Christmas Countdown: Boagan Dwarf Three – Michael “Dopey” Barnett

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Michael “Dopey” Barnett

There’s still six days until Christmas but the early presents for Whaleoil readers keep on coming.  Today’s gift is a cracker –  the story of Boagan dwarf number three, Michael ‘Mayoral-Wannabe’ Barnett.

Auckland readers will of course know Mr Barnett as the face of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce.  If you don’t really understand what the organisation does, fear not you’re not alone. I can happily confirm their key role is to organise business lunches and breakfasts.   Kim The Clown Campbell is a regular attendant.  The Mayoral Wannabe actually celebrates his 25th anniversary at the Chamber this year.  What better way to party than to steal a cool $2.1 billion off the people of Auckland.    

Dopey Mike has also been the deputy-chairman of the Auckland Regional Council.  His crowning glory coming when, along with best buddy and disgraced King Trougher Alex Swney, he tried to bring in the ridiculous new logo for Auckland that looked like a bung firework from the warehouse to replace the city of sails image.  I guess people shouldn’t have expected too much from a man born and raised in the ‘tron.  The tip line has run hot since the Whale mentioned the profiling the Mayoral Wannabe.   Descriptions of “dopey” and “soft” were some of the more printable responses, “all style, no substance” and that sort of thing.  Others said he was the muppet responsible for the huge loss the Chamber made when it was involved with the 1993 round-the-world race.  And the man who went missing when Auckland went through it’s power blackouts.  Dopey.

For a man developing business growth in the region, his personal history doesn’t radiate success.  He worked in a steel fabrication firm, did some time in an importing business, and then found cushy business advocacy roles with the Chamber.  He’s been involved with the Auckland Santa Parade (reports that he played an Elf are yet to be substantiated), and is the Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust.  Oh, and of course, he’s also been a member of the Auckland Energy Consumer Trust himself. That’s right, the man who once championed the trust because he was on it, wants to end it because he got booted off!

It’s no secret that the Mayoral Wannabe has delusions about leading Auckland.  He boasted of his intent to run in a by-election if Lyin’ Len stood down after last years’ rooting shenanigans. So it makes sense why he wants the Council to have access to the funding – he wants it for himself when he tries to win the Mayoralty.

In fact, earlier this year the Mayoral Wannabe said a shift in the leadership of Auckland was urgent because “we need a sense of Auckland taking greater ownership of its destiny.”  We can only assume, when he said that leadership of Auckland involved “seeing how to stretch those [limited] resources” he meant robbing from the people of Auckland to pay for a train-set that he would usher in as Mayor.  Dream on dopey.

So readers, be very aware of the Mayoral Wannabe, sitting on his Karaka lifestyle block.  He’s said he still buys lotto tickets in the hope of striking it rich.  Well, I think that he needs to come up with a better plan than trying to get his grubby little hands on the people of Auckland and South Auckland’s dividends.

But, as with The Campbell Clown, I wonder if Dopey Mike’s board knows what he’s up to.

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I might just need to feature a few more of The Boagan’s dwarfs.  Which ones are you most interested in?

  • David Nathan?
  • Fred Hellaby, of King’s College, the Meat Industry Association, Wilson Hellaby Ltd, Auckland Meat Processors Ltd, Mathias International Limited and PVLP Proteins Ltd?
  • John Lindsay of Holcim (New Zealand) Ltd, McDonald’s Lime Ltd and The Lines Company Ltd?
  • Kate Daly of Fletcher Building? (Who would have guessed Fletcher Building would be in here!)
  • Peter Gulliver of Deloitte’s?
  • Mark Franklin of Stevenson Group and a former CEO of Vector?
  • Ted Van Arkel, a BFF of The Boagans?

I think I might start with Kate and Ted.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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