Fridays With Jim, by David Cohen (Massey 2020)

Neil's picture

Jim Bolger entered politics in New Zealand in the 1970s as King Country MP, and served as Prime Minister from 1990 to 1997. Now in his 80s, he spent a year reflecting on his life in regular meetings with David Cohen, and this book is presented in the first person as a narrative of Bolger's life in chronological order. Although very National in his politics, he was always somewhat unorthodox in his thinking, and in fact has largely rejected the neoliberalism that was a feature of his premiership. I think he regrets some of the harsher policies that were in play in the 1990s, as many of us do. He would be a better Prime Minister now than he was then, in my opinion, but nevertheless the book is a fascinating insight into what made a contradictory and thoughtful leader tick during a very difficult period in NZ history.