I remember going to see new Minister of Employment Annette King in 1989 to ask for support for group apprenticeship in the motor industry. “Seems like a good idea, we’ll put up $50,000.” she said. I nearly fell off my chair. It was not the usual response from Ministers in those days.
But through her political life that has been Annette King to a T – positive, decisive, and supportive. She has made a huge contribution to the Labour Party and to Labour in government and will be very much missed. She is not finished yet, as she will be important to Labour’s 2017 campaign. She stayed on after the last election and has played a most important leadership role, helping steady the ship in this term.
She was a magnificent Minister of Health, re-focussing the portfolio on primary health care and prevention. Bringing in change of that scale requires focus, determination and leadership, all of which Annette King has in spades. National’s focus on operations, squeezed budgets and neglect o f mental health have taken us backwards.
She received universal praise from her constituents of whatever political persuasion as shown by the votes she received. Helen Clark increasingly relied on her political advice and support. We wish her well for the future. She deserves it.