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Don Brash needs to speak for himself

25 September 2006

Don Brash needs to speak for himself

Don Brash himself is now one of the only senior National MPs failing to declare that Don Brash will end his private meetings and political partnering with the Exclusive Brethren, Labour strategist Pete Hodgson said today.

In the past 24 hours, Gerry Brownlee, Katherine Rich and Maurice Williamson have all said that National and Dr Brash will end formal, private meetings with the Exclusive Brethren and turn down future offers for support.

"On Agenda this weekend, Don Brash said his dealings with the Brethren were no different to his dealings with Presbyterians, Methodists and bizarrely Muslims who might be terrorists," Pete Hodgson said.

"At the same time his colleagues have come out saying that National's political partnership with the Brethren is over and Maurice Williamson has said that Don Brash will make that clear.

"Well will he or won't he? A u-turn on the Brethren appears imminent if Brash's caucus colleagues are to be believed. Brash needs to start speaking for himself.

"Regardless, Brash has serious questions to answer. He said on Saturday that diary entries about his previous meetings with the Brethren had not been deleted, but he still hasn't come forward with the dates of those meetings and still hasn't said whether they came before or after the Brethren approached the Chief Electoral Officer.

"He still can't explain why he won't condemn the Brethren outright even though he finds their hiring of private detectives 'deplorable'. Brash should explain how he can separate his opinion on the sect from his opinion on their actions.

"In Victoria, National Party Leader Peter Ryan has said he will have no dealings with the Brethren and will not accept support from the sect as a result of their actions in New Zealand. Our own National Party leader in New Zealand has been unwilling to do the same.

"New Zealanders should be worried that Don Brash seems unwilling or unable to untangle himself from the Exclusive Brethren. There must be a reason that Brash can't get himself out of this relationship.

"Don Brash has been a corrosive figure in New Zealand politics – he should resign and allow Parliament to begin to repair its public image."

ENDS

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