Don Brash, ex-leader of New Zealand National Party, leaves politics

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Dr Don Brash.

The ex-leader of New Zealand's National Party, Dr Don Brash, has announced today that he has left his five year career in politics. Dr Brash had announced last week today that he was stepping down from leader of the National Party.

Dr. Brash was to stay on in politics as long as the new leader, John Key, gave him a senior portfolio and front bench position, where it was thought there would be no room for Dr Brash. However Dr Brash did not comment on whether he had sought that kind of position. The front bench positions and a possible portfolio reorganising will not be announced until tomorrow, Friday.

Over the past few days Dr Brash had been pondering his political career and he said that it is clear that he should leave politics after consulting with friends, colleagues and family including his wife, Je Lan. Dr Brash said: "I've come to the conclusion that now is the right time for me to leave Parliament and I informed John Key of that earlier today."

At the press conference where he announced his intention to leave, few journalists were there compared to his resignation from leader conference.

Dr Brash will stay in Parliament until next year when he will not return. He said that he wanted to tie up loose knots.

Mr Key, last Thursday, said that he had only a few talks with Dr Brash, one on Tuesday and one this morning, but would not comment on Brash's future. Dr Brash described those meetings as "constructive."

When Dr Brash first entered politics in 2002 from being head of the Reserve Bank, he had wanted to make a difference and he said that he leaves with the belief that he had accomplished that. He also believes that National could take out the next election to be held in 2008 as it is in great shape. Dr Brash said: "I entered Parliament in 2002 with the intention of making a difference and I leave believing that I've done that. The National Party is in great shape to win the next election and I believe that debate about economic policy and about the Treaty is more mature and more realistic than it was five years ago."

Dr Brash still claims that the book based around his leaked political emails by Nicky Hager, titled The Hollow Men: A Study in the Politics of Deception, played no part in his decision to leave.

Next year Katrina Shanks, accountant, will enter politics again to fill in the empty seat made by Dr Brash, she is currently at number 46 on the list. She had been in politics last year but was forced out after the special votes were counted. Ms Shanks said that she feels positive about changing her career but she said that she would have preferred entering politics on election night and not because Dr Brash had left.

Dr Brash announced that he will look into becoming a director at a company but would not be a director at a state owned enterprise, "not with this Government." He told TV3's Campbell Live programme that he will now look after his kiwifruit orchard.

Dr Brash said his colleagues reaction was mixed, Dr Brash said some said: "you've done a fantastic job for the National Party. Your work on that has finished."