Chris Finlayson

The questions we asked ‘Judge’ Paul Barber

THE MINISTRY of Justice is sticking to its guns over the legal standing of retired district court judge Paul Barber and his right to chair three Government-appointed judicial bodies.

The 78-year-old is already facing allegations he obtained the top job with the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal “by deceit” because he was not a barrister or solicitor at the time of his appointment – a requirement under legislation governing the Tribunal.

He’s also been accused of masquerading as a district court judge when he is not one.

Now there are questions over Barber and his chairmanship of the Taxation Review Authority.

Like the Tribunal, the chair of the Authority must either be a judge or a barrister or solicitor with at least seven years experience.

Since Barber’s warrant expired in March 2012, he has ruled on nearly two-dozen cases before the Taxation Review Authority involving hundreds of thousands of dollars. His last case was only last month and like every other decision on record since 2012, Barber is referred to as ‘Judge P F Barber’.

Ministry spokesman Matt Torbit said Barber was admitted to the Bar following his graduation in 1963. He was enrolled as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court and had more than seven years’ legal experience, he said.

It was not a requirement of the Taxation Review Authorities Act 1994 for a judicial office of the Authority to hold a practising certificate.

However, Auckland University law professor Bill Hodge said his understanding of the law was that the reference to “a barrister and solicitor of 7 years standing” meant current standing.

A barrister was defined under section six of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 as a person “enrolled as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court… and practicing as a barrister,” he said.    Read more »

The ‘Judge’ who isn’t actually a Judge


THE MAN handpicked by the Government to deal with rogue real estate agents has been masquerading as a judge.

In 2011 Associate Justice Minister Nathan Guy appointed Paul Barber chairperson of the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal.

The Tribunal was established under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008, and deals with the licensing and discipline of real estate agents.

Barber is a former district court judge who claims to be 78-years-old.

In 2009 Attorney General Chris Finlayson appointed Barber as an acting district court judge to help reduce caseloads in the civil and criminal courts.

He would have been 72 at the time – two years older than the mandatory retirement age for judges in New Zealand.    Read more »

Why democracy is overrated


The best thing about democracy is that everyone gets a vote.

The worst thing about democracy is that everyone gets a vote.

The latest example surrounds the flag…  Read more »

Jumping before being pushed?


Richard Harman reports via his email newsletter:

Attorney-General Christopher Finlayson QC has announced that  Solicitor-General Michael Heron QC has decided to  to step down from the role after serving three of his five years appointment. Both Mr Finlyason and State Services Commissioner Ian Rennie have praised Mr Heron for his work. But in May  Court of Appeal acquitted former Auckland Mayor and MP John Banks  for allegedly filing a false electoral return relating to the 2010 Auckland mayoralty race.Mr Banks’ acquittal was the result of the Court of Appeal finding that the Crown had withheld evidence form the defence  leading to a miscarriage of justice.Mr Banks said that “Some of the mistakes made by the judiciary going through were outrageous” and “the solicitor-general has a lot to answer for.”

Read more »

Chris Finlayson says he is not a “crypto-fascist” stealthily imposing “secret courts.”

Chris Finlayson is in full ‘explaining is losing mode’.

But he says he is not a “crypto-fascist” stealthily imposing “secret courts.”

Note how careful he was not to mention anything about being a shape-shifting lizard man though…very careful.

Security services minister Chris Finlayson says he is not a “crypto-fascist” stealthily imposing “secret courts.”

A last-minute change to new health and safety laws would have allowed hearings behind closed doors to protect national security. The Law Society said the Crown could introduce evidence which could be withheld from a defendant or their lawyers.

Finlayson – who is also the Attorney-General – says the amendment was scrapped a week ago. And he doesn’t like the term “secret courts” describing it as “hyperbolic.”

But although the Law Society were commenting on an old version of the legislation, it appears their original fears still stand.

Finlayson told reporters: “I saw some article in the Dominion Post that suggested I was some sort of crypto-fascist behind this particular secret court. But it was nothing of the sort.    Read more »

Finlayson tells King of Huntly to naff off

Chris Finlayson has told the former truck driver and King of Huntly to naff off over his ridiculous idea that Tainui can claim Auckland under the Treaty of Waitangi.

Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson has one message for Waikato-Tainui if it wants to begin negotiating a claim over parts of Auckland – get a mandate and specify your claims.

He said he had given Tukoroirangi Morgan the same message about five times in the past.

“He nods and then nothing happens,” Mr Finlayson told the Herald.

“Mandates don’t last forever.”    Read more »

“But this isn’t really about that” – Hauraki Mayor wants $200m taxpayer trough for the region

You got love the spin here.  

Maori go off to discuss the finer points of something related to the settlement process, but it’s the government’s fault for holding it all up.

The Hauraki District’s mayor says it is hugely disappointing that the Hauraki Collective’s treaty settlement negotiations have been stalled since last December.

Mayor John Tregidga is urging Treaty Negotiations Minister Chris Finlayson to get on with settling the claims in the Hauraki-Coromandel region.

The mayor said the negotiations were around 99 percent complete, but the minister had refused to negotiate since some Hauraki iwi went to the Waitangi Tribunal over a separate issue of representation on a pan-iwi governance forum in Bay of Plenty.

Mr Tregidga said the delay was a missed opportunity for the region, as he understands the Hauraki iwi would have a balance sheet of about $200 million once the settlement was complete.

“That would make them the biggest business people within the Hauraki District, the Hauraki region, so it is significant,” he said.

“But this isn’t really about that – this is about actually fairness, and the fact that the whole community was expecting settlement by the end of last year, certainly at the latest early this year, and here we are still on hold.”   Read more »

Once a fan of german sausage…

I'm coming to steal your democracy

I’m coming to steal your democracy

Oh look, David ‘Tainted’ Fisher has taken a fresh bit of dictation from Kim Dotcom:

Did the United States try to cut a deal with Kim Dotcom?

He claims it did – and New Zealand’s Attorney General Chris Finlayson has not ruled it out.

Instead, Mr Finlayson’s office has refused to talk about confidential discussions between lawyers “that may or may not have occurred”.   Read more »

Banks saga continues: Attorney-General to review what happened

Attorney-General Chris Finlayson is “taking a close look” into the prosecution of John Banks following a ruling which found the Crown misled the court.

Mr Banks was scathing of the conduct of scathing about the conduct of Crown prosecutor Paul Dacre, QC, and Solicitor-General Mike Heron, QC, following a Court of Appeal decision which acquitted him yesterday of filing a false electoral return.

“I was held to account when I was told by the judge, ‘the prisoner can take his place in the dock’. I was held to account…I’m saying the Solicitor-General has a lot to answer for,” Mr Banks said yesterday.

“Withholding evidence from the Court of Appeal is a serious breach of process. Having the evidence in the briefcase but, for whatever reason, not giving it to the court is a very serious error of judgment at the very least. Read more »

Finlayson mans up, Vance gets more shrill

While Murray McCully is cuddling terrorists, Chris Finlayson is manning up at a conference that has just wrapped up discussing Islamic terror.

Andrea Vance has her knickers in a bunch over it too, so it must have been a good thing Finlayson attended.

Security services minister Chris Finlayson has confirmed his attendance at an anti-extremism summit widely criticised for singling out Muslims.

He is on his way back from a ministerial meeting at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism.

Finlayson, the minister responsible for the Government Communications Security Bureau and the Security Intelligence Service, spoke yesterday on “the importance of strengthening the role of civil society in preventing violent extremism”.

The meeting was chaired by Secretary of State John Kerry and followed terror attacks in Paris and Copenhagen.  Read more »