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Friends of WeatherWatch: Peter Dunne MP

This year turns 10 years old and as we continue to grow we are receiving more and more support from politicians who are understanding that weather data owned by the NZ public should be equally available for all – and not used solely for the profit of two government owned forecasters. No other western nation operates this way and New Zealand politicans are increasingly becoming aware of this.

We met Peter Dunne last year days before the election and since then Peter has shown great support towards what we do. 

But before your eyes glaze over with political boredom you may find Mr Dunne’s replies about Wellington’s weather and the Beehive Building refreshingly honest!

We have other politicans we’re going to ask 10 questions to in our ‘Friends of WeatherWatch’ segment, but Mr Dunne’s support has been exceptional and we wanted to showcase that.

Next week
we speak to the man instrumental in setting up the planet’s largest forecaster – Weather Channel – we ask 10 questions to Principal Scientist and former VP Bruce Rose.


1)  Where did you grow up – and what are your strongest memories of the general climate there, back then?

I grew up in Christchurch – my memories are of cold winter mornings with clear days to follow; long hot, summers; and the winter air being so polluted you could literally see what you were breathing!

2) Ok, let us in on some secrets – the Beehive is an unusual building – does it stand up to all the weather? ie – does it leak in heavy rain, cold in mid winter, lose windows in storms? Or is it just a solid bunker?

The Beehive is an awful building –  I am glad I have avoided having an office there since 1990 – it is a cold, solid bunker, where the windows rattle and the winds howl. It has nothing going for it.

3) Sorry you know we have to do this – your hair is iconic – you also live in our windiest city.  Are there any types of weather that give you a bad hair day?  One where you go “Great, some reporter will probably notice this”

I appreciate my hair is an object of fascination but it is 100% natural, and I never apply any product to it. It just seems to behave itself naturally. I am far less interested in it than everyone else seems to be!


4) You’re often called a ‘common sense’ MP – so what do you think NZ Politicians could do better with the climate change debate?

New Zealand MPs of all political hues are still extremely conservative and change averse.  I do not think their attitudes will change dramatically until they start to see more profound results of climate change that directly affect them.


5) Why do you support WeatherWatch’s proposal to the NZ Govt to make Government owned weather data “open & free†for all New Zealanders and industry?

I support competition in the provision of such services, generally, and I also believe we should honour the international conventions to which we are party about “open and free” provision of such data.


6)  Rumour has it you’re a Flight Simulator enthusiast (like a certain Philip Duncan is).  What is your favourite plane to fly and which parts of the country do you like to fly over? And do you like the ease and beauty of a sunny day – or the challenge and distraction of stormy weather?

I am indeed – my passion is passenger aircraft of the 1950s, and my favourite aircraft is probably a Lockheed Super Constellation. The most challenging approach for me is into Queenstown, or a DC-3 into Wellington in high winds!


7) If you were overseas with opposition MPs and a storm delayed your flight – which 3 opposition MPs would you like to be stuck in the lounge with, and why them?

A hard one – but on the basis of compatibility probably David Shearer, Te Ururoa Flavell and possibly Damian O’Connor


8)  Clearly you’re a passionate Wellingtonian – but tell us one thing you DON’T like about Wellington’s weather – and don’t give us a ‘can’t offend any local voters’ middle-of-the-road reply!

I’m actually a Cantabrian doing a long term OE in Wellington. I cannot stand Wellington’s wind – northerly or southerly – and deplore the way Wellingtonians try to pretend it is not too bad. It is simply awful and after 30-odd years here I still hate it.


9)  United Future isn’t the biggest party in politics but you punch well above your weight. Do you have any advice for a small private business like WeatherWatch?

I think it is a case of knowing what you can do, what you are good at, pushing the barrow and simply not going away.

10) When you’re sitting in your office without the noise of the world – describe the actual view you have, then tell us the most relaxing weather to look out at:

My office has a wonderful view of Wellington Harbour and the Rimutakas in the distance. Today is pristine, fine and clear, with heavy snow on the Rimutakas, and is magnificent. But, in a funny sort of way, it is just as magnificent in a wild and windy, when the building is rocking like a ship at sea, and the vision out my window is barely 100 metres. (I think I prefer the former!)


– Exclusive


RW on 28/08/2015 9:49pm

Dunne’s Wellington comments are not appreciated. He conveniently fails to mention the bitingly unpleasant Christchurch “easterly” (ENE is the classic direction actually). To avoid both that and the winter smog one neds to be on the west-facing flanks of the Port Hills.

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