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..
“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.