Simon Bridges

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 »

Complainant in bid to remove ‘Judge’ Paul Barber from Chair of READT

A FORMAL bid has been lodged challenging the legal standing of the chairman of the Crown agency established six years ago to raise public confidence in the real estate industry.

The move is the latest in an unfolding constitutional crisis threatening the credibility of the organisation seen as the last line of defence against rogue real estate agents.

Whaleoil can confirm an appellant, Dunedin man Russell McDougall, who has filed an appeal to the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal under section 111 of the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 has filed an application for recusal challenging the legal status of 78-year-old Paul Barber as head of the READT.

McDougall also confirmed a letter would be sent this week to Associate Justice Minister Simon Bridges demanding Barber’s immediate removal from the post.

The recusal application is in response to claims Barber’s appointment in 2011 was ‘unlawful’ and in breach of legislation heralding a new environment of accountability for the industry.

Under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008, the person appointed to chair the Tribunal, must be a barrister or solicitor with at least seven years’ legal experience’.    Read more »

Paul Barber: Caught in a lie

PRESSURE is mounting on the chairman of the Crown agency established seven years ago to raise public confidence in the real estate industry to resign after more evidence emerged yesterday exposing him as a liar and a fraud.

For the past four years retired district court judge Paul Barber has been in charge of the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal, the independent body responsible for determining disciplinary charges against real estate agents.

Public dissatisfaction with agents was one of the driving forces behind major industry reforms introduced in 2008, which made it mandatory for agents to legally comply with prescribed rules relating to their conduct and the way they care for clients.

The conduct and client-care rules are backed by a multi-level complaints system administered by the tribunal – with Barber, who claims to be 78-years-old, at the helm.

But there are now serious questions over Barber’s conduct – and whether he has any legal standing as chairman.

Complicating matters is the fact that during his four-year tenure Barber has deliberately misled the public with claims he is a District Court Judge when he’s not one.

Yesterday Whaleoil obtained a recording from a Tribunal hearing back in 2014 where Barber clearly introduces himself as “Judge Barber”.

   Read more »

READT Chair appointment ‘unlawful’, hundreds of cases at risk


THE CHAIRMAN of the Crown agency that deals with rogue real estate agents is facing the axe after revelations his appointment four years ago was unlawful.

In 2011 the Government handpicked former district court judge Paul Barber to head the Real Estate Agents Disciplinary Tribunal in a move supposedly heralding a new environment of accountability for the industry.

However, Barber’s days could be numbered after confirmation from the New Zealand Law Society yesterday the 78-year-old, who still refers to himself as a judge, did not hold a practising certificate – a requirement under the Real Estate Agents Act 2008 to fulfil the role of chairman.    Read more »

Farrar Schools a dumb Labour MP


Yesterday Iain Lees-Galloway caused the stenographers in parliament a few problems with his constant foolish interjections. The Speaker kicked him out, and being a dud speaker missed the chance to sledge ILG about stenographers in doing so.

Today Arts, Travel & Lifestyle blogger and noted cat lover David Farrar follows up with a brilliant put down of ILG.

Stuff reports:

Palmerston North MP  thought the Government was pathetically clutching for good economic news – and was ejected from Parliament for saying so.

The Labour MP continued to interject, despite a warning from Speaker David Carter, when Transport Minister Simon Bridges started talking about airline Jetstar’s new regional routes.

“My interjections were along the lines that he has no ministerial responsibility for commercial decisions made by an Australian airline,” Labour MP Lees-Galloway said outside the chamber on Tuesday.

“I thought it was pretty pathetic of the Government to be clutching for good economic news for claiming some responsibility for the commercial decisions of an Australian airline.”   Read more »

Since when did Kongkaew Thoranong become the MP for Tauranga


Kongkaew Thoranong, National electorate MP for Tauranga

John Stringer’s conNZervative has the exclusive

Simon Bridges the MP for Tauranga has been stolen online, on Facebook, by someone called Kongkaew Thoranong, who from a simple search, seems to have many personalities, perhaps of other well-known people in other countries. Simon is apparently widowed and now lives in Kent.

Simon is actually the Deputy Leader of the House, and current Minister of Energy and Resources, Minister of Transport, Associate Minister for Climate Change Issues, Associate Minister of Justice.

Read more »

Is Stephen Town wanting to Leave the Auckland Council?

Hey Len. I'll go to NZTA and you can find a rail friendly CE to replace me, hows that for a plan?

Hey Len. I’ll go to NZTA and you can find a rail friendly CE to replace me, hows that for a plan?

Stephen Town, Auckland Council’s Chief Executive, has apparently applied for the CE role at NZTA.

Sources inside the mayor’s office are saying that this is all part of a broader plan to see NZTA be more friendly to Len Brown’s wish to spend heavily on trains and force Aucklanders to use public transport.

The feeling inside the Mayor’s office is that another pro-public transport CE can be appointed to Auckland Council if Town moves to NZTA, and NZTA will become a lot more willing to entertain Auckland Council’s transport funding priorities.    Read more »

Government makes move against Len’s trains: double decker buses


More than 50 double-decker buses are to roll out across Auckland from this October to July next year, after a rule change to allow heavier vehicles on city streets.

That will provide the Super City with capacity to carry 5000 more bus passengers at peak times.

The rule change, announced by Transport Minister Simon Bridges this afternoon at Tauranga-based Kiwi Bus Builders, will allow double-deckers with up to 91 seats to run on city streets. Read more »

Len Brown won’t be getting any transport cash to splash about for the elections


Richard Harman continues to show up the younger members of the press gallery.

Today he talks about the government effectively taking over Auckland Transport.

Months of wrangling between the Government and the Auckland Council over the city’s   transport problems have now ended with what is effectively a Government takeover of the decision making process.

The move effectively dashes any hopes Auckland Mayor Len Brown had for extra Government funding for Auckland transport before the next local body election.

Finance Minister Bill English and Transport Minister Simon Bridges yesterday unveiled their proposal for a year long study into transport into Auckland.

The review will focus on easing congestion and finding solutions that are value for money.

But it will not be complete until this time next year.    Read more »

Those of you who thought Len Brown was just an Auckland problem just got fleeced

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said that together the Government and [Auckland] Council planned to invest $4.2 billion in Auckland’s transport system over the next three years.

“While that work will continue as agreed on the roads, public transport, walkways and cycleways, we are now turning our focus to the next three decades and beyond.

“The Government and Council broadly agree on the priorities for the transport system, and we are particularly focussed on addressing congestion and increasing public transport use,” he said.

The terms of reference set out a structure under which officials from the Ministry of Transport, Auckland Council, Auckland Transport, the NZ Transport Agency, Treasury and the State Services Commission would work together to test alternative options for how the transport system could develop.

A preferred approach was expected to be presented by officials in about one year.

“The Government and Council will then consider the preferred approach and how it may be delivered, including whether changes might be needed to legislation and funding arrangements,” Mr Bridges said.

So let’s take stock here.   National are happy to support Len’s dream of a public transport centric expansion of Auckland, and agree to co-fund the $4.2b needed to do so over the next three years.

And if you’re sitting in Oamaru, or Taihape, or Port Waikato, and you think that’s not coming out of your pocket, then you’re dreamin’.

Auckland Business Forum chairman Michael Barnett said he hoped it put an end to Auckland-Wellington feuding on the city’s transport priorities.

EMA chief exeuctive Kim Campbell said the city was struggling to cope with growth, 7000 new cars were being registered every month and there was a compelling case for further spending on transport.

“We want to see funding streams and timeframes for moving these vital projects along,” Mr Campbell said.

Labour’s Auckland issues spokesman Phil Goff said the decision to align central and local government policy should have been taken years ago, avoiding what will now be a further 12-month delay.

The only thing we can hope for is that the 12-month delay is strategic, and a total rinsing of the Auckland Council can see this public transport-focused, and central government co-funded, expansion of Auckland canned before too much money is wasted on Len’s empire.


– A newspaper