web analytics

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. đŸ˜„

    • 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.


  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?

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • COVID-19 vaccine slated for possible approval next week
    The green light for New Zealand’s first COVID-19 vaccine could be granted in just over a week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today. “We’re making swift progress towards vaccinating New Zealanders against the virus, but we’re also absolutely committed to ensuring the vaccines are safe and effective,” Jacinda Ardern said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • New ACC Board members announced.
    The Minister for ACC is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to join the Board of ACC on 1 February 2021. “All three bring diverse skills and experience to provide strong governance oversight to lead the direction of ACC” said Hon Carmel Sepuloni. Bella Takiari-Brame from Hamilton ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    9 hours ago
  • Economic boost for Southland marae
    The Government is investing $9 million to upgrade a significant community facility in Invercargill, creating economic stimulus and jobs, Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson and Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene have announced.  The grant for Waihƍpai RĆ«naka Inc to make improvements to Murihiku Marae comes from the $3 billion set ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    18 hours ago
  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago
  • New Zealand Government acknowledges 175th anniversary of Battle of Ruapekapeka
    The commemoration of the 175th anniversary of the Battle of Ruapekapeka represents an opportunity for all New Zealanders to reflect on the role these conflicts have had in creating our modern nation, says Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Kiri Allan. “The Battle at Te Ruapekapeka Pā, which took ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago