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The Letter – Monday, 18 December 2006

The Letter – Monday, 18 December 2006

The Letter Limited -

The Haps

Last chance to buy ‘Out of the Red’ for Christmas - the “must read book of the year”. Parliament has finished for the year. A poor start to Christmas retail. Who did take Don’s emails?

Act now

Orders for ‘Out of the Red’ received today at should be delivered in three to four days. Alternatively you can order by cheque, $29-95c to The Letter Limited, 45 State Highway 30 Lake Rotoma RD4, Rotorua 3074

Good bookshops like Whitcoulls have the book but you must ask for it. It is a great aeroplane read and is available in airport bookshops.


“Your job from Monday is to be in charge of twenty-one different business disasters. The businesses employ tens of thousands of employees, most of whom are angry and underpaid or angry and underemployed. Their combined output is worth 10 per cent of the nation’s GDP, and they are chewing through the nation’s wealth at the rate of a billion dollars a year.”


“That spring morning, I walked into the prime minister’s office still fairly green. I walked out the biggest businessman in New Zealand’s history – as the chief executive of twenty billion dollar’s worth of business (about one hundred billion in today’s dollars)”.


“I needed to know what makes an organization succeed. I needed to know fast”


“It was Michael Bassett who noticed the prime minister wasn’t there. We had a discussion about how long he had been gone. We tried to work out his last contribution and calculated he had been gone for more than forty minutes. We realized that David Lange was not coming back.

That was it. That was the moment. It wasn’t anything said or done; the end of it all was an absence. It was an absence at the heart of government where once there had been a relationship; it was an absence that gathered significance until it became the most important thing about us.”


“The union secretaries had nicknames like Marmite (a little bit goes a long way), and Twiggy (a grossly fat steward). I rang him to say, ‘Twiggy, as a courtesy I am just letting you know that I am negotiating the new ferry contract.’ He claimed that he lost a stone that week (no one noticed).”


'At the bottom of it all is culture. You create the company culture and then the culture creates the company”.

Was it theft?

MPs think that Don Brash has been the victim of a major crime. The MPs have realized that Hager’s claim that six National Party members supplied the emails, can not be true. First, politicians cannot resist talking - see the emails. Second, no National Party insider would go to Hager. Third, an insider would know that Brash never spoke at the caucus when Bill English’s leadership ended. Then there are the emails that are not there. No insider would have left out the emails from Katherine Rich when she was fired.

If an insider did not leak then it follows that some one has hacked Brash’s parliamentary computer. As there are also faxes in the book, burglary is also involved.

If the MPs are right, it is a major breech of parliamentary security. Parliamentary Services took little action on Brash’s complaint assuming an internal leak.

Don Brash himself says he could not have put together the documents as there are emails he has never seen before.

MPs have received anonymous tip offs that it has nothing to do with party politics but is the work of a rich individual, from the Bay of Plenty, who has an obsession with the Reserve Bank and has paid private investigators a bucket load of money to obtain the documents.

Diane Foreman believes her house has been broken into and searched. John Key says his rubbish was gone through.

MPs believe that Nicky Hager does not know where his material came from. He has not said whether he also received money to write the book. It seems that Hager just received the documents with no explanation. This would explain the contextual errors in the book on nearly every page.

Slowing Economy

Christmas on a Monday may explain the late start to Christmas retail but we think the evidence is the economy is slowing.

End of year

It has been a brutal year to be in politics. Overall it has been another year of drift. The fundamental problems in welfare, health and education continue to be ignored. National has come out the stronger with a new leader and more talented caucus. The third parties have made almost no contribution. NZ First has spent the year overseas. United hardly exist. The Greens without Rod Donald have lost their flare. Rodney Hide has spent the year getting entrenched in Epsom. With National promising to move to the centre, ACT has gone from being squeezed out to having half of the political spectrum to itself.

A few predictions

This time last year Michael Cullen looked tired. The stadium debacle has seen off Trevor Mallard and Cullen is looking fresh. Michael is outraged at the media conclusion that he “lost” to Key and he is determined to “beat” him. His attacks on Key in parliament are witty and devastating. Cullen is not going anywhere. We remain pessimistic about the economy. We see no signs of the government halting the spending spree so inflation will remain a problem but we do think that 2007 may prove this is possibly the best All Black team ever. We are taking a break. Do read our book. If you do not enjoy it, we will give you your money back! Merry Christmas and may the New Year be good for you.


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PO Box 1551, Wellington, New Zealand

Please Note: Formerly the column The Letter was circulated by the ACT Party. It no longer is.

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