Former Deputy PM of New Zealand Jim Anderton Dies at Age 79

Photo via Stuff.co.nz

Former deputy prime minister James Patrick Anderton, one of the senior political figures of New Zealand, has died at the age of 79 in a Christchurch hospital.

Anderton was an idealistic former president of the progressive Labour Party of New Zealand. He became disillusioned with the direction of the organisation in 1989, so he broke away in order to create the NewLabour Party and, later, the Alliance Party in order to pursue full employment and the retention of public assets.

As the leader of the Alliance Party, he served as the deputy prime minister in a coalition government with Labour from 1999 to 2002 under prime minister Helen Clark.

He was born on the 21st of January 1938. Anderton died two weeks before his supposed 80th birthday.

On Sunday, Jacinda Ardern, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, said that Anderton had been a towering personality in the Labour movement for years. In an emailed announcement, she said that Anderton built a strong campaigning organization, he selected candidates who became prime minister and ministers and that he was an innovative fundraiser.

“He will be remembered as someone who stood up for his principles and for the people he represented. His integrity during difficult times marked him out as a true leader.”

“We mourn his loss, and extend our heartfelt sympathies to Jim’s wife Carole, his family and friends.”

The former deputy prime minister devoted a great part of his life to public service and utilised his retirement in order to campaign for the restoration of the Canterbury Cathedral that was severely damaged in an earthquake.