New Zealand's Prime Ministers
- Author: Bassett, Michael
- ISBN: 9781927305294
- Availability: In Stock
Collective biographies have been written for Britain’s and Australia’s Prime Ministers, and for America’s Presidents. Until now New Zealand has had no comparable overview. Based on extensive, careful archival research, interviews with recent Prime Ministers, many of their colleagues, and with their opponents, this major work is the product of decades of appreciative and insightful observation. It is essential reading for anyone interested in New Zealand politics.
New Zealand’s Prime Ministers discusses the evolving environments within which our twenty-four Prime Ministers from Dick Seddon to John Key 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 at them.
Michael Bassett has been in a unique position to observe many New Zealand Prime Ministers, having himself been in Parliament with eleven of them. He 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. Michael Bassett is New Zealand’s best-known political historian, having lectured at the University of Auckland before entering Parliament and having written or co-written fourteen books, nearly all of them with political themes.