A look back at the life of respected former Deputy PM Jim Anderton

Long serving New Zealand politician and former Deputy Prime Minister Jim Anderton has died overnight, aged 79, 1 NEWS takes a look back over his extremely full life.

In a statement released on behalf of his wife, Carole Anderton, she said he passed away peacefully overnight at Cashmere View Hospital in Christchurch.

A Requiem Mass will be held for Mr Anderton at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 70 Spencer Street, Addington, Christchurch on Thursday 11 January, 2018 at 2.00pm.

Born in Auckland as James Anderton, he trained as a teacher but that was short lived as he hit the political arena as a city councillor in the mid '60s and '70s for the Manukau City Council. 

Mr Anderton's alliance with Labour saw him become an MP in 1984 but after falling out with leadership over economic policy, he established the new Labour Party.

Two new political parties followed Alliance and Progressive, which kept his seat safe in politics.

He successfully campaigned for Kiwibank, held an array of portfolios and became Deputy Prime Minister to Helen Clark in 1999.

Mr Anderton spent 27 years as a MP, holding the Sydenham seat which later became Wigram.

He then narrowly lost his bid for the Christchurch Mayoralty in 2010 to Bob Parker.

Since Canterbury's February earthquake, Mr Anderton became one of the faces for the fight to restore and save the Christchurch Cathedral which is a victory he witnessed shortly before his death.

He finally retired from politics in 2011, at the time holding the unofficial title of Father of the House and New Zealand's longest, continuously serving MP.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern took to Twitter to share her condolences, writing that the country has "lost a man of integrity, compassion and dedication to public service."

"Jim Anderton devoted much of his adult life to public service and to the ideals of the Labour movement," the Labour Leader said. 

"He was a towering figure in the Labour movement for several decades. He will be remembered as someone who stood up for his principles and for the people he represented. His integrity during difficult times marked him out as a true leader.  

"Jim's influence as President of the New Zealand Labour Party has lasted for decades. He built a powerful campaigning organisation, selected candidates who became Ministers and Prime Minister and he was an innovative fundraiser.

"His work to establish the Alliance and Progressive Parties was both difficult and trailblazing. He never gave up on the values of the Labour movement, and worked tirelessly to bring it back together through the years of the fifth Labour-led Government."

The Prime Minister ended by saying, "There are few figures in New Zealand politics like Jim Anderton.

"A man of deeply-held values and ideals, he was practical and compassionate. We mourn his loss, and extend our heartfelt sympathies to Jim’s wife Carole, his family and friends."

Mr Anderton died peacefully overnight in Christchurch, aged 79. Source: 1 NEWS