Jim Anderton

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Jim Anderton

Jim Anderton, 2010.jpg
Anderton in 2010
15th Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand
In office
5 December 1999 15 August 2002
Prime Minister Helen Clark
Preceded by Wyatt Creech
Succeeded by Michael Cullen
Leader of Progressive Party
In office
Deputy Matt Robson
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPosition abolished
25th President of the Labour Party
In office
Preceded by Arthur Faulkner
Succeeded by Margaret Wilson
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Wigram
Sydenham (1984–1993)
In office
Preceded by John Kirk
Succeeded by Megan Woods
Majority8,548 [1]
Personal details
James Patrick Byrne

(1938-01-21)21 January 1938
Auckland, New Zealand
Died7 January 2018(2018-01-07) (aged 79)
Christchurch, New Zealand
Political party Labour (1963–1989, 2011–2018)
NewLabour (1989–1991)
Alliance (1991–2002)
Progressive (2002–2011)
Spouse(s)Carole Anderton
ProfessionBusinessman, politician
Signature Jim Anderton signature.svg

James Patrick Anderton CNZM (born James Patrick Byrne; 21 January 1938 – 7 January 2018) was a New Zealand politician who led a succession of left-wing parties after leaving the Labour Party in 1989.

Left-wing politics supports social equality and egalitarianism, often in opposition to social hierarchy. It typically involves a concern for those in society whom its adherents perceive as disadvantaged relative to others (prioritarianism) as well as a belief that there are unjustified inequalities that need to be reduced or abolished. The term left-wing can also refer to "the radical, reforming, or socialist section of a political party or system".

The New Zealand Labour Party, or simply Labour, is a centre-left political party in New Zealand. The party's platform programme describes its founding principle as democratic socialism, while observers describe Labour as social-democratic and pragmatic in practice. It is a participant of the international Progressive Alliance.


Anderton's political career began when he was elected to the Manukau City Council in 1965. In 1984, Anderton successfully stood as the Labour candidate for Sydenham in Christchurch. However, he soon came into conflict with the party's leadership, and became an outspoken critic of the Fourth Labour Government's free-market reforms, called Rogernomics. In April 1989, believing that Labour was beyond change, Anderton resigned from the party.

Manukau City Territorial authority of New Zealand in North Island

Manukau City is a former territorial authority district in Auckland, New Zealand, that was governed by the Manukau City Council. The area is sometimes referred to as "South Auckland", although this term never possessed official recognition and does not encompass areas such as East Auckland, which was within the city boundary. It was a relatively young city, both in terms of legal status and large-scale settlement – though in June 2010, it was the third largest in New Zealand, and the fastest growing. In 2010, the entire Auckland Region was amalgamated under a single city authority, Auckland Council.

1984 New Zealand general election

The 1984 New Zealand general election was a nationwide vote to determine the shape of the 41st New Zealand Parliament. It marked the beginning of the Fourth Labour Government, with David Lange's Labour Party defeating the long-serving Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon, of the National Party. It was also the last election in which the Social Credit Party won seats as an independent entity. The election was also the only one in which the New Zealand Party, a protest party, played any substantial role.

Sydenham was a New Zealand parliamentary electorate, from 1881 to 1890 and again from 1946 to 1996. It had notable politicians representing it like Mabel Howard, Norman Kirk and Jim Anderton.

As Leader of the Alliance and later the Progressive Party, he served as Deputy Prime Minister in the Fifth Labour Government from 1999 to 2002. In 2010, he ran unsuccessfully for the mayoralty of Christchurch. Anderton retired from Parliament at the 2011 election. After his retirement, he and former MP Philip Burdon were the two prominent campaigners for the restoration of ChristChurch Cathedral.

The Alliance was a left-wing political party in New Zealand. It was formed at the end of 1991 by the linking of four smaller parties. The Alliance positioned itself as a democratic socialist alternative to the centre-left New Zealand Labour Party. It was influential throughout the 1990s, but suffered a major setback after its founder and leader, Jim Anderton, left the party in 2002, taking with him several of its members of parliament (MPs). After the remaining MPs lost their seats in the 2002 general election, some commentators predicted the demise of the party.

Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand

The Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand is the second-most senior minister in the Government of New Zealand, although this seniority does not necessarily translate into power. The office was created as a ministerial portfolio in 1954. The officeholder usually deputises for the prime minister at official functions. The current Deputy Prime Minister is Winston Peters, the Leader of New Zealand First.

The Fifth Labour Government of New Zealand was the government of New Zealand from 10 December 1999 to 19 November 2008. Labour Party leader Helen Clark negotiated a coalition with Jim Anderton, leader of the Alliance Party and later the Progressive Party, and New Zealand First. While undertaking a number of substantial reforms, it was not particularly radical compared to previous Labour governments.

Early life

Jim Anderton was born on 21 January 1938 [2] in Auckland to Matthew Byrne and Joyce Savage. His father left the family and his mother married Victor Anderton. Matthew Byrne died in a train accident in the 1940s and Victor Anderton adopted Jim in 1951. [3] Jim undertook all his education in Auckland, attending Seddon Memorial Technical College and the Auckland Teachers' Training College. He graduated as a qualified teacher, but spent only two years in a teaching role (at St Peter's College, Auckland) before moving on to work as a child welfare officer in Wanganui. [4]

Auckland Metropolitan area in North Island, New Zealand

Auckland is a city in the North Island of New Zealand. Auckland is the largest urban area in the country, with an urban population of around 1,628,900. It is located in the Auckland Region—the area governed by Auckland Council—which includes outlying rural areas and the islands of the Hauraki Gulf, resulting in a total population of 1,695,900. A diverse and multicultural city, Auckland is home to the largest Polynesian population in the world. The Māori-language name for Auckland is Tāmaki or Tāmaki-makau-rau, meaning "Tāmaki with a hundred lovers", in reference to the desirability of its fertile land at the hub of waterways in all directions.

Auckland University of Technology university at Auckland

Auckland University of Technology (AUT) is a university in New Zealand, formed on 1 January 2000 when a former technical college was granted university status. It has five faculties across three campuses in Auckland: City, North, and South campuses, and an additional three specialist locations: AUT Millennium, Warkworth Radio Astronomical Observatory and AUT Centre for Refugee Education.

The Auckland College of Education, also known as the Auckland Training College and the Auckland Teachers Training College, was a teacher's college in Auckland, New Zealand's largest city. It was established in 1881 and was based in the Auckland suburb of Epsom. In 2004, the College of Education was merged with the University of Auckland's School of Education to form the current Faculty of Education and Social Work.

In 1960, he married Joan Caulfield and they had five children, two girls and three boys. [4] The same year he became the paid organiser for the Catholic Youth Movement in the Catholic Diocese of Auckland, and later worked as the secretary for the Catholic diocese in Auckland. He later moved into business, working as an export manager for a textiles company before establishing a manufacturing company, Anderton Holdings, with his brother Brian in 1971 and also bought a superette in Parnell. [4]

Diocese Christian district or see under the supervision of a bishop

The word diocese is derived from the Greek term dioikesis (διοίκησις) meaning "administration". Today, when used in an ecclesiastical sense, it refers to the ecclesiastical district under the jurisdiction of a bishop.

Parnell, New Zealand suburb of Auckland

Parnell is an upmarket suburb in Auckland, New Zealand. It is one of New Zealand's most affluent suburbs, consistently ranked within the top three wealthiest, and is often billed as Auckland's "oldest suburb" since it dates from the earliest days of the European settlement of Auckland in 1841. It is characterised by its mix of tree lined streets with large estates; redeveloped industrial zones with Edwardian town houses and 1920s bay villas; and its hilly topography that allows for views of the port, the Waitematā Harbour, Rangitoto Island and the Auckland Domain. To its west lies the Auckland Domain, to the south Newmarket, and to the north the Ports of Auckland.

Entering politics

Anderton in 1965 Jim Anderton, 1965.jpg
Anderton in 1965

Anderton joined the Labour Party in 1963 and first attended a Labour party branch meeting in Mangere in 1964. [4] His political career began in 1965 when he was elected to the Manukau City Council on a Labour ticket. In 1971, he stood for the Auckland City Council as a Labour candidate unsuccessfully and was the highest polling un-elected Labour candidate. [5] Three years later he challenged Dove-Myer Robinson, the incumbent Mayor of Auckland City, for the mayoralty, but was beaten by 7,000 votes. In the same local election, he also stood for the Auckland City Council and was successful. [6] [7] [8] Anderton had another tilt at the Auckland City mayoralty in 1977, but was again beaten by the incumbent. [6] [9] [10] In the 1977 local elections, he was successful in joining the Auckland Regional Authority. [6] At the same time, he worked his way up the internal hierarchy of the Labour Party. He became the party's president in 1979, a year before his term with the Auckland Regional Authority ended. He was also a long-standing member of the party's policy council.

Auckland City Council territorial authority for Auckland, New Zealand (1871-2010)

Auckland City Council was the local government authority for Auckland City, New Zealand, from 1871 to 1 November 2010, when it and Auckland's six other city and district councils were amalgamated to form the Auckland Council. It was an elected body representing the 404,658 residents of the city, which included some of the Hauraki Gulf islands, such as Waiheke Island and Great Barrier Island. It was chaired by the Mayor of Auckland City.

Dove-Myer Robinson New Zealand mayor

Sir Dove-Myer Robinson was Mayor of Auckland City from 1959 to 1965 and from 1968 to 1980, the longest tenure of any holder of the office. He was a colourful character and became affectionately known across New Zealand as "Robbie". He was one of several Jewish mayors of Auckland, although he rejected Judaism as a teenager and became a lifelong atheist. He has been described as a "slight, bespectacled man whose tiny stature was offset by a booming voice and massive ego".

The Mayor of Auckland City was the directly elected head of the Auckland City Council, the municipal government of Auckland City, New Zealand. The office existed from 1871 to 2010, when the Auckland City Council and mayoralty was abolished and replaced with the Auckland Council and the Mayor of Auckland.

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
1984 1987 41st Sydenham Labour
1987 1989 42nd Sydenham Labour
19891990Changed allegiance to: NewLabour
1990 1991 43rd Sydenham NewLabour
19911993Changed allegiance to: Alliance
1993 1996 44th Sydenham Alliance
1996 1999 45th Wigram 1 Alliance
1999 2002 46th Wigram1 Alliance
2002 2005 47th Wigram1 Progressive
2005 2008 48th Wigram1 Progressive
2008 2011 49th Wigram1 Progressive

In the 1984 general election, Anderton stood successfully as the Labour candidate for Sydenham in Christchurch, becoming a member of the Fourth Labour Government. [11] He soon came into conflict with the party's leadership, and became one of the most outspoken critics of Minister of Finance Roger Douglas. Douglas and his allies, Richard Prebble and David Caygill, were determined to implement radical reforms of the country's economic system, known unofficially as "Rogernomics". This involved a monetarist approach to controlling inflation, the removal of tariffs and subsidies, and the privatisation of state assets, all of which were regarded by Anderton as a betrayal of the party's left-wing roots, and an abandonment of the party's election platform.

Anderton's severe criticism of Douglas and his reforms earned him the enmity of many within the party, including some of those who otherwise shared Anderton's frustration; his public comments were seen as damaging the party's public image. His stance of vocally and publicly opposing Labour's neoliberal direction led him to eschew the prospect of becoming a cabinet minister in the Lange ministry. [4]

1989 split from Labour

Logo of the NewLabour Party NewZealandNewLabourPartyLogo.png
Logo of the NewLabour Party

Although many ordinary members of the Labour Party (who were unhappy at the way the party's parliamentary wing was behaving) backed Anderton, he became increasingly isolated in parliament. When Anderton disobeyed party instructions to vote in favour of selling the Bank of New Zealand (which Labour had explicitly promised not to do), he was suspended from caucus. In April 1989, believing that Labour was beyond change, Anderton resigned from the party. He later said, "I did not leave the Labour Party; the Labour Party left me." [12] All but one of Anderton's electorate staff in Sydenham left with him. [4]

On 1 May, Anderton announced the creation of the NewLabour Party, intended to represent the real spirit of the original Labour Party. Its primary goals were state intervention in the economy, retention of public assets, and full employment. In the 1990 general election Anderton retained his Sydenham seat, ensuring that NewLabour (and Anderton's criticism) would not fade away. A long serving office manager and campaign director, Jeanette Lawrence, said Anderton retaining his seat at the 1990 general election was the "happiest she ever saw him". [4] He was the first MP in New Zealand political history to leave an established party, found another and be re-elected to Parliament representing that new party. In parliament, Anderton attacked the policies of the new National Party government, particularly Ruth Richardson's continuation of Rogernomics.

In regard to leaving Labour in 1989, he later recalled: "I have no regrets about any of that. Under the same circumstances I would do exactly the same again." [12] Anderton was awarded the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal. [13]


Anderton and NewLabour were at the centre of the Alliance Party established in 1991. He became leader of the new party and in the 1993 election, was joined in parliament by Alliance colleague Sandra Lee. He briefly stepped down as leader of the Alliance for family reasons in November 1994, but was persuaded to return in May 1995.[ citation needed ]

In the 1996 election, the first to be held under the mixed-member proportional (MMP) system, the Alliance won 13 seats in Parliament. Anderton retained his constituency seat (by this point, the electorate was renamed Wigram) and he was joined in Parliament by 12 List MPs.

Anderton was the most prominent critic of the rash of party-switching (sometimes called "waka jumping" in New Zealand) that characterised the 45th Parliament, although remained silent about his own past party-switching. When Alamein Kopu, a list MP from his party, declared herself an independent and supported the National-led coalition, Anderton blasted her, saying her behaviour "breached every standard of ethics that are known." He later started a "Go Now" petition calling on Kopu and every other party-switching MP to resign; like Anderton himself in 1989 they chose not to resign. When Kopu founded her own party, Mana Wahine Te Ira Tangata in support of the government, Anderton suggested that the new party's creation smacked of corruption as a party leader rather than a mere independent, Kopu received an additional $80,000 in funding.[ citation needed ]

Coalition Government

Creating Kiwibank has been cited as Anderton's greatest legacy Kiwibank Logo.svg
Creating Kiwibank has been cited as Anderton's greatest legacy

By the late 1990s, Labour under Helen Clark had largely purged itself of the influence of Roger Douglas. Realising that the cost of a split in the left-wing vote would be a continuance of the National government, Labour and the Alliance agreed to form a coalition for the 1999 election. Anderton became Deputy Prime Minister after National lost the election. He was also given the newly created post of Minister of Economic Development, which had an emphasis on job creation and regional development initiatives. Anderton also co-authored the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, a sovereign wealth fund to partially pre-fund the future cost of universal superannuation, with Finance Minister Michael Cullen. [12]

The successful establishment of Kiwibank, a state-owned bank, is often cited as Anderton's greatest achievement. [12] It was initially opposed by both Clark and Cullen but Anderton eventually wore the Labour Cabinet down following several months of debate culminating with Annette King telling Cullen, "For God's sake, give him the bloody bank". [14]

Anderton, along with fellow Alliance MP Laila Harré, was also an invaluable advocate in the creation and implementation for 12 weeks' paid parental leave. [12]

Towards the end of the parliamentary term Anderton came into conflict with the Alliance's administrative wing. Party president Matt McCarten and his allies claimed that the Alliance had become too close to Labour, and that it should take a less moderate path; Anderton replied that some moderation was required for the Alliance to accomplish any of its goals. There were complaints that Anderton was too dominant in the party's decision-making and over the fact that he supported the government's stance on the bombing of Afghanistan, while the executive and wider membership opposed it. Eventually, Anderton and three other MPs left the Alliance, establishing the Progressive Coalition, later renamed the Progressive Party. In order to get around the Electoral Integrity Act, which had been passed largely because of Anderton's complaints about waka jumping, Anderton technically remained the Alliance's parliamentary leader until the writ was dropped for the 2002 election.

In the election, Anderton was returned to Parliament, and the Progressives took the Alliance's place as Labour's coalition partner. Although Anderton won his electorate, the small amount of support the Progressives received (1.4% of the party vote) was enough for only one other Progressive deputy leader Matt Robson  to enter Parliament. Anderton gave up the deputy prime minister's post to Minister of Finance and Labour deputy leader Michael Cullen. He remained Minister of Economic Development, and also held other ministerial portfolios. He ranked third in Cabinet, behind Clark and Cullen.

In the runup to the 2005 election Anderton renamed his party "Jim Anderton's Progressive Party". However, he was the only Progressive returned to Parliament by a narrow margin after many left-wing voters voted for Labour to prevent a National government from being elected due to a split on the left. He became Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry, Minister Responsible for the Public Trust, Associate Minister of Health, and Associate Minister for Tertiary Education.

The 2008 election saw a swing to the right, with National winning approximately 45% of the party vote to Labour's 34%. Anderton retained his seat but the Progressives' share of the party vote remained low, at less than one percent. [15] In a move described as "unorthodox" by the New Zealand Herald, Anderton announced that he would remain in coalition with Labour in opposition. He said that a priority for the Progressives would be to support better access to dental care. [16]

Christchurch mayoral candidacy

Anderton with Megan Woods (left), November 2010 Megan and Jim with Marty at the Riccarton Market.jpg
Anderton with Megan Woods (left), November 2010

Anderton announced in May 2010 that he would contest the Christchurch mayoralty. [17] He initially said that if elected to the mayoralty he would not give up his seat in Parliament because he didn't want to cause an expensive by-election. [18] However, following the 2010 Canterbury earthquake Anderton announced he would stand down as MP for Wigram if elected mayor so he could fully focus on rebuilding the city. [19] Anderton was leading the polls until the earthquake hit. He lost the election, taking 40.6% of the vote to incumbent mayor Bob Parker's 53.7% of the vote, with the rest of the vote split amongst numerous minor candidates.


Anderton's CNZM Investiture in 2017 Jim Anderton CNZM Investiture.jpg
Anderton's CNZM Investiture in 2017

Anderton retired from Parliament at the 2011 election. The Progressive Party did not run candidates in that election. At the time, he held the unofficial title of Father of the House as the longest continuously serving MP. During the election campaign, Anderton endorsed Labour candidate and previously unsuccessful mayoral candidate Megan Woods to succeed him in his electorate. [20] Woods was elected. [21] After his retirement, he put his energy into a campaign to have ChristChurch Cathedral restored after it had been severely damaged in the February and June 2011 Christchurch earthquakes; he worked on this campaign with former National MP Philip Burdon. They were ultimately successful in September 2017 when the Anglican synod made a binding decision to restore the church. [22]

He was appointed a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2017 Queen's Birthday Honours, for services as a Member of Parliament. [23] On 3 September 2017, he had a special investiture ceremony at Nazareth House attended by the Governor-General (Dame Patsy Reddy), the Mayor of Christchurch (Lianne Dalziel), and former Prime Minister Helen Clark. [22]


Anderton died in Christchurch on 7 January 2018, two weeks before his 80th birthday. [24] [25] [26] He was buried at Onetangi Cemetery on Waiheke Island. [27]

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  2. Who's Who in Asian and Australasian Politics. 11 September 2008. ISBN   9780862915933 . Retrieved 7 January 2018.
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  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Wright, Michael (7 January 2018). "The legacy of Jim Anderton: Former Deputy Prime Minister hailed 'one of the most highly-principled and idealistic' politicians". Stuff.co.nz . Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  5. "Declaration of Result of Election". The New Zealand Herald . 22 October 1971. p. 11.
  6. 1 2 3 van Beynen, Martin (23 July 2010). "The final push". The Press . Retrieved 19 September 2017.
  7. "Declaration of Result of Election". The New Zealand Herald . 22 October 1974. p. 19.
  8. "Declaration of Result of Election". The New Zealand Herald . 23 October 1974. p. 16.
  9. "Mayor back by 5633". The New Zealand Herald . 24 October 1977. p. 2.
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  11. Wilson, James Oakley (1985) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1984 (4th ed.). Wellington: V.R. Ward, Govt. Printer. p. 180. OCLC   154283103.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 "Jim Anderton remembered as champion of MMP, Kiwibank, paid parental leave". The New Zealand Herald . 8 January 2018. Retrieved 8 January 2018.
  13. Taylor, Alister; Coddington, Deborah (1994). Honoured by the Queen – New Zealand. Auckland: New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa. p. 47. ISBN   0-908578-34-2.
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  27. "Family say final goodbyes to Jim Anderton at Waiheke burial". New Zealand Herald. 13 January 2018. Retrieved 13 January 2018.
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
John Kirk
Member of Parliament for Sydenham
Constituency abolished
Constituency recreated after abolition in 1978
Title last held by
Mick Connelly
Member of Parliament for Wigram
Succeeded by
Megan Woods
Party political offices
Preceded by
Arthur Faulkner
President of the Labour Party
Succeeded by
Margaret Wilson
New political party Leader of the NewLabour Party
Party merged into the Alliance party
Leader of the Alliance
Succeeded by
Sandra Lee
Preceded by
Sandra Lee
Succeeded by
Laila Harré
New political party Leader of the Progressive Party
Party dissolved
Political offices
Preceded by
Wyatt Creech
Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand
Succeeded by
Michael Cullen
Preceded by
Jim Sutton
Minister of Agriculture
Succeeded by
David Carter
Honorary titles
Preceded by
Michael Cullen
Father of the House
Succeeded by
Peter Dunne