They say the only thing that'll survive a nuclear war will be the cockroach and if you apply that to politics, I reckon the analogy stacks up when it comes to the elderly, mild-mannered Don Brash.

Given the hysterical outbursts that greeted his first state of the nation outing as National leader in January 2004, known as the Orewa speech, one could be forgiven for thinking the mushroom cloud was raining down on all of us. One left-leaning academic said it reinforced the ignorant and racist stereotype that Maori were savages before the gift of European civilisation was visited upon them.

It was the one rule for all speech, ending what Brash saw as Maori special privileges by arguing, among other things, that there were no full blooded Maori left anyway.

It did for National what these days Labour's Andrew Little can only dream about, increasing their popularity rating from 28 percent to 45 in just one month.


The Iwi/Kiwi election following year Brash came within a hair's breadth of knocking Helen Clark off her perch, even though she'd alienated Maori herself by her foreshore and seabed stance. Her hide was saved by making student loans interest free that no Government has been game enough to change.

Brash dusted off the same hymn sheet when he became leader of Act but by that time the record was cracked.

Well, he's had it repaired and it's back on the turnstile, belting out Hobson's Pledge. It's a reference to our first Governor General William Hobson and his statement after the 1840 signing of the Treaty of Waitangi that we were now one people.

Brash says his new incarnation's aimed at arresting a decline in what he sees as irreversible separatism in this country. And he says the lobby group could donate to sympathetic political parties, like New Zealand First, in the leadup to next year's election.

Even though he likes National speeding up the Treaty settlement process, he says they've got no plans to scrap Maori seats even though there are a good number of Maori now in Parliament.

Yeah, well, that's called John Key's insurance policy and he's simply not cashing it in just yet while the remnants of them help prop up his Government.

And, from one "cockroach" to another, Winston Peters isn't likely to take Brash up on any offer. He'd argue he's been there and is doing that, although that's not quite what he was saying when he held all five Maori seats.