Don Farr

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Don Farr

Don Farr is married to Jan Farr.

Labour man

April 2016 Don Farr, a member of the Labour Party for 44 years, was honoured for his outstanding and long service with a rare gold pin, presented at the Labour Electorate Committee (LEC) annual general meeting on Sunday at the Senior Citizens Club in Featherston.


Hutt South MP Trevor Mallard performed the presentation.

Mr Farr started in Labour in 1972 as a member of a campaign team in Birkenhead, Auckland.

In 1984, he took over management and planning of the Trades Council's team of 11 union organisers, dedicated to the toppling of the Muldoon government.

He was chairman of the Island Bay LEC, then operated as a member of campaign teams in Wellington Central.

Mr Farr has been a general secretary of Finsec, the finance union, but took up party leadership roles again in 2008 after retiring to Wairarapa, which did not have a Labour Party branch.

He became the chairman and later secretary of Wairarapa LEC, campaign manager in the 2011 general election, and a member of the campaign team for the 2014 election.

"And here's a little gem for you -- I was an actor in 1972 and I and three others formed Actors Equity," he said.

That formation suited his Labour philosophies, "of decent terms and conditions for actors", and he worked on negotiations for employment agreements for television and radio -- a link to gaining political support.

He said he has "never wavered" from Labour, and he talks of "characters" like Richard Prebble who took "fairly right-wing positions".

He believes "enormous divisions" in Labour in the '80s was the end of Prime Minister David Lange.

He is scathing of former Labour Party faithful -- "b*******" -- who saw an opportunity to try their hand when MMP came along.

"I really resented those people who left Labour to form other parties in order to teach Labour a lesson," he said.

"As a result, we got a conservative government.

"My focus was to stay in the Labour Party and try and fix it. You don't walk off and join other parties. It's slog, it's hard slog."[1]



1988, Sept. 5, Ken Douglas moved (seconded by Don Farr) at a specially called CTU exec meeting "that the National Executive resolve to take appropriate initiatives to work with the Government and employers to identify the principles of an approach towards management of economic change and industry restructuring..." This motion was carried, and opened the way for a tripartitie deal between Government, Unions and Business to be proposed at the Labour Party conference the next day.

Compact/SUP Labour ties

While Compact was being negotiated Labour and SUP leaders were close. Ken Douglas was close to Mike Moore the Compact's architect. Marilyn Tucker was close to Labour Party president Ruth Dyson. Don Farr, a Labourite CTU official was married to Jan Farr, a member of the SUP Central Committee and the editor of Tribune.[2]



  1. [1]
  2. [A Man for all seasons]