Obituary for Stanley Joseph Rodger, politician.
Stan Rodger, former Cupboard Secretary, took middle stage on the Labor Occasion in Dunedin. Generations of native Labor MPs and aspiring candidates got here to him and benefited from the knowledge and expertise of a shrewd politician who was a central determine within the Fourth Labor Occasion authorities.

Mr Rodger, who died on Might 29, additionally provided recommendation from afar, calling and emailing a staggering number of contacts with options or reflections from a life in politics.

Stan Rodger was born in Dunedin on February 13, 1940 to James Rodger, a Scottish immigrant baby, and his Dunedin-born spouse, Edith Rodger.
His dad and mom, like lots of their era, grew to become staunch Labor Occasion supporters as a result of they lived by way of the Nice Despair: Mr Rodger stated he was born a Labor man and grew up figuring out hardly any nationwide voters.

After receiving a stable primary schooling at Kaikorai Major College, Mr. Rodger attended King Edward Technical College from 1954 to 1957 earlier than turning into a cadet within the Workplace of the Division of Labour.

From his youth Mr Rodger aspired to turn out to be a Member of Parliament and in 1957 he took step one on that path when he joined the Wakari department of the Labor Occasion and got down to lead the marketing campaign within the staunch nationwide Help Otago Central headquarters.

Regardless of his apparent ambitions – Mr Rodger had needed to be a Cupboard Secretary since his 20s and Labor Secretary since his 30s his life’s aspiration – and his unwavering dedication to the Labor Occasion trigger, Mr Rodger was to have an extended schooling earlier than he lastly was named as a candidate for a winnable seat.

The cheeky 23-year-old’s age labored in opposition to him when he sought Dunedin Central’s nomination for the 1963 election, however Labor was delighted to see Mr Rodger minimize his enamel as a sacrificial lamb within the unwinnable Otago Central.

His laudable efficiency in securing a 15 per cent momentum and decreasing the nationwide majority to 2675 helped Mr Rodger make one other leap elsewhere in 1966, however Waitaki was simply as unlikely to be fertile territory for a Labor candidate: Mr. Rodger was second once more.

Nonetheless, away from the hustle and bustle, Mr. Rodger made a lot better progress.

In 1962 he was promoted and transferred to headquarters in Wellington, the place he rose by way of the ranks of the civil service, first on the Division of Labor after which on the Housing Company.

As befits a powerful Labor man, Mr Rodger additionally grew to become a staunch commerce unionist and thru his involvement with the Wellington department of the Public Service Affiliation he met ‘the formidable Miss O’Connor’ – often called a pair Mrs Anne Rodger was married on October 19, 1968 in Wellington.

The couple had two kids, Craig (born 1972) and Gillian (born 1973).

Mr. Rodger continued his rise within the PSA, turning into a member of the Government Committee and turning into Vice President in 1965 and President in 1970.

He additionally rose to nationwide prominence within the Labor Occasion, working for vice-presidency and serving a wide range of roles – most notably chairing the 1977 Mangere by-election candidate choice session, at which future Prime Minister David Lange was nominated Labor Occasion man for the seat.

Though a Wellington resident – and having run unsuccessfully for the Wellington Hospital Board and Wellington Metropolis Council – Mr Rodger nonetheless stored an in depth eye on Otago politics, and in 1975 he once more unsuccessfully threw his hat within the ring for the seat in Dunedin North.

A celebration elder prophetically stated to a discouraged Mr. Rodger, “We’ll lose this seat. Come again and win it in three years,” and that is precisely what occurred, Richard Partitions received the seat as a part of a nationwide landslide.

In 1978, the Rodgers returned to Dunedin after Stan secured the Dunedin North nomination and launched into a hard-fought marketing campaign through which he needed to defend his native credentials by arranging an Night Star photoshoot of Gillian outdoors his personal gates former college, Kaikorai Major.

Whereas Nationwide retained the Treasury benches, Mr Rodger finally made it into Parliament with a cushty majority of 2850, aided by marketing campaign supervisor Pete Hodgson – finally Mr Rodger’s successor in Dunedin North – and future Deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen.

Each males and lots of different Labor MPs within the years that adopted benefited from Mr Rodgers’ considerate and considerate recommendation. The idea of his early and future victories was cautious planning: Mr. Rodger maintained an in depth mailing listing and maintained a daily collection of conferences with native figures to make sure he was knowledgeable early on of points within the voters.

It was a degree of preparation and group Mr Rodger had developed in his wage negotiation days, and it was a lifelong behavior: Earlier than his dying, he organized his memorial service and commissioned former press secretary Debbie Hannan to write down a 100-page biography distributed to his companies and invited this reporter for a background interview to assist put together his obituary.

Constituency work appealed to Mr Rodger, who shortly made certain he attended each college honest within the seat every year, a coverage championed by Mr Hodgson and now Dunedin MP David Clark.

His managerial expertise have been quickly utilized by Labour, making him Junior Whip in 1980 and shadow Postmaster-Normal in 1982. Mr. Rodger’s time had come.

A cushty victory was adopted by the newly elected prime minister, who provided Mr Rodger his coveted function as labor secretary – one he solely accepted as long as he may even have the federal government companies portfolio.

Though the financial reforms enacted by Treasury Secretary Roger Douglas are the lasting reminiscence of that authorities, Mr Rodger additionally launched into his personal far-reaching rehabilitation: nothing lower than a serious overhaul of New Zealand’s industrial relations system.

Though Mr. Lange allowed Mr. Rodger to pursue his personal agenda of taking the gradual path to non-public sector reform and the quick path to public sector reform, that agenda ran counter to the federal government’s financial stance.

Mr Rodger negotiated the top of the three-year pay freeze imposed by former Prime Minister Rob Muldoon earlier than he started drafting and passing the Labor Relations Act (1987) and the State Sector Act (1988).

Each have been opposed in numerous methods by the Enterprise Spherical Desk, Chambers of Commerce, Treasury, Unions and Labour’s three Finance Ministers, however having been schooled on this planet of union politics, Mr Rodger knew the way to defend his facet.

“I labored like a beaver to maintain the zealots out of the job market,” he stated.

“The Spherical Desk made an incredible effort to take away me from the work portfolio.”

The unions weren’t too happy both: the PSA suspended its former president’s life membership and solely reinstated it in 2004.

It helped that Mr Lange had his again: Mr Rodger’s biography features a notice from the Prime Minister appointing him to Cupboard after the 1987 election was drawing to an in depth: ‘This appreciable workload can be a severe provocation for symbolize the Enterprise Spherical Desk.”

Regardless of these pressures, and the broader political turmoil created by what was quickly dubbed “Rogernomics,” Mr. Rodger caught to his ideas and have become a trusted pair of arms — after taking up immigration in 1987 and after Mr. Lange Richard By the top of the next yr it was Mr. Rodger, Secretary of State for Personal Enterprises, who assumed the burden.

As New Zealand went by way of a interval of sweeping and bitterly contested reforms, Mr Rodger was typically known as upon to intervene in strikes and industrial motion, invites which he invariably declined.

That prompted Nationwide’s Jim McLay to provide Mr. Rodger his enduring nickname, “Sideline Stan.”

“I liked it,” Mr. Rodger later stated.

“It was a part of my agenda that the Secretary of Labor shouldn’t intervene in labor disputes: when you’ve got a strong equipment, depart it to the events.”

Mr Rodger’s second time period as Cupboard Secretary was extra tense than the primary as inner unrest ravaged the federal government.

After that, Mr. Rodger, with dry understatement, known as “plenty of fights”, Mr. Lange was changed by Geoffrey Palmer, who then gave solution to Mike Moore.

Nonetheless, Mr. Rodger had determined lengthy earlier than that to finish it.

In February 1988, totally figuring out that folks would suspect he was being pushed slightly than jumped, Mr. Rodger took the bizarre step of handing Keith Eunson, then editor of the Otago Day by day Instances, a sealed envelope that appeared in December of that yr was to be opened and contained a letter stating that he could be resigning in 1990.

Mr. Rodger advised Mr. Lange of his plans in August 1988 – Mrs. Rodger was not knowledgeable till July of the next yr and most of the people solely discovered about it in December.

Earlier than he left Cupboard, nonetheless, Mr Rodger gave Dunedin a legacy few know his hand was behind.

A former King Edward Tech scholar, he had stored an in depth eye on his former college because it developed into Otago Polytechnic and in one in all his last acts as Minister he helped safe funding for that establishment and the School of Training for the transfer to safe Forth St, creating the tertiary schooling district which is now an integral a part of this a part of the town.

In early 1990, Mr. Rodger missed cupboard election and spent his last months as an MP within the again seat, regardless of frequent session with ministers.

Mr Rodger has by no means regretted leaving Parliament, though returning to Dunedin with out a job was a bit aggravating.

After Mr. Rodger judiciously paid off their mortgage from his ministerial wage, he may afford to attend, and work did come, and loads of it.

Lately appointed Civil Service Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, he held varied positions on the College of Otago College of Medication earlier than being appointed Chair of the Southern Regional Well being Authority in 1995.

Because the Nineteen Nineties rolled into the 2000s, Mr Rodger was appointed to various senior positions by the Nationwide and Labor governments, together with chairman of Transpower, board member of the NZ Publish and a part of a evaluation of parliamentary salaries and allowances.

‘Retirement’ hasn’t slowed Mr Rodger as he has served as a board member or patron for a lot of native organizations together with Age Concern, the Globe Theatre, Dunedin Railways and the Third Age Belief.

And there was all the time politics: Mr Rodger stored his finger on the heartbeat, talking repeatedly to previous and current MPs and different political figures of the day, providing recommendation or responding with options when requested – which was typically the case.

“I am a political animal,” Mr. Rodger summed up.

“I take into consideration political issues every single day and have for 60 to 70 years.”

mike.houlahan@odt.co.nz

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