Simon Bridges

Pork barrel politics: Bridges announces roads for Tauranga

Look Simon, I know you like cuddling unions but it's a really bad look son

“While I’m away, you get to run the country.  Don’t stuff it up”

The Government is pledging roading projects to ease congestion and improve freight links for Tauranga worth $520 million over the next decade.

The largest project, starting construction in 2018, will be the $286 million Tauranga Northern Link.

It will create a four-lane shortcut between State Highway 2 (SH2) to the Highway 29 toll road linking approaches to Tauranga with the main route from the coastal port city to Hamilton. Read more »

National to push for more electric rapid charging stations

God knows why the government is looking at this.

It is pretty pointless, apart from taking the wind from the Greens’ sails.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges is promising a range of incentives to encourage more Kiwis into electric cars (EVs).

Only 1000 of them are registered in New Zealand and a plummeting oil price is not helping the uptake.

Incentives? I think he means subsidies…how socialist of him.

One car is on a road trip from Russell to Taupo — a trip dictated by where and when its owner can top up the batteries.

Two more rapid charging stations were unveiled in Auckland, but a lack of them is a barrier to car owners going electric.

Yet Mr Bridges says it’s a no brainer.   Read more »

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

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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

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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

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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

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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 »