Dr Michael Bassett

Dr Michael Bassett

The Third Labour Government

Dunmore Press, 1976

Writing in the last week of December 1975, the New Zealand Herald's political correspondent, Don Milne, commented:

It is perhaps not too much to expect that future historians will judge the third Labour Government rather more kindly for at least some of its achievements than did the New Zealand voter on November 29.

This book about the 1972-5 Labour government headed by Norman Kirk then Bill Rowling is written by a professional historian, one who left the academic world to be a government backbencher in that parliament. Throughout the period he recorded impressions of events as they happened, imagining that one day he would write about his experiences in the House. Events on 29 November 1975 brought the date of writing forward. The book is not the one that Don Milne envisaged. Nor is it the kind of work that any non-participating historian would be likely to write. It is a participant's view. And while it lacks some objectivity, it most certainly will convey contemporary feeling and atmosphere that a later historian would find hard to recapture.