David Lange's Fourth Labour Government was a watershed in New Zealand history. Whether it was international politics (ANZUS, Mururoa tests, Oxford Union debate) or domestic economics (Roger Douglas's reforms), New Zealand was a vastly different country in 1990 than it had been when Lange won in 1984. The real story of this time has never been told until now, and Lange's own bestselling autobiography was disappointing in the lack of detail it contained. Written by Lange's cousin, and senior cabinet minister in that Government, Michael Bassett, here is the "inside the cabinet room" view of some of the most heady and turbulent times in recent history. Bassett writes of the real David Lange, a hugely gifted but hugely flawed politician, with his gift of communicating to the public but an inability to lead his own cabinet. Based on diaries kept at the time, private papers, and extensive interviews, Working with David brings together political drama and history, written by a participant who just happens to be a trained historian and a gifted writer.
Michael Bassett was a senior minister in the Lange government from 1984 to 1990, holding portfolios in Health, Internal Affairs, Local government and Civil Defence. He has written nine books on New Zealand political history, including his diary of the 72-75 Labour administration "The Third Labour Government", and biographies of former Prime Ministers Peter Fraser and Sir Joseph Ward. A former history lecturer at Auckland University, Bassett spent ten years on the Waitangi tribunal after leaving politics, and has been a visiting professor at both the University of Western Ontario and Georgetown University in Washington DC.