People say I'm cavalier. Well let's all pull up a chair and make ourselves comfortable while we take a closer look at this word "cavalier", get to grips with it, unpack it, and analyse not just its meanings, but also its derivations and its many fascinating etymologies.

I have to warn you that I don't have all day. As a government minister, my responsibilities include handling the $3 billion Provincial Growth Fund, and this keeps me occupied most mornings, apart from Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, and the weekends of course.

What day is it today? Monday? Well, no matter. Let's get down to business on this beautiful Monday morning in New Zealand, in Aotearoa, the land of the long white visible mass of condensed watery vapour floating in the atmosphere high above the general level of the ground.


Tea? Or coffee? Help yourself. Don't mind me. I'll tuck into this handsome breakfast but I'll talk between saying words which are even more of a mouthful. Cavalier. "Offhand, lordly, arrogant, lofty." Now you'd have to be a hundred kinds of stupid and mendacious to think that was true of me and if you insist on thinking it then, baby, that's your problem, don't waste my time with it, maybe you should seek help, maybe you should just – I'm putting this out there, I'm floating this as a possible solution - die.

But hold. Let's look at another definition of cavalier. "A gallant or courtly gentleman, especially one acting as a lady's escort." Now, then! That seems like a nice snug fit for a minister in M'Lady Jacinda's court. Yes, yes. Oh most certainly I can see that having a valid application apropos of yours truly.

Because manners maketh the man. Some people harp on that the man is also maketh of other things such as hard work, transparency, and basic competence. But that's beside the point.

Now some people may wish to bag me for my role in the trivial matter of ordering more than a million pine seedlings for a block of land that ended up being so choked with scrub and weed that only 191,000 seedlings could be planted.

I will answer that fully and with all due attention to detail, but look at the time! Let's get some lunch in. Let's get the caterers to bring in whatever they've got, and put it in the middle of the table.

Aha, here they are. Good. I'll have some of that. And that. And that and that and that and that.

Where was I? Oh yes. I'll have some of that and that and that.

So, as I was saying, cavalier is a very interesting word with a very interesting history. Sir Lancelot was known as a cavalier. Well if cavalier's good enough for him it's good enough for the Jones Boy. Just as he created a legend that will live on for all time, so, too, people will remember my name and most certainly they will remember my deeds.

Now some people may wish to bag me for a perceived conflict of interest in Manea, Footprints of Kupe, a cultural tourism venture in Northland that was awarded $4.6 million from the Provincial Growth Fund. It's true I may have turned up to an odd meeting now and then at the Manea trust. But everyone wants Sonny Bill in their team! And if ever there was someone you could glowingly describe as a cavalier, as someone gallant and courtly, it's Sonny Bill. And Sir Lancelot. And the Jones Boy.

Well, look at that! It's got dark outside. Where did the time go? No sense in sitting around here any longer. I'm heading out. I'm hungry for dinner, and I'm starved of attention.