November 24, 2006
Exclusive Brethren crashes Brash
I’ve written before about the Exclusive Brethren, a sad little religious sect that, when it isn’t harboring child molesters or laundering money, spends its time undermining New Zealand’s (and Australia’s) political processes. Those efforts aren’t exactly paying off:
New Zealand Opposition Leader Don Brash has quit after months of damaging speculation over his future and ahead of the release of a book that alleges links between his National Party and a controversial religious group.
Brash, 66, announced today he would step down as leader of the National Party, effective from Monday when a caucus meeting will elect a new leader.
Brash said he had not come under any pressure from his parliamentary colleagues to go.
He also denied that the imminent release of a book about machinations within the National Party—The Hollow Men by Nicky Hager—had forced his resignation.
Among other things the book alleges dealings between the party and business groups, conservative American political fugures as well as a Christian group, the Exclusive Brethren, which has also been accused of dabbling in Australian politics.
Brash said he utterly rejected Hager’s “conspiracy view of the world” and claimed the book was an attempt to discredit the National Party and him as leader.
“It’s simply nonsense to suggest that the National Party was, or is, under the influence of American neoconservatives; or received funding from the Exclusive Brethren; or broke election spending rules,” he said.
So I guess none of this can be true, then:
[Hager's book]—released today after an interim injunction was lifted—makes fresh allegations of links between the National Party and the Exclusive Brethren.
It cites an email as far back as April of last year to the outgoing leader Don Brash, his deputy Gerry Brownlee and other senior MPs about a Brethren campaign on defence policy.
It also says that in May 2005 an Exclusive Brethren from Rangiora, Ron Hickmott wrote to Don Brash and MP John Key telling them they had $1 million to spend on getting votes for National and requesting a meeting.
Which would have (illegally) increased the National Party’s election spending cap of NZ$2.24 million by 45%.
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