Former Deputy Prime Minister Sir Brian Talboys has died at the age of 90.
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.
My condolences to his family and friends.
Talboys could have been Prime Minister, if he had wanted the job badly enough. In 1980 Jim Bolger, Jim McLay and Derek Quigley organised the “Colonels’ Coup” and settled on Talboys as the preferred replacement for Muldoon. Talboys refused an open challenge though, and Muldoon fought back meaning no vote occured.
It is interesting to consider what may have happened if Talboys had become PM. Without the excesses of third term Muldoon, would we have had the Rogernomics revolution as a reponse?