I do think we’ve got to have one system for one country.
Prominent NZ politican Don Brash Trevor Mallard
(Short story: if you read no other posts this week, read this from Hooton)
I initially didn’t think much of the comment moderation over at what is now Chris Trotter and Matthew Hooton’s blog, but once Matthew came on board, it put it in a different context. In fact, it’s quite good to ahve a blog that tries to keep a higher standard of comments.
Most people now understand that. Not all though…
What is it with lefties and the word “rant”? They seem attach it to every single thing they disagree with, no matter how thoughtful and considered.
In actual fact, this post illuminates some very key passages of New Zealand political history…
… In 1996, Peters had attacked the Bolger Government, the Reserve Bank and the Reserve Bank Act, saying they were doing untold harm to New Zealand. He had ideas about how the operation of monetary policy could be changed in New Zealand that he took on the campaign trail. I am told that, soon after Peters’ appointment as Treasurer, then Reserve Bank Governor Don Brash met with his new boss and said he had read New Zealand First’s manifesto and speeches and, assuming Peters was serious, wanted to set up a process to review the RBA and the operation of monetary policy in New Zealand. My source (and you can guess who it may be) said that Peters replied: “Don’t worry about all that. The next election is three years away.”
I find that sick. It later had very important implications.
As close followers of politics will know, a National/ACT/United Future/Maori Party/NZ First Government was a mathematical possibility after the last election. The way I understand things, National, ACT, United Future and the Maori Party all agreed on basic terms about how such a government would operate, and the other party leaders told Brash to get in touch with Peters to discuss it. Brash never did, and the other party leaders were perplexed.
The reason, as I understand it, is that Brash had been so sickened by Peters’ cynicism from the time Brash was Governor and Peters was Treasurer that he simply did not want to deal with him directly, despite it being the difference between government and opposition. Instead, letters written by Peter Dunne’s Chief of Staff (and former Bolger Chief of Staff) Rob Eaddy were sent.
…and showed that Labour were much the same – while quoting from “The Hollow Men” when it suits…
I got Je Lan Brash on side but Don chose the Peter Keenan draft, and, politically, that was the right call. In a sense, it was fair enough for Keenan to call me, as reported in “The Hollow Men” “an idiot”.
Nevertheless, I caused a bit of a fuss. I had paid for a table for 10 at the Orewa speech. Ironically, I had invited Diane and Bill Foreman to join my table. When it was confirmed to me that Brash was going with the Keenan speech I cancelled my table. Lockwood tells me there was a gap, which he – as local MP – was embarrassed about, but which I am quietly proud of.
…they claim that Hooton was involved in the Brash Orewa speech, which is false.
Read the entire Hooton post, it’s worth it.
Good to see Brash getting around. He’s put his knowledge of corrupt governments to good use, helping the central bank of Cambodia to computerise its systems.
Ok, so the article says “computer skills” but we all know what he meant to say
One does wonder what Helen will do when she is kicked out. Nothing useful to freedom loving people, I expect.
As you all no doubt know by now Helen Clark, our Prime Minister, walked out on the valedictory speech of Dr Don Brash.
So did Winston.
Adolf puts his view well:
… this grossest example of uncouth bad manners, flouting of convention, petulance and arrogance I can ever remember.
It certainly is very bad manners. It’s bad because all she had to do was sit there, she didn’t even have to actively listen, just not hold really loud conversations. Unfortunately, such simple acts of common courtesy are something our PM has long since become incapable of. Very long since.
Of course, it does emphasise that she hates him. After all, this is a guy who almost beat her in the unwinable election. One that made her play her trump card (the free student loans bribe) and then later showed her up to be one of the most corrupt politicians this country has ever seen.
Maybe she thought he’s say something about her? Not likely. No, our PM has always made herself scarce in the face of heat*. And while there’s been a lot of heat on her lately, clearly the little flame left to burn in Brash’s short yet spectacular political career** was just too much for her to bear.
*It does occur to one that her coming election defeat may be the first and last exception to this. Roll on 2008!
** Be sure: Helen still remembers how long she was unpopular for, even if the rest of NZ do not. Brash’s early success no doubt rankles doubly under this light.
Hager has responded to Brash’s rebuttal.
In it he uses the same tactics he uses in the book – read everything he can into what is said and twist it to his own ends.
I think a quote from his conclusion should be sufficient:
The most notable feature of Don Brash’s rebuttal, of course, is that he does not mention or bother to respond to all the hundreds of pages of revelations about his party where he was unable to find fault.
Ah Ha! Brash is not Superman, and is therefore not qualified to lead the National Party.
Don Brash has written a good reply to Hager’s book. You can read it on Scoop.
I will only point out this paragraph, I suggest you read the rest.
Most important of all, there was never any suggestion at all that actual or potential donors were looking for specific policy concessions in return for their financial support. The allegation, for example, that National’s policy on accident compensation was driven by financial support from the insurance industry was and is a total fabrication of the Labour Party. I have no idea whether any insurance company did in fact contribute to the National Party’s funding, and two of the largest insurance companies have stated publicly that they contributed nothing to any political party in the 2005 campaign. Moreover, our commitment to reintroduce competition into the accident insurance market was made almost as soon as the Labour Government re-nationalised the accident compensation industry in 2000, and has been reiterated many times since.
(The emphasis above is mine.)
Indeed, one of the few things National vowed to roll back early on was Labour’s dismantling of their insurance reforms.
The fact that Labour tries to talk about National “selling” policies speaks volumes about their view of the New Zealand voter – they thing we’re all stupid.
Just thought I’d note that Brash is out completely.
But what a career!
He will be missed, although National’s got his strong suite (Finance) sewn up with John Key.
I’ve been ruminating on the leadership question.
I am, on reflection, sad that Don is gone. He was a gentlemen. His personal standards were high. He wasn’t a slick politician. An he was getting better at the game all the time.
He was everything Helen is not.
I just don’t understand the appeal of John Key. He’s not enough experience! He certainly has a good record outside parliament, but I just don’t see him as holding anything so special as people seem to think.
But he’s going to be leader. Ok.
So we turn to the deputy. Brownlee is fantastic. He’s been a great counterweight to Brash, and is an excellent politician – in fact, unlike Clark, he makes being an experienced politician look good.
English would be a good guy to have too. I like Bill – as (I think) Brownlee said yesterday, “there’s not a malicious bone in Bill’s body”. Putting Bill up front would be a huge act of defiance – it would really show we are united and strong.
It would also be good to have a woman to counter Helen, assuming Helen is a woman! Collings has done great recently, and would be a good choice.
It’s almost a case for a co-deputy situation, like the co-leaders in the Greens and Maori. Say Collins and Bill, with Brownlee in some sort of special “attack designed” position?
Update: Others are also having trouble getting excited about John.
Well, it looks like Hager’s book is about what I expected. Not much substance, and on balance only slightly embarrassing to fair minded people.
Of course, the left is all up in arms that anyone in the National party might have met or corresponded with (gasp) anyone from (horror) big business!
Of course there’s going to be embarrassment about some things – you’d feel embarrassed if what you said to your spouse/best friend etc about someone was published for that person to see. The reality is that crazy stuff is said internally within an organisation. I once saw a TV piece on the Greens, where the were formulating their “Violence” policy. They had in their previous meeting, decided that a Green government would not interfere with the right of predators (such as cats and dogs) to hunt for prey. The mind boggles as to what they say in private!
Hager has now opened the floodgates for the publishing of the undoubtedly more embarrassing Labour Party emails, just as soon as someone can steal them. See, Labour by any measure exceeded the spending cap for the election my many, many times that of National, they have run a transparent campaign to mold NZ society into something of their own liking, and most of all they are the government!
The thing is, all this hype about National is, and always has been, stupid. How much can you do in opposition? Not much. How much can you do in government? As it turns out, anything at all.
The irony is that to make these “allegations” seem important, National has to be elevate to “almost government” – meaning that Labour is reminded that they’re the party that almost lost the election that could not be lost. They’ve also defined these allegations as the very worst National has been up to, given it’s not much, this could be just the thing to boost National into a clear majority.
Maori Party – very respectful. It’s stuff like this that really raises the Maori Party party in the public view and they should keep it up.
Labour doesn’t quite meet that standard.
Of course, the irony is that Brash left of his own accord. This shows strength of character and strength within the party, meaning that they very much are ready to govern.