30 Mar 2013

Former cabinet minister Warren Freer dies

6:01 pm on 30 March 2013

Long-serving Labour MP and former cabinet minister Warren Freer has died at the age of 92.

Warren Freer was an MP for 34 years, and the number three ranked minister in the Labour Governments of Norman Kirk and Bill Rowling between 1972 and 1975.

As minister of Trade and Industry and of Energy Resources, he drew up the Maui gas agreement with the oil companies in New Zealand's first billion dollar project.

And he pushed through legislation on maximum retail prices in an attempt to curb rising prices, despite heavy opposition from the grocery trade.

He was well-known for promoting links with Communist China and was the first western politician to visit the country in 1955.

After retiring from Parliament in 1981, he moved to Australia's Gold Coast.

He has been succeeded in his Mount Albert electorate by two Labour Party leaders, Helen Clark and David Shearer.

In a statement on Saturday, Mr Shearer said Warren Freer was an honourable bloke who stuck to his guns. He expressed condolences to Mr Freer's family.

Warren Freer is survived by two sons.