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Mallard On Memos & Nats. Internal Divisions

Transcript: Mallard On Memos & Nats. Internal Divisions

Interviewed By Alastair Thompson August 29th
Transcribed Sept. 4, 2005 by Rosalea Barker & Alastair Thompson

Note: This interview was conducted on Monday afternoon the day after Ruth Laugesen broke the leaky National Party memos story in the Sunday Star Times - and the day that Don Brash made his Race Relations speech in Whangarei.

Q: I was just wondering if, in relation to the revelations of the weekend you have any comments to make about the speech that Don Brash issued today?

Mallard: It was clear that he is trying to divert away from the division which has been caused by the fact that his agenda and the people who have been pushing him and supporting him has been revealed. I think this speech is one which is trying to divert voters away from the internal party divisions in the National Party.

Q: That's interesting speculation. That's what I've been wondering about, too. Do you think that there are deep divisions in the National Party?

Mallard: Clearly there are internal divisions. It's clear that Don Brash was put in place by people who were supportive more of the ACT point of view than sort of a centrist, whole of New Zealand, traditional, liberal National Party point of view. And there was a lot of of anxiety when it happened… I think that Bill English's people didn't expect to lose and did. And there has clearly been simmering anxiety there ever since. There is the Simon Power think-tank which is sort of sitting there working for him. Clearly others, including John Key, Gerry Brownlee, are waiting for Brash to fall over.

Q: Were you surprised at all with the degree of irony in the revelations at the weekend in the Sunday Star-Times?

Mallard: I don't think any of us were really surprised. I mean I think that most of us knew that that was the intent. I think some of us were surprised that all of this came out before and not after the election.

Q: The National Party is claiming that this is the result of of dirty tricks, presumably attempting to point the finger at the Labour Party? This isn't something that you had any hint of?

Mallard: That's something, of course, I wouldn't want to comment on at all. This is obvious. You don't have to be a rocket scientist to work out that this has a National Party source.

Q: In terms of the Business Roundtable's interest in race relations. Do you have any idea why they think it is something that they want to inject their nose into?

Mallard: The Roundtable has and it always has had a far-right agenda, and I think they're willing to use any tool, even if it involves dividing New Zealand, in order to fulfill the economic policies that are on their agenda.

Clearly Don Brash is their person for doing that. And I think it is just a divisive negative message that we've seen from Roger Kerr for a very long time.

Q: A lot of these emails show a quite definite plan to first install Don Brash and then pursue this race relations agenda…

Mallard: Internationally, there is experience, especially at immigrant bashing and highlighting race relations by parties of the right. Sometimes the very far right. I think as far as the Business Roundtable is concerned, that's not their agenda in itself. Their real agenda is the economic policies of Ruth Richardson and Roger Douglas.

Q: In that regard, does it seem a bit odd that they seem to have achieved so little in terms of National's economic policy as announced?

Mallard: Well, National haven't really announced a substantive economic policy. Even if you look at their fiscal policy. The so-called Alternative Budget that they put out before the tax-cut announcement. There's just no depth in it at all. It's a very scrappy little exercise. I think…. well you can't tell whether they're just ignorant and not well prepared, or whether in fact it's a deliberate approach on the part of Brash not to tell people the full story before an election.

Q: The other possibility, of course, is that Brash is not really in any way influencing the economic policy of the National Party and that is being driven by moderates?

Mallard: I think Brash will drive their policies, not their published policy. Even if he's…if you want to be generous with him… it might be that he's not on top of the policy. We've seen a few examples of that recently, but I think that deep down when it comes to the economic policy he does know what he's doing and it is something which most New Zealanders wouldn't really contemplate.

Q: Thank you very much.

Mallard: Okay. Thanks. Bye.


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