Former Labor Party MP dies at 85

 March 9, 2024

Jonathan Hunt, a former member of New Zealand's parliament - who was once the speaker of the country's House - has died at the age of 85, Radio New Zealand reports

Hunt was a member of the Labor Party, and he was one of the party's longest-serving members of parliament.

His death was announced on Friday, March 8, 2024.

The circumstances of Hunt's passing have not been reported at the time of this writing.

Who was Jonathan Hunt?

According to Radio New Zealand, Hunt spent nearly 39 years in New Zealand's parliament.

"Entering Parliament in 1966, Hunt was an MP for 39 years, 30 of which were as MP for New Lynn. Becoming a minister in the David Lange government, he held roles as Minister of Housing, Tourism, and Broadcasting, as well as the Postmaster-General role," the outlet reports.

It goes on to note that "Hunt was appointed Speaker of the House in 1999 by the Helen Clark government."

Hunt remained in New Zealand's parliament until 2005, at which point he left - although he did not completely give up his political life. Rather, he went on to become New Zealand's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom for a period of three years.

As stated, Hunt was a member of the New Zealand Labor Party, which is roughly equivalent to so-called socialist Democrats here in America.

Remembering Hunt

Chris Hipkins, the current leader of New Zealand's Labor Party has released multiple statements on Hunt's passing.

On his X account, Hipkins wrote:

Very sad to hear of the passing of Rt Hon Jonathan Hunt, former MP, Minister, Speaker, diplomat and lifelong Labour Party member and supporter. Jonathan devoted his life to public service and made a huge contribution. My thoughts are with his family.

Hipkins also has released another statement on Hunt's passing, in which he focused on Hunt's accomplishments. Hipskis said that Hunt's "contribution... represents a lifetime of public service at the highest level" and that Hunt "set the benchmark for the way Parliament is run today."

"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," Hipkins said.

Hunt was certainly a major figure in New Zealand politics. New Zealand Radio reports that Hunt believed that his greatest legislative accomplishment was the Adult Adoption Information Act 1985, which, according to the outlet, "made changes to enable adults to find out who their birth parents were, and for birth mothers to find out about their adult adoptees."

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