Former Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton has died at Cashmere View Hospital in Christchurch.
In a statement, Jim’s wife Carole says the former politician passed away peacefully overnight.
Responding to the news, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says 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 first elected to public office in 1965 as a Manukau City Councillor and served local then central government for more than 40 years, including as Deputy Prime Minister between 1999 and 2002. Jim was a leader in his Ministerial work, particularly in the Regional Development and Primary Industries portfolios," says Jacinda.
“He was a towering figure in the Labour movement for several decades. 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.
“Jim’s influence as President of the New Zealand Labour Party has lasted for decades. He built a powerful campaigning organisation, selected candidates who became Ministers and Prime Minister and he was an innovative fundraiser.
“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.
“Jim was also a loyal servant of the people of Sydenham and Wigram, serving as an MP 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.
“There are few figures in New Zealand politics like Jim Anderton. A man of deeply-held values and ideals, he was practical and compassionate. We mourn his loss, and extend our heartfelt sympathies to Jim’s wife Carole, his family and friends."