Nash, Stuart Alexander Interview

Today is 20th November 2018. I’m interviewing Stuart Nash, the Member of Parliament for Napier, on the life and times of his family. Stuart, would you like to tell us something about your family?

Sure, Frank. Well both sides of my family, my mother[‘s] and my father’s side, have been in the Bay since about 1865. My father’s side arrived in Wairoa with the militia in 1863; ended up in Napier in 1865. They were Mayos … became Griffins … and the Nash side arrived [phone ringing] here with my grandfather, Clement Walter Nash, in about 1929. He was a local lawyer here; worked for Carlile McLean; died of meningitis in the War at [in] 1943 at the age of thirty-six. And my grandmother, Lorna Nash, who was Lorna Griffin before then, had a couple of uncles die in the 1918 influenza epidemic; and was actually one of the earliest female graduates of Otago University. She continued living ‘til about 1988, it would’ve been. She helped design her house with Louis Hay up on Thompson Road. She was left with three sons when her husband died – my father aged eight, his middle brother aged six, and the youngest one aged three.

My father was sent away to boarding school at New Plymouth Boys’ [High], which was tough for him at the time because his grandfather, a chap called Water Nash, was a high profile Labour politician at this time. New Plymouth was hardly the hotbed of socialist activity. It was a school where farmers sent their sons; and he had a bit of a rough time there but eventually ended up with a law degree; went to London, travelled the world with Walter, actually; based himself in London, and when Walter came over he had dinner with Khrushchev; watched the FA Cup Final beside the Chancellor of the Exchequer; met the German President; met the Pope … had a great time with Walter.

But eventually, he said he was looking around the world; he was going to settle in Canada but the bar exam was too expensive; had a look at Rhodesia but could see that there were going to be problems there; came back as a lot of us do, to New Zealand; had a look around New Zealand and decided the best place to raise a family and practise law was actually in Napier. So he ended up back here as a lawyer for forty years. And his name was James Halward Nash, but known as Hal Nash to everyone. He was a lawyer at Carlile McLean which then merged into Carlile Dowling. The main reason it merged, in 1977 he had a triple heart bypass, and they thought that he wouldn’t be able to work in the way that he had in the past. As it turned out that was fine – he could’ve; but retired as a partner; became what they euphemistically called a consultant, and he retired from the law … would’ve been in the mid-nineties. And he died … it would’ve been 2013.

My mother grew up in Woodville. The family name there was Peebles. Her father was a Wylie who came from Waitara; his name was Alan Wylie. He had a brother who died in the Second World War; he went to Italy himself … quite old for a soldier. Had three daughters; went over to Italy and came back, re-settled in Woodville; as mentioned, married Dorothy Peebles. The Peebles had been there for donkey’s years. My mother then trained as a School Dental Nurse, met my father; [the] rest is history, as they say. Well, there was a lot of history between when they met and obviously when they … But you know, she did what a lot of mothers do … what a lot of women do, I should say … she left her job and became a full-time mother back in the day when, you know, economics allowed that.

And I, you know, had a very good childhood, actually. I’m the oldest of four; went to Napier Central School. In fact my children at the moment are the fifth generation, unbroken, at Napier Central School, right back to opening day in 1878. Amazing, and so yeah, I’m very proud of that fact. But I went to Napier Central School; you know, was a good sportsman; reasonably academic in the sense that … you know, if I do the work I get the results; if I don’t, I don’t. But then after there, to Napier Intermediate then Napier Boys’ High. From Napier Boys’ High, went to Victoria University – ended up with a Bachelor of Arts in History; then down to Canterbury University – ended up a post-grad [graduate] Diploma in Forestry, then a Masters Degree in Forestry Science. Went and worked, and ended up also doing a graduate Diploma in Marketing and a Masters in Management; then after that a Masters in Law.

But worked for Carter Holt; for Fletcher Challenge; worked in forestry in Japan. Ended up working for a petrochemical importing company for eight years, importing petrochemicals from mainly Asia and the Middle East around New Zealand and Asia and Singapore; then went and worked for AUT [Auckland University of Technology] as Director of Strategic Development. Got into Parliament as a list MP [Member of Parliament] based in Napier. After three years – that was in 2008 – when Labour got beaten quite badly I didn’t get back as a List MP, and I didn’t beat the local MP, even though I reduced his majority more than any Labour candidate against a sitting National MP; but then won the seat in 2014 and I’ve been the Member of Parliament for Napier since 2014.

Going back to your school days, what sports did you play at school?

So I represented Napier as a young fellow in cricket and rugby. Then when I got to Boys’ High I continued with rugby but took up tennis, and in the end represented Hawke’s Bay in tennis; and you know, was an okay rugby player. Those are the two main sports – went to university and played a little bit of social cricket. But you know, I’m a member of Hawke’s Bay Lawn Tennis, and in fact I sponsor stuff down there, and my kids again play there; so my sponsorship there sees three generations of Nashes in Hawke’s Bay Lawn Tennis.

Well at some stage you met your wife?

My second wife? My first wife, Kristin, I met at university, and we were married very young; went to Japan together and worked in forestry in Japan; went to Auckland and lived in Auckland for about twelve years and then came back to Napier. Politics doesn’t suit everyone; so we parted with two children, and she remains a … you know, a very good friend of mine, and she’s a very, very good woman. And with her I have a daughter, Sophia, who was born in 2002, and a son, Charlie, born in 2005. Sophia is at this point in time Hawke’s Bay top woman tennis player; also the Napier Girls’ badminton champion. Charlie plays representative basketball and tennis and rugby. And Kristin was from Auckland.

And then I met Sarah; I met her in Auckland on a blind date. Sarah was from a Hawke’s Bay farming family called the Alexanders. In fact, what I say is that when I met Sarah I phoned up my father, who was a little bit of a local historian, and said that I’m dating a woman whose last name is Alexander from Puketapu. And by the time I put down the phone half an hour later, I literally, without a word of a lie, I knew more about her family than she did.

And what happened was – it was quite interesting – Sarah said to me, “Well look, if you can get past my grandmother”, whose name was Ailis Alexander; and she received a QSM [Queen’s Service Medal] or QSO [Queen’s Service Order] for the work she did with the disabled community over many years. “If you can get past her, then you know, you’ve come a long way.” So I knocked on Ailis’ door – this is when I was campaigning – and I said, “My name’s Stuart Nash – I’m the local Labour MP here. I understand this is a staunch Labour household?” And I think Ailis nearly dropped dead. And I thought, ‘I’d better recover this’, [chuckle] and said, “Look, I’m actually dating your granddaughter, Sarah.” [Chuckle] And I went from being – very quickly – just about to be kicked out, to being welcomed in. And Ailis and I became good friends.

And with Sarah I have two children; I have William who is now six, who was born … goodness me, what year are we … 2012; and Isabella who was born in 2013. And all four of those children have attended Napier Central School, or are attending Napier Central School as we speak. Oh, actually I also went to Carlyle Kindy, [Kindergarten] which my kids went to. My four oldest friends are friends I met at Carlyle Kindy … a chap called Rob Lee, who you know, obviously grew up in Napier, and I was best man at his wedding; [a] guy called Mark Oldershaw, whose father Ash Oldershaw was an accountant here for a long time; Mark is actually back – Mark actually was the CEO [Chief Executive Officer] of the National Party for a while, and when he took on that position he came and saw me and said, “Look, I hope this doesn’t ruin our friendship.” And I said, “Mark, we’re going to be mates for long after this”, and we’re still very, very good friends. Kent Parker, whose father was a local engineer here, and Kent has done very well in industrial design. And yeah, well those three remain very close friends. And then Phil McCaw from Napier Boys’ High … who’s done incredibly well actually … was probably my best friend at Napier Boys’. You know, we worked together in forestry here pruning pine trees out at [?] and John Aitken’s property out the back of Havelock North. But you know, the friends that I made at Napier Boys’ … and you know, Napier Boys’ suits a certain type of boy.

Yes, it’s interesting that you’ve been involved with the forestry industry …

Well I was our Forestry spokesperson in Parliament for about five years.

Oh, were you?

And I developed what I considered to be a brilliant policy. And so now Shane Jones is obviously our Minister of Forestry. But Shane and I talk a lot about forestry, and I’ve given him a lot of my ideas, and he’s seen a lot of those through. But you know, I did work for Fletcher Challenge in Forestry, and I worked for Carter Holt Harvey in forestry. And you know, I have a vision for where forestry should be in this country. Unfortunately that’s not a portfolio I hold, but you know, I’m doing a lot of work at the moment with the prison, and Ngati Kahungunu and the Regional Council around forestry. But I firmly believe that in Napier we live in the best city in the greatest country in the world – I think this is a fantastic city – love it.

We all do. Hawke’s Bay has been divided for so long; sometimes parochialism is healthy for communities, but there are times that we’re strong together.

Well I ran an anti-amalgamation campaign … very strong anti-amalgamation; and it’s always been my view that the City Council or the District Councils need to be separate, and the ratepayers need to be able to make decisions about the future of their own city. But I also firmly believe that the economic development side of the region had to be incorporated in a Hawke’s Bay Regional Economic Development Agency, and that hasn’t happened. But I’ve always been of the view that the two mayors involved in that campaign would both have to go before our Councils and our mayors were ever going to really see eye to eye. And Lawrence Yule, who was the Mayor of Hastings, has obviously gone – he’s now in Parliament; and Bill Dalton, who I have immense respect for and have worked very closely with, and I consider him a very good friend – he’s going to stand down in 2019 and we’ll have a clean break there. And I think at that point I will work very closely with both mayors on my vision for economic development in the Bay. And I have been accused a number of times of getting involved in local issues as opposed to central government issues, and it’s always been my view, is if you want to be a leader in the city, [it] doesn’t matter where you stand. You’ve got to stand up for the issues that are important for the people of your region.

There’s something I don’t think a lot of people are aware of, that you are really a rural electorate with an urban base.

Very much so.

It’s really reversed what the Hawke’s Bay area was like.

Very much. So pre MMP, [Mixed Member Proportional] … so I’m the MP for the Napier Electorate …


… pre MMP there was a Napier Electorate which pretty much just included the City of Napier. So post MMP, when obviously it became more list MPs and less electoral MPs, the Napier electorate grew substantially; but it has continued to grow. And so Wairoa now is really the geographic centre of the electorate, and it goes way up to Matawai, and it goes inland and includes Lake Waikaremoana and all the settlements around there. And then there’s Mahia Peninsula – in fact at its boundary with Gisborne – and it’s on the boundary with Gisborne – it’s about fifteen minutes into the centre of Gisborne.

Is it really?

Yeah. And in fact I would argue … and I have, but quietly, ‘cause I’m not going to die in a ditch over this … it includes a whole lot of communities that have no interest whatsoever with Napier, and a lot more interest with Gisborne. So it’s a little bit of someone sitting down in Wellington saying, “We need to have this many people in an electorate – let’s draw the map here.” And I don’t think they serve the people of Matawai and those sorts of districts particularly well, even though I trek up there about once every six months and I hold public meetings up there, and I do whatever I can. But it’s very much a rural … and it is a conservative electorate.

I mean, you know, in 2014 Damian O’Connor and I were the only two this century to win an electorate off National. Now in fact in 2014 – actually Damian won his back in 2011 after losing it in 2008. In 2014 Kelvin Davis was the only MP to win an electorate off a sitting MP, Hone Harawira; and Kelvin’s my best mate in caucus. And I was the only one to win a seat off the National. I should actually say, in 2002 David Parker won Waimak, [Waimakariri] which is basically Queenstown. But Damian and I still remain … you know, this is now, what are we? 2018 … Damian O’Connor and I still remain the only two Labour MPs to win and hold a seat off the Nats [Nationals] this century. And so you know, as the electorates have grown in size and taken in a really rural run, you need MPs who can not only do the work in the cities but also can do the work in the regions and the provinces and the rural part of town … rural part of the electorate.

It doesn’t matter what stand you’re on, you’re Stuart Nash, MP for Napier.

Well, you know, the thing is is when I was in Opposition I was in town most Mondays and most Fridays. You know, I’d leave for Wellington on the first flight on Tuesday and be back the last flight Thursday. There’re times when I was around the country doing portfolio work in Opposition; but in government now … you know, I’m the Minister of Police, of Fisheries, of Revenue and Small Business, but also of the Serious Fraud Office which falls under Police … you’re down to Wellington on the first flight on Monday; and it’s supposed to be every second Friday in the electorate, but the way it’s worked out it’s about one Friday a month.

What I do find invaluable is still doing my street corner meetings, and I’ve done these for ten years. And this is where I stand, you know, we leaflet an area the week before, we put ads [advertisements] in the Napier Courier or the Napier Mail as it was back then; and I stand on street corner meetings and I have conversations with Napier people about the issues that are important. And I would say, without exception, every single campaign I have ever run – whether it’s been amalgamation, it’s fishing, Port, law and order, you name it – has been influenced by the meetings I have had on street corners. And I think politicians run a risk, certainly when you’re in government and certainly in Cabinet, if all they do is listen to the Wellington bubble and forget about the people who put them there. And you know, for me those street corner meetings are my reality check; and you know, you can get caught up in the machinations of Wellington. If you go back and you realise that the issue which is dominating in Question Time has no resonance whatsoever in Onekawa or Marewa, Napier Hill, Pirimai, you name it. And so …

You’re the conduit.

You’re the conduit. And these are the issues that are important. And I often … I often take stories back from my street corner meetings to Cabinet, and say, “Hey look – this is what the people in Napier’ve been telling me.” And it’s not just because I’m reading the paper; it’s ‘cause I’m standing on a street corner and talking about the issues that are important, and I think that is vital. I say this to all the new MPs – “You want to win your electorate? Do this”, and none of them do. It astounds me.

It’s acting smarter, not harder.

Well, exactly. But it’s never forgetting who put you in there. I mean, in the last three months of our expenses I actually had the highest domestic travel, and the highest out of Wellington expenses, because I’ve just been travelling round the country – a lot on Fisheries and Police business – but for Cabinet ministers I had the lowest use of VIP transport. And I use it in Wellington and I use it in Auckland for its convenience; I never use it in the Bay. I still drive around in my ute and my fire engine, ‘cause I think if you start using VIP transport … you’re turning up in big grey BMWs around the place here … people will go, “It’s about time that boy got taught a lesson.” So you never forget where you come from, because if you do that, then … and you stop representing the people on the issues that are important, then they will send you a very clear message.

So when do you have time for your family then, because you are obviously very busy?

And I don’t. And that is the one major thing about this. So I’m away pretty much from Monday to Friday. I try and take Saturdays off and watch my kids’ sport and spend time with them. Every single Friday a bag arrives which would be about ten kilograms, [10kg] and it contains about twelve hours of reading. And on a Sunday morning at about eight-thirty I head into my office, and I finish at about midnight. And I take about two hours off over the dinner period; and I sometimes go and kick a ball with my son or play a game of tennis with my daughter, or go down to Ocean Spa with the kids, but that Sunday is pretty much my work day to get ready for the next week. And that doesn’t count all the papers I’ve read, so I very rarely … I don’t work on Friday night unless my wife is out; then I’ll try and get through some of the tax papers. And occasionally I’ll work on Saturday, and certainly if … again, my wife’s out or not around, then I will do work so I can spend a bit more time on Sunday. But basically I’ve got about twelve hours worth of reading I’ve got to do during the weekend.

So you’ll be looking forward to Christmas.

I am. So one of my best mates, and a guy I flatted with for a couple of years at Canterbury University was a guy called Pete McKinnon, who’s Don McKinnon’s son. And I remember, way before I was involved in politics, I said to Pete, you know, “Do you remember your father never being around?” And he said, “Yeah, a little bit”, but he said, “the thing I really remember is the long summer holidays we used to take as a family, and Dad being around.” Even back then I thought, ‘That’s interesting’; so now what I do – and I was a little bit reluctant to do this in my early days. Now I just do it – I will finish on … well this year because it’s a Friday, the 21st of December, I will take a month off. And what I’ve said to my people is, “After four weeks start giving me papers, and I’ll read them.” There’s only one official duty I’m going to perform during that time and that’s a Police graduation, and I pride myself that I’ve been to every single Police graduation – and there’ve been thirteen so far – except one, and that’s when I was overseas. So I’ll give that, but the rest of the time I spend with my kids. But that fifth week, which I’ll still spend with my kids – in the evenings I’ll be reading all my papers and preparing for the year ahead. But you know, it’ll be four, five or … the kids will know five weeks with dad being around.

Now, what else haven’t you told me about?

Well there’s a … well you know, there’s a lot. And I’ve worked overseas …

Well let’s hear what maketh the man.

Well, let me tell you a little bit about politics. So I stood in Epsom in 2005. It was the first election I was ever involved in, and you stand in places like Epsom to see how it goes. If you completely stuff it up, then it’s not really going to change the composition of the government, ‘cause Labour’s never going to win Epsom, okay? It’s the richest electorate, and one of the most conservative in the country. And in 2005 my team and I door knocked every door that you could get into – lot of gated communities in Epsom, but every door. And what happened then is … Labour’s party vote in Epsom bubbles around five, six thousand. That year it spiked at just under ten thousand; I was really disappointed we didn’t get to ten. And it’s dropped again, and it’s never reached that, doesn’t matter who’s doing what in the election. And I put that down to my door knocking and the hard work my team and I put in, and it reinforced to me that, you know, you will never be successful without working hard, and there are very few true safe seats. So then what happened is Paul Swain came to me in 2011 and said, “I’m going to stand down; do you want to stand in Remutaka?” Which is basically Upper Hutt, which is Walter’s old seat. And I looked at this, and I answered “Yes, I’m quite keen for this.” And I didn’t play it particularly well – I told a couple of people, and it got out. Helen Clark, who was the Prime Minister at the time, said, “I don’t want you to stand in the Hutt; I want you to go back to Napier”, which is where Michael Cullen who was the Deputy Prime Minister and the Finance Minister at the time … not many people know, the whole time he was Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, he lived in Napier. And I said, “Well, if that’s what you want Helen, then okay.”

And so we moved down here, and my wife at the time, Kristin, had got a job; we’d looked at a house; and as I was driving down, Helen called and said, “Well, you know, I wanted Andrew Little in Upper Hutt – he’s decided not to stand. Will you move up there?” And my wife said … ‘cause we’d gone round Upper Hutt and said, “Okay, there’s some places here we want to live” … and she said, “No. We’re going to Napier.” And I’d made promises to the people of Napier, and I love the city, so I decided, ‘Okay’, I’d come to Napier. And I wasn’t given the nomination. I thought Helen would sort this out, but there was a local guy here called Russell Fairbrother who’d taken over from Geoff Braybrooke; he’d won the seat, and then he lost the seat. Very bitter about that … he had been very bitter and he blamed Helen Clark. This is in 2005. And he’d got very much offside with Michael Cullen’s wife and that had not played out well for him. So when he saw me come down here, I think he saw me as the Labour equivalent of Chris Tremain who had won the seat in 2005. And this was someone who was youngish, and was from here, and who wanted to take the seat back. And he’d always said,”If there’s someone who comes along who’s better than me, then I will stand down.” Well he didn’t; and he fought incredibly hard, and so I didn’t even win the nomination for Napier in 2008. And I was pretty devastated ‘cause I’d left a really good job, I’d left a house which was over half an acre in Remuera … and which we sold for $2 million which has since sold for $6 million … to come down here, and I didn’t even get the nomination for Napier. I was completely done over by the unions. But luckily I got in on the list. But you know, that was hard.

And then in my first term I gave more speeches than any Labour MP; I wrote more policy documents than any Labour MP; and as mentioned I reduced the sitting member’s majority by any Labour candidate standing against a National MP. And when I arrived in Napier, Chris Tremain, the local MP who is a good friend of mine – we were at school together, our families are close – had a majority of nine thousand three hundred – in anyone’s books that is a safe National seat. And I just worked incredibly hard; and as I said, I had to take three years off because I wasn’t returned. So I went and worked in Auckland; first of all as the investor relations guy at AUT Millennium, which is New Zealand’s high performance sports centre. In a previous life I had organised the business case for the coming together of AUT University and AUT Millennium, and Millennium Sport & Health; And then I went and ran AUT University’s South Campus, which I absolutely loved, and I turned that place around and loved it. And if I hadn’t got in in 2014 I’d have gone back to that job; and I say that I would’ve driven through the gate; I would’ve been glum for a week; driven through the gates, realised I was back and would have gone on to the highest … ‘cause I absolutely believe that education is the key. But you know, like I said, we turned around … when I say “we”, my team and I, ‘cause it’s not just me, I had a brilliant team … we turned around a nine thousand three hundred majority to win the seat. And that’s what … again, I say to a lot of these new MPs, “You want to win? You just have got to knuckle down and work incredibly hard in the electorate, because you know, you don’t get there by turning up.” [Phone rings]

Who stood against you?

In 2011 it was obviously Chris Tremain; 2014 it was a guy called Wayne Walford who was at the time the CEO of the Chamber of Commerce; and Wayne and I’ve become good friends. And in 2017 it was a guy called David … I think the name’s Irvine. [Elliott]

747 pilot …

Yes. And David’s a really nice guy; but the thing I didn’t quite understand is David lives in Havelock North. And Napier people are incredibly parochial …

Very, very …

… and having someone from Havelock North standing in Napier, was never going to work. I mean … and David, you know, he did well; he ran a good campaign; he’s a nice guy. On the stump I sometimes thought he was closer to a Labour candidate than a National one. But I increased my majority.

In 2011 Garth McVicar stood; and there was always the charge that Garth split the vote, allowing me to win. And anyone that said that to me … we had done some analysis, and believed that if Garth hadn’t stood I still would’ve won. But that didn’t matter; when people said, “Oh, you only won ‘cause of Garth McVicar”, my response to that was always, “Who cares? Still won. It’s not how you win, it’s whether you win or not.”

[Speaking together] … one trick pony anyway.

Oh … and he thought he was going to win this; you know, I don’t think Richie McCaw could’ve come in and run an eight-week campaign and won, with all due respect. All I mean is you can’t turn up three months before an election and hope to win; you’ve actually got to turn up at least a year beforehand. And we were working two years before to win this. And we ran, like I said, a very strong, very, very hard out campaign.

I mean, Walter was in parliament for forty years; he’s still New Zealand’s third longest serving MP. And what I say is … you know, we talked about the lack of balance with my family; my five-year-old-daughter says, you know, “I miss you, Daddy, do you have to go to work?” And you know, we had some friends round for dinner and they asked her … this is my five-year-old … you know, “What does you father do for a job?” And she said, “He’s Jacinda’s little helper.” And I thought that was the best way anyone could ever describe … But the thing is, is you know, for me this is not a job for life; so you know, I’m going to do what I need to do; and I always said the day that I lose the passion, the day that I lose the belief I can make a difference is the day I leave. So I have a deal with my wife – she’ll allow me to follow my passions, and then I’ll allow her to follow hers. So I’m not going to break Walter’s record for longevity, but I am very passionate about this city and this province, and growing the wealth of those who work here. And you know I work closely … well, like I said, Wayne Walford and I work closely together and he is … you know, if I was parochial or if I was political about this, then I would say, “He was a candidate – I’m going to have nothing to do with him.” Well that’s not how you develop relationships and get things going in a place like Napier, or Hawke’s Bay. So you know, I’ll work with anyone, and some of them I know their politics, some of them I don’t; but to be honest, I don’t care two hoots what someone’s politics are. If they’re prepared to work hard to make the Bay a better place and Napier a greater city, then I’ll work with anyone.

So is there anything else that you would like to add?

Well, I’d just like to say, look – I had a very happy household; a very happy upbringing … four kids, myself, two sisters and a brother. I had a milk run when I was younger. I left home at eighteen to go to university; I was doing flying training in the Air Force for a while, and finished Officer training in the Air Force and then left to go back to university, because I thought that flying was like glorified bus driving. I joined as a joke, and to be honest it took me about six or seven years – I say joining the Air Force is one of the hardest things I did, because it wasn’t really something I was passionate about. Leaving was just as hard, because in front of me was an opportunity to fly planes and see the world. And I knew in my heart it’s not really what I wanted to do, but it … I’m not saying it was an easy option, but it had certainly provided me with an option where I didn’t have to go back and study and be a broke student. And I gave that up. And about a year later when I was getting calls from my mates who were in the Middle East in the Air Force, going, “Oh”, you know, “rejoin!” It was like, “Shivers, have I made the wrong decision?” Well, I thought I had.

But no, you know, I do believe that everything happens for a reason. I’m not a religious man, or I’m not a spiritual man, but I do believe that things do happen for a reason but I also believe that old adage – I don’t know who said it, it might’ve been Gary Player, but – ‘The harder you work, the luckier you get.’ And politics for me, you know, has involved a mixture of failure and disappointment, but ultimately, in the end, I am exactly where I want to be; and the reason I am is ‘cause I didn’t give up when things didn’t work and when there were major disappointments.

And Kelvin Davis and I, you know, our careers mirror each other; we both got in on the list in 2008; both didn’t get back in 2011; both won seats in 2014; and both find ourselves in Cabinet. And he is a very good man and a good friend of mine. My other good friend is Peeni Henare. But then I’ve got other … you know, I play for the parliamentary rugby team and love doing that. So at this point the reason I’m in politics is, you know, I travelled the world as a businessman in a previous life, and apart from being good for business it was good for the soul, and it made me realise that we live in the greatest country in the world. And I always thought with my set of skills and my competencies, then the best way I can make a contribution is through politics. And I’ve been very lucky – I’ve had some good breaks; but as I mentioned I’ve also had disappointment. And in my view there are two types of people – there are those who strike hurdles and barriers and they set up camp in front of them, and they tell people who pass by how rough their life is. Then there are others who come up against hurdles and barriers and they develop a strategy to get over those and they go forward; and every barrier or obstacle that’s put in their way, they look for ways to get around those. And that’s certainly been the story of my political life. But you know, I say that every now and again you have a bad day or a bad week, and you sit in Cabinet and you just look around, and you go, “We’re changing the world!” You know, we really are, and this is why we’re here – we’re making life better for a whole lot of Kiwis. And it’s an absolute privilege and a pleasure, and it’s always been a privilege and a pleasure to serve in Cabinet . And if you forget the fact that it’s a privilege being in parliament, then it’s time to leave.

Well thank you, Stuart, and thank you for the contribution that you’re making to not only your electorate but the rest of the country. You know, you do have a big profile; and good luck …

Thank you.

and good holidays.

Thank you very much … well, I’m going to enjoy it, there’s no doubt about that.

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Interviewer:  Frank Cooper

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