Barnaby Joyce’s Otago cousin does not hold it against him for renouncing his New Zealand citizenship.
But the Australian Deputy Prime Minister should embrace his “strong” North Otago roots, and cheer for the All Blacks, John Laing, of Kakanui, says.
“Cheer for a winner,” he said.
Mr Joyce is mired in a trans-Tasman citizenship row after it was found he entered Australia’s Parliament as a New Zealand citizen because of his father’s lineage.
Although he has confirmed he is no longer a New Zealand citizen, Mr Joyce’s roots, their potential impact on Malcolm Turnbull’s majority government, and the New Zealand Labour Party’s role in the saga continue to make headlines on both sides of the ditch.
Mr Joyce and Mr Laing share a great-grandfather, First Class Constable Michael Joyce, who joined the Otago Armed Police in 1876 and served in Hampden for 21 years.
Their grandfather, Lieutenant-Colonel John Patrick Joyce, DCM, OBE, of the Royal New Zealand Artillery, served in Gallipoli in World War One before rising through the ranks and helping to establish the site for the Waiouru Military Camp before returning to Hampden.
There he had four children Frances, Patrick, Mr Laing’s mother Elizabeth, and Mr Joyce’s father Jim Joyce.
Mr Laing, 60, the former Hampden School principal, had not seen his first cousin since childhood but had followed his political career in the news and was “quite proud” knowing his cousin had done so well politically.
“He occasionally calls my mother, because my mother’s quite elderly,” Mr Laing said.
There were “heaps” of cousins and the large family were scattered on both sides of the Tasman.
He watched the news unfold with “disbelief”.
“It’s a bit of gamesmanship, isn’t it?” he said.Otago Daily Times