23 Jan 2023

Quickfire Q&A: Getting to know Chris Hipkins

8:55 pm on 23 January 2023
Chris Hipkins speaks to media after being confirmed the sole contender for the Labour Party leadership.

Incoming Prime Minister Chris Hipkins says he wants to lead a government that focused on the most pressing issues. Photo: RNZ / Samuel Rillstone

Incoming Prime Minister Chris Hipkins says he wants to lead a government that's clear and transparent in its communications.

He told Checkpoint that meant New Zealanders knowing what the government was doing, and why.

"I want to lead a strong and stable government, I want to lead a government that's focused clearly on the issues that are most pressing for New Zealand."

The cost of living was right at the top of issues most important to New Zealanders, he said.

"I will be doing a bit of programme rationalisation to make sure we're narrowing down our focus. I think we've heard the feedback from New Zealanders that they think that we're doing a bit too much a bit too fast, I think that's fair and we'll certainly be looking at how we're honing down the issues that are top of the priority list right now."

As for the Cabinet reshuffle, Hipkins said it was in the early stages and had a "wee way to go yet" before being announced next week.

The Labour Party's agreement with the Green Party was unaffected by the leadership change, he said, so James Shaw and Marama Davidson would retain their roles.

On Tuesday, Hipkins heads to Rātana with Jacinda Ardern - her last outing as prime minister.

Ardern told him she would be there for him if he needed support, he said, but wouldn't float around.

Hipkins said he intended to be a "regular, ordinary Kiwi" as much as his new role would allow, saying: "People can judge me based on their own criteria."

So how many homes does he own, and what was his biggest achievement of the summer? Checkpoint's Lisa Owen asked him in a quickfire round of questions.

What makes a good sausage roll?

"The right mix of meat and pastry."

Do your security people now have to cycle to work with you?

"They may well, we may well have the odd cycle journey together."

Are you for or against lycra?

"My view up until now might be about to change, I have worn lycra in the past, I'm not sure that I want to subject the nation's media to that though, so I might have to rethink my cycling attire."

How many times have you been arrested?

"Just the once."

Cat or dog?


How many homes do you own?

"I have my family home and a holiday home."

What's your super power outside of politics?

"I'm actually a pretty good gardener."

Favourite Kiwi designer?

"Oh crikey, now you're getting into territory that I'm not so familiar with. Can't say that I have one."

What's your biggest achievement this summer?

"I stained the deck and I painted the fence."

Is it OK to lie in your line of work?


Would you choose the beach or the pub?

"Depends whether the sun's shining."

Favourite band, artist or singer?

"Look I love Kiwi music, I'm a kind of a Dave Dobbyn, Finn brothers, Goldenhorse type of Kiwi."

Can you dance?

"Sadly not."

Have you moved into the big office?

"I believe the books and the papers are all being moved on Thursday."

Are you going to live in Premier House?

"Look, most of the time, particularly when family things require that, I'll live in my own home. I'm a Wellington-based member of Parliament, that's not to say I won't use Government House for official functions and when it's convenient and it's practical to do that."

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