Even back at uni Grant Robertson was a force to be reckoned with.

As every second caller to talkback says, "a strong democracy needs a strong opposition". I reckon Grant Robertson is the man to sort Labour out.

This may not help his cause but I've known the guy for years and I can vouch for him.

In fact, I've pretended to know him better than I do for nearly two decades. Which is a testament to the man. He's the kind of guy you show off about knowing. There has always been that kind of a buzz about him.

At uni he was a few years ahead of my group of friends. He was also the student president. So when Grant turned up to our parties there were certain bragging rights to be had. Plus the guy knew how to have a good time. It would be safe to say he enjoyed his beer.


He was often up the front at gigs dancing around so hard he would have to hold his glasses on with his thumb. It was impressive to watch. There was also the legendary incident with a sock puppet at The Crown. But I won't go into that. I also won't go into the Indiana Jones tribute washing machine rolling incident. That wasn't really Grant's fault.

Eventually he became the manager of my band. Most managers rip their musicians off. Read any rock biography from Rolling Stones to Black Sabbath and you'll hear the same story. Not Grant.

To be fair, we were operating at a very low level. His job was to approach the bar owner pre-show with our demands. "The band will need five jugs the second they get off stage" ... Four band members + one manager = five jugs. His maths was good and he never took more than his 20 per cent.

I still owe Grant $200 from those days. Even back then I remember thinking, "Robertson will be PM one day. He doesn't need that two hundy. I'll just keep it."

At university there were lots of annoying, earnest types who lived for the issues of the day. Hassling me to march down George St or sign some petition. Grant obviously cared about these kind of things or he wouldn't be in politics. But he never bored people pontificating about it. He tended to stand around laughing at stupid jokes.

As I get older I care more about issues. Writing this column every week I have discovered I am a knee-jerk, don't-tell-me-what-to-do kind of guy. My politics probably aren't that aligned with Grant's any more. But I have no doubt that the guy's heart and brain are in the right place.

Despite all the gnashing of teeth from angry bloggers, the two big political parties aren't that different. To remain popular National have become more like Labour. Labour at their best meet them in the middle. So all we can really hope for is good people in charge on both sides. Grant is a good person.

Certain commentators have made a lot of Grant's sexuality. Brian Edwards recently made some particularly full-on crazy-old-man comments about the subject. But does anyone under 70 care?


At uni my flatmates and I referred to everything as "gay". "These chips are gay", "This band is gay", "It's raining outside - gay!"

One night in the middle of a loud party Grant yelled, "Who the f*** told you I was gay?" "How do you know we know?" I asked. "Because you haven't called me gay all evening," he laughed. A mate had told us and we were trying to check our language so we didn't offend him.

Grant being gay was interesting for about 30 seconds and then we moved on. Surely that's how most New Zealanders feel about the issue.

The Pope doesn't care. We're not living in Putin's Russia. It's weird people even bother talking about it. I don't know why I spent the last few paragraphs on it.

Whether you agree with his politics or not, Grant Robertson is a good bet to provide the country with a strong opposition.

He is smart, relatively young and a good bloke. In my meaningless, unrequested, possibly unhelpful opinion, the Labour Party couldn't ask for a better boss.