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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.

Rick Barker
Rick Barker.jpg
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Hastings
In office
1993 – 1996
Preceded byJeff Whittaker
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Tukituki
In office
1996 – 2005
Succeeded byCraig Foss
Personal details
Born (1951-10-27) 27 October 1951 (age 67)
Political partyLabour

Early lifeEdit

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 ParliamentEdit

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, and served for a time as the Industrial Representative on the party's National Council. In the 1993 election, he successfully stood as the Labour Party candidate for the Hastings electorate, winning a seat that was previously held by the National Party. 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.[3]

Cabinet ministerEdit

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[4] 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[5] which is a title he was granted for the rest of his life[6] after his term of office.

Regional CouncillorEdit

Barker was elected to the regional council in 2013, representing the Hastings constituency. In 2016 he was appointed deputy chair of the council.


  1. ^ "New Zealand Hansard - Members Sworn Volume:651;Page:2". New Zealand Parliament.
  2. ^ "Barker joins cabinet". The New Zealand Herald. 13 May 2003. Retrieved 11 November 2007.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Members of Executive Council Appointed". The New Zealand Gazette. The Department of Internal Affairs: 4528. 21 October 2005. 7115. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  5. ^ "Members of Executive Council Appointed". The New Zealand Gazette. The Department of Internal Affairs: 2948. 20 August 2002. 5519. Retrieved 22 July 2012.
  6. ^ "Retention of the Title "The Honourable"". The New Zealand Gazette. The Department of Internal Affairs: 5156. 18 December 2008. 9578. Retrieved 22 July 2012.

External linksEdit

  • [1] at the New Zealand Parliament website
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
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