Continuing the series of anglers own reports on the Tongariro River, but with a ‘twist’ to enhance your Easter Sunday reading enjoyment…
TRM has taken this opportunity to introduce Bob Jones (particularly for Australian readers who may be unaware of his contribution to Tongariro angling folk lore) as he is one of the enduring controversial characters who made more headlines for the Tongariro River than most other TRM inmates combined. As such he deserves his own special report, but as he has never stayed at TRM he was not asked…
Nevertheless TRM acknowledge his considerable contribution to the colourful history of the river keeping many anglers entertained and amused for the last 30 years – in particular from the following incident:
In July 1985 New Zealand Party leader Bob Jones and president Malcolm McDonald surprised many by announcing the nation’s then-third most popular party was taking an 18 month recess. TVNZ went searching for comment, and after chartering a helicopter, found Jones fishing on the Tongariro Delta, near Turangi.
Jones was not amused; he infamously punched reporter Rod Vaughan, arguing later he would fight any charges in court, since the journalists had subjected him to intolerable harassment.
When fined $1000, Jones asked the judge if he paid $2000, could he please do it again?
So how could SWMBO not include him in these stories on the Tongariro…?!!!
He still features regularly. In last week’s ‘Herald on Sunday’ – in the editorial & comment page 38 – their columnist Rodney Hide wrote:
“New Zealanders shouldn’t struggle to understand the phenomenon that is Donald Trump etc…. – think Bob Jones.” He goes on to say, “Jones is a successful and flamboyant businessman. He entered the 1984 election with his freshly hatched New Zealand Party to win 12 percent of the votes. He came from nowhere, won no seats, defeated National and propelled Labour into office, which proceeded to implement his New Zealand Party’s free market policies.”
And to keep TRM’s readers informed (?) is Jones’ opinion on the Government’s current water claim?…………
……….. For example, the Mighty River Power company’s principal assets are eight hydro electric generators on the Waikato River. In 1840, the river provided eels and transport for Maori villagers in the vicinity. But today, like everyone else, Maori buy their food from supermarkets and have substituted cars for canoes. To argue that the river was vested to them in 1840 and claim water usage money is simply opportunistic twisting of the original objective. If that proposition had validity, why is it only now being raised? Why have they not claimed against the power company hitherto?
The answer is blackmail, specifically that via the threat of delay through litigation of the Government’s sale plans, this action could secure taxpayer millions in yet another bogus settlement.
His solution to the constant blackmail?
The Waitangi Treaty is redundant. It need not be formally annulled but like many other outdated laws, be simply ignored as a historic relic. Claims such as illicit land seizures can be dealt with by the courts.
(Photo on right of Bob Jones cautiously navigating across Veras Pool below Tongariro Lodge)
For TRM’s Australian fishos we add an appendix – an obituary from Metro Magazine – as almost the opening paragraph refers to trout fishing on the Tongariro…
First published in Metro, November 2013.
Illustration by Daron Parton.
A shy fellow, Jones was happiest alone in the Tongariro River tickling trout, emerging from time to time to present his cherished beliefs about sunglasses, grey shoes, cellphones and unattractive feminists.
For more than a century and a half he wrote a column for the FoxNZ Herald; a record bested only by the fictional “Shelley Bridgeman” character.
Born middle-aged, Jones was teased at school for wearing a smoking jacket and pipe, but the taunts fell away as his capacity for a left hook developed. By the age of 17 he had read every book ever written — twice — and owned 5700 investment properties.
Sunning himself in the warm glow of his success, he resolved to spend the remaining years of his life dabbling in property and sharing his wisdom with his fellow man. Women were also welcome to listen.
He became a talkback host, a columnist, an author, a commentator, a knight of the realm, a brawler with TV reporters.
Decades came, decades went. Politicians came, politicians went. New Zealand, once prosperous, grew poor. Foot and mouth disease liquidated the country’s 200 million dairy cows.
Through it all, one constant remained: Sir Bob Jones and his opinions on sunglasses, grey shoes, cellphones and unattractive feminists. His popularity never ebbed. For every old curmudgeon who breathed his last in a retirement home, another dudebro would pick up a newspaper for the first time and chuckle at Jones’ dyspeptic musings.
Nothing, it seemed, would ever change. But in Jones’ 12th decade it did, a little. He decided his true calling was the law.
The courtroom had long been his second home — a boxing ring of a softer kind — and he enjoyed the company of barristers. He admired their arrogance. He admired their bravado. He admired their talent for going about their business fortified by wine.
Although he had to be carried to and from the courthouse in a litter, and a factotum was required to lift his papers and hold his hand steady for signatures, his pronouncements from the bench were invariably those of a much older man, as they had ever been.
Legal scholars called his florid and discursive judgments the best sport since Lord Denning. “Ten days ago,” one judgment began, “the sky fell in Auckland, judging by the hysterical over-the-top reaction.”
Radio hosts stood by each morning to find out “who Bob’s going to stick it to today”.
“You’re not some kind of feminist girl are you?” he would ask witnesses, “because you sound like a very silly one.”
“Life is full of risks, which is why we buy insurance, wear seat belts, lock our doors, don’t holiday in Somalia or, as plainly needs to be said, walk alone through dark parks at night,” he would invariably remind assault victims.
His Friday afternoon sentencing sessions became a Wellington tradition. Spectators would eat popcorn as Sir Robert rasped: “You will now reside at our expense in prison for 70 years where hopefully some awful fate will befall you. Take his cellphone away, but let him keep his grey shoelaces.”
Sir Robert will be buried at his holiday home on Mars.
Last, nothing at all to do with fishing the Tongariro but just to amuse you, (?) a NZ Herald article.
As wage parity is in the news at the moment with SWMBO, Jones’ comments on women’s rights etc. are timely?
Bob Jones: Female directorships – careful what you wish for
In the early 1960s, to widespread disbelief, a woman lawyer hung out her shingle in Lower Hutt. I recall with colleagues gazing awestruck at this madness. Who would possibly use her? we asked. “I will,” promptly asserted an industrial building investor mate, noted for his extreme eccentricity, and so he did, but no one else followed and she soon vanished.
Women have come a long way since in New Zealand, rated last month by the Economist in the top five nations in its glass ceiling index. Prime ministers, Cabinet ministers, the chief justice, judges, the Ombudsman, government departmental heads, bishops, boxers and bulldozer drivers, mayors, company CEOs and entrepreneurs, doctors, editors, farmers, commercial pilots, governors-general, soldiers, ambassadors, professors; there’s no field where they don’t play an equal part and no one notices gender any more.
Moreover, this is particularly praiseworthy given women’s innate irrationality handicap, such as driving in the right-hand lane or pushing golf carts before them, despite their being designed for pulling.
And as for law, women now outnumber male graduates and are also progressing splendidly in equality terms with law’s flipside, namely crime.
Despite some recent strong performances they still lag behind men on the murdering front but make them mere pikers in the theft as a servant stakes. Scarcely a week passes without another mid-40s divorcee company manager or accountant before the courts, having nicked a few million from her employer.
All of this has been achieved in a relatively short time. Half a century ago, women were married at about 20, thereafter fulfilling their prescribed role as mothers and home-makers. Two decades later, with the children gone, they often devolved into dullard appendages to their husbands.
Here’s an example. Back then my girlfriend and I (she was the only female I ever saw fishing) would walk to the Tongariro River’s large Major Jones pool parking lot, cross the swing bridge and head upriver seeking pools to ourselves. In the parking lot would be up to a dozen cars containing middle-aged and older wives of the anglers working the Major Jones pool out of sight down the river.
There they sat, immobile, not reading, not talking, instead just staring blankly ahead, awaiting their husbands’ return, often as much as eight hours later. We called them the clumps. Such non-participating lethargy is inconceivable today.
My initial puzzlement about women’s lib after it arose in the 1960s, abruptly ended when I read Frank Sargeson’s 1969 novel The Joy of the Worm, which awoke me to women’s plight, epitomised by those Tongariro clumps.
Now feminists in Britain, Australia and New Zealand are again on the warpath, agitating to overcome what they describe as the last male bastion, namely public company directorships. They should think again, for it’s a most ignoble and parasitical ambition.
The importance of public companies is grossly exaggerated, as they comprise only a small part of the economy. Remove the top five and the remainder are insignificant in the overall scheme of things.
Public company boards of directors are required by law, but for all their prescribed roles of policy-setting and watchdog shareholder protection, history repeatedly shows they’re utterly ineffectual. So, too, with the many dozens of government boards, which merely provide sinecures for political mates. Having been on both public and government boards I know what a total waste of time they are and now won’t have a bar of them.
The reality is that executives run companies and make policy decisions and the directors are simply Christmas tree decorations. “A Lord on the Board”, sneered the British entrepreneur Tiny Rowlands decades back, mocking the image value of public company boards, but nothing has changed since.
In his 1980s heyday, Ron Brierley controlled dozens of public company boards here and abroad. He refused to pay non-executive outside directors, first because they contributed absolutely nothing and second, because there was always a queue of useless public figure sad-sacks, the male equivalents of yesteryear’s Tongariro clumps, incapable of ever starting a business themselves, who viewed directorships as prestigious – God only knows why.
In recent years some honest men of good repute who accepted finance company directorship baubles found themselves facing criminal trials because of an ill-considered law, namely strict liability.
Nevertheless, in prostituting themselves through accepting these free-ride pretend roles, they in part deserved their fate.
During one of those trials, at day’s end, the prosecuting QC, a lessee in my building, turned up and flopped into an armchair muttering his disbelief. The following exchange had occurred. “You accepted the chairmanship of a company engaged in property development finance?”
“Do you know anything about property development?”
Women should think again about directorships, for far from trailing men, it’s greatly to their credit that so few are debasing themselves in this way.