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Vale Rob Hosking

Journalism loses one of its finest. Read his most recent work.

Wed, 23 Jan 2019

One of NBR’s longest-serving journalists and best-loved columnists, Rob Hosking, has died in Wellington after a year-long battle with cancer.

Rob began writing for NBR in 1996 after a three-year stint at technology magazine Computerworld and became a distinctive voice in Wellington’s political and economic discourse, his coverage of events often laced with a mix of deep background knowledge and a playful turn of phrase.

He filed the first copy for his weekly political column, Order Paper, in 2005 and what was to be his final contribution just last month.

Entitled “The strange year of ultra-cautious politics,” it examined the unusually subdued beginnings of the Labour/NZ First coalition government.

NBR publisher Todd Scott said journalism had lost a “good bugger” and a great man.

“Rob was always so proud of the relevance, respect, trust and growing mana of the NBR newsroom and our innovative embracing of digital disruption. He would often boast how people in Wellington were taking notice. He may have hardly met a deadline but his analysis was always worth the editor’s grief. Terrible at graphics and attaching pics, he would nail the narrative in a balanced, considered and professional manner.”   

Wellington-based colleague Grant Walker said Rob was “a thinking man’s journalist” who saw things that others couldn’t see.

He was regarded with tremendous respect by his fellow journalists and by politicians on both sides of the political divide.

Rob Hosking in full flight on one of his favourite topics - conservatism.

As well as his paid journalistic work Rob embraced social media with Twitter and posted regularly on his own blog.

He pinned a link to a December 2018 blog post to the top of his Twitter page. It was a “thought for the day” in praise of libraries and second-hand book stores.

Rob loved libraries but derived particular joy from second-hand bookstores and even dreamed about them.

He wrote: “I like to think of this as a kind of premonition of a heavenly afterlife – especially one which also comes with a well-stocked shelf of single malts.

Here's a few of his most recent stories/columns for NBR to remember him by:

Opinion: The strange year of ultra-cautious politics

Analysis: Business nerves and some dubious assumptions

Few surprises in tax working group

How real is the Teal Deal?

Reserve Bank – sticking to its guns with superglue

Order Paper: Poised for the 2020s: three different visions for a tricky election

Cabinet reshuffle: Bill battens down hatches for election year swells

Winston and the Jones ploy

Well, someone's lying: verdict on Hager-Stephenson book

Annette King's departure: Labour loyal to the last

Parliament opens with PM on rebound and Labour on back foot


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Vale Rob Hosking