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David Lange ushered in a revolution in New Zealand when he came to power in 1984, aged just 41. His Labour government introduced sweeping new legislation that unchained the country from its old conservative bonds, established the world's first nuclear free state and let loose a free market economic agenda that radically transformed the country. It was a rapid climb to the very top for the overweight doctor's son from working class South Auckland. As leader during the final years of the Cold War he confronted the agendas of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, and lived through the political upheavals of the fall of the Soviet Union, post-apartheid South Africa and Rajiv Ghandi's India. Along the way he memorably defeated the Reverend Jerry Falwell in a famous Oxford Union debate about the morality and sanity of the nuclear arms race, and negotiated the aftermath of the tragic bombing of the Rainbow Warrior by French agents in Auckland harbour.

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