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Major New Book Analyses New Zealand’s Prime Ministers

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When:

  • Wed 24 May ’17, 6:00pm – 7:30pm

Where:

Takapuna Library, 1 The Strand, Takapuna Show map

Restrictions:

All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Free Admission

Political historian and writer Michael Bassett has been close to government for more than 50 years and has a unique perspective, having been in parliament with 11 Prime Ministers.

Now, in an election year, Bassett offers a timely and incisive appraisal of our 24 former leaders in his new book, 'New Zealand’s Prime Ministers: From Dick Seddon to John Key'; the first major analysis of New Zealand’s Prime Ministers.

Based on extensive, careful archival research, interviews with recent Prime Ministers, many of their colleagues, and with their opponents, New Zealand’s Prime Ministers is the product of decades of appreciative and insightful observation.

New Zealand’s Prime Ministers discusses the evolving environments within which all our Prime Ministers operated. It also examines their styles, thinking, successes and failures, and looks at what worked with the public and what didn’t. Besides being both biographical and analytical, the book notes the events that gradually altered political life and the conduct and performance of our politicians.

The book also deals with the changing economic circumstances in the country since the beginning of the twentieth century, when the term Prime Minister was officially gazetted, and the efforts that Prime Ministers have made to tackle economic and other challenges thrust upon them.

As Bassett says, “John Key wasn’t our greatest Prime Minister: that honour goes to Peter Fraser who shepherded New Zealand through World War Two and in Winston Churchill’s words ‘never put a foot wrong’. But Key handled two major challenges - the Global Financial Crisis and the post-2010 earthquakes - with empathy and common sense.”

Michael Bassett spent six years as a Minister of the Crown, kept cabinet and caucus notes throughout his time in Parliament, then regular notes thereafter, and produced substantial biographies of four Prime Ministers.

He has been on a first name basis with all occupants of the prime minister’s office since 1957. Bassett is New Zealand’s best-known political historian, having lectured at the University of Auckland before entering Parliament and written or co-written 14 books, nearly all of them with political themes.

Light refreshments served from 6pm, author talk 6.30pm.
RSVP to Helen.woodhouse@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz or call (09) 890-4903.

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