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Victoria Honours Influential Politician

MEDIA RELEASE 24 February 2004

Victoria Honours Influential Politician

A former Finance Minister and pivotal player in the major economic reforms of the 1980s in New Zealand will receive an honorary doctorate from Victoria University.

Hon David Caygill will receive an honorary Doctor of Commerce degree at the University’s graduation ceremonies in May.

Mr Caygill played a major role in the development and implementation of New Zealand economic policy after he was elected to Parliament in 1978 as the MP for St Albans, Christchurch. Initially the spokesperson for Local Government, Trade & Industry, and Energy, Mr Caygill became Minister of Trade & Industry when the Fourth Labour Government was elected in 1984. He was responsible for the Health portfolio from 1987 and in 1988 became Minister of Finance and Revenue.

Returning to the opposition benches in 1990, Mr Caygill was spokesperson for Finance, Justice and the Shadow Attorney-General. He became Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in 1993 until he retired from politics in 1996 to pursue a legal career.

Mr Caygill has close ties with Victoria University, having been involved with the Institute of Policy Studies since 1987. Mr Caygill has served on the Institute’s Advisory Board and has contributed to specific Institute projects, including authoring a chapter on the ministerial perspectives of risk for Risk and the Institutions of Government (2000). He was a significant participant in the Institute project on the relationship between chief executives and ministers that culminated in the Colin James’ publication The Tie that Binds (2002). He also contributed to the conference and book entitled Competition Law at the Turn of the Century produced by the Institute for the Study of Competition and Regulation.

Graduating with a BA (1971) and an LLB (1975) from the University of Canterbury, Mr Caygill initially worked as a lawyer and Christchurch city councillor before entering Parliament. In 1996 he joined national law firm Buddle Findlay as a partner, where he specialised in public law and advised a variety of government and private sector clients on a wide variety of issues including public sector reforms, local government and Treaty of Waitangi issues. At the end of February, he takes up appointment as deputy chair of the Commerce Commission.

Mr Caygill is also chair of the Accident Compensation Corporation and Education New Zealand Trust. He chaired the Ministerial Inquiry into Electricity from 1999-2000 and serves on a number of boards including Infratil.

Victoria University Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart McCutcheon says Mr Caygill’s advice has been greatly appreciated over the years by the Institute and his wide range of experience and expertise have contributed to its commitment to exploring, in a meaningful way, a complex array of political and government issues.

“The decision to award an honorary doctorate recognises Mr Caygill’s contribution to a defining period of New Zealand politics and to the political and legal system in New Zealand in general. His consistent practical application of principles of political economy in the public and private sectors has significantly benefited New Zealand. “


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