The secret diary of Don Brash

Act Party leader Don Brash.
Act Party leader Don Brash.

Stephen Braunias takes a peek inside the pages of Don Brash's diary in this week's May Contain Facts.


Lay in bed this morning and thought about father. He once gave me a sled. I called it Rosebud. Father disapproved.

"Quite frankly," he said, "it's sissy".

I cried as he smashed it to pieces with an axe. I remember snow on the roof. It was the winter of 1840.

Lay in bed and read my appointments book. It brought back good memories of the Reserve Bank and Orewa. I wondered if it was going to have a happy ending, so I flicked to today’s page, and saw that I’d agreed to appear in a television interview at 8.30pm alongside Pita Sharples, the well-known Maori radical and Islamic terrorist.

Lay in bed thinking of how to outwit the canny Muslim. My mind strayed, and I thought about father. He had a wooden leg. He was often away at sea. He talked a lot about wanting to kill a great black whale.

Lay in bed wondering what to wear on the television programme. Looked at the clock, and saw that it was 3.45pm. Decided it was high time that I sprang out of bed one leg at a time. I got one leg on the floor at 5.10pm but the other leg resisted all efforts, so at 7.30pm I called out, "Nurse!"


The minivan took us all out to the shopping centre this afternoon, where I arranged to meet former Federated Farmers president and prospective ACT Party candidate Don Nicolson.

I was overjoyed to see him sitting in a cafe wearing a dress. I tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Quite frankly, Don, you’re exactly the kind of candidate ACT are looking for. You’re not only young, you’re either a woman or a transvestite. Indeed, you also seem to have a touch of the tarbrush about you. Are you, by any chance, Maori?"

Just then I felt someone tapping on my shoulder. I looked around, and a man in his fifties said, "I’m Don Nicolson."

I said to half-caste who was either a woman or a transvestite, "If you’re interested, I can guarantee you a high place on the party list."

Sat down with Don and ordered coffee. He said, "3700 ewes ... Feed wheat ... Cropping ... RMA reform ... Emissions trading scheme reform ... $23.2 billion worth of farm gate revenue but only 6.2 cents in every dollar stays with the farmer .. . 700 hoggets ... "

I thought about father. He wore a coonskin cap. He built a log cabin in the woods, and hunted black bears. After he chopped up the sled, he set it on fire.

"‘No, don't," I wept, and clung to his leg. I remember the smell of suntan lotion. It was the summer of 1769.


Met with the ACT caucus in the TV lounge. I said, "We must continue to reflect the widespread concern felt by many New Zealanders that Maori are getting browner skinned."

Mavis, one of the residents, swung her head around from her armchair, and said, "Shhhh!"

I looked at the screen. I’d forgotten Neighbours was on. I watched Kate having an argument with Sophie. Kate said, "You called the police! What the hell were you thinking?" Sophie said, "I wanted to find Mark."


"For you to stop being mad at me all the time."

"Don’t ever do something that stupid ever again!"

"I didn’t know what else to do! I say sorry, and you yell at me! I give you space, and you yell at me!"

"Don't you dare talk to me like that!"

Don Nicolson said, "3700 ewes ... Feed wheat ... Cropping ... "

Mavis and I said, "Shhhh!"


Spent a long time in the hobbies room today, and made excellent progress on making a lampshade out of iceblock sticks.


Lay in bed this morning and called out, "Nurse!"

A man who I'd never seen before walked in. He was smiling, and held a bunch of flowers.

I said, "I've had a bit of an accident."

He rolled up his sleeves, and said, "Let's get you cleaned up".

He was fast and efficient. He said, "I might need your help one day, mightn't I?"

The more I looked at him, the more he seemed like a familiar face, possibly someone in public life. He never once stopped smiling.

» Stephen Braunias is an award-winning writer and author of four books.

The Southland Times