The 9th Floor

The 9th Floor

Conversations with five New Zealand Prime Ministers

If you’re going to lead, you have to have certain values that are important to you, otherwise you can’t lead, you just flip-flop around the place.
Jim Bolger

Nowhere is it written down what are the powers of the Prime Minister. . . . it’s your personality, it’s the skills that you’ve got, it’s how you use the office.
Helen Clark

Based on the acclaimed RNZ podcast series, and including new material, The 9th Floor by journalists Guyon Espiner and Tim Watkin presents in-depth interviews with five former Prime Ministers of New Zealand. Geoffrey Palmer, Mike Moore, Jim Bolger, Jenny Shipley and Helen Clark reflect on their time occupying the prime ministerial offices on the 9th floor of the Beehive. Their recollections amount to a fascinating record of the decisions that shaped modern New Zealand.

The question is, as always in politics, is what happens to people at the bottom? How do you make them catch up? Mike Moore

Until you’ve had the levers of power at your disposal, you don’t realise how fragile democracy is. Geoffrey Palmer

Sometimes you have to do the hard thing which is right, not the mindless thing, which may be popular, but actually is a terrible legacy to the next generation. Jenny Shipley

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Print publication:
Ebook publication: Aug 2017
Pages: 240
RRP: $39.99
ISBN: 9781988533223
DOI: 10.7810/9781988533223

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Finalist in the 2018 CLNZ Education Awards (Best Secondary Resource).


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Four former Prime Ministers spoke at an event to mark the publication of The 9th Floor at Te Papa on Friday 8 September. Watch the video at RNZ or Stuff!


'The 9th Floor with Guyon Espiner', RDU, 23 November 2017.

'Former PMs call for more NZ history in schools', Morning Report, RNZ, 12 September 2017.

Anna Connell, 'Never Give in to Election Fatigue', Newsroom, 11 September 2017.

The Nation (TV3) ran a poetry competition inspired by The 9th Floor. Listen to the four winning poems being read!

'Review: The potentially redundant book adaptation of prime ministerial podcast series ‘The 9th Floor’', Duncan Greive, The Spinoff, 29 August 2017.

'New Zealand prime ministers didn't find life in the top job easy', Liam Hehir, Stuff, 28 August 2017.

'9th Floor book: 'We're all in this together'', Tim Watkin, RNZ, 25 August 2017.