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Who's holding the chainsaw behind Brash's back?

26 August 2005

Who's holding the chainsaw behind Brash's back?

Someone within National is pushing hard for logging of native forests to resume on the West Coast and Don Brash doesn't seem to have been let into the secret agenda, Green Co-Leader Jeanette Fitzsimons says.

Two days ago the Nats' Forestry Spokesman Brian Connell released a document marked 'Forestry Policy' to The New Zealand Herald that included lifting the ban on beech logging on public land on the West Coast. By lunchtime yesterday Don Brash was saying that, although the party's caucus had signed off the policy, its Board had not.

"Given that the only reassurance that Don Brash can then offer is that logging won't resume while he is the leader of the National Party, the obvious conclusion to draw is that he is the only one standing in its way within the National caucus," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"If National was to form the next Government, it is highly likely that Don Brash would not be the one to lead it into the following election, so we can be fairly certain that a vote for the Nats is a vote for the sound of the chainsaws in our precious native forests sometime during the next term.

"When a spokesperson for a party submits a policy not marked as a draft to a major media organisation it has to be taken seriously as that party's position. When the party leader then tries to say it isn't actually the policy, or at least not while he's in charge, you have to wonder if the left hand knows what the right hand is doing.

"This is all a recurring theme. Don Brash has had to publicly overrule his spokespeople on welfare, Maori affairs, foreign affairs, defence, and now forestry. Either Brash is just a puppet for the real National Party, or else if he ever became PM and his colleagues sniffed actual opportunities to push their right wing agendas, he'll be firing Ministers every few weeks.

"Who is really in charge of National?"


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