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Interview (2005)   Where did you grow up? Taihape, so nobody can "out-ethnic" me in cultural indigeneity. Where did you go to school? Taihape Primary School, Taihape College Qualifications? BA/LLB(Hons), Dip.Acc., Victoria University of Wellington. What’s your idea of a holiday read? Things in a friend’s bach I would never think of buying, like a Tom Clancy or Longitude, by Dava Sobel. What television do you watch? In spare moments I channel surf CNN, BBC, Fox News, the History Channel. I try to see Sports cafe, The Simpsons, and Holmes. Favourite film? I love films, but can’t rank them. Old favourites include ‘Dr Zhivago", "Easy Rider", "The Graduate", "A Fish called Wanda", "Chariots of Fire". Irreverent Aussie’s include "Strictly Ballroom", and "The Castle". More recently "Mama Y Tambien", and "Lost in Translation" appealed. Favourite music? I love music but can’t hold a tune, and my taste is indiscriminate. At the farm I can startle the horses with open window blasts of Beethoven, Tschaikovsky, opera, classic hits, Vanessa Mae, and my long secret Country and Western collection. Favourite pastimes? Action to divert the brain, like hunting in the Wairarapa hills, tramping, go karting with the kids, or building something.  Relaxing with friends afterwards can be the best part. Favourite place in NZ? The Abel Tasman coast where we share our railway "bach" of two retired guards’ vans and two freight wagons. Play any sport? Mountain bike several times a week. I like tennis, deer stalking, diving, sailing and skiing. I understand you used to lean left, what turned you to the right? I realised during a long trip through Mao Tse Tung’s China in 1976, that the people were terrified, that Mao’s ideology, writing and poetry were every bit as war glorifying and imperialistic as say Rudyard Kipling’s. Rewi Alley, with whom I spent many hours in Beijing, was scrabbling to believe his life work was worthwhile. I and my anti-Vietnam war friends had scoffed at the Readers’ Digest view of communism, as Yankee propaganda. Finding it true made me sceptical, rather than immediately right wing. Looking back, like Chris Trotter, I see left activists as generally more bitter, more bossy and intolerant people, looking for excuses and powers to tell other people how to live their lives. Who’s your favourite New Zealand intellectual? Again there are horses for courses. Denis Dutton of Christchurch is a national treasure. Jim Hopkins delights. Chris Trotter intrigues (which character will we see to day – Mr Trotsky or Paul Johnson?), my former law partner Jack Hodder always informs, and the Chairman of ACT’s Policy committee, Bryce Wilkinson, challenges. And your least favourite? I find it hard to dislike most opponents once I’ve met them, but I detest smugness, so I’ll nominate for today the many pourers of bile on Dr Brash’s Orewa speech, including your own cartoonist Emmerson. They did everything but study it. Instead they parroted their feelings and the reactions of their fellow chatterers. I have said almost everything in that speech over the past few years, and have never had any critic attempt a serious refutation. What do you think of the media in New Zealand? My wife was a journalist, and spent 2 years in the Press Gallery so I understand the pressures to entertain and ration space. I wish there was more time for journalists to research, and less lazy herd spirit. For example, for years some called us ‘extreme’ despite policies that put us with Blair (eg crime and education) or Clinton ( crime and welfare reform), and close to Australia’s Latham (against Govt welfare for business). Describe your parenting style/philosophy. Interfere with mother’s rule sparingly, especially at zoo hour. Assume they will do as I do, not as I would like to say. Not take myself too seriously, because my children certainly won’t. What did you do on your last holiday? Biked the Otago Rail Trail with old friends. What are you most afraid of? Letting people down. When was the last time you laughed out loud? (describe the situation please) At Awaroa over dinner with friends last weekend. Richard Prebble, Deborah Coddington and I also had a memorable evening drinking and laughing after their Press Gallery farewell a couple of weeks ago. And cried? During the ANZAC ceremony in Mexico last year, thinking of my father who died last August. In 1994 I joined him and 100 veterans at the 50th Cassino battle commemoration. They were flown there in the days before we had a PM who thought it more advantageous to fill the plane with politicians and their PR flacks. Tell me little known facts about yourself. I was member no 854 of the Southern California Hang-Gliders Club, but never got mine built in time to hurt myself. I persuaded my family to explore Vietnam on bicycles for a month when the youngest was 9. She has been suspicious of new and strange foods ever since. I ran a no stars back packers hostel in Austria for 5 months with occupancy rates well over 100% for two of those months. I was President of the Clerical Workers Credit Union and a union negotiator in award negotiations along with the current Chief Judge of the Family Court.  I think I was the only non-Green MP invited to the Greens’ Christmas Party last year.