Obituary from the July 1998 issue of the Socialist Standard
Ernie, who died last September at the age of 71, joined the SPGB as a member of the Camden Branch in the late 1940s. A cable jointer by trade he spent some time working in Rhodesia before emigrating with his wife and children to NZ in 1965. He worked for the Auckland Electric Power Board and was involved in many disputes, local and national as a member of the Electrical Workers’ Union.
Ernie stood for parliament on several occasions, and as the SPNZ candidate in the 1972 election, he campaigned against the Prime Minister, Robert Muldoon. Ernie was a formidable debater—a quality recognised by Muldoon who refused to enter into debate with him during that campaign.
A stalwart socialist Ernie was the driving force in the SPNZ, speaking in Albert Park on Sundays and writing for our monthly journal as well as a steady flow of letters to the editor of the NZ Herald.
Over two hundred people attended the funeral—a testimony to a socialist who walked through life with his principles intact.
The main eulogy was delivered by his son Jon. Other speakers were Auckland MP Sandra Lee and a comrade from the SPNZ who referring to the sickening adulation at the recent funeral of Princess Diana, made the point that none of the parasites of this world royal or otherwise—would be tall enough to clean the boots of Ernie Higdon.
It was a fitting farewell that on his coffin was placed his tools of trade—a blowlamp and his tools of leisure, his fishing rod and reel and a bottle of whiskey. Ernie would have chuckled at that!
Our condolences go to his wife Jean, son Jon and daughter Toni.