The qualities in my kids that inspire me are… Stephanie’s creativity and Max’s tenacity.
The childhood memory I’ll always treasure is… Holidays with Mum and my sister Sue, who is two years older than me. We’d take the railcar from Christchurch to the West Coast where we would visit the Punakaiki rocks.
My advice to my younger self would be… Do more study – although it hasn’t made a blind bit of difference to the jobs I’ve done. University was a means to getting a job, but if I really thought about it now I might have done a masters.
The politician whose work I most admire is… John Howard – he has been the most successful centre-right political leader in modern times and I have tried to model myself on him. He had a very stable government, won four terms, and he stood up for the Aussie battler.
The guilty pleasure that makes me feel better is… Red wine. I like big reds. Stony Ridge Larose is my favourite, but I drink anything. There is something relaxing about a nice glass of red and a piece of parmesan.
The book that changed my life was… Liar’s Poker by Michael Lewis. I was new in the financial markets and it is all about banking and the psychology of traders.
If I could invite five people to dinner I would have… Prince William and Barack Obama – both are such good company; Richie McCaw, because by then he’d be able to tell me about winning his second World Cup; Jordan Spieth, winner of the Masters in the US Open – he is so talented and I love golf; and the Pope – I’m not Catholic but I am fascinated by his life. It’s a very male-orientated party, so we’d have steak and fries.
When I’m working hard I unwind by... Putting. In my Wellington office I have a golf putter with one of those machines that fires the ball back at you.
A perfect evening with my family is… A fun dinner with the kids and their friends. We don’t have them very often now with Stephie living in Paris, but in the Christmas holidays we get together. It’s nothing too fancy. When I’m at home, I’m the cook. I’m making a lot of Bronagh’s favourite at the moment – gazpacho soup.
Our most memorable family holiday was... When the kids were nine and 11 we took them to the ice hotel in Jukkasjärvi, Sweden – where you sleep on slabs of ice and can see the aurora borealis. Most sane people take the bus from the airport to the hotel but we took the huskies – and let me tell you, you don’t want to be downwind of a husky who has eaten too much! It was an amazing place; we rode snowmobiles, did ice carving and spent a night with some of the indigenous people, who cooked us reindeer.
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