THE last Labour Prime Minister who had genuine blue-collar "working man" dirt under his fingernails was, of course, Norman "Big Norm" Kirk, nearly half a century ago.

His early labouring and mechanics jobs exposed him to hard manual graft, and we also know how he regularly cycled to Kaiapoi from Christchurch with assorted materials strapped to his bike for the family home he himself was building. (The house is still going strong.)

Most are also familiar with his famous quote: "People don't want much, just someone to love, somewhere to live, somewhere to work and something to hope for."