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RIP Jim Anderton

Written By: - Date published: 10:50 am, January 7th, 2018 - 67 comments
Categories: history, leadership, Left, progressives - Tags: ,

Jim Anderton was a politician of passion and principle. From 2017: Longtime politician Jim Anderton honoured in Queen’s Birthday list. He will be missed.

Updates:

67 comments on “RIP Jim Anderton ”

  1. Belladonna 1

    R.I.P. Jim Anderton – he was a good and principled man.

  2. Carolyn_Nth 2

    A summary of his life by RNZ.

    So, he passed peacefully – born 1938 – so about 80 years old?

    • mary_a 2.1

      @ Carolyn_Nth (2) … He passed away two weeks before his 80th birthday.

      A staunch principled socialist in every respect, a caring man who gave faithful service to his country, all the time holding strong to core Labour values.

      RIP Mr Anderton.

  3. Vaughn 3

    Sad news indeed. R.I.P Mr Anderton.

  4. Tracey 4

    Sad but boy was his a ife well lived and of service. He is to be creditted with some good stuff but holding Labour’s feet to the fire when it embraced neoliberalism and the “economy” as all that mattered.

  5. Ed 5

    R.I.P. Jim Anderton
    A man of principle.

  6. scott 6

    Principled, yes; but it’s not enough to say just that. He upheld the right principles – not the vacuous ones of the heartless Roger-gnomes.

    I live nowhere near Christchurch, yet I still voted with Jim’s parties, because there seemed to be no alternative at the time. Their policies, along with the implicit values, did not forsake the the early to mid twentieth century legacy of my hard-working grandparents: egalitarianism, lifetime employment, a fair go, family, community, parsimony, integrity.

    Thank you Jim. In many ways, you were an example for the rest of us to aspire to. I hope that your own life-affirming (political) legacy remains.

    • Ed 6.1

      Well said.

    • D'Esterre 6.2

      Scott: “I live nowhere near Christchurch, yet I still voted with Jim’s parties, because there seemed to be no alternative at the time.”

      Yup: me too. R.I.P. and thank you to a remarkable man. He won’t be forgotten by those of us who lived through those tumultuous years.

  7. joe90 7

    A voice of conscience and a thoroughly decent man.

    The world is poorer and his passing makes me sad.

  8. Ad 8

    Rest In Peace comrade. You made a difference.

    From my generation, I loved the work that you did forming the Ministry of Economic Development, rolling out a new framework of public sector coherence with the Growth and Innovation Framework, and rolling out regional economic development that really gave hope and delivery to dozens of communities right across New Zealand. And did it, unusually for the left, with sound business experience behind you.

    Others will remember the cataclysmic fights on the floor of Labour Party conferences back in the day – a bit early for me.

    Still others will remember the work for the people of Wigram electorate and of Christchurch more generally.

    Awesome to see a life well lived in service to others.

    Jim you were and are an inspiration.

    • OnceWasTim 8.1

      “From my generation, I loved the work that you did forming the Ministry of Economic Development, rolling out a new framework of public sector coherence with the Growth and Innovation Framework, and rolling out regional economic development that really gave hope and delivery to dozens of communities right across New Zealand”
      I hope its not too soon to say, then along came Steven Joyce and Jonathan Colemn and fucked it all up with MoBIE.
      Jim: caring, genuine, ethical, compassionate and a smart cookie. Steven: pffft – not so much

      • Ad 8.1.1

        Under its new masters MBIE will do fine.

        MBIE is a machine that is now too large to dismantle and is pretty useful at the moment, with having to spend $1billion in the regions for Winston, form housing Urban Development Agencies for Twyford, regulate great swaths of New Zealand industry, and be a fairly muscular arm that integrates infrastructural and housing development across all agencies.

        It was Anderton that ensured that New Zealand government in the 2000’s still had the capacity to call forth the cross-nation developmental thinking New Zealand had from the 1930s to the 1980s.

        • scott 8.1.1.1

          +1

        • OnceWasTim 8.1.1.2

          Kind of like – too big to fail.
          I know where you’re coming from. All it takes is a bit of spin and a lot of bullshit (like the word “Innovation” in its title). I’m sure it’ll do fine until its responsible Ministers wake up and realise they’ve been duped.
          I think [atm] they’re relying on that interim CEO.
          Jim wouldn’t be happy though

          • OnceWasTim 8.1.1.2.1

            My point being @Ad, the differences between the Ministry of Economic Development and MoBIE are stark.
            MoBIE failures are now a matter of record – several each year since its inception.
            Hopefully under new guidance things will improve. I’m holding my breath though until I see all those new Labour Inspectors we’ve been promised – you know, the ones the National Manager of the Labour Inspectorate told us we had enough of a couple of weeks before the election; improvements to Worksafe; proper resourcing of Immingration NZ; better monitoring by the Immigration Advisors’s Authority: better monitoring of building standards and cheap-shit steel, etc; and generally less reliance on inexperienced contractors and consultants.

            MPI got dismantled for less. I’m holding my breath and I hope there’s a superwoman in charge
            Oh shit…. I forgot to mention ‘mediation services’ and monitoring of landlords. In fact ANYTHING and EVERYTHING that requires a degree of monitoring of standards and adequate enforcement – from shitty steel, to rogue landlords, to rip-off employers.

            • Ad 8.1.1.2.1.1

              I understood your point the first time.

              Once Twyford actually starts delivering something I might generate a post on MBIE 2018.

              This isn’t the post to do it.

              • OnceWasTim

                Agreed!
                And actually good to hear (among all the tributes) acknowledgement of what a principled, compassionate and ethical man JA was.
                I look forward to watching and contributing towards ways we can all continue and improve on his legacy.
                This thread is a start.
                Cheers Ad

    • scott 8.2

      +1 (for Ad)

  9. Adrian Thornton 9

    Sometime during the early/mid eighties, I accosted Jim on the Waiheke ferry one evening when I was quite drunk, and I ended up having some crazy rave to (at) him about all inequalities of the world etc… I can’t actually remember the details of the conservation which lasted most of the trip, but what I do remember is that Jim listened, asked questions and was interested in what I had to say, which was probably (was) a lot more than I deserved at the time.

    To think that he didn’t just brush off this intense, young half drunk punk rocker say’s a lot about the man, and I have to say, that since then, when I start getting overly cynical about politicians I often remember back to that ferry ride.

    So long Jim, thanks.

  10. red-blooded 10

    Jim was my MP and he was a man who made time for his constituents and did his best to give us support and progress our concerns. I voted with him through all the various iterations of New Labour, Progressives, Alliance etc because he was staying true to Labour principals at a time when people like Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble were undermining them. He had heart.

  11. Jum 11

    How different would Christchurch be now if Anderton had been Mayor instead of Bob Parker.

  12. Peroxide Blonde 12

    He created Kiwibank. Good man.
    Every branch should have a photo of Jim on the wall for a month out of respect.

  13. Peter 13

    He was the last of the true Labour politicians. When the Labour party left him, it was no longer the party of the workers. RIP Jim.

  14. Tanz 14

    Agree Peter, he was old school Labour, the Labour Party I once supported. He was a good bloke.

  15. Glenn 15

    When I was going through a bleak time with my business (courtesy of Douglas & co)
    I wrote to Jim and received a kind considerate letter back within the week.
    His word was his bond unlike many of his fellow politicians in the 80s early 90s.
    NZ has lost a good man

  16. Sparky 16

    One of the few people in politics I have any respect for. A man of principle and honesty, he will be much missed.

  17. swordfish 17

    A very popular politician.

    Jim Anderton was the most Preferred PM for brief periods in both the early & mid 90s.

    Perhaps more tellingly, though, the 1993 New Zealand Election Study found that (of 8 Party Leaders & other leading politicians) he was easily both the most liked and least disliked among voters.

    Anderton was still very popular with Labour voters in 93 (remember this is well before his 1999 modus vivendi with Clark) but he was also able to draw support from voters right across the political spectrum to a degree that other leading politicians found impossible.

  18. peter.m.salmon 18

    Many years ago, Jim and I drank in the same pub. Whilst never friends I remember him as a very courteous man of principle.

  19. Ed 19

    A good man of integrity and right principles.

    ‘Anderton could have been a Cabinet minister but held out because he didn’t like the neoliberal direction the party was heading in under the leadership of Douglas and others.

    “I didn’t leave the Labour party,” he said after he’d finally had enough of Rogernomics and resigned to form New Labour in 1989, “The Labour party left me.”

    “Politics was never overly complicated for [him]. It’s about what’s right and what’s wrong.“

    https://i.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/97315586/former-deputy-prime-minister-and-christ-church-cathedral-campaigner-jim-anderton-dies

    • SPC 19.1

      I came across him in 1988, it was a protest at parliament in 1988, we managed to get into parliament (occupy) and Jim Anderton arranges to meet with us in one of the rooms.

      It was pretty obvious then he was not at one with the direction of the Labour government and was open to listening to what we had to say.

    • red-blooded 19.2

      I think Jim was right about the Labour Party of the late 80’s-early 90’s. I know my vote followed him when he walked out the door, and stayed with the Alliance for as long as it lasted. He and others like Laila Harre, Janette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald kept alive a Left alternative (even when they were squabbling amongst themselves).

      Having said that, let’s remember that Labour had people on the inside who were fighting to rescue the true heart of the party, and Anderton was comfortable enough with the Clark-Cullen government to serve as Deputy PM and then to stay on as Economic Development Minister for the 2nd and 3rd terms. I’m sure there were still disagreements (hey, politicians can be opinionated!) but clearly not irreconcilable ones. As I understand it, he and Clark (who had been friends originally) restored their trust in each other and their friendship during this time.

      Labour’s not in the same mindset as in was when Jim felt he had to leave. There are a lot of people like me in the party who will be mourning him, and who think of him as a true Labour person.

  20. McFlock 20

    My feelings are conflicted.

    A man willing to risk much for his beliefs, but then there’s the duplicity of 2002.

    Sigh. Humans are complicated.

  21. James 21

    Sad news indeed.

  22. Mr Jim Anderton was indeed a lone voice in the wilderness , – of political and economic insanity.

    During that time , there were very few leading politicians that cut through with the message of opposing neo liberalism. I remember him saying the very things that I agreed with , – and being perplexed at all the new found opposition leveled against him.

    He should be post posthumously knighted.

    He ranks up there with Michael Joseph Savage and the like,- despite the fact he lived in another time and had such massive forces opposed to him such as the Business Roundtable ( NZ Initiative ) .

    He , among a handful of others at the time , – were the only ones actively in parliament opposing neo liberalism. They were mocked, shouted down and marginalized. Such was and still is the power of corporate interests influence in NZ politics.

    And for those who do not understand or were not born or too young at the time, – this is what Anderton and that handful of ‘others’ had to contend with :

    New Right Fight – Who are the New Right?
    http://www.newrightfight.co.nz/pageA.html

    James Patrick Anderton.
    21 January 1938, -7 January 2018.

    A true servant of the people.

    Stand honoured among the illustrious politicians of this nations history , Jim.

    • Marcus Morris 22.1

      At the moment I am feeling almost as saddened at this news as I was when Norm Kirk left us. Back in the seventies Time Magazine had Jim Anderton on their front cover as a leader of the future. He was a staunch ally of Bill Rowling and, as President of the Party, laid the foundations for David Lange’s 1984 victory. In my opinion, if Jim had entered parliament (which many urged him to do) before David Lange came on the scene he would almost certainly have taken over the parliamentary leadership and, had he done so, prevented the excesses of Roger Douglas. How different New Zealand might have been today. Jim was also a very successful business man and clearly very wealthy but he never lost the “common touch”. Jim also experienced great personal tragedy but this did not deter him from his goal of recreating the society he remembered and believed in. Jim was great humanitarian who will be very much missed.

  23. millsy 24

    My first vote was for the Alliance in 1999. Without that party, I doubt we would have got PPL, Kiwibank, or even the return of income related rents. Jim Anderton’s, along with Matt McCarten’s refusal to compromise in 2002 was the only blot on a great copybook.

    • swordfish 24.1

      Yeah, I Party-Voted Alliance in 99 and 02.

      In doing so, I was one of only around 9000 people.

      Harre’s Alliance received 26000 votes in 2002 – but the New Zealand Election Study suggests not much more than a third of these had actually cast a vote for the Party in 99.

      Personally, while I favoured the Harre-McCarten side, I don’t think the big split in any way negates Anderton’s crucial role in (as Chris Trotter puts it) restoring “the electorate’s belief that progressive, centre-left policies were, once again, achievable in New Zealand.”

      • SPC 24.1.1

        Alliance got 160,000 votes in 1999 (8%) just ahead of ACT (7%).

        While less than the 10% of 1996, this was after the Greens left (and went on to get 5% themselves), so the overall vote increased.

        It was 18% in 1993 under FPP (NZF had 8%) and New Labour won 5% in 1990.

        • swordfish 24.1.1.1

          Just to be clear – I was talking about Harre’s Alliance in the 2002 Election

          I was one of only around 9000 people who Party-voted Alliance in both Elections
          (99 and 02)

  24. mosa 25

    Travel well Jim and thank you for standing up for me and thousands of other forgotten and dispensable New Zealanders since 1984.

    You are the last of the real kiwi socialists in a country now forgotten for its compassion and values.

    You won’t be replaced.

    And unlike a former leader who was desperate to be knighted to enforce his own ego and self important status you declined when it was first offered.

    You had guts and temerity and your speech on election night 1993 was one of the best i have ever heard.

    We have been well served and again thank you Jim Patrick Anderton.

    • Olwyn 25.1

      Well said mosa. R.I.P Jim Anderton, and thank you.

      • greywarshark 25.1.1

        Yes, the same. Farewell another of my age cohort. Jim, the rest of us will try to keep carrying the banner, onward Don Quixotes and Sancho Panzas, every small success is 100% better when you start from a low base.

  25. eco maori 26

    I don t know much about Jim Anderton from the other good people comments .
    I say one of OUR great leaders has just passed and he should be honored for all the great things he accomplished in his amazing life time you see I was did not take politics seriously when Jim was at his best . I new a few names and a few policy’s Party names very little knowledge on the subject .Best wishes to Jim Andertons Whanau .Ka Pai

  26. Ed 27

    Jim Anderton.

    A man of integrity.
    A man of principle.
    A man of compassion.

    A true socialist.

  27. Venezia 28

    ‘ A Requiem Mass will be held for Mr Anderton at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 70 Spencer Street, Addington, Christchurch on Thursday 11 January, 2018 at 2.00pm.”
    Stuff 7/1/2017

  28. SPC 29

    If Labour was lead by Anderton and not Douglas/Lange 1984-1990? …

    • OnceWasTim 29.1

      It’d be a different world probably. The thing is though that if JPA had held sway, we’d probably also have a different opinion of Lange – and Helen for that matter.
      No point in cudda shudda wuddas. It’s what we do now to respect his legacy – and I note how some of the neo-libs are having cause to review their contributions.

  29. cleangreen 30

    I feel gutted that Labour did not bring Jim Forward on our Public service media RNZ/TVNZ after the campaign to get labour re-elected so now they must honour this real Labour man as the ultimate example of how Labour intend to be in future.

    Honour Jim Anderton was a great New Zealander, and a true to heart Labour idealist that fought so hard for the rights and voice of the 99% who never had any voice to represent them, and as Helen Clark said yesterday Jim fought all his life for labour party to be “a kinder gentler fair Government”

    Jim Anderton did all this, with style and character that everyone saw him as a true human face.

    Those principals now need to be engendered in everything this new labour coalition does from this point onward to ensure that Labour is to be re-elected in 2020.

    Most importantly to do it to honour of our ‘true’ fallen hero of the labour movement.

  30. Ovid 31

    RIP Jim Anderton. He was in politics for the right reasons and did a lot of good.

  31. Ed 32

    Helen Clark

    ‘”I think it goes over and beyond the creation of institutions like Kiwibank, or building up what was then the Ministry of Economic Development. I think the legacy is that this man stood for the poor and marginalised, and gave a voice to the voiceless. He really cared about people.”

  32. Anthony Rimell 33

    The sun is shining in Otautahi today, but it’s a grey day. We’ve lost a great person, a true legend.

    People of principle are so rare that we all need to stop and celebrate their lives when they pass.

    Jim was such a person. Today, like so many others, I’ll stop and spend time remembering the battles he fought to ensure Governments had heart and viewed people as taonga not chattels.

    Well done Jim. RIP. I know many will want to take up the flag you inspired us to carry. But no-one will do it with quite your style, panache, and with that unique smile.

  33. Ad 34

    Anyone else here a Kiwibank customer?

    Thanks Jim.

  34. Ed 35

    Martin Bradbury

    ‘Rest in peace Jim, you were a bigger man than Labour’s treachery could ever contain.’

    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2018/01/07/rest-in-peace-jim-anderton/

  35. Tony Veitch (not etc) 36

    Thank you, Jim, for giving me something to believe in and vote for during those bleak years of Rogernomics. God knows what I would have voted, if at all, if it hadn’t been for New Labour and the Alliance.

    R.I.P.

  36. rod 37

    Thank you Jim, the best PM New Zealand never quite got. R.I.P

  37. Jimmy Ramaka 38

    Jim Anderton was in politics for the right reasons, he wanted to make NZ a better country, and he did not let his ego get in the way.

    Unfortunately 95% of New Zealanders do not understand politics/economics and are very tribal in their voting patterns.

    Also we have a MSM who has a big influence on the outcome of Elections with right wing media commentators like Mike Hoskings, Paddy Gower, Adrian Burr, Audrey Young, Barry Soper, Corrin Dann the list goes on, preaching nonsense.

    We need some independent, rational, academic, objective, professional journalism in this country rather than the trash we are fed on a daily basis by MSM.

    Regards
    Jimmy

  38. Cemetery Jones 39

    The Alliance was the party which broke through my 90s teen apathy about the possibility of parliamentary politics being effective and got me to the polls believing that my vote could really count. I’ll always owe you one for that, and so much more, Jim Anderton. RIP to a great New Zealander.

  39. Molly 40

    Many years ago, I helped with an education project where the students wrote to all the current MP’s. Letters printed and posted by mail.

    Two MP’s went past the courtesy of a rote reply. One, Nanaia Mahuta, the other Jim Anderton.

    I remember distinctly his response, while contradicting the original request – providing his reasoning and evidence for his perspective. At the time, I thought, how graciously he did so.

    To consider the time he spent to do this with students he did not know, gives an indication of the care he took with his service and role as representative.

    I voted for Alliance and supported his reelection as representative before he retired. If only there were more mentors like this in parliament for new and upcoming MPs.

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  • Speech to the Criminal Bar Association
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