The Baubles of Office is the story of a cliff-hanger election, New Zealands closest yet under MMP. For nearly two weeks no one knew who had won, Labour or National. On election night it was Don Brash who was cheerful and elated, Helen Clark who seemed grim and shaken. New Zealand acquired a government only when Winston Peters ignored a last-minute written appeal from the leaders of four other parties to come to a meeting to agree on terms. Instead, he met with Helen Clark and became the countrys Foreign Minister accepting the baubles of office that he had so openly disdained in a major campaign address.
The contributors to this book include political party strategists from all of the parties elected to Parliament. Rodney Hide, upset victor in Epsom in 2005, tells how it was done. Media personalities, including Radio New Zealands Kathryn Ryan, describe what it was like covering a campaign where the likely winner changed with every new poll. New Members of Parliament the Maori Partys Pita Sharples and Labours Shane Jones speak about their first campaigns, successful beginnings to new political careers. Listener and Dominion Post political columnist Jane Clifton provides her usual witty and insightful observations, describing MPs both new and old, brought into Parliament by the 2005 election.
The book includes first-hand accounts of the campaign from United Futures Peter Dunne and Labour Cabinet Minister Steve Maharey, new Green Party leader Russel Norman, and the National Partys campaign manager Steven Joyce. Academic commentators frequently seen on New Zealand television including Therese Arseneau (TV3), Jon Johansson (TV One; Sky TV), Colin James (TV One) and Nigel Roberts (TV One) offer their perspectives on aspects of the campaign, including Nationals mischievous use of billboards and Don Brashs use of rhetoric on sensitive Treaty issues.
'...congratulations to the books editors, to Victoria University Press and to all those involved. While you could have found a better cover, the content is certainly worth the price.'
From the launch speech by Rt Hon Winston Peters.