John Falloon, MP. Died aged 63.

Two new boys entered Parliament in 1977, David Lange and John Falloon. Mr Lange was the first to make his maiden speech but Mr Falloon was the first to make his voice heard in the House, asking a supplementary question on retirement housing for farm workers.

John Falloon died this week from a brain tumour.

He was elected National MP for the rural seat of Pahiatua, replacing former Prime Minister Sir Keith Holyoake, who had been appointed Governor-General.


At the time Mr Falloon was described as bearing a strong resemblance to John-Boy in the television series The Waltons. He admitted the similarity himself when describing his parliamentary ambitions.

"My first aim is to get to know the electorate, but I also want to make an informed contribution to the country's future. That sounds John-Boyish, I know," he said.

The first few years allowed little time for such perfection.

"There is no allowance for new boys. It is a hard world. If you are going to put a case you have to do it properly. Mr Muldoon doesn't suffer fools."

By 1981, Mr Falloon's roles included those of Postmaster-General, Minister of Statistics and Inland Revenue and, most importantly, Associate Minister of Finance.

"There is plenty to learn and I will have to put my head down and learn - rapidly."

The 1982 Budget, which contained plans to tax lump-sum superannuation schemes, brought howls of public outrage. Mr Falloon handled the conflict calmly, but concessions were demanded and made.

A wage-and-price freeze did nothing to enhance National's popularity and it lost the 1984 election. Mr Falloon retained his seat and was appointed opposition spokesman on overseas trade and agriculture when Ruth Richardson took over Finance.

In 1990, when National was back in power, Mr Falloon resumed his agriculture portfolio and picked up forestry and racing, where he introduced Sunday racing.

Mr Falloon was a conservative man, with a strong love of the land.

He upheld the role of women in society, believing the economy should be organised in such a way that young mothers should not be forced to go out to work.

He described country women as the "unsung heroes of the back-blocks". He pushed for a restructuring of the meat processing industry and the Meat Board, and supported deregulation of the transport industry.

Before he was elected to Parliament he farmed in partnership with his father at Bideford near Masterton. He retired from politics in 1996, when boundary changes in his electorate favoured Labour.

John Falloon is survived by his wife, Philippa, three sons and four grandchildren.