The Horowhenua Mail - - FRONT PAGE -

As far as po­lit­i­cal fence-sit­ters go, Pe­ter Dunne pi­o­neered and mas­tered the art.

Perched in the mid­dle of Labour to the Left of him, and Na­tional to the Right, the veteran Ohariu MP­worked the sys­tem to his ad­van­tage.

But, in the most un-Dunne man­ner, he spec­tac­u­larly called it quits on Mon­day, only weeks out from this year’s gen­eral elec­tion.

Dunne was first elected as an MP in 1984 as the Labour can­di­date for Ohariu. He was part of the Labour Party es­tab­lish­ment be­fore turn­ing in­de­pen­dent, and even­tu­ally be­com­ing the name and face as­so­ci­ated with min­now party Unit­ed­Fu­ture.

His cosy re­la­tion­ship to­wards the lat­ter part of his ca­reer with Na­tional showed what a po­lit­i­cal chameleon he could be. Out­side the cut and thrust of Par­lia­ment, and in his Ohariu elec­torate, Dunne was a throw­back to a dif­fer­ent age. There couldn’t be many MPs in the his­tory of New Zealand pol­i­tics who would have sat through more meet­ings and ap­point­ments at an elec­torate of­fice. It was Dunne’s po­lit­i­cal lifeblood and kept him con­nected to his com­mu­nity.

The 63-year-old walks away from Par­lia­ment ‘‘un­de­feated’’. Just like the ty­ing of one of Dunne’s bow ties, this elec­tion has plenty of twists and turns and a dash of ex­tra colour.

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