Overview

Robert Muldoon

(1921—1992) New Zealand statesman, Prime Minister 1975–84


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(b. 21 Sept. 1921, d. 5 Aug. 1992).

Prime Minister of New Zealand 1975–84 Born in Auckland, he made his early career in accountancy, becoming president of the Institute of Cost Accountants in 1956. In 1960 he entered politics as a member of the National Party and was elected to the House of Representatives. Never received with enthusiasm, he commanded great respect and credibility, which were crucial assets given the economic crisis that had arisen from the Kirk government. This ensured he gained the party leadership in 1974, and victory in the 1975 general elections, when he became Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

In office

Muldoon's years in office were a difficult time for the New Zealand economy. Oil prices had risen steeply in 1973 and the traditional market in Britain for New Zealand farm and dairy produce was reduced by Britain's entry into the EEC. Muldoon tried to overcome these problems through state intervention, by introducing price controls and farm subsidies. His foreign policy reversed the anti-nuclear and anti-racist policies of his predecessors. In an attempt to revive ANZUS, he welcomed US warships in New Zealand even if they carried nuclear warheads. Declaring that sport and politics should be kept separate, he revived the sporting links with South Africa which had been broken by Kirk, despite calls by the ANC for a boycott.

Subjects: Literature — Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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