The Council of Trade Unions says the late Jim Anderton stood by workers throughout the neoliberal onslaught — and led the charge for an alternative vision for New Zealand.
CTU president Richard Wagstaff says this has put communities and working people ahead of the free market, and puts values ahead of excessive greed.
A man of the people
The CTU has expressed its sympathy to the family of the long-time left wing Labour leader Jim Anderton, following his death at the weekend. And the CTU has also marked his huge contribution to New Zealand political life.
Richard Wagstaff says that Jim Anderton had been a friend and ally to working people throughout his extensive political career.
“Working people experienced dark days after the neoliberal onslaught on their rights at work and the social safety net that protected them in the 1980s and 1990s – in particular the devastating Employment Contracts Act.
Founding father of Kiwibank too
“Jim will be also remembered for the foresight to establish KiwiBank, and for valuing strong public services generally,” he says.
“Jim was also strongly committed to industry and regional development, as is well known, and I’d like to record the union movement’s appreciation of Jim’s inclusive approach to this work.
“He understood that industry is made up of workers and employers alike, and ensured workers’ vital interest in strong industries was recognised.”
“Our thoughts are with Jim’s wife Carole and their extended family,” Richard Wagstaff says.
(Scroll down to January 8 to see our earlier Jim Anderton and Kiwibank story.)
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says: “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.”
Ms Ardern says Anderton’s influence as president of the New Zealand Labour Party “lasted for decades”He built a powerful campaigning organisation, selected candidates who became ministers and Prime Minister and he was an innovative fundraiser.”
She described his work to establishing the Alliance and Progressive Parties as “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,” she says.
“Jim was also a loyal servant of the people of Sydenham and Wigram, serving as an MP from 1984 to 2011.”