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Don Brash: `I've been hiding too long' (+pics) - Focus - Sunday Star-Times

                         Former leader of the National Party Don Brash talks exclusively to political editor of the Sunday Star Times  Ruth Laugesen about life after politics and the direction he plans to take now that his marriage has broken up and he lives alone in a bachelor apartment in the Viaduct, Auckland.
Pic:Lawrence Smith/Sunday News 200508

Dr Brash is my favourite modern politician, so I was eager to read the Sunday Star Times interview with him, the first since he retired from the National Party leadership. 

The interview was a frank and candid reflection on his time in politics.  He revealed his ambitious ideas to scrap the minimum wage, scrap the top tax bracket and cut back on NZ super.  Now if that wasn't enough to put lefties into a tail spin, I don't know what would! 

For the record I actually don't agree with everything he has said, which shows my more moderate standpoint.  For example I don't agree with scrapping the minimum wage.  The labour market isn't competitive enough for employees to demand high wages.  Also young employees often don't know they're being screwed. 

Brash also talked about his regret he didn't unilaterally make some policy decisions, which is a little concerning.  He reckons that if he ran as a conviction politician he may have done better. 

Now I really respect Don and his views, but he sounds frustrated with the process. 

If Don was given a free-hand to run the country would things be better? Absolutely. Probably markedly better.  But you still have to go through the process, as painful as it is.  Of course Brash understands that.  The political process both hinders and helps us.  It hinders us by making it hard to push through tough decisions like cutting backing NZ super (which is inevitable as the population is aging).  But it helps us in the sense that if Keith Lock became leader of the Labour party, most of his communist ideals would have to be left at the door.  I'm pretty sure Clark has toned herself down in order to be Labour leader.

Ultimately I think a Prime Minister Brash is a missed opportunity.  Even constrained by the moderate Nats, he would've reduced the level of government, and returned more responsibility to individuals.  But my main reason for for wanting a PM Brash are his personal attributes.

Former deputy governor Richard Lang on Dr Brash:

His personality was quiet, introverted, retiring.  He was very confident in his own understanding, but never pushy.  Don was polite an sensitive and did not put people down; at times he was a little too generous.  But he had absolute integrity; there was never the slightest doubt that when he said something he meant it.  He was never two-faced.  He dealt with facts not personalities, really got angry, never sarcastic.  If he disagreed with you, he'd sit you down and discuss it in a rational way.  In that way he was enjoyable to work with.

^now doesn't that sound a long way from Helen Clark!

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