Maggie Barry bullying claims, Sarah Downie claims local support

Two controversial National MPs get a mention at NZ Herald today.

Maggie Barry bullying claims: Staffers from three government departments raised concerns while she was minister

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.

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.

Details of all the complaints will be kept secret, however, despite requests they be made available under the Official Information Act as part of the Weekend Herald‘s investigation into the alleged bullying.

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.”

I am not a fan of Barry, She seems to have fixed views on things, and gets abrasive with people with alternate views.

Noted – Maggie Barry: Bias and bullying in the euthanasia debate?

Anyone who has followed the Justice select committee hearings into David Seymour’s End of Life Choice Billor the debate around assisted dying generally will probably not be surprised that Maggie Barry — a staunch opponent of a law change — has been accused of bullying by three former parliamentary staff.

In September, former intensive care specialist and assisted dying campaigner Dr Jack Havill called for her to resign as deputy chair of the committee on the grounds she was “disparaging to submitters” who argued in favour of the bill.

Barry’s abrasive and rude behaviour when discussing assisted dying is not confined to select committee hearings, according to David Speary, who wrote to the North Shore Times in late September:

“Do not be dismissive of Jack Havill’s or Bets Blake’s claim about Maggie Barry’s attitude at the End of Life Choice hearings. I attended a ‘Community Conversation’ held by the [Catholic] church in Devonport earlier in this year, and was flabbergasted at Ms Barry’s actions.

“She was defending the Catholic church’s opposition to the bill against a lady from the End of Life Choice Society. She interrupted the EoLC speaker and, when it was her time, completely dominated the rest of the meeting. The chairman could hardly give anybody else a chance.

And Sarah Dowie is working in her electorate – National MP Sarah Dowie says Invercargill locals have backed her over Jami-Lee Ross saga

Embattled National MP Sarah Dowie says she’s had “nothing but support and encouragement” from her constituency and is refusing to lie low while police probe her alleged communications with ex-lover Jami-Lee Ross.

After a brief hiatus from the public glare, Dowie has been actively campaigning in the country’s southernmost electorate over the past month, covering hundreds of kilometres in her conspicuous National Party blue car with her photograph emblazoned on its side.

She has been a vocal critic of the vocational education reforms, with a local newspaper today running a prominent column where Dowie blasted the Government for needlessly putting the future of a successfully-run Southern Institute of Technology (SIT) “up in the air”.

And today, she also launched a petition keep the Riverton horse race track open.

peaking to the Herald after today’s public meeting, before getting in a taxi to attend a Stand Up for SIT protest across town, Dowie said locals have been understanding ever since her affair with Ross was exposed.

“In all fairness, I’ve been well-received,” said the mother-of-two who is understood to have separated from husband, former Otago cricketer Mark Billcliff.

“There’s been a lot of comment that Invercargill electorate is a very conservative electorate. But you want to know something? If you’re talking about conservatism, then you’re also talking about people who understand that everyone’s human.

“I’ve had nothing but support and encouragement with me running on all of these issues.”.

Those who don’t support her may be more likely to talk behind her back.

Asked whether police have spoken to her, she refused to comment.

“The matter is with my lawyer and it would be inappropriate to make any further comment,” she said.

That seems to be standard advice for National MPs being investigated by the police.

Dowie hosted National’s education spokeswoman Nikki Kaye at today’s public meeting.

During her talk, Kaye praised Dowie for her hard work on the ground in opposing Labour’s education reform plans.

“This province is under assault right now. And it is purely because of this ideology that everything has to be centralised,” Dowie told the gathering.

“We need to retain our community spirit down here. Stay with us. I’m parochial.”

She has a lot of work to do in her political life, and probably also in her personal life.


Leave a comment


  1. Blazer

     /  2nd March 2019

    Saggy Maggie and pants down Dowie…2 more for Mr Bridges….’fucking useless’…list.

    • Trevors_Elbow

       /  2nd March 2019

      You’re a foul, envious and nasty little piece of work ay Blazer……

      What have you EVER actually done in the real world that entitles you to slag off two people who are actually working for the betterment of NZ?

      Sweet FA is my choice for what youve done and what you are

  2. Finbaar Rustle

     /  2nd March 2019

    Maggie Barry’s mum was a florist.

  3. Duker

     /  2nd March 2019

    maggie seems to spend to much time talking to plants and when she talks to media , she lies.
    She says the parliamentary services bullying claim is settled when the claimant said there was no outcome ( swept under carpet). These are separate claims as staff were employed for the other ministries.
    Wonder when Melanie Reid will be doing a story on a stroppy and bullying woman in the workplace …LOL

  4. Duker

     /  2nd March 2019

    How parochial was Dowie when national dumped the elected members of Southern DHB and used a government appointee to start cutting services when they had a huge deficit
    Change does not necessarily equate to cuts’: Southern DHB commissioner

    ‘From left, Clutha Southland MP Todd Barclay, Invercargill MP Sarah Dowie and Health Minister Jonathan Coleman, during a visit to Southland Hospital.’

    A central style Commissioner appointed by Wellington in 2015 , who would have thought

    • High Flying Duck

       /  2nd March 2019

      They started cutting services when they had a huge deficit? What a shock – making them work within budgets is so neoliberal.

      The good news is that kind of oversight is now a thing of the past – any performance measurement or budgetary restraint has been removed in a fog of rainbows.

      Of course somehow this means performance has dropped while budgets have been blown, but so what!

      “DHBs in the red: About the time the Tax Working Group was dropping its CGT-shaped bomb on the completely suspecting country was the time Health Minister David Clark chose to reveal that every single district health board had finally made it into the red – a $200m national deficit.

      This, after months of ministry blocking and refusal to release the numbers that used to be made public on a quarterly basis.

      With his release was the assurance that the proactive minister had put them all “on notice” and an attached letter he’d sent, to DHB chief executives, expecting them to prioritise saving a non-specified amount, in non-specified areas.

      Oh, and he was most displeased that services were also slipping for specialist waiting times, elective surgical waiting times, and those for radiology or cancer services. Most displeased indeed.

      This is your periodic reminder that he abolished the reporting of those targets.”

      • Duker

         /  2nd March 2019

        ‘Targets’ were a joke. Easily manipulated , one hospitals doctors said that existing orthopedic patients didn’t get follow up appointments as the target was for only ‘new first time appointments’
        Im been to ED where they played the waiting time game, myself in a wheelchair and other patient with a bandaged eye were kept in the outer visitors waiting room, some heavy duty pills were dispensed by triage nurse- this was early hours of morning- , as keeping up there meant ‘targets were met’
        X rays couldnt be done in visitors waiting room so wheeled in for that …and wheeled out again. Plenty of beds , treatment booths empty in ED where we could have waited…but targets must be met, and when its volume treatment , you can use ‘fake quick waiting times’ to lower the overall average. Could have been 2-3 hrs wait , that time didnt concern me , but of course the waiting times police would be very displeased.

        National came up with all sorts of targets/goals for other things outside health , and when they were close to say a 5 year time frame and the target wasnt met, why a new 5 yr target would be rolled out at the 4 year period , so that the old one dissapeared down the plughole.

        we are just finding out Statistics has a target of reducing spending by 5% or something over 5 years , so one of many decisions which led to the botched ‘digital census’

        • High Flying Duck

           /  2nd March 2019

          The digital census was mainly handled by James Shaw. He was warned of issues and pushed ahead anyway.

          Most of the the health targets were absolute numbers of treatments given and surgeries performed. I’m not sure how wheeling patients around gets around those?
          But your comments are similar to the nonsense Labour was peddling.

          The thing that belies your comments above is that in the real world health boards have gone downhill since the targets were removed and have lost control of spending at the same time.

          • Duker

             /  2nd March 2019

            Rubbish. The census was all planned years ahead..the digital stategy was under the direction of national around 2 years before it happened. Budget for the actual census day was set in nats 2017 budget …election day didn’t change any of that.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  2nd March 2019

              It changed who was in charge of the questions and delivery of the census.
              And “years in advance” for the actual census was actually July 2017, so 2 months ahead of the election.
              Yes the Nats were moving to a digital strategy, but Labour were in charge of the census for the period where any difficulties needed to be sorted and James Shaw was heavily involved and confident of the census before it was delivered, and afterwards:

              Dr Jian Yang: What is his response to The Northland Age editor, Peter Jackson, who said, “This census shows all the hallmarks of being a shambles.”?

              Hon JAMES SHAW: What I would say is that this census looks to be more successful than previous censuses, that we’re meeting all of our targets, and that that person, whoever wrote that article, should stop believing everything that he sees on Twitter.

          • duperez

             /  2nd March 2019

            James Shaw was the Minister. It has to be his responsibility and fault.

            Shaw went into the role near the end of October. The census was at the beginning of March. That was long enough to be decisive even though Christmas/New Year was in there somewhere.

            As soon as he got the job he should have come out with a bold statement like: “I have come into a job which was handled by Scott Simpson and previous to that Mark Mitchell. As such they were in charge of preparing for the census in 2018.
            They are incompetent fools and cannot be trusted to have got the job right.Their supporters might condemn my attitude but that would prove how idiotic they are too to have placed any trust in them or their party. The census is postponed.”

            That would’ve gone down well. 🙂

  5. Trevors_Elbow

     /  2nd March 2019

    Hmmm – so we have Barrie and Downie in the gun – nice Pete. Where is the reporting on Meka the bruiser?

    I notice since Whaitiri gave someone a physical touch up the Labour spin machine has been churning out National hit pieces…

    The NZ media are pathetic..

    • duperez

       /  2nd March 2019

      The NZ media are pathetic in this instance because there is currency in situations involving both of those people?

      “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 …” and Dowie is in the news because she was involved in doing something pertaining to her job in her electorate while the circumstances around her could be said to be ‘unusual.’

      I think you’re being a bit too sensitive.


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