by Pete Hodgson
Japan is a model of modernity. An advanced democracy that happens to import nearly all its energy, Japan has been a world leader in the climate change debate for decades. It was an instigator and major funder of the Global Environment Facility. It lent the name of its holy city of Kyoto to the most promising global agreement on climate change yet. Corporates like Toyota and Honda have led the world in hybrid technology. It is the most energy-efficient nation in the world.
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Born in Whangarei in 1950, Pete Hodgson was educated at Whangarei Boys' High School before training as a vet at Massey University. He practised as a vet in Canterbury in the early 1970s and in England in the early 1980s. He also worked as a veterinarian and secondary teacher, mostly of physics, in Dunedin and owned and managed a range of small businesses.
He joined the New Zealand Labour Party's Dunedin North branch in 1976 and became the secretary of the Castle Street Branch. In 1990, he was nominated as the Labour Party Candidate for Dunedin North and was MP for this electorate from 1999 until 2011.
In 1999 he was appointed Minister of Energy, Fisheries, Forestry, Research Science and Technology, and Minister for Crown Research Institutes; Associate Minister of Economic, Industry and Regional Development, and Associate Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade as part of the first Labour led government. He was given responsibility for Timberlands West Coast Ltd; for the government's Oceans Policy project, and for maximising the opportunities to New Zealand from the Lord of The Rings film project. He became Convenor of the Ministerial Group on Climate Change.
In the second term of the Labour-led Government elected in 2002, Pete Hodgson retained his portfolios until February 2004 when he became Minister of Transport and relinquished the Fisheries and science portfolios. In December 2004 he was appointed Minister of Commerce, Minister for Land Information, and Minister of Statistics, as well as Associate Minister of Health.
In the third term of the Labour-led Government from October 2005 Pete Hodgson was appointed Minister of Health and in 2007 became Minister for Economic Development, Tertiary Education, and Minister of Research, Science and Technology.
He is married with two adult sons and lives in Dunedin. He enjoys swimming, diving, tramping, tennis and gardening.