By Jim Dearsly
Posted: 6 August 2014
Trying to take notes of Sir Bob’s address was a bit like trying to record the make of every car on a motorway in rush hour. Speaking at Plimmerton Rotary Club on 5 August, Sir Bob recounted, in quick succession, one amusing anecdote after another about our Prime Ministers, from Fraser and Kirk to Lange and taking in Clark and Key. It was an entertaining romp through the past. His main theme though was his judgement and defence of Sir Robert Muldoon.
He is offended now by the media’s misrepresentation and character assassination of Muldoon. Like everyone he had his strengths and weaknesses. At that time Muldoon did represent the prevailing economic and social attitudes and it is unfair to judge him now with hindsight and on current thinking. He considers Muldoon to have been very honest, got things done, respected tradition, and got on well with people. He kept his election undertakings. However, Bob thought Muldoon was the only man in history who turned left as he got older. He did care about the good kiwi joker and he made mistakes in trying to protect the man in the street from world economic pressures outside his control.
Sir Bob clearly moved about the upper leadership echelons and had contact with many PMs over the years. He was not backwards in coming forward to express his opinions about some of them but the writer will not repeat them for fear of being sued for libel (and they say the greater the truth, the greater the libel).
All in all it was a very entertaining address and a real insight into our political past.