Former deputy PM Bob Tizard dies

  • 28/01/2016
Bob Tizard
Bob Tizard

Former Deputy Prime Minister and Labour MP Bob Tizard has died, aged 91.

Labour leader Andrew Little has paid tribute to Mr Tizard, who was a Labour MP for 30 years and represented the seats of Tamaki, Otahuhu, Pakuranga and Panmure.

"Bob was a delight, he was great company. He had a mind like a steel trap -- you were never left wondering what he thought, about anything," Mr Little says.

"The Labour Party sends their sincerest thoughts and condolences to his family and loved ones. Bob was one of a kind."

He was a Minister of Health under the Norman Kirk government in 1972 and held the Defence and Science and Technology portfolios under the David Lange administration.

Mr Tizard became Deputy Prime Minister under Bill Rowling and was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2000 for his commitment to the public service.

"Michel Cullen once described him as being one of the most gifted people to have sat in Parliament, noting he was capable of making an 'absolutely superlative speech', without notes," Mr Little says.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters called Mr Tizard a "real political character".

"Bob Tizard was a real parliamentarian with a good grasp of the facts and with a real sense of history. The fact he didn't suffer fools gladly did not diminish in any way the role he played in Parliament, whether in government or in opposition."

As Health Minister, Mr Tizard secured more funding to reduce staff shortages and lower charges for patients, established the practice nurse scheme, significantly reduced waiting lists, established drug addiction treatment clinics, and increased subsidies for rest homes.

As Minister of Finance, he brought in lower tax rates for many on low incomes, brought in a standard tertiary bursary and increased low-cost lending for housing.

One of his daughters, Judith, was a minister in Helen Clark's government.

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