Jim Barnes (politician)

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Sir James Barnes
52nd Mayor of Dunedin
In office
Preceded by Russell Calvert
Succeeded by Cliff Skeggs
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for St Kilda
In office
1951 – 1954
Preceded by Fred Jones
Succeeded by William Fraser
Personal details
Born (1908-09-24)24 September 1908
Died 6 June 1995(1995-06-06) (aged 86)
Nationality New Zealand
Political party National
Spouse(s) Elsie Mabel Clark
(married 13 April 1938 (1938-04-13))
Children One daughter
Awards MBE
Military service
Allegiance Royal New Zealand Air Force
Service/branch No. 75 (NZ)
Years of service 1940 – 194x
Battles/wars World War II

Sir James George "Jim" Barnes MBE (24 September 1908 – 6 June 1995) was a New Zealand politician of the National Party.

Early life

Barnes attended Andersons Bay School and King Edward Technical College.

Military service

Barnes joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1940, and trained in Canada.[1] He qualified as a navigator and bomb aimer, and joined the No. 75 (NZ) Squadron . In 1942, Barnes was shot down over France, and spent three years in German prisoner-of-war camps. He put a lot of pressure on German resources helping fellow prisoners escape, and received various punishments, including a sentencing to be shot, though later the camp brutality eased, and Barnes was not executed.

Athletics career as runner and official

JG (Jimmy) Barnes was well known in Otago and NZ as a mile and cross-country runner of national class. Later, before he became Mayor of Dunedin, he was loyally and consistently active as an official, and leader of Otago Athletics. Jim was particularly supportive of Women's Athletics, at a time when that section of the sport was indeed the poor relation. The Otago Ladies' NZ Record relay team, which included Yvette Williams, Shirley Hardman, Norah Donald, Myrie Ives, and Roslyn Pierson, was most grateful for his support in the late 40s and 50s. Jim Barnes' name has become enshrined in the Otago Harrier Programme in the J G Barnes Cross-country Race, first held in the early 50s in the Chisholm Park area of Dunedin.

Political career

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1951–1954 30th St Kilda National
1954–1957 31st St Kilda National

He represented the St Kilda electorate from 1951 when he defeated Fred Jones to 1957 and 1960, when he was twice defeated by William Fraser.

From 1968 to 1977 he was the Mayor of Dunedin. He had been on the Dunedin City Council from 1947, and deputy Mayor from 1959.

He was knighted in the 1976 Birthday Honours.


  1. Eunson, Keith. "Barnes, James George". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 27 September 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  • Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First published in 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. OCLC 154283103.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
Political offices
Preceded by
Russell Calvert
Mayor of Dunedin
Succeeded by
Cliff Skeggs
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Fred Jones
Member of Parliament for St Kilda
Succeeded by
William Fraser