Muldoon minister and roommate dies

Last updated 00:00 01/01/2009

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Former National cabinet minister Bert Walker has died, aged 88.

Mr Walker was postmaster-general and held the tourism and broadcasting portfolios from 1969 till 1972. He was social welfare minister between 1975 and 1978.

A former parliamentary and ministerial colleague, Hugh Templeton, said Mr Walker was an intensely straightforward man who was gentlemanly and professional.

In 1960, he was elected MP for Papanui, a seat he held till he was defeated by former prime minister Mike Moore in 1978.

Mr Walker was a farmer and an accountant before entering Parliament and served in the air force during World War II.

Mr Templeton said that Mr Walker was the roommate of another new MP, Rob (later Sir Robert) Muldoon.

Both were accountants who had fought for their country and a warm personal and political friendship developed.

As social welfare minister in the Muldoon cabinet, Mr Walker was in charge of implementing National Superannuation, which had been National's main policy plank in the 1975 general election.

He died in Rangiora on Friday and is survived by his second wife, Susannah, three sons from his first marriage and four stepchildren. His funeral is tomorrow.

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- The Dominion Post

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