Mike Moore leaves positive and enduring legacy for all Kiwis. A self educated guy, whose mind could dart all over the place, was up to about 1980 seen as traditional ambitious Labour politician.
My view of Mike changed abruptly when I ran into him at Parliament one day, while PR Manager for the NZ Manufacturers Federation, and we spoke about the then negotiations for a free trade agreement with Australia, now known as CER.
Mike said to me he was off to the Labour Party caucus to convince them they should support CER and not oppose it as they had done with the very limited NAFTA in 1965. Mike said we shouldn’t make the same mistake twice. Jim Anderton, a strong opponent of CER in the LP caucus called me twice at the Manufacturers Federation looking for material he could use against Mike so I knew he had a big battle.
He continued his support for fair and free trade in the decades following, and has to be given substantial credit for the overall modernisation of Labour Party thinking and the achievements of the Lange Douglas Government. While that Government’s many positive achievements are not owned much by Labour leaders since, they have inherited economies greatly strengthened by Mike’s legacy.
Declaration: I was Labour leader Bill Rowling’s press secretary from 1976-1978 and PR Manager at the NZ Manufacturers Federation 1979-83.