Concept

Norman Kirk

Summary
Norman Eric Kirk (6 January 1923 – 31 August 1974) was a New Zealand politician who served as the 29th prime minister of New Zealand from 1972 until his sudden death in 1974. Born into poverty in Southern Canterbury, Kirk left school at age 13 and joined the New Zealand Labour Party in 1943. He was mayor of Kaiapoi from 1953 until 1957, when he was elected to the New Zealand Parliament. He became the leader of his party in 1964. Following a Labour victory in the , Kirk became Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, and New Zealand changed into a far more assertive and consequential nation. He stressed the need for regional economic development and affirmed New Zealand's solidarity with Australia in adopting independent and mutually beneficial foreign policy. Having withdrawn New Zealand troops from Vietnam upon taking office, he was highly critical of US foreign policy. The same year, he strongly opposed French nuclear tests in the Pacific, and threatened to
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