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Extracts From Bryan Sinclair's Brash Memo

NOTE: The following extracts from a memo leaked to TVNZ's Guyon Espiner were today made public. (See also... Scoop Link: Memo – Brash Advised To Buy Election). Peter Keenan and Bryan Sinclair were both appointed by Mr Brash to their roles in his office. Mr Sinclair previously worked with ACT campaign manager Brian Nicolle. The Sunday Star Times reported that Ruth Richardson congratulated Don Brash on his decision to appoint Sinclair as a political strategist. Gerry Brownlee has described Mr Sinclair as someone who sets out the chairs at press conferences.

Memo from Bryan Sinclair, written in November 2004.

In it he addresses staff issues:

“Setting the very best strategy means getting the right mix of people around you now. I think you have limped along this year due to a chronic shortage of equipped, competent, super efficient and campaign-experienced people around you. At a quick glance everything is much like it was when Bill was Leader. As nice as we all might be the team that sits around the table on Tuesday afternoons will not deliver you across to the Beehive next year I am absolutely convinced of this. We have to accept what we’ve got and find ways to work right around it. Paying existing people to sit around and do next to nothing for the next 6-9 months while you supplant the right people into key positions of influence is a real option …”

On funding

“You need to collect the booty now and you cannot rely on Steven or Judy or anyone else to achieve this (they don’t live in the same room as the donors they represent the National Party of which the donors are sceptical – particularly when they see who you have close to you e.g. Murray, Gerry etc … Your ability to “collect” is being eroded every day that goes by”.

And on Policy.

“You need to be sloppy, soft and wet – i.e. open up the cheque book, as excruciating as this will feel. There is a large government surplus and the real result will be determined by who the public thinks is best to spend it. Soft centre voters are inherently self interested and will vote according to what they can get out of you. Election winning behaviour requires you to slosh those funds around and buy your way to the Treasury benches.”

Email from Peter Keenan written in November 2003:

In it he says:

“The story should be: 1) We have a social time bomb developing in the nexus of welfare traps and a failing education system, with a scandalous concentration of Maori at the bottom of the heap because of it. This is inevitably accompanied by a spiralling crime rate …”

Keenan also quotes and paraphrases David Horowitz in his advice to Brash saying:

“Politics is about Fear: You must not only convince a majority that you are their friend you must get them to fear your opponent as their enemy.”

*** ENDS ***

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