Rick Barker

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Rick Barker
Rick Barker.jpg
30th Minister of Internal Affairs
In office
19 October 2005 – 19 November 2008
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byGeorge Hawkins
Succeeded byRichard Worth
5th Minister for Courts
In office
19 May 2003 – 19 November 2008
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byMargaret Wilson
Succeeded byGeorgina te Heuheu
58th Minister of Customs
In office
15 August 2002 – 19 October 2005
Prime MinisterHelen Clark
Preceded byJim Anderton
Succeeded byNanaia Mahuta
Member of Parliament
for Tukituki
Hastings (1993–1996)
In office
6 November 1993 – 17 September 2005
Preceded byJeff Whittaker
Succeeded byCraig Foss
Personal details
Born (1951-10-27) 27 October 1951 (age 69)
Greymouth, New Zealand
Political partyLabour
Alma materUniversity of Otago

Richard John Barker[1] (born 27 October 1951) is a New Zealand politician. He is a member of the Labour Party, and was a middle-ranking Cabinet minister in the Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand.


Early life and career[edit]

Barker was born in the town of Greymouth, on New Zealand's West Coast. He attended Greymouth High School and then the University of Otago. After working as a shop assistant, bartender, storeworker, farmhand, driver, factory worker, and quarrier, he became involved in the trade unions, primarily those relating to the service sector. He eventually became National Secretary of the Service Workers' Union.[2]

Member of Parliament[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
1993–1996 44th Hastings Labour
1996–1999 45th Tukituki 28 Labour
1999–2002 46th Tukituki 31 Labour
2002–2005 47th Tukituki 24 Labour
2005–2008 48th List 21 Labour
2008–2011 49th List 34 Labour

Barker became a member of the Labour Party in 1973, served for a time as the Industrial Representative on the party's National Council and was also junior vice-president of the party. In the lead up to the 1993 election Barker sought the Labour nomination for the normally safe Labour seat of Heretaunga, but lost out to political advisor Heather Simpson.[3] Later in 1993 he won the Labour nomination for the Hastings electorate, defeating Auckland Tamoana Freezing Workers' Union president Pat Weir. His selection was a surprise as Weir won the floor vote of local members, but the selection panel chose Barker. The Freezing Workers' Union laid a complaint with the Labour Party's head office alleging the panel had been stacked, an assertion rejected by party secretary Tony Timms.[4]

At the 1993 election, he succeeded in winning the Hastings electorate, winning a seat that was previously held by the National Party. Soon after entering parliament he supported Helen Clark in her successful leadership challenge to Mike Moore.[5] He was re-elected in 1996, 1999, and 2002 for the reconfigured seat of Tukituki. In 2005 he lost the seat in what was a large swing against the sitting Labour government in the provincial areas and returned to Parliament as a list MP. In 2008 Barker tried unsuccessfully to regain the seat of Tukituki and for the second time was returned to parliament as a Labour list MP. He stood in one of the safest National seats, Taranaki-King Country, in 2011 and was not high enough on the Labour list to remain an MP.[6]

Cabinet minister[edit]

In 2002 Labour was re-elected for a second term and Barker was appointed to Cabinet as Minister of Customs, Minister for Courts, Associate Minister of Justice, and Associate Minister of Social Services and Employment. During the 2002–2005 term, he was given additional responsibility as Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector and Minister for Small Business.

In 2005, Barker was re-appointed to Cabinet[7] as the Minister of Internal Affairs, Minister for Courts, Minister of Civil Defence and Minister of Veterans' Affairs. Barker lost his ministerial warrants following Labour's defeat in the 2008 election; however, Barker was appointed by the House of Representatives to the role of Assistant Speaker for the 49th New Zealand Parliament for the session 2008–11.

As a cabinet minister, Barker was entitled to the title of The Honourable and became The Hon. Rick (Richard) Barker[8] which is a title he was granted for the rest of his life[9] after his term of office.

Post-parliamentary roles[edit]

Barker was elected to the regional council in 2013, representing the Hastings constituency. In 2016 he was appointed deputy chair of the council. In June 2018, Barker was appointed chairperson of the West Coast District Health Board by the Minister of Health, David Clark. He was reappointed in December 2019.[10]

Personal life[edit]

He is married to Patsy and has three children.[11]


  1. ^ "New Zealand Hansard - Members Sworn Volume:651;Page:2". New Zealand Parliament.
  2. ^ Mold, Francesca (13 May 2003). "Barker joins cabinet". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
  3. ^ Parussini 2020, p. 221.
  4. ^ Murphy, Tim (22 January 1993). "Labour cracks show". The New Zealand Herald. p. 1.
  5. ^ Parussini 2020, p. 230.
  6. ^ http://www.parliament.nz/en-NZ/MPP/MPs/Former/c/f/4/49PlibMPsFormerRickBarker1-Barker-Hon-Rick.htm
  7. ^ "Members of Executive Council Appointed". The New Zealand Gazette. The Department of Internal Affairs: 4528. 21 October 2005. 7115. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  8. ^ "Members of Executive Council Appointed". The New Zealand Gazette. The Department of Internal Affairs: 2948. 20 August 2002. 5519. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  9. ^ "Retention of the Title "The Honourable"". The New Zealand Gazette. The Department of Internal Affairs: 5156. 18 December 2008. 9578. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  10. ^ "2019 DHB Board Chairs" (PDF). Government of New Zealand. Retrieved 18 April 2020.
  11. ^ Who's Who 1993, p. 15.


External links[edit]

New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Jeff Whittaker
Member of Parliament for Hastings
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Tukituki
Succeeded by
Craig Foss
Political offices
Preceded by
Jim Anderton
Minister of Customs
Succeeded by
Nanaia Mahuta
Preceded by
Margaret Wilson
Minister for Courts
Succeeded by
Georgina te Heuheu
Preceded by
George Hawkins
Minister of Civil Defence
Succeeded by
John Carter
Minister of Internal Affairs
Succeeded by
Richard Worth
Party political offices
Preceded by
Mark Burton
Senior Whip of the Labour Party

Succeeded by
David Benson-Pope
Preceded by
Steve Chadwick
Succeeded by
Chris Hipkins