Former Deputy Prime Minister and Founder of Alliance and Progressive parties passed away overnight at the Cashmere View Hospital in Christchurch, his wife Carole said in a statement.
Mr Anderton was 79 years old, just two weeks short of turning 80.
Last year, he was appointed ‘Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit’ on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List. Governor General Dame Patsy Reddy decorated him with the insignia in September at the ‘Nazareth House,’ a Rest Home where he was living. He was on a wheel chair and appeared frail.
Long Public Service
Mr Anderton led a public life of five decades during which he served the local government (at the then Manukau City Council) and the central government.
He played a major role in the selection of candidates to contest in elections. Many of them later became ministers. He was also an innovative fundraiser.
He is credited with a number of initiatives including the Kiwibank, which has today emerged as a progressive commercial bank of New Zealand.
Mr Anderton was also a major force within the Labour Party, of which he was once the President and later formed a minority coalition government with his Progressive Party.
Many of integrity
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that New Zealand has lost a man of integrity, compassion and dedication to public service.
“Jim Anderton devoted much of his adult life to public service and to the ideals of the Labour Movement. He was a leader in Ministerial work, particularly in the Regional Development and Primary Industries portfolios,” she said.
Ms Ardern said that his work to establish the Alliance and Progressive Parties was both difficult and trailblazing.
“He never gave up on the values of the Labour Movement and worked tirelessly to bring it back together through the years of the Fifth Labour-led Government. He was a loyal servant of the people of Sydenham and Wigram, serving as a Member of Parliament from 1984 to 2011. He loved the people of Christchurch and his commitment continued beyond central government politics, including in recent years as Chair of the Stadium Trust and working to save the Christchurch Cathedral,” she said.
Jim Anderton (File Photo)