Bruce Jesson, 1944-1999
Bruce Jesson grew up in Christchurch and earned a law degree at Canterbury University, but was never admitted to the Bar because he refused to swear allegiance to the British queen.
He never trained as a journalist but wrote and edited some of the most original, important and challenging journalism in New Zealand in The Republican, which he published on a hand-to-mouth basis from 1974 to 1995, as a columnist for Metro magazine, and in a series of books including The Fletcher Challenge: Wealth and Power in New Zealand (1980), Behind the Mirror Glass: The Growth of Wealth and Power in New Zealand in the Eighties (1987) and Only Their Purpose is Mad: The Money Men Take Over New Zealand (1999). Some of his collected writings were published posthumously in To Build a Nation, edited by Professor Andrew Sharp, in 2005.
He was elected to the Auckland Regional Council as an Alliance candidate in 1991 and chaired the Auckland Regional Services Trust from 1992 to 1995, keeping key assets such as the Auckland port in public ownership in the face of massive pressure by the National Government of the time to privatise them.