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Labour remembers long-serving MP Jonathan Hunt

The Labour Party is sad to learn of the death of one of its longest-serving Members of Parliament, Jonathan Hunt.

“Jonathan was a true Parliamentarian and Labour stalwart,” Labour Leader Chris Hipkins said.

“His contribution as an MP, Minister, Speaker of the House and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom represents a lifetime of public service at the highest level.”

Jonathan Hunt was first elected to Parliament in 1966, was Chief Whip and then a Minister in the David Lange Government and Speaker of the House under Helen Clark before heading to London. He was a member of the Order of New Zealand.

As Minister of Broadcasting he oversaw a modernisation of the sector, approving the original license for TV3 – New Zealand’s first commercial television channel. In his valedictory speech, he spoke of his work to help save the National and Concert programmes. He served as Postmaster-General, Minister of Housing and Minister of Tourism.

One of the pieces of legislation Jonathan was most proud of was the Adult Adoption Information Act 1985, which made a change that enabled adults to find out who their birth parents were, or birth mothers to find out about their adult adoptees. He was also very proud of his Parliamentary work, saying as he left that ‘I just like to think that the New Zealand Parliament today is a very much better place than it was.’

“Jonathan was legendary for his warmth and hospitality and had a deep love of cricket. He was always generous with his time to young people with an interest in politics and was very supportive of new MPs, even after he left Parliament,” Chris Hipkins said.

“As Speaker for six years of the MMP era, he set the benchmark for the way Parliament is run today.

“Jonathan was MP for New Lynn for 30 years, and a list MP for nine years – serving an impressive nearly 40-year career,” Chris Hipkins said.

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