she regarded the other candidates as… beneath her dignity.

        I had heard about this attitude but it still shocked me to see it play out in front of me.

  4. Bewildered 4

    It’s all a bit bit of a yawn, I am more interested in the year of delivery

    • greywarshark 4.1

      Are you becoming an enabling father Bewildered. Congrats. I didn’t think it was in your constitution!

    • simbit 4.2

      Nah, love this shit. Schadenfreude, my favourite icecream…

    • left_forward 4.3

      I cannot think of anyone here with a more apt name. Perhaps Wayne?

  5. greywarshark 5

    Maggie Barry sounds as if she is developing into a Bob Jones. She doesn’t seem to really like people when they are not serving a useful purpose for her. Neither does Bob Jones and eventually someone will call her out strongly as in this rant on Bob Jones.

    https://thespinoff.co.nz/society/18-01-2017/opinion-bob-jones-can-now-descend-back-down-into-the-abyss-from-whence-he-came/

  6. Fireblade 6

    Simon Bridges is a weak leader, so there will be no consequences for bully Barry.

    • Dukeofurl 6.1

      Barry was in the Amy Adams camp, and was downgraded by the winner Bridges ( Sarah Dowie whos area of responsibility covers what Barry used to have, Conservation, rocketed up the caucus career ladder, mainly as she was ‘being used’ – her words- by JLR.)

      Perhaps Barry is the source of continued caucus leaks which have continued after JLR expulsion…..

      And perhaps Bridges has found some one – during his fund raising diners- to replace her as MP if the ground suddenly gives way under her feet. After all Bridges and Bennett were targeting Ross with media stories well before he was ‘unmasked’ , why wouldnt they do the same to the next leaker.

      Even his wife has called Bridges a ‘dirty street fighter’, and its clear Bridges doesnt care what the public numbers are , he will destroy any caucus opposition first and foremost

  7. Sabine 7

    a friend had the pleasure of ‘working’ with the dame, and friend has not a good word to say.

  8. florabunda 8

    As has been said before, anyone who went on one of MB’s overseas garden tours has seen her arrogant belittling snobbish behaviour towards others. She has not changed, in fact a bit of perceived power has made her worse.
    Christian virtues? – I don’t think so.

  9. WeTheBleeple 9

    She’s a nasty piece of work. Was an abysmal human being as an entertainer and now she’s a nat politician…. Not holding my breath for improvements.

    • rod 9.1

      Mark Richardson wants to be a nat politician too. Nothing to see here.

      • Wensleydale 9.1.1

        Christ! That’s all we need. Another wheezing right-wing blowhard shaking his fist at the heavens and vomiting bile into the public arena. Don’t we have enough of those already?

      • left_forward 9.1.2

        Nod nod, wink, wink, turn a blind eye to illegal behaviour, nothing to see here.
        Haha, useless effort troll.

  10. pesticide 10

    Apparently Barry is worth tens of thousands of votes to the Nats because many people of a certain age still view her as that sweet lady who presented the gardening show on TV. Very few of those people know the truth or are interested in knowing it.

  11. Delia 11

    Maybe just retire?

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