Business Roundtable leader Roger Kerr has lost his battle with cancer. He drew plaudits from across the political spectrum yesterday for his contribution to the debate on free-market economics - mainly through his 25-year role as head of the Roundtable, a right-wing think tank.
Prime Minister John Key said Kerr was not afraid to raise important issues passionately and controversially, without making the debates personal.
"Despite his illness, he continued to provide his characteristically forthright views through newspaper columns and blogs as recently as [last] week."
Kerr was a proponent of Rogernomics. Act leader Don Brash said: "As well as his service to economic and public policy, Roger will be remembered for his unwavering ability to debate the merits of policies and ideas, not the people advocating them. New Zealand is poorer for having lost Roger."
The Greens acknowledged him as a "respected opponent". Party co-leader Metiria Turei said: "We disagreed with most of his views but he was prepared to debate them openly and frankly."
Kerr battled metastatic melanoma, going to the US this year for a second opinion on the disease that started in his wrist three years ago before spreading to his liver and shoulder blade by last October.
This year Kerr, 66, was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business.
He died peacefully at home on Friday night. He is survived by his wife, Act candidate Catherine Isaac, and three sons - Bernard, Nicholas and Richard - from his first marriage to Margaret Northcroft.
Kerr was a leading figure in the campaign against MMP.By Kathryn Powley Email Kathryn, APNZ