The Dear John Letter

Written By: - Date published: 2:02 pm, May 13th, 2011 - 36 comments
Categories: class war, don brash, john key - Tags: ,

This letter is getting more media attention than it deserves, because its basically Brash regurgitating his 2025 task force stuff. Key and the Nats have, quite rightly, ignored it once, and they’ll ignore it this time too. But I guess it’s fun how it has the right wing “true believers” all hot and bothered. So, for what it’s worth, here is Don Brash’s letter to Dear John…


Rt Hon John Key
Prime Minister
Parliament Buildings
Wellington

12 May 2011

Dear John

It was with a very heavy heart that I felt obliged to resign my membership of the National Party and to seek the leadership of the ACT Party.

I reached my decision after watching with mounting dismay the performance of your Government.

You made great play of your ambition for New Zealand, and your determination to close the trans-Tasman wage gap and staunch the flow of our best young minds to more successful countries.

Yet you have done almost nothing to fulfill that ambition, and now appear to have given up on that goal.

I have not.

Why are you continuing Labour’s wasteful spending?

In Opposition, we both railed against the Clark Government’s squandering of our people’s hard-earned resources:
– the waiving of interest on student loans, which Bill English rightly called “an election year bribe on an unprecedented scale”
– the way the high marginal tax rates of Working for Families create an incentive not to work harder
– the exorbitant cost of KiwiSaver subsidies
– the unaffordable move from subsidizing doctors’ visits for the poor and chronically ill to subsidizing higher earners’ visits as well.

Yet your Government has done almost nothing to wind back this spending. Two and a half years on, the ratio of government spending to the size of the economy is higher now than it ever was under Labour.

As a result, the Government is borrowing over $300 million a week. That’s $300 added to the debt of every New Zealand family, every week.

That is totally irresponsible. It’s what Labour voters voted for, not National voters.

Why are you stopping young people from working?

In Opposition, National opposed getting rid of the minimum youth wage. One member, I recall, went so far as to suggest this was the route to communism.

You knew the worldwide pattern, as I did – that most employers will not hire teenagers if they’re forced to pay them the same as adults.

Yet in Government, you actually voted against a bill to bring back youth rates. You deprived another 12,000 young people of the chance to get a foot on the job ladder. Instead of allowing them to work for $10 an hour, you consigned them to the dole for $4.50.

That’s what Labour voters voted for, not National voters.

Why did you change your position so completely on the Emissions Trading Scheme?

In Opposition, we both hammered Labour for seeking to be world leaders in combating greenhouse gas emissions. We argued on behalf of our farmers – the lifeblood of this nation – that instead we should be fast followers.

Yet in Government, you’ve introduced the world’s first all-sectors, all-gases Emissions Trading Scheme, sending farmers the message to turn wealth-generating farm land into idle forests.

That’s what Green voters voted for, not National voters.

Why are you ignoring reality on superannuation?

In Opposition, I argued the crucial need to gradually raise the age of eligibility for New Zealand Superannuation, so that it will still be there when people need it.

Every informed observer agrees with me on this. Many other developed countries, including Australia, have already bitten the bullet and announced plans to raise the age of eligibility.

Yet you have promised to resign as Prime Minister rather than face up to this need to secure New Zealanders’ future.
This is just as irresponsible as Labour’s interest-free student loans or middle-class welfare. You are condemning older workers to a sudden shock, or younger workers to intolerably high taxes.

That’s what New Zealand First voters voted for, not National voters.

Why are you widening, not closing, the trans-Tasman wage gap?

In Opposition, we both expressed grave concern about the widening wage gap between New Zealand and Australia.

You gave an excellent speech just before the 2008 election committing any government which you led to bridging that gap.
After the election, you agreed to set up a Taskforce to advise how best to achieve that goal by 2025. You appointed me as chairman of that Taskforce.

Yet to date, you’ve dismissed virtually every recommendation the Taskforce has made. I’ve asked several times if we could meet and discuss our two reports. Each time you’ve declined to meet me.
From time to time, you’ve reaffirmed your commitment to the goal. But there’s not the slightest sign that you’re taking it seriously.

Now you’ve abolished the Taskforce. And of course, the gap continues to grow.

Nobody voted for that – certainly not National voters.

Why did you abandon National’s commitment to equal citizenship?

In Opposition, successive leaders of the National Party have argued for treating all New Zealanders as equal before the law, and for abolishing separate Maori electorates.

Most of your voters would have assumed that a National Government would take those policies seriously.

Yet in Government, you have:
– retained the privileged position of Maori under various statutes
– ratified the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People (which even Helen Clark refused to do)
– created an unelected Maori Advisory Board for Auckland
– created a special Maori advisory committee for the Environmental Protection Authority
– made no moves to abolish separate Maori electorates
– pushed through the Marine and Coastal Area Bill, despite having pledged to pull the Bill if it did not have broad public support – which it certainly did not.

That’s what Maori Party voters voted for – certainly not National voters.

Why are you running New Zealand for our opponents?

And so John, I’m forced to agree with those who say you are not running the country for the benefit of all New Zealanders, but for the former Labour and Green voters who crossed over to you in 2008 for, effectively, a three year trial.

And, of course, for the Maori Party MPs, for whose support you seem prepared to trade away a vast treasure chest of our nation’s coastal mineral wealth.

Needless to say, honouring some of your commitments would have required courage. Reversing Labour’s immoral election bribes would not have been easy.

But you have spent the last three years building up probably the greatest reserves of prime ministerial popularity in New Zealand history. What’s the point of cultivating such influence unless you plan to use it to help our country?

And if you won’t use it now, in this time of crisis, when will you?

So many people hold you in high esteem. Surely you should easily be able to convince them of the urgent need for responsible economic management. After all, every New Zealand household is having to tighten its belt at the moment.

I’m sure they’d support the need to cut wasteful spending, given that we’ve suffered the worst international economic crisis in three generations and two devastating earthquakes.

To be borrowing more than $300 million every week – most of it from foreign lenders – is unconscionable right now. New Zealand’s total overseas debt is already up there with that of Spain and Portugal, and continues to rise.

The electorate gave you a mandate to reverse the excesses of the Labour Government. You had an international environment which demanded firm action.

With ACT’s five MPs, you had a comfortable majority in Parliament. You could have implemented all your pre-election policies.

And so, with deep regret, I felt I had no alternative than to resign my membership of the National Party.

Sincerely,
Don Brash

36 comments on “The Dear John Letter”

  1. tc 1

    exit stage right…..next up the rt hon shonkey will read the next chapter of the business rountables script for the 2011 election.

    The hollow men pretend they don’t love each other…..do me a favour, it’s all an act, pardon the pun.

  2. Interestingly the pdf information indicates that the letter was written by someone called “John”.  I wonder what this can mean?
     
    At Red Alert Trevor Mallard has posted on Simon Lusk and the takeover of ACT.  National’s fingerprints, particularly Banks’ and Joyce’s are all over it.
     
    This letter is IMHO the start of the PR job to distance the two parties and obliterate the impression that ACT has been taken over by National.  It probably also represents the continuation of infighting within National about why it has not gone as far as some think it should.  ACT is merely a front for the hard right in National who want to implement right wing policies but are frustrated at the lack of progress.

  3. toad 3

    Dear Don

    Why don’t you just fuck off and stop pushing your RWNJ dogma onto us?

    Sincerely,
    Toad

    • Peter Rabbit 3.1

      Don’t see Don pushing anything on you or NZ. He is simply putting forward an alternative position to the the other political parties. Voters will either accept it or reject it in November.

      Like the Mana party the way I see it the more political parties and viewpoints that end up on Parliament the better for the NZ public.

      • Jim Nald 3.1.1

        From the HardTalk interview, I had observed John Key would perform better being interviewed on SoftCo*k.
        From Don Brash’s letter, the content can be regarded as TalkCo*k.
        They must think voters really stupid to fall for this hard right – soft right poppycock.

        So Brash is taking up letter-writing and penpalling with his political sockpuppet in public while they are in cahoots out of the public eye? Puh-leazze

  4. HitchensFan 4

    That racist old fool John Ansell surely?

  5. HitchensFan 5

    Dear Don

    Thanks for your letter.

    I hereby advise you that I will be standing in Epsom in November.

    I look forward to seeing you on November 27th at the ACT disestablishment function.

    Yours,

    JK

    • RobertM 5.1

      An act part disestablishment function on 27 Nov. It would be thrilling- the new puritans are incapable of drowning their sorrows. I once attended a Roger Douglas function- a ticket only, charged political gathering with half the current act caucus. Them seemed to find even my consumption of a single Heinekin shocking. As for the ex members- the party old boys are doddering – on the Radio NZ National 4pm chat session,Stephen Franks expressed outrage that his enjoyment of functions, marriages etc was ruined by the modern music ( invented about 1963!) they played, drowning out the old boys conversation. Franks favourite memories seems to be watching large rabid eels feed at the Taumaranui sewer outlet. Despite the talk of Foreman and Dons love child the act party are about 15 years past there wife and husband swapping days.

  6. All this letter will do is bring the very red-neck vote from the Nat’s thus the Nat’s can then move a bit more to the Left (on paper) so as to pick up some Labour votes. This has Crosby -Textor written all over it.
    I just hope the voting public does not fall for this , but I worry that they may.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      Vote for John, get Don for free.

      • Jim Nald 6.1.1

        Hate to contradict you but when it comes to donkey, it won’t be free but will come at a price.
        A big price that taxpayers will be paying for.

    • Tangled up in blue 6.2

      Or . . . some of the moderate National voters who shifted from Labour circa 2008 are scared back to Labour.

  7. Anne 7

    There’s more to this than meets the eye. Read Mallard’s Red Alert posts on the topic over the past week including today’s..

    The key sentence:
    The prize now is the anti MMP campaign for which resources are now being organised. $100k +.

    I’m sure that’s the current aim of the exercise. Discredit MMP and get rid of it. Replace with a supplementary voting scheme which will be set up in such a way it will, in practice, be a return to an FPP-type election. That gets rid of the the pesky small parties like the Greens, Maori Parties and ACT. Then National – with the financial support of the rich pricks – will reign supreme forever.

    Now what are the MSM media going to do about it? Put NZ and it’s democratic processes first – or themselves? I hope it is the former but fear the latter.

  8. tc 8

    Anne, there is no media of note anymore in NZ simply mediums for delivering the owners message.

  9. Pascal's bookie 10

    John Campbell on the twitter:

    Parties Dr Brash doesn’t like: National, Labour, Maori, Greens, NZ First. But United Future escaped his wrath. Grr! The Don Dunne coalition!

    Also, this picture of “Don, with all the folk he likes:”

    http://farm1.static.flickr.com/112/286182283_a39cf845f2.jpg

  10. Treetop 11

    Just heard Brash on Newstalk zb. Pretty much said that National is a defacto Labour government as they have continued with Labours main policies. The reason for continuing Labour policy is because if they do not they will not get voted back in. Labour increased public spending by 43 % in their last four years according to Brash.

    Brash did not raise the cost of tax cuts for the top 20 % who really don’t need it. Every time Brash is interviewed lately he mentions the $300 million being borrowed every week.

    • Carol 11.1

      Treetop @5.46pm: In which Brash shows his utter contempt for democracy!

    • Lanthanide 11.2

      Wonder how much Brash’s/National’s 2005 election tax cuts would have cost us?

      • Treetop 11.2.1

        I have to wonder how much the public spending would have been in 2005 under Brash?

        To me the real difference between Labour and National is that Labour improve the cost of living across the board due to reaching the mass with public spending and National improve the cost of living for the top 20 % by reducing public spending to pay for their (top 20 %) tax cuts.

  11. Dear Don:
    Go away. You’re in charge of an electorally unviable political party, prone to dysfunctional outbursts of fratricidal infighting.

    Moreover, you are an inflexible ideologue and your hardline neoconservatism is not what New Zealand needs right now. Newsflash, you bald bozo- New Zealand’s population is a fraction the size of Australia, we don’t have access to their abundance of mineral resources, and the sort of low wage, non-unionised economic prescription that you favour will result in accelerated outflow to Australia, Western Europe and North America.

    Furthermore, your populist Maori-bashing drivel loses sight of one important fact of electoral arithmetic. ACT only has one pinion seat, Epsom. If somehow Richard Worth had retained the seat in 2005, ACT would have been obliterated altogether. As matters stand, at least Turia and Flavell will be returned to Parliament, providing me with an insurance policy should your extremism succeed in denying the centre-right majority government in its own right.

    Added to which, you’re only doing this out of sour grapes because I displaced you as National leader. I think you need to have a good hard look at our counterpart Cameronian Tories and Harper’s Canadian contingent. Incrementalism and stealth win elections. That’s why I’m PM and you’re just a divorced baldie languishing on the sidelines these days.

    Push off and don’t slam the door on your way out.

    Yours in annoyance,
    HRH John Key.

  12. >And, of course, for the Maori Party MPs, for whose support you seem prepared to trade away a vast treasure chest of our nation’s coastal mineral wealth.<

    Maori would be lucky to get tailings, the so called mineral wealth would* be going to Don and John's mates.
    Except peak oil is going to put all those plane in the WPB 😉

    Some of what Don is proposing is from someone who has a slightly better understanding of what peak oil and total global economic collapse is all about, as opposed to smile and wave, at least Don has some idea this picnic can't continue.

    Unfortunately Don doesn't quite get it. but so few of us do.

  13. Georgecom 14

    Don castigates National for running the country to suit Labour and Green voters. Agreed Don, totally unacceptable. Key should be running NZ to suit the 2.5% of voters who voted for ACT.

    Or, you are an arrogant man pushing failed policies which are 2 decades old.

    • Aye.

      Although two decades or two centuries?

      • Draco T Bastard 14.1.1

        When was the Han Dynasty?

      • Carol 14.1.2

        I saw, but didn’t have time to listen to, Brash on the Beatson interview this morning on Stratos while I was getting ready for work. He looks like a relic from a bygone era – like an old British colonialist, for instance, or maybe an antipodean version of Boris Karloff. Brash was sitting upright and stiff, looking awkward but kind of smug. He does look weird and out of place in contemporary NZ – like he’s parachutted in from somewhere else.

        Goff was the second person interviewed. I hope it shows again, I’d like to hear the interviews.

  14. Armchair Critic 15

    Dear Don

    Thank you for resigning as a member of the National Party. You were not a hit as the leader of the party, you will not be missed as a member of the party.

    You have asked a series of questions that demonstrate, at a fundamental level, why National were doomed to failure under your leadership.

    Spending
    One of the reasons National won the 2008 election, under my leadership, is that we promised not to change many of Labour’s flagship policies. We had to swallow a few dead rats to get into government, but at least we managed to form a government.
    Many people wh voted National did so because we promised to be Labour-lite – these people are National voters.
    Your failure to understand this is why you were such a poor leader of the National Party. Or are you just jealous that you didn’t think of it?
    Youth Unemployment
    You say you believe in one law for all, yet you believe that young people should not be subject to the same legal protection as adults.
    Through a combination of poor economic management by Dr English and the global financial crisis, unemployment is high at the moment. All you are really suggesting is that some adults should be unemployed so some teenagers can have a job. These adults are more likely to vote National than the youths. Our majority is small enough and we can’t afford to lose to many votes or it will be 2005 all over again, and you know that didn’t turn out good for National.
    NOTE TO SELF – rely less on people with PhDs for economic advice.
    ETS

    We mostly argued with Labour about how to manage climate change, not whether it should be managed. Because we know that the vast majority of scientists agree that climate change is occurring. Unlike the vast majority of economists, who have trouble agreeing on anything.
    The emissions trading scheme was necessary, because National signed up to the Kyoto Protocol in the 90s, and it’s a good way to direct subsidies to farmers. A fair bit of National’s vote comes from farmers, so we need to keep them on side and a handout from the government goes a long way, as you may recall from your recent work on the 2025 taskforce. Thugh it appears that that sop wasn’t enough to keep you on side.
    Superannuation
    Reality on superannuation is that old people vote, and superannuation is important to them. Crap on them at your own risk.
    Catching Australia
    The 2025 Taskforce report wasn’t worth the paper it was written on, and none of the suggestions would have helped NZ catch Australia. Ever. It was widely panned and it would have been political suicide for National to endorse it.
    Equal Citizenship
    Hone Harawira, who is not famous for his tact or diplomacy, walked all over you on Close Up, and made you look like an uninformed bigot. Many New Zealandes see straight through your racism, many of them vote National.
    Your trick of linking issues to parties look at things the wrong way. A party that does not appeal to Labour voters, NZ First voters, Green voters, Maori Party voters and appeals to a small minority of National voters is doomed to irrelevance. I wish you all the success you deserve as the leader of that party.
    The Armchair Critic
    pp John Key

  15. Mike 16

    Hey but for a bit of fun value, why not publish all the remaining ‘open/secret’ letters doing the rounds in ACT?

    Chris Simmons
    ACT Party President
    Friday 13 May 2011

    Dear Don

    Your letter to the Prime Minister today entitled “Dear John” inspired me to write this to you.

    Since you’re a new member, you might not know that I only recently became the ACT Party President after the former President, Dr Michael Crozier, resigned in curious circumstances shortly after defending Peter Tashkoff’s right to remain a member after publicly calling Rodney Hide to account for the same things that you’ve since stated in the media (like he was toxic and his brand was tarnished etc). I guess your ascent to the leadership has now proved these things to be fundamental truths which we all agree with. I hope that Peter isn’t too peeved because we really need some quality candidates right now! Actually any members would be good but Winston and Kyle are squeezing our market a bit since David Garrett cocked his leg on ACT.

    Anyway, I can understand why you might be a bit wary of me at the moment. After all, in response to your audacious public loss of internal monologue to Tracey Watkins, I was compelled (some have said scripted) to say that you were just playing to your own ego and that you were an old man that has been passed over by the National Party previously, have not had your words heard on the 2025 taskforce by the Prime Minister… angry, … grumpy and this is your attempt to try and destabilise ACT.

    But I want to go to Parliament as an MP and so I can’t do the honourable thing and fall on my sword because of those words. I know there’s a clear conflict of interest in being President and wanting a top list placing but I was told it would be OK (before you came along anyway).

    So no hard feelings huh? And you are top of my priority help list after Rodney OK? BTW if there’s anything that you are still really peeved about like the love child rumours, the baseless Heather Roy rumours that caused you to change your mind to Boscawen at the last minute or the Hide ministerial warrant games; you should ask someone who might know more than me like Bruce Haycock, Brian Nicolle, Stuart Wilson or Chris Diack (I have a few more names and some emails and texts if that will help!). There were also a couple of staffers in Bowen House who used to talk pretty freely (if inaccurately) to the media over the last couple of years but I understand that they lost their jobs when Boscawen ceased to be a Minister.

    You’ll appreciate that, as a business consultant, I would be in big trouble financially if you and your extensive business networks blackballed me. So, in a way, I guess I’m begging for my income as well as my list placing.

    The rest of the Board and Caucus are going to write to you separately over the next little while.

    Best Regards,

    Chris.

  16. Tanz 17

    Agree with Don’s letter, entirely. If Don had become PM instead of John, the country would be in recovery mode. All John wants is popularity and the status quo, exactly what he has.

    But Don is right –

    John is not implementing any of his pre-election promises, he basically has betrayed the people who voted National in 2008. Labour go soft on John, I’d say, because he pretty much fits their mould, and hasn’t dismantled anything they put in place, and is basically just coasting along. No smiling assassin, after all. Where’s the courage?

    Don, in my view, he wanted the job for the status and glory, but not to actually change anything, or to honour his pre-election promises.

    I’ll not vote National as long as John remains the leader, I’m so disappointed witih the result. Smile and wave, nice man, but watery weak.

    In it for the popularity. How sad is that.

    History will be the judge. NZ continues to spiral into the mire. Scary. Holyoake would be aghast, as would Muldoon. National voters betrayed and lied to, anything for perks and puff. Yikes. Now that’s hollow.

    Go Don. My vote goes to Act. I kn ow other former Nat voters who feel pretty much the same. Despair.

  17. randal 18

    looks like old don has gone to warp 11 on the di-lithium drive.

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