Don Brash has published an autobiography. No doubt the book will be poured over by those interested in local politics although progressives may prefer to wait until the book is remaindered rather than spend good money on enriching someone they hold in contempt. But there are already a few interesting revelations in the book.
The first one is Brash claiming that he was not in the slightest bit embarrassed about his interaction with the Exclusive Brethren. It appears from the reports he does not deny that he knew about the Exclusive Brethren campaign. His approach jars when compared to that of John Key who said he had “met several members of Exclusive Brethren in the past but they did not tell him about any publicity campaigns they had planned”.
The second one is that Brash is scathing about the current National Government and describes it as timid and hypersensitive to opinion polls. In particular in relation to superannuation the article says the following:
In his most damning criticism of John Key, Dr Brash says even a “blind dog” can see that the ageing of New Zealand’s population means changes are going to be required to pensioner entitlements currently received under the state-funded New Zealand Superannuation scheme.
Mr Key, however, steadfastly refused to countenance any discussion of change even though political parties to his left and right were willing to do so.
He also says that while John Key is intelligent enough to do so he does not recognise the seriousness of the challenges facing the country. I am sure that the left and right agree about this although for different reasons. And he says that the approach to Sky City shows a “cavalier attitude” to the Government’s constitution and tendering processes.
Thirdly his personal interactions with John Key display some interesting facets about Key’s character. Again from the Herald:
Barely two years after Don Brash toppled Bill English to become National’s leader, John Key was already sniffing at Brash’s heels. The pair had a lengthy late-night conversation in a motel unit in Blenheim where – according to Brash – they worked out a game-plan which would see Brash leading National to victory in the 2005 election and then handing over the prime ministerial reins to Key at some point during the following three years. Brash lost that election. A year later – amid constant rumours that he in turn was about to be ousted – Brash had another “frank” conversation with Key.
The latter told Brash he thought National would have a better chance of winning the 2008 election if he (Key) was leader, but said he preferred not to mount a challenge. Brash took the hint and agreed to keep the matter “under review”. A few weeks later, after taking advice which effectively told him his leadership of National was over, Brash opted to step down voluntarily, rather than being pushed. Key took over.
At a subsequent meeting between the pair to supposedly discuss what role the ex-leader might usefully play, Key made it “pretty clear” through the nature of the shadow portfolio and caucus ranking on offer to Brash that he wanted him to leave Parliament. Again, Brash took the hint and resigned as an MP.
Apparently Key no longer answers Brash’s phone calls. I am sure that after what Brash has said about Key in this book this will not change.