When will Michael Barnett stop whinging, whining and bleating?


I know I’m not the only one fed up with the constant whining and bleating from the Chief Executive of the Auckland Business Chamber of Commerce, Michael Barnett.

I’m not holding a candle for the government and constructive criticism of its handling of Covid 19 response is fine. But Barnett is in a league of his own.

I get it that Barnett hates the Labour Party, loves the National Party, hates unions and only speaks up for workers when they are prevented from slaving to enrich his big business mates.

I also get that he likes to speak up for small and medium businesses to drive a corporate agenda for the big end of Auckland.

But his constant carping against the government, reported ad nauseum by the media, is a bore.

Here are few extracts from his media diatribes from just the past week:

“… much more targeted support is needed to revive businesses wounded by the second lockdown and even worse, locked out of their livelihoods….”

“It would be more helpful to provide other support direct to SME’s struggling to manage reduced cash flow…”

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“… so many caught in this lockdown are consigned to no man’s land by the roll of the dice as Government picks winners and losers…”

“Unnecessary and unacceptable delays are happening at port and road border checkpoints, disrupting freight, access to workplaces, and essential supplies…”

“Checkpoints at the Bombay Hills between the border of Auckland and Waikato are preventing workers getting to market gardens to plant and other businesses because they haven’t got the ‘paperwork’ and truckers are being delayed for hours at port control and testing centres adding cost and undue delay to the transport of essential goods…”

“Surely common sense could prevail… rather than demanding documentation and special exemptions…”

“… but the bar is set too high for the battered sector only just inching to recovery before this lockdown knocked their confidence and balance sheets again…”

“This two-week extension at the higher 40 per cent bar is a stretch too far, complicated to operate and not in sync with businesses who have had the rug pulled from under them…”

“…Government has to provide certainty for business to operate as alert level settings shift up and down…” 

“Business cannot face on and off lockdowns. There has to be a better, long term plan to build economic momentum…” 

“We have to learn to live with this virus…”

“Government must resolve urgently the discriminatory list of businesses and services that can open in Level 3 while prohibiting trade by so many others…”

“It is not the role of some agency to pick winners and losers like a pick and dip lottery. People’s lives and livelihoods are being played with…”

“They should not become victims of discrimination…”

“Trust business to do the right thing….”

“Enterprises that do not need to be customer facing are closed for no rational reason…”

“Government needs to play fair…”

“Government should focus on crushing the cluster, not businesses who are being denied the opportunity to trade…”

“The system designating some businesses as ‘essential’ while others have to shut down when they provide the same services and products is an unfair lottery, picking winners and losers…”

If Barnett had his National Party stooges in government there would have been no lockdown. New Zealand would now resemble a small US state with the virus rampant and a huge death toll.

We are a team of five million – minus a few like Barnett.

When will he stop whining?


  1. Probably around the same time you stand up for the No Zealand underclass on a daily basis, John… a whingeing propertied Boomer… you and he are birds of a feather… go have a lie down with Chrisfran 😉

    • I’ve got a beret – purportedly to have once been worn by a Fidel. I’m not sure if it was the genuine Castro, or whether it was Fidel from ‘Death in Paradise”
      If you’re interested, let me know. I’ll throw in a stash of ZigZag papers (Yellows or Blues – take your pick), and I know where you can find an old rusting Belvedere straight 6. The block’s got a bloody big crack in it but the upholstery is in perfect condition.

    • Helena Jordan,

      You and your ilk are compelling evidence on how a little bit of knowledge can be very dangerous. If you spend 5 minutes online you will also find “evidence” that Elvis Presley is still alive in Memphis, the moon landing was a scam filmed in a Hollywood studio, martians routinely come to earth and kidnap people for the weekend and that the National Party care about New Zealanders.

      As for John’s question about Michael Barnett. The answer is “never”. He’s like that mosquito buzzing around your ear at 4am when you need to sleep or one of those annoying dogs that wants to hump your leg. That pretty much encapsulates Barnett.

    • One can always buy or find an ‘expert’ to confirm their favoured conspiracy theories – you seem to fine plenty. Perhaps if you want to travel a different road to other NZers, there will be people who would contribute to your removal costs. Which country would you prefer?

    • ‘Research’ implies investigation with scientific rigour whereas Helena, you seem to be referring to reading some nonsense. You’re not immune to getting the virus, especially if you take risks – and make life riskier for the rest of us.

  2. Hopefully the majority just switch off when tiresome wankers like Mr Barnett crank up their whiny mono pitch voices. Lets not forget, and John Minto obviously has not–that when “the tills are jingling” the business people want small Govt., and less regulation, but, they are the first with their hands out for taxpayer funds when things get tight. A pack of arseholes.

    What we need is to get over NZ’s fixation with SME’s and being your own boss, a more co-operative way of doing things with the bottom line being a good life for the many.

    • Sounds like communism to me and that was not a success for most and only those at the top did well. You and people like John Minto seem to envy those that are prepared to step up and try to succeed on their own merit .

      • “Sounds like communism to me and that was not a success for most and only those at the top did well.”.. Do you know your own history? , or, better yet, do you know of any countries that went socialist, and weren’t destroyed by western interests, that succeeded, and have thrived? I can only think of a couple of dozen offhand.. The reason you have the living standard you do is because NZ had a democratic socialist government in the 1930’s that built the infrastructure that our subsequent prosperity grew from… Confusion about what is socialism, fascism, or simply totalitarianism, left or right, is no basis for debate on the subject..

  3. The irony is Barnett would be a prime target and victim of this virus, so be very careful what you wish for, Michael.

    It was a weird comment to say “We have to learn to live with this virus…” Dude, you don’t coexist with viruses like the one fulla, it eats you for breakfast. A bit like coexisting with paranhas in your swimming pool Mikey.

    He is a good example of the thought processes of business. He is a great example of how the world has change and for now possibly permantly and how they still dont get it. They’re (business) over this silly flu bug, to paraphrase Hosking, and its time to get back to making money.

    Thing is if that virus is infecting with abandon, in a hands off free market world like the US then no-one is going to use that Covid shop or dine in that Covid restaurant or bar or take that Covid cab to go to that Covid auction to buy that Covid investment house.

    For now Barnett should be amplifying the message to eliminate the virus otherwise we end up like best capitalist countries in the world, going broke!

    • ‘For now Barnett should be amplifying the message to eliminate the virus otherwise we end up like best capitalist countries in the world, going broke!’

      Gone broke, and now living on perpetual* debt creation, with not a snowball’s chance in hell of getting out of the self-made trap that was instigated by greed.

      * not perpetual, of course, and on course for the mightiest crash in history now that interest rates have been pushed about as low as they can go, i.e. close to zero, and it’s still not generating the ‘desired result’.

  4. An ignorant article in my opinion. I’m sure the 200 a day loosing their jobs won’t think Barnett is whinging. Forget the corporate bashing John. It’s your people he’s seeing go broke. The workers. If his carping can get goods and services moving in, out , and around Auckland faster let him carp. What’s your contribution John.

    • What about 50,000 who were unemployed in west and south Auckland prior to Covid 19 has Barnett ever been concerned about them.

      Do you really think Barnett is concerned about the works… come on the profits more likely.

      Minto’s contributions to our society have been well documented over the past 40 years!

    • Clearly some see John Minto’s contributions as self-centred and arrogantly pushing his barrow to have the sort of society he wants and thinks we should have. Swap Minto’s name for Barnett and the same is so.

      Barnett is on ‘a Government which isn’t a National Government is not the right Government’ treadmill.

      He wants to create an atmosphere of doom and gloom and everything going down the toilet.

    • In some respects, Barnett has a right to be concerned and I do worry for businesses suffering because of the lack of custom but the fact is he is kidding himself if he thinks business as normal or something very close to is going to resume if we try to “Live with this virus”. It isn’t. The world has changed and very quickly.

      • Well put, Xray.

        If we try to “live” with covid19, we’ll end up dying with it. Brazil, America, Sweden, Victoria, et al, are all tragic examples of this.

        Furthermore, if Barnett, Seymour, Hooton, et al, got their way, it would probably wreck much of our economy anyway. I can say with 100% certainty that if covid19 was in our community, I would be restricting to movements to;

        (a) work

        (b) supermarkets (preferably late at night, with minimum crowds

        (c) automated fuel stations

        No way in Hades would I be venturing out to movies, theatres, cafes, restaurants, other retail outlets, etc. No public transport; only car use. No shopping malls. No libraries. No bookshops. No sporting events. No community events. No parks. (Maybe less visited beaches.) I’d be staying home, and saving my arse. Likewise for my partner.

        So loosening up restrictions would be a short-term benefit only. Like a sugar hit. Mr Barnett hasn’t understood the long term, destructive consequences of his demands. And for that, he is a very foolish man.

        • Barnett says nothing about the problem with corporations and many companies.

          They are driven for a quick dividend now. Shares get sold every day so companies have no responsibility to the NZ public nor any govt.
          On top of that most of the big companies have a large offshore “investor” base so its just immediate profit that drives their influence on puppets like Barnett.

          Most companies are profitable in good times and there is no limit put on the profit they take from the public. Instead of holding onto some of that profit for a rainy day ( or shutdown) the excess money received over expenses is flushed away with dividends. So few if any “public” companies have a strategic reserve to pay employees during shutdown.
          The taxpayer comes to the companies rescue without questioning their shareholder greed.

        • Ditto to that Frank. They would also be the only three things I would be doing if N.Z. was open for business. On second thoughts maybe 4, homeschooling in the evening after work, because there’s also no chance in Hades my child would be going to school.
          So, the Government is right. A strong economic recovery is the result of a strong health response.

        • Can’t agree with you about public transport. Many people still need to use buses and rail. The problem for those who are using masks even, is that public transport is pretty dirty and the transport companies need to have the hard word put on their contracts about cleaning.

          • Agreed there. I have next to no faith in their so called cleansing of buses and trains, buses especially so as it effects profit for the private operators that are the basis of “public transport”.

            Not to mention that it is impossible to keep a large vehicle clean from viruses whilst its in service for hours st a time.

    • Comments from small business owners on RNZ today reveal many who support the extended lockdown, ranging from some who are surviving creatively and others who aren’t, but Barnett definitely doesn’t want us to know that positive response

  5. He’s a funny little man isn’t he?
    The Auckland (fart) chamber of commerce must work ever harder to keep ahead of its own logical fallacy being that Auckland’s vital to AO/NZ. Sorry michael, but it isn’t so get over it, now give us our fucking money back !?
    Speaking broadly, Auckland’s only talent is fiddling with other people’s money. And since AO/NZ’s primary industry is agriculture, it’s farmer money that Auckland’s best at fiddling. Aye Boys?
    And of course he hates unions because the unions are the only way workers can keep their time and money away from the wee thing dreaming of standing on mountains of the money earned by those others. A billionaire takes a lot of people doing a lot of hours while earning shit money to make after all.
    Imagine for just a moment that our farmers and their service industry unions came together, so to speak, and sought to challenge Auckland, the Mighty City of Sales, to show us up its skirts? What horrors might we find?
    An explanation as to how and why Auckland ? When AO/NZ’s economy comes in from agrarian enterprise?
    That’s why you still see brainwashed farmers being the first to prop up tacky National Party hoardings in their $1.00 a kg for wool sheep paddocks. Thanks to Aucklandeers, our farmers have been left with a blow fly mentality. They know they shouldn’t, but yet they do. They come inside then immediately try to get back out the wrong fucking way. So, they go up and down and up and down and up and down the window, doing the same thing while expecting a different outcome. Ask Albert Einstein about that mentality?
    If Labour starts talking about getting farmers to morph with their urban service industries by way of a union to keep the freaks and frights away from their money you’d see a mass, synchronised trouser shitting display by Auckland City national party members.
    That, by itself would lead to civil war and certainly worth a youtube clip.
    NB.I thought Labour did a great job keeping us relatively c-19 free-ish.
    But thanks to c-19 we have debts to pay so Labour had better fucking court the farmer.
    Labour…? Please don’t fuck up my high…?
    ‘When you’re 15, a club is a pretty terrifying place’
    Disclosure, Aminé, slowthai – My High
    After five years away, dance’s superstar duo have returned with a re-energising new album. They explain why they no longer fear nightclubs and why farming is the future

  6. I have been shouting at the TV at Barnett’s refusal to acknowledge that the steps the government are taking to prevent a widespread outbreak of the virus are actually protecting businesses future prospects.
    The sheer ignorance and short term self interest of this man is breathtaking.
    If we don’t keep the lid on this virus with short term sacrifices his members will have no businesses at all.
    The problem with National is that they place criticizing the government above supporting the hard but necessary calls to win this war.
    If opposition parties carried on like this during a military conflict instead of a medical one they would be tried for treason.

  7. Constant carping, whining and bleating is a bore? John Minto after a lifetime of those activities needs some self reflection!

      • More likely a pimp for the offshore group who run much of corporate NZ and the National and Act parties.

    • But on whose behalf is Minto bleating? The great sheep flock of NZrs? He has to keep trying on our behalf as many don’t know how lucky we are and don’t get behind the country to help it along. Sounds as if you are sitting on the porch watching – nothing there for me you think – I’ve got better things to do, for me, me.

  8. Ummmm….. Michael Barnett registers into the Who Is He and What has He ever done in the best interest of NZers cateogry???!!!
    He could even be the richest corpse in the mass grave of say 1200 plus New Zealanders that he has distanced himself from

  9. When we Barnett stop whining? Never. It is the lifeblood of the elderly well off, something that relates to them where they live. The world can go to hell in a handbasket but these people look at their great big tv coloured screens, with added brightener, and have that image fixed in their minds as the ideal. They lock themselves away in their mini-mansions, and the tv and radio presenters spouting about everything being so unsatisfactory set the tone of their minds, they become their understanding friends. Bring in estate duty and stamp duty, there are too many of these people who don’t give a s..t for NZ.

    The wealthy want to use the low income for their purposes not employ them at a living wage which they can afford, and bargain them down as much as poss. It isn’t pretty, and it is a punch in the gut for me who thought NZ was better, needed better fine tuning than Muldoon, the Pirate Aaah, could manage but we have always over-rated our cleverness, our ability to make good decisions, and since 1984 we haven’t even been trying.

  10. ““Trust business to do the right thing….”” If that was true then we would not need regulations and laws for employment, health and safety, weights and measures, and just about everything else. Commerce corrupts.
    We need strong government and strong unions to help restore and maintain a balance between people and an economy.

    • Yeah, I thought that was particularly amusing. You know what happens when you trust business interests to do the ‘right’ thing? They do the right thing for business interests, and sod everyone else. Good deeds are done for publicity purposes only, and if there are no returns to shareholders… why bother? Business should benefit society, not the other way around. People like Barnett seem to have lost sight of this somewhere along the way. If he’s having a moan about the pain and inconvenience to business when the government has done a sterling job (for the most part) of containing this thing, imagine his hysterical screeching if they’d let it run riot. The man would be a cot-case. If he had a sense of perspective and a little grace, he’d be considerably more grateful.

  11. Ditto to that Frank. They would also be the only three things I would be doing if N.Z. was open for business. On second thoughts maybe 4, homeschooling in the evening after work, because there’s also no chance in Hades my child would be going to school.
    So, the Government is right. A strong economic recovery is the result of a strong health response.

  12. He won’t stop.
    He believes that government should be small and the market knows best.
    Each day this successful response to Covid-19 continues it invalidates his political philosophy. For him that cannot stand.

  13. Interestingly Hosking gives him a regular platform based on ” I agree with everything you say Michael”.
    Their argument falls over when they cannot give an answer to.. if we open up business, how many deaths are we prepared to accept?

  14. Srtewth! I always wanted to believe Michael Barnett wasn’t such a bad sort of chap – representing who he thinks is his base – but Jesus H Christ!
    I’m listening to him on ‘old school’ Jesse’s RNZ afternoons immediately following the announcement.
    If I didn’t know better I’d be worried he’d just had a bloody stroke. What a sad old sack of shit, obviously driven by ideology and its true believers rather than any capacity for critical thought.
    In some ways it’d be nice if we could let him have his way and watch how it would all turn out. Unfortunately we don’t have luxuries like that at the moment (in this space, going forward).
    Diddums Michael. Is there anything I can get you to relieve the pain? I’ve got some Hydroxi going cheap if you can get one of your followers to get it past the border

    • Poor Michael, this morning on breakfast it was almost gibberish delivered on full transmit. Michael, suggest you read Robert Townsends book. “ Up The Organisation “. He postulates that one can stay too long at the helm, that the optimum incumbency is between 5 and 7 years on the basis that if you haven’t made a difference in that time frame you never will. How long have you been in your sinecure Michael? It seems like decades.
      Also Michael, would you please give us an acceptable ratio of business survivals to Covid deaths that your association could provide the cost benefit analysis to justify this course of action.

    • If he had some cobbers who could make a bob out of it he would. He is on earth to help people do the main thing in life – make as much money as they can regardless of other impacts.

      He probably wanted no close downs or controls at all from the outset so his private health mates and undertakers pals could have made a killing.

  15. Michael Barnett is no longer whinging and whining, he is gloating.

    On RNZ straight after the 3pm announcement yesterday by the Prime Minister that we will be dropping out of Level 3 on Sunday without eliminating the virus, Michael Barnett came on.

    This is a big victory for Michael Barnett and the business community who have been very uncomfortable with the government’s policy of elimination.

    Michael Barnett spoke of the hardship small retailers and vendors are suffering. He mentioned that despite the wage subsidy they still faced huge outgoings on their mortgages and leases, Barnett also mentioned that many small businesses have tied their business loans to the their home mortgages, if they lose their business they lose the family home. All this is true. Barnett’s solution is to let the virus rip.

    What the small retailers have actually asked for to better weather the pandemic is rent and mortgage relief.

    This solution has been bitterly opposed in cabinet by Winston Peters, who has gone to bat for the big landlords and the banks who hold the mortgages. Most of New Zealand’s banks are Australian owned and they take off shore from this country $4 billlion in profit every year.
    In defence of his opposition to rent relief Peters said that the biggest landlords are New Zealanders and they could be taken advantage of by big foreign owned tenants. He showed no such sympathy for small New Zealand tenants.
    It seems strange to me that a Party that calls itself New Zealand First has expressed sympathy for the big (Kiwi) landlords and foreign owned banks and not for the New Zealand small proprietors and other battlers at the bottom of society who would benefit the most from rent relief.

  16. Michael Barnett and the rest of the business community were caught off guard by the government’s March lockdown to eliminate the virus, which they bitterly opposed, even taking a hugely expensive cast to the Hight Court to get the government’s action declared illegal.
    This and other actions and pressure from the business community have since brought the government to heel,succeeding in getting the government to adopt their preferred policy of suppression rather than elimination.
    “Elimination’ means zero new cases, ‘suppression’ means allowing the virus to keep circulating and react to flare ups as they occur.

    In their court case the business leaders asked for partial and regional lockdowns. This is now the policy the government is following to the letter.
    Under pressure from the business community our government has abandoned ‘elimination’ to wallow in the swamp of endless partial lockdowns that most other countries are following.
    The Prime Minister has announced that we will drop from level 3 to level 2 lockdown without eliminating the virus. This is a departure from last time, when we only dropped to level 2 when elimination was achieved.
    Our country will no longer be exceptional in setting an example of eliminating the virus..
    The policy of ‘suppression’ followed by Australia the US the UK and many other countries has seen repeated flare ups. This is now our future.
    Private wealth has usurped public health
    Michael Barnett must be very pleased with himself.

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