Simon Bridges' says his new book is not an attempt to become New Zealand's next Prime Minister - because it's too honest.
"Straight up – I think it's not the book you'd write if that's what you were trying to do," he told The County's Jamie Mackay.
Bridges said he wrote the book not long after he lost the leadership of the National Party, "so for a politician – it's very honest."
"It's probably too honest in a way for someone who wanted to be leader again. A lot of it I think would come back to bite me if that was the plan."
In National Identity: Confessions of an Outsider, Bridges said he wrote about being beaten up, "having terrible elocution and being hurt by that," being religious, unsporty and an introvert.
Writing about himself in this way was "part of the plan" to introduce himself properly to people who may have the wrong idea about him, Bridges said.
"Heck, you know, there are a lot of New Zealanders who've got the wrong side of the stick here in the story about me and I wanted to say a few things."
Bridges hoped his "growing up experience" would be "familiar to a lot of Kiwis".
"I grew up in the 'Wild West' - West Auckland - looking back it was a bit rough and tough … I did want to tell that story and show people another side of me.
"But more than that, hopefully they get a sense of things about their upbringing – the New Zealand days that they've come to know and love.
"It's a great country, but far from perfect."
One of Bridges' confessions was that he wasn't interested in rugby, something that could be considered sacrilegious in New Zealand.
"It's a dangerous thing to say, if you ever did want to be leader of the National Party, that you're not really into rugby. But it was me being straight up and honest."
He hoped some men would take heart from his admission, and consider what it meant to be a "stereotypical masculine guy that so many Kiwi blokes are."
"You don't have to be that typical man who's good on a rugby field and doesn't speak much etc. to be a real Kiwi male.
"I feel every bit a real Kiwi male."
There was one topic in his book that Bridges believed was considered "taboo" in today's society – religion.
"It's like, now, people who are religious are pariahs in our society."
Growing up with a father who was a Baptist minister, Bridges felt it would be "disingenuous and fake" to leave out his religion when writing about his identity and "the identity of our country".
"Let's be straight – being a God-botherer in 2021 doesn't do anyone any favours in terms of politics and the like – but it is important to me.
"It was important in keeping faith with my dad and my whakapapa to put it in there and so I did."
Religion made a statement about "where we're at as a country", Bridges said.
"You're OK if you're a tofu-munching, yoga-meditating person – but if you're a Christian there's something wrong with that – you're a bit squiffy-eyed".
"I don't accept that."
Bridges was pleased to finally promote his memoir after Level 4 lockdown scuppered his book launch.
"It's cost me thousands of books … but you can't, as farmers know, cry over spilt milk and so we've just got to keep on going. But Covid hasn't been kind to me that's true."
Also in today's interview: Bridges praised his wife Natalie, and discussed his "westie twang", "midlife crisis" haircut, why it's OK to be an introvert and his admiration Peter Blackwell and Winston Peters.