RIP John Armstrong

The Herald reports:

Former New Zealand Herald political journalist John Armstrong has died, aged 68.

He had a distinguished career reporting and commenting on politics for 30 years until ill health forced him to retire in 2015.

His incisive writing earned him great respect among peers and politicians alike.

Armstrong began work in the parliamentary Press Gallery in 1985 for the New Zealand Press Association and he joined the Herald in 1987.

He worked for a decade as the Herald’s political editor. In 2003, a few years after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, he became political correspondent.

John’s columns were mandatory reading for everyone in politics. No other column would be awaited so eagerly with his take on the week. They were massively influential because John was so fair and incisive. He was a model for press gallery reporting.

It is remarkable that he managed to carry on writing for 15 years or so with Parkinson’s. It was difficult to see his physical decline, but he didn’t let it stop him doing his job.

I do not recall a time when John Armstrong wasn’t in the press gallery. He was there basically my entire adult life. I first got to know John as a Young National, and then as a parliamentary staffer and since then as a blogger and commentator. He was always one of my favourite people to talk to on politics, as I often went away with some new thoughts that had not occurred to me previously.

I, like many others, will miss him. Rest in Peace John.

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