5 questions with: Shane Jones

Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

New Zealand First MP Shane Jones is Minister of Infrastructure, Forestry and Regional Economic Development. 

What was the best birthday present you ever received, and why?

I've dredged my memories from when I was a little boy, about 6 or 7 years old. One of the happiest occasions I can recall was being given a box of games.

One of the games in there was snakes and ladders. I played that with my cousins until the paint wore off. It was such a popular
game there in Awanui, north of Kaitaia, that a lot of cousins would come to our place, giving opportunity for us all to be together and have a good time.

What smell do you find irresistible?

Hangi. Whenever the smell of the hangi wafts on the marae or in the meeting house it tells people, right, enough talking, let's get into the serious business of eating.

What is your least favourite thing about humanity?

I seriously dislike people who deliberately choose not to learn or not to inform themselves. That brings me out in boils.

It's not  even, so much, ignorance. Ignorance can be remedied. But you have to be possessed of a desire to improve your knowledge. It's really the thing that has made me most hoha [exasperated].

What is one strong childhood memory?

We grew up next to a river. I recall in my pre-teenage years, taking the horses into the river - we grew up riding horses - and we would swim the horses in the river. We'd hop off and be towed along by grabbing the tail of the horse.

It's an incongruous memory, but one of the sweetest things I remember. And, of course, I recall the people I did that with. Some, unfortunately, have already passed away.

What is your message?

One thing I've learned in politics, when in chaos, never forget there is opportunity. In life, I've tried to impart to anyone who has been close to me, the thirst for knowledge.

Helen Clark was uber-rational. David Lange prevailed in chaos. I'm closer to Lange than Helen Clark.

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