Sir Brian Talboys 1921 -2012

Sir Brian Talboys, eight-term National MP for Wallace, former Cabinet Minister and Deputy Prime Minister has died.

Sir Brian, who represented the Southland electorate of Wallace for eight elections from 1957, served as a Minister in the National Governments of Sir Keith Holyoake and Sir Robert Muldoon. He was Deputy Prime Minister under Muldoon from 1975 to 1981. 

    Born in Whanganui in 1921, Sir Brian served in the air force during World War II. After the war, he settled in Southland as a farmer and entered politics, winning the Wallace seat in 1957. 

    He was agriculture minister, science minister and then education minister under Holyoake, before becoming deputy leader of the National Party in Opposition in 1974, under Muldoon. 

    After National’s victory in the 1975 election, he became deputy prime minister and served in that role for the first two terms of the Muldoon Government, retiring in 1981. 

Credo Quia Absurdum Est notes that Sir Brian wrote to the NZRFU urging them to reconsider their invitation for South Africa to tour in 1980; and that he was named as a Companion of the Order Of Australia for his work on trans-Tasman relations..


Prime Minister John Key paid tribute to Sir Brian:

“I was saddened to learn of Sir Brian’s death and my thoughts are with his family at this time,” Mr Key says.

Sir Brian was a member of Parliament from 1957 to 1981 and served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1975 to 1981. He served as a minister across a range of portfolios, including agriculture, science, foreign affairs and trade.

“Sir Brian was a gracious and articulate politician who was always looking for solutions. He represented the best of the pragmatic tradition of the National Party.

“He had a truly international view of New Zealand’s place in the world and was a strong advocate of our trade interests in a time of profound change.

“He was heavily involved in the creation of CER and represented New Zealand’s interests when the UK joined the European common market.

“Sir Brian will be remembered for his wide and distinguished contribution to New Zealand politics,” Mr Key says.

4 Responses to Sir Brian Talboys 1921 -2012

  1. robertguyton says:

    Sir Brian had a view on the Springbok tour and could remember what that was.
    Good man.


  2. Neil says:

    Sir Brian was a true gentleman and a fine representative of the Wallace electorate.
    I knew him well. as a teacher during his time as Minister of Education. He came to my sole charge school at Athol and interacted beautifully with the kids. He was a man who greeted you every time you met, not like some other MP’s who greeted you only when no one else was there.
    I still remember Sir Brian coming to a party meeting in Gore after being on a long trip from Buenos Aires, the man was exhausted but he carried out his duties.He had tremedous influence over our rural community.
    One of the few men around who would have added class to being PM.
    Vale Sir Brian Talboys.


  3. robertguyton says:

    Sir Brian used to come in to our environment centre at Riverton to buy organic fruit and vegetables. He was a very pleasant man to talk with.


  4. dave says:

    I knew Talboys fairly well when he was a minister in Muldoon’s government. He was indeed a decent man and a very competent minister.

    I am pleased he lived such a long life. IIRC he had Parkinson’s even then, but it seemed a mild version, unlike the rampant kind that has turned Warwick Roger into a basket case at a much younger age.

    A running gag during the last year (1975) of the then Labour government concerned Island Bay Labour MP Gerald O’Brien being arrested for making homosexual advances to two teenagers in a motel. The gag had Bill Rowling (the Labour PM who succeeded Kirk who sadly died in 1974) saying to O’Brien: “Gerald, I told you to get stuck into Talboys, not small boys.”

    (I should note that the charges were dismissed at the Depositions stage).

    Actually IIRC again, that line was in a cartoon in Truth so it would have been daring for its day, defamation-wise. You wouldn’t get away with it now.


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