Interview in the Herald with Tim Groser:
“My office worked out two or three years ago that I was overseas more than 200 days a year and boy, I’m not going to miss that,” he said.
“Constant travel – you have no life at all.”
He is looking forward to resuming a personal life, going to the movies, playing music, getting fit, things he found impossible to do while on the move.
So what music will he be listening to?
“I like to play music rather than listen to it,” he says.
“In my youth I played bass guitar in rock bands. Now I play acoustic and jazz guitar, electric jazz.”
Never too late to form a boy band!
He was given a baby grand piano by his grandmother, a concert pianist.
“And it has sat there, waiting for me to open her up and start to play it. So I have a strong emotional connection with music.”
He will buy a modern electric piano in the United States and keep his baby grand in storage in New Zealand.
A suggestion that it might be hard for someone in his 60s to learn new things is dismissed.
“I don’t believe that at all,” Groser says with his characteristic self-belief that is sometimes mistaken for arrogance.
“I’m learning Spanish and I’m learning Spanish faster than I have learned another language,” he says.
He already speaks Indonesian and French, which has helped with the Spanish.
They say the first new language is the hardest.
And because of his close working relationship with the US Climate Change envoy Todd Stern and US Trade Representative Mike Froman, he says he has been invited by both of them to take part in the political sell of the TPP and the Paris agreement in Washington.
“I will have to avoid becoming involved in their internal politics but putting the substance of the case as the New Zealand Government’s Ambassador in Washington, I’ve got a probably unique position in both these areas.
Basically one needs to try and get Democrats on board with the trade deal and Republicans on board with the climate deal.