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AGENDA Highlights: Brash Meets Brethren Again

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AGENDA Transcript: Don Brash & Pete Hodgson 23/9/6

BRASH MEETS BRETHREN AGAIN

National Party leader Don Brash has confirmed he met members of the Exclusive Brethren after last year’s election.

Dr Brash told TV One’s “Agenda” presenter, Lisa Owen, that the meeting took place “many months ago”.

Dr Brash said he saw nothing inappropriate in meeting with the group, who only wanted to express their dissatisfaction with the Government.

“I had one meeting since the election … It was about their concerns about what the Government was doing, I shared their concerns.

“We certainly did not talk about following people, shadowing people, or anything that was remotely improper.”

But Dr Brash did say he talked with them about his current campaign over the Government’s election spending.

“I told them that in my view the government had stolen the election by clearly overspending the legal limit they were allowed to spend, and action which the Electoral Act describes as a corrupt practice.”

Asked by Miss Owen whether he had discussed the meeting with his caucus colleagues before it took place he said: “I do not normally tell my caucus colleagues all the meetings I have, I have literally scores of meetings every single week, I mean this was not something which in my mind was a major issue at all.”

And Dr Brash refused to rule out similar meetings in the future.

“Look I meet the trade unionists, I meet with Maori leaders, I meet with people all over the country, I meet with criminals. Why would I not meet with anybody who wants to meet with me?”

But he said he would be wary about having future meetings with them if they were clearly involved in shadowing ministers of the Crown.

Referring to allegations by Dunedin private detective that he had been hired by the Brethren to investigate the Prime Minister, her husband and other Cabinet Ministers, Dr Brash said: “I think that is an inappropriate activity.”

Dr Brash said he and National were ‘absolutely, categorically, not’ behind any such investigations.

“If that kind of behaviour was going on last year by anybody … I certainly deplore that.

“That kind of activity has no place in New Zealand politics.”

ENDS

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