Your web browser (Internet Explorer) is out of date. Some things will not look right and things might not work properly. Please download an up-to-date and free browser from here.

Friends of WeatherWatch: Labour leader Andrew Little

Our ‘Friends of WeatherWatch‘ 10 questions & answers continues – and last month Labour leader Andrew Little downloaded our free weather app – he told us so on Twitter. So we gave him a month then asked him about our app – plus we got to get some serious answers to some weather data questions we’ve had for some time.

Mr Little has been supportive of us on Twitter and we hope we can continue to educate him and other political leaders about positively growing New Zealand’s weather industry to create far more free, public, services for those that need them.

We’ve also reached out to the Prime Minister’s office for him to take part in our 10 questions!

A big thank you to Andrew Little for telling us to ask him the tough political questions – and for being a good sport at taking the time to answer the fun stuff too.

Next week: Radio Sport’s Martin Devlin


1)  Where did you grow up and what were your earliest weather memories of living there?

I grew up in New Plymouth and remember long hot summer days and very rainy days and days when we would have all sorts of weather


2)  You used to be the union leader for Air NZ – did you ever get to take a test flight, where they test the flying extremes of a plane on a blue sky day?

No, the closest I got to extreme flying was in the simulators. I was left in control of one but sadly crashed coming into Hong Kong airport.


3)  You downloaded our free App the other week and you told us you’re “loving itâ€â€¦what do you like most about WeatherWatch?

It is easy to access the weather for wherever I am going in New Zealand. And it’s not just today’s weather but I can get a forecast for several days ahead. Very helpful.


4)  When Labour was last in power NIWA weren’t allowed to do general weather forecasting. Now NZ is the only western country to have two government owned forecasters who both compete against each other and the private sector (using tax dollars) and both severely limit open public data.  NIWA is a Crown Research Institute and MetService a State Owned Enterprise. Do you support this unique set up?

I detect a leading question here. From what you say, it sounds like a strange set-up. If there is duplication, I would be concerned about that. Happy to look into it further.


5)  Do you believe government owned weather forecasters (NIWA and MetService) should be proactively working with private forecasters and those in the rural sector for the greater good of all New Zealanders – or do you think the current set up to maximise their profits to the government is the better way?

It seems odd to me that they might both compete with each other. Maybe together they might be best to play the role Chorus plays in the telecommunications sector – manage the infrastructure to produce data and let others purchase data to go into market-ready products


6)  Many east coast farms in NZ are often dry, while the bulk of fresh water on the West Coast of the South Island drains out to sea. Do you support a creative and environmentally friendly solution to some how keep that fresh water on the West Coast and use it in drier parts of NZ? 

It sounds sensible to do so. Water storage is one of the big issues at the moment. We also have to understand what is sustainable long term in parts of the country where more intensive farming may not be in the best long term interests of the land and environment.


7)  Is there any weather you secretly love, but know that most other people hate? I love gale force winds in Wellington.

As a student, some mates and I would head to the top of Mt Victoria whenever there were gale force winds just to feel the force of nature.



8)  What is your advice for a small business like WeatherWatch trying to free up open weather data?

Educate people like me on what the issues are and how we could help.


9)  Where do you like to holiday in summer in NZ?

My favourite spot is Spirits Bay in the Far North. Don’t get up that far that much, but will try to this coming summer. There is a great DOC camp there (or there was last time I was there)


10) Who are 3 people you admire and why?  And your answer cant include someone from Labour!

Trevor Richards who started the campaign opposing South African rugby tours while that country was under apartheid rule; to do this he had to stand up against one of NZ’s most powerful institutions, the NZRFU, and perservere and lead fellow kiwis. Charles Upham who was such an amazing war hero and incredibly humble. Rosa Parkes who refused to give up her seat on an Alabama bus and became the catalyst for the US civil rights movement.


– Exclusive



RW on 14/08/2015 10:06am

I like Little’s general responses, but he should be more aware of the history of the met. services. The ridiculous NIWA-Met Service split ws inspired by Douglasite politics and carried out by Upton. At least the Labour government in 2007 required NIWA to stop charging for data which should have been in the public domian anyway, but the split endures.

Related Articles