The mails that changed a nation

I take what is probably a final look at the Hollow Men e-mails in NBR 24/7 this week:

The illegal (and it was almost certainly illegal) obtaining of the e-mails, and their subsequent publication, had a major impact on New Zealand politics. They effectively forced Don Brash out of the leadership of the National Party, despite the fact National was ahead of Labour in the polls at the time.

It is very unusual for an Opposition Leader to resign, when his party is leading in the polls. And the Hager book based on the e-mails did not in fact have any smoking guns. However, Brash correctly judged that he would have been unable to make traction in the face of the book, and resigned.

If Brash had not resigned, it is quite possible National, under his leadership, would have gone on to win the 2008 general election, and while it is conjecture what policies a Brash-led government would have had, suffice to say that it is hard to imagine it being happy to borrow $240 million a week to fund interest free student loans and working for families.

And the usual conjecture on how they were obtained.

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