David Lange

David Russell Lange ONZ CH PC (/ˈlɒŋi/ LONG-ee; 4 August 1942 – 13 August 2005) was a New Zealand politician who served as the 32nd prime minister of New Zealand from 1984 to 1989.

David Lange

Prime Minister David Lange, at the opening of the new Foxton Post Office, 1980s
32nd Prime Minister of New Zealand
In office
26 July 1984  8 August 1989
MonarchElizabeth II
Governor-GeneralDavid Beattie
Paul Reeves
DeputyGeoffrey Palmer
Preceded byRobert Muldoon
Succeeded byGeoffrey Palmer
35th Minister of Education
In office
24 August 1987  8 August 1989
Preceded byRussell Marshall
Succeeded byGeoffrey Palmer
20th Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
26 July 1984  24 August 1987
Preceded byWarren Cooper
Succeeded byRussell Marshall
23rd Leader of the Opposition
In office
3 February 1983  26 July 1984
Preceded byBill Rowling
Succeeded byRobert Muldoon
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Mangere
In office
26 March 1977  12 October 1996
Preceded byColin Moyle
Succeeded byTaito Phillip Field
Personal details
Born(1942-08-04)4 August 1942
Otahuhu, Auckland, New Zealand
Died13 August 2005(2005-08-13) (aged 63)
Middlemore, Auckland, New Zealand
Cause of deathComplications from renal failure and diabetes
Resting placeWaikaraka Cemetery
Political partyLabour
Naomi Joy Crampton
(m. 1968; div. 1991)

Margaret Pope
(m. 1992)
ParentsRoy Lange
Phoebe Fysh Lange
RelativesPeter Lange (brother)
Michael Bassett (third cousin)
ProfessionLawyer, Politician
AwardsRight Livelihood Award

A lawyer by profession, Lange was first elected to the New Zealand Parliament in the Mangere by-election of 1977. He soon gained a reputation for cutting wit (sometimes directed against himself) and eloquence. Lange became the Leader of the Labour Party and Leader of the Opposition in 1983, succeeding Bill Rowling.

When Prime Minister Robert Muldoon called an election for July 1984 Lange led his party to a landslide victory, becoming, at the age of 41, New Zealand's youngest prime minister of the 20th century. Lange took various measures to deal with the economic problems he had inherited from the previous government. Some of the measures he took were controversial; the free-market ethos of the Fourth Labour Government did not always conform to traditional expectations of a social-democratic party. He also fulfilled a campaign promise to deny New Zealand's port facilities to nuclear-armed and nuclear-powered vessels, making New Zealand a nuclear-free zone. Lange and his party were re-elected in August 1987; he resigned two years later and was succeeded by his deputy, Geoffrey Palmer. He retired from Parliament in 1996. Prime Minister Helen Clark described New Zealand's nuclear-free legislation as his legacy.[1]