New Zealand ex-politician gives valedictory speech

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Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Ex-politician, Dr Don Brash.

Doctor Don Brash has today given his valedictory speech in parliament on his departure from New Zealand politics.

Dr Brash had only been in politics for four and a half years and in that time he had risen to the ranks of leader of the National party and only participating in one election as leader, narrowly becoming the opposition.

Dr Brash described being a member of parliament (MP) as: "...A great privilege." And he said that "...I've had a fantastic opportunity..." "...I've had a lot of fantastic opportunities..."

He admits that he took a while to get the hang of the processes of parliament and the proceedings. He gave two examples, one when he went tried to get a haircut but was asked by his secretary, Anne Small, if he had gotten permission from the whips. And the other when he was confused why his office was located so far apart from that of the leaders even though he was ranked third in the party.

Dr Brash left his position as the Governor of the Reserve Bank and entered politics because he was worried about the direction the country was heading in, "...or perhaps more accurately not getting to." Dr Brash said: "Keeping inflation under control was very important, but it was not enough to lift living standards and prevent the exodus of tens of thousands of Kiwis across the Tasman and across the world." Dr Brash then listed a number of reasons on why he left the reserve bank for politics including the problems of: the welfare system, the schooling system, the hospital system, safety and property issues and law equality, "And those were the things that desperately needed to be done."

Dr Brash said that over his political careers he had regrets that he "...never made it into government [and] I didn't change a single law."

"I made some mistakes," Dr Brash said. Those mistakes included: " remaining silent when the National Party caucus decided, under previous leadership, that, had National been in Government, we would've supported Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States in the invasion of Iraq, even though I had serious misgivings about the wisdom of that course of action."

Dr Brash said: "When I was approached to stand in the 2002 election, one of the people I talked to was David Caygill. He encouraged me to stand. He warned me that National was likely to lose the 2002 election, but he said that even in Opposition I might have some influence on the national discussion, on the national debate. And so it has proved to be."

"I even take some satisfaction on issues where I demonstrably failed."

Dr Brash announced: "Madam Speaker, I want to thank all those who've helped me over the last four and a half years."

Dr Brash then went on to thanks all those involved with his campaign and his colleagues. "I'm not sure whether I want to thank members of the Press Gallery or not! Sometimes I think I do, but at other times I'm not so sure! But I certainly respect most members of the Gallery, and have developed a lasting friendship with several," he said. He also gave thanks to his family and friends, he said that without their help and support he wouldn't have "survived."

Dr Brash left parliament by saying: "Let me end by wishing my successor, John Key, and his team every success in promoting those policies that will be of lasting benefit to all New Zealanders."

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This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.
This article features first-hand journalism by Wikinews members. See the collaboration page for more details.