Watch: Robert Muldoon admits defeat as 'Big Norm' storms to victory in 1972

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A rare glimpse of Robert Muldoon before he became New Zealand's Prime Minister shows him eloquently accepting defeat to Labour at the 1972 election. 

 

"One must congratulate the Labour Party," says Mr Muldoon who had been Finance Minister, on New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation. 

New Zealand had been governed by National since 1960, but in the 1972 election the party recorded 41.5 per cent of the vote compared to the 48.4 per cent of the Norman Kirk led Labour Party.

"This is an overwhelming victory," Mr Muldoon says. "I don't think the government can any excuses or recriminations.

"The people have decided they want a change of government and they've given that view very, very decisively."

Despite his diplomatic manner in conceding defeat, Mr Muldoon couldn't help have a dig, saying he did not think the Labour-led government would be "good for New Zealand" and he looked forward "with some relish to keeping a very close eye on the Labour government".

Labour went on to govern for just one term. Mr Kirk, who was also known as 'Big Norm', died in 1974 while in office.

Mr Muldoon went on to defeat Labour in the next 1975 election, winning 47.6 per cent of the vote to Labour's 39.6 per cent.

He held government until 1984. 

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