Brash letter not worth a Dear Don reply, Key says

By Adam Bennett

Act Party leader Don Brash. Photo / Janna Dixon
Act Party leader Don Brash. Photo / Janna Dixon

Prime Minister John Key won't bother replying to Don Brash's Dear John letter which criticises his economic policies, and yesterday dismissed it as a marketing tool from a party with extreme views.

Mr Key said he had "speed-read" the letter from the man he deposed as leader of the National Party and who now leads National's confidence and supply partner Act. He hadn't replied to it "and I won't be bothering".

Mr Key said the letter was "a nice little marketing tool" written by advertising guru John Ansell - who is infamous for devising National's polarising "Iwi/Kiwi" election billboards in 2005 when the party was led by Dr Brash.

The letter - which chides Mr Key for retaining Labour policies such as Working for Families, interest-free student loans, KiwiSaver subsidies and for not raising the eligibility age for superannuation - reflected the views of the Dr Brash-led 2025 Commission, said Mr Key.

The commission's economic plan was "quite an extreme proposal if one was to follow through on it".

"Everyone needs to understand that what Don Brash is talking about is hardcore," the Prime Minister said.

Dr Brash's prescription would save the Government money "and by the way a lot of New Zealanders would come out the back of that in a much worse financial position than they're in".

But Mr Key said the letter did not have implications for National's relationship with Act.

"They've always had those views; as I've so often said, the leader might have changed but the views have been the same."

Mr Key said Dr Brash had told him Act wanted New Zealand to be led by "a constructive National-led government".

- NZ Herald

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