It's not about the book. Of course it's about the book. Gerry Brownlee has done a support deal allowing him to remain as deputy leader and, as a stray dog in the street could tell you, John Key will be elected leader on Monday.
Timing? Well, party and caucus sentiment has been with Key for a month or two. I gather there have been meetings in the past week - including a critical one between Brash, Brownlee and English - but my guess is also that things were hurried along when the caucus got a better idea of what was in Nicky Hager's book. And it's not good.
The emails aren't the half of it: there's a large quantity of correspondence noted in the book; to, from and between the top ranks of the National Party, with many names involved. So there's a lot of evidence: it just remains to be seen exactly what it's evidence of.
I gather there's a lot more to the Exclusive Brethren story than we've hitherto seen. When John Campbell - if not the only interviewer who has read the book, then the only one who can admit to it while the injunction remains in force - ran Brash through his denials last night, he seemed somewhat incredulous that Brash was sticking to his story, albeit with a lot of "to the best of my recollection".
Essentially, it made more sense for Brash to step down now, and claim that it wasn't about the book, than to wait and remove any doubt.
Also expect a couple of well-known people who aren't National Party members to be at least a little embarrassed when the book comes out.
Thoughts? I'm not sorry. I hate where the National Party went under Brash - although you could argue whether that was more about the people who backed him and came with him than Brash himself - and I'm interested to see whether Key will pull the party back towards its old identity. The punters may care to debate whether (a) Key kept his powder dry and was rewarded with the leadership without need of a messy coup; or (b) Key walked into the whole thing ass-backwards.
So the Auckland City Council votes 13-7 in favour of the waterfront stadium proposal - but with a strong preference for a site "substantially eastwards" from the present site on Captain Cook wharf. That actually only means about 250m east, but it eases a number of urban planning concerns, and, on the face of it, opens up more waterfront along Quay Street. It also raises serious questions about how much room Ports of Auckland will have left to do its business.
In another of our running narratives, reader Jeremy Matthews noted that the domain registration for apple.co.nz passed to Apple Australia, which also holds itunes.co.nz. Remember where you read that first.
Jeremy posted an update, observing that: "there was a company registered on the 20-Mar-2006 called Apple Sales New Zealand. Of which the single shareholder is Apple Australia. The directors are two Australians and the Apple CFO."
This seems to support the belief that Apple is not only bringing an iTunes Store, but a fully-fledged Apple Store, online or otherwise. As I noted in a Hard News update yesterday, the goss is that an iTunes launch has drifted back to Dec 7 rather than Nov 28.
Righto. Best do some work so I can do U2 with a clear conscience tonight, and be sure to get there for Kanye West. No, I'm not the world's greatest U2 fan, but Ticketmaster invited me into their corporate box, so, hey, bring it on. (No, I don't know why they asked me, they just did.) Extra points for spotting Damian Christie in the crowd. He's been socially deprived in Wellington, poor love, but may well be glimpsed in a range of hospitable settings here this weekend. Give him your down-home Auckland love.