Cullen has cancer

Newshub reports:

Sir Michael Cullen has resigned from his role as Chair of the Bay of Plenty Health Board and as a member of the Lakes District Health Boards due to stage four lung cancer.

He said the news was “totally unexpected”.

“What was initially a CT scan of my heart has resulted in a clear diagnosis of Stage IV small cell lung cancer with multiple secondaries in my liver.

“Chemotherapy is likely to extend my lifespan somewhat, but it is clear to me I will not be in a fit state to carry on all that I have been doing in recent months.”

Shit that is devastating news.

Cullen was one of the giants of NZ politics as Finance Minister for nine years and Deputy PM also. He was arguably the most capable Minister in the Clark Government.

It was when Cullen was Finance Minister that I was allowed into the Budget lockups, and always enjoyed being able to question him on the Budget in front of all the other media.

Cullen post politics has been incredibly active. National gave him some SOE appointments and some Treaty claims to sort out and the current Government had him on two DHBs and EQC plus of course the Tax Working Group. He may have been 75 but he seemed pretty indestructible and I was assuming he’d be active for many more years.

All cancers are nasty but lung cancer especially so. An awful thing to have.

I wish him well with the chemotherapy.

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