Long-serving former National MP and Deputy Prime Minister Sir Brian Talboys has died.

Sir Brian, the MP for the former Southland electorate of Wallace from 1957 to 1981, served as deputy to former Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon from 1975 to 1981.

He also served as a minister in portfolios including agriculture, science, foreign affairs and trade during his 24 years as an MP.

The Wanganui-born politician died in Invercargill yesterday aged 90.

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Prime Minister John Key today said Sir Brian would be remembered for his wide and distinguished contribution to New Zealand politics.

"I was saddened to learn of Sir Brian's death and my thoughts are with his family at this time," he said.

"Sir Brian was a gracious and articulate politician who was always looking for solutions. He represented the best of the pragmatic tradition of the National Party."

Mr Key said Sir Brian had a truly international view of New Zealand's place in the world and was a strong advocate of the country's trade interests in a time of profound change.

Labour leader David Shearer expressed his condolences to Sir Brian's family, friends and former colleagues.

He described Sir Brian as a dedicated politician.

"He served his country with distinction and we thank him for his contribution. Our thoughts are with Sir Brian's family and friends at this very sad time.''