James Patrick "Jim" Anderton (born 21 January 1938) is a New Zealand politician who led a succession of left wing parties after leaving the Labour Party in 1989. He served as Deputy Prime Minister from 1999 to 2002. In 2010, he ran unsuccessfully for the mayoralty of Christchurch. Anderton retired from Parliament at the 2011 election.
His political career began when he was elected to the Manukau City Council in 1965, and again in 1974. He joined the Auckland Regional Authority in 1977. At the same time, he worked his way up the internal hierarchy of the Labour Party, which he had joined in 1963.
He became the party's president in 1979, a year before his term with the Auckland Regional Authority ended. He was also a long-standing member of the party's policy council.
In the 1984 general election, Anderton stood successfully as the Labour candidate for Sydenham in Christchurch, becoming a member of the Fourth Labour Government. Anderton and NewLabour were at the centre of the Alliance Party established in 1991. He became leader of the new party and in the 1993 election, was joined in parliament by Alliance colleague Sandra Lee-Vercoe. He briefly stepped down as leader of the Alliance for family reasons in November 1994, but was persuaded to return in May 1995.
In the runup to the 2005 election Anderton renamed his party "Jim Anderton's Progressive Party".
However, he was the only Progressive returned to Parliament by a narrow margin after many left-wing voters voted for Labour to prevent a National government from being elected due to a split on the left. He became Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity, Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry, Minister Responsible for the Public Trust, Associate Minister of Health, and Associate Minister for Tertiary Education.
The 2008 election saw a swing to the right, with National winning approximately 45% of the party vote to Labour's 34%. Anderton retained his seat but the Progressives' share of the party vote remained low, at less than one percent. In a move described as "unorthodox" by the New Zealand Herald, Anderton announced that he would remain in coalition with Labour in opposition. He said that a priority for the Progressives would be to support better access to dental care.
Anderton announced in May 2010 that he would contest the Christchurch mayoralty. by-election. However, following the 2010 Canterbury earthquake Anderton announced he would stand down as MP for Wigram if elected mayor so he could fully focus on rebuilding the city. Anderton was leading the polls until the earthquake hit. He lost the election, taking 40.6% of the vote to incumbent mayor Bob Parker's 53.7% of the vote, with the rest of the vote split amongst numerous minor candidates.
He initially said that if elected to the mayoralty he would not give up his seat in Parliament because he didn't want to cause an expensive
Anderton retired from Parliament at the 2011 election. The Progressive Party did not run candidates in that election.
At the time, he held the unofficial title of Father of the House as the longest continuously serving MP. During the election campaign, Anderton endorsed Labour candidate and previously unsuccessful mayoral candidate Megan Woods to succeed him in his electorate. Woods was elected.