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King Dick Outlasted Winston Peters

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Winston Peters
Winston Peters

Tauranga, Nov 9 NZPA - The weight of political pedigree behind Winston Peters and New Zealand First failed to save the day.

Staunch supporter 80-year-old Dick Seddon, grandson of "King Dick Seddon," was prepared to accept that Mr Peters might not regain Tauranga, the seat he lost to National's Bob Clarkson in 2005 and to 32-year-old lawyer and Crown prosecutor Simon Bridges last night.

But he had his fingers crossed that NZ First -- despite Mr Peters' recent credibility crisis -- might somehow scrape past the necessary 5 percent party vote to remain in Parliament.

It was not to be.

His fifth MMP election saw defeat for Mr Peters and disappointment for Mr Seddon.

Dick Seddon did not know the man he was named. His grandfather died in 1906, the country's longest serving Prime Minister.

Richard John Seddon served as premier and prime minister of New Zealand from April 27 1893 to his death a few days short of his 61st birthday. He had served just over 13 years as PM.

After he died his son -- the current Dick Seddon's father Tom -- was elected to Parliament where he represented his father's West Coast constituency for 19 years.

Dick Seddon the grandson took a different political path.

A wool merchant, he became National Party secretary of the Heretanga electorate in 1960.

From a divisional councillor, he moved to being a Wellington organiser for the party for about 30 years.

At one point he was secretary of six electorates, Mr Seddon said last night as he awaited the outcome of the latest general election.

As for contesting a seat "I never felt that way inclined to stand."

Nor have his children, who live overseas.

Mr Seddon said he joined the exodus from National after 1990 when the Jim Bolger-led government and Ruth Richardson's "Mother of all Budgets" term turned supporters off in their droves.

He had known Winston Peters from "way back" and when the then Tauranga National MP formed NZ First "I thought, that's me."

At the time he was still living in Lower Hutt but later retired to Tauranga.

Last night's result for NZ First was a disappointment, but as Mr Peters told his supporters, you can't win every election - although "King Dick" did better than most.

NZPA WGT mac dj

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