A former staffer who revealed bullying allegations against MP Maggie Barry has been threatened with legal action - as more public servants come forward to back his claims.

Parliamentary Service, which employs MPs' support staff, contacted the whistleblower on Wednesday night to ask him to stop sharing private and confidential information, or it would be "forced" to act.

It said the decision "was not made lightly" but it was concerned that other staff's personal information was being made public, causing distress.

The staffer said the fact he was the one in legal jeopardy when he had come forward to Parliamentary Service with evidence of alleged unlawful and bullying behaviour was ironic.


"It reinforces the issue that I have with powerful people getting protected and promoted. I've lost my job and she still has her job - that's typical," he claimed.

The Weekend Herald exposed last week that Barry, a former gardening show host and MP for the North Shore, was twice investigated for bullying this year - including accusations she expected staff to do political work on taxpayer time, which could be unlawful.

The allegations made by the staffer to Parliamentary Service included that Barry regularly swore and yelled at employees, belittled their intelligence and appearance, discussed staffers' sexuality in the workplace, and used derogatory terms like "nutter" about people with mental health issues.

Barry denies all of the allegations and said a workplace investigation had cleared her of bullying charges.

However, the former staffer said no findings at all were made in his case with regards to bullying, and the Weekend Herald has been unable to independently confirm the result of the other case, which was a personal grievance.

It is unclear if the allegations about a misuse of public money were investigated by Parliamentary Service. This week, the staffer provided the Auditor General with documentation about the alleged breaches, and it confirmed it would assess the information.

Since the staffer came forward, the Herald has heard other allegations of bullying from Barry's time as a minister with the former National government.

From 2014-2017, Barry had three portfolios - conservation, senior citizens and arts, culture and heritage. Each ministry provided private secretaries to her office as support.


One of those secretaries, a woman with 25 years in the public service including stints with three other ministers, said last week's allegations matched her experience.

"Everything that young man said I can honestly say it happened while I worked for her - she would degrade and belittle officials, and she had derogatory names for staff," she alleged.

"But there is a code of silence within Parliament and that's why it doesn't come out. There's that mentality - what goes on tour stays on tour."

The woman said the day she left Barry's office for good was the worst example of bad behaviour. Barry had accused the woman of not providing the correct briefing papers before a meeting - but they were colour-coded and in her in-tray and Barry just hadn't read them, the woman claimed.

"She was yelling and screaming like a mad woman, accusing me of lying. She was saying I was incompetent. And then she started swearing. I said, you can't talk to me like that, minister, I'll come back when you calm down. And I left."

When the woman returned to work the next day, she was told she was no longer welcome, and was escorted out by security.

"I left shocked. After five years of working in that role I was like, that's incredible, I can't believe it."

Another official from a different department, who regularly engaged with Barry when she was a minister, claimed the behaviour described was in keeping with her experience too.

"I've seen people saying since this came out that the staff are being precious," she said. But that is untrue, claimed the official, who believes "the difference is that her behaviour with people she doesn't like is so vitriolic and so consistent over time that it becomes traumatic."

The official claimed Barry would frequently text message her, which was not proper process.

Barry frequently criticised the official's work and behaviour. In one message, seen by the Weekend Herald, Barry told the official to "harden up". The official said it left her devastated.

"She was the worst bully I've ever come across ... she destroyed my confidence and self esteem and it was a traumatic experience for me and my young family," the official claimed, saying she believed "she needs to be held accountable for her actions."

The official said while the Parliamentary review of bullying - announced last week - was a good first step, it only covered staff in the Beehive.

"What about those who have no recourse for action because they don't report directly to the minister? As officials, the minister is God. You can't tell them to piss off. The only way it could have been worse was if it was the Prime Minister acting like that."

In response to the new allegations a spokesperson for Barry said: "There were never any formal complaints made to the chief of staff while Maggie was a minister. We don't comment on individual staffing matters."