Michael Kenneth Moore ONZ AO PC[1] (born 28 January 1949), commonly known as Mike Moore, is a former New Zealand politician and union organiser. In the Fourth Labour Government of New Zealand he served in several portfolios including Minister of Foreign Affairs, and became the Prime Minister shortly before the October 1990 general election. Following Labour's defeat in that election, Moore served as Leader of the Opposition until the 1993 election, after which Helen Clark successfully challenged him for the Labour Party leadership.

Following his retirement from New Zealand politics, Moore was the Director-General of the World Trade Organization from 1999 to 2002. He has also held the post of New Zealand Ambassador to the United States from 2010 to 2015.

Early life

Moore was born in Whakatane, Bay of Plenty, New Zealand in 1949. He was raised in Moerewa and educated at the Bay of Islands College and Dilworth School. After leaving school he first worked as a labourer and then a printer. He became an active trade unionist and at the age of 17 was elected to the Auckland Trades Council. He became the first youth representative on the Labour Party executive and was Vice-president of the International Union of Socialist Youth for two consecutive terms.[2][3][4] He married Yvonne Dereany in 1975.

Member of Parliament

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate List Party
1972–1975 37th Eden Labour
1978–1981 39th Papanui Labour
1981–1984 40th Papanui Labour
1984–1987 41st Christchurch North Labour
1987–1990 42nd Christchurch North Labour
1990–1993 43rd Christchurch North Labour
1993–1996 44th Christchurch North Labour
1996–1999 45th Waimakariri none Labour

Moore began his parliamentary career when elected as the MP for Eden in 1972, but was defeated for Eden (and Labour was unexpectedly defeated) in the 1975 election.[5] After the election, the Moores visited Warren Freer, and were insistent that he resign from Mt Albert so that Moore could take his place. Freer (who retired in 1981) said he had no intention of resigning, and anyway there was no guarantee that he would be selected to replace Freer.[6]

In 1978 Moore moved to Christchurch and was elected MP for the north Christchurch electorate, then known as Papanui. He held the electorate until 1999: as Papanui until 1984, as Christchurch North until 1996, and as Waimakariri thereafter.[5]

As a government minister he has held numerous portfolios, becoming best known in his role as Overseas Trade Minister (since 1984[7]) with involvement in the GATT negotiations. In 1987 he also became Minister of External Relations and in 1988 Deputy Minister of Finance. In 1990 he became leader of the Labour Party and consequently Prime Minister for a few months, convincing the Labour caucus that, while he could not win the election for Labour, he would help save more seats than staying with the incumbent, Geoffrey Palmer. The Labour government was not returned to power in the next general election. The circumstances of Moore's installment as Prime Minister would later be compared to the return of Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister of Australia.[8] However, in the 1990 New Zealand general election, National won a landslide, and Labour lost almost 13%, suffering its worst-ever electoral defeat since it first won power in the 1935 election.

He led the Official Opposition until 1993 and was spokesman on Foreign Affairs and Trade until 1999. He was dumped as Labour leader after the 1993 election despite leading the party to a close loss in that election after only one term in opposition after a disastrous defeat.[9] In reality, Labour didn't pick up votes, and indeed lost a 0.46% voter share, but National's 12.77% loss went to the new minor parties.

As a result of his dumping as Labour leader, he strongly considered forming a break-away party, the New Zealand Democratic Coalition, for the 1996 MMP election but then decided against it. He won his seat in the 1996 election, obtaining more than twice as many votes as the next-highest candidate, National's Jim Gerard.[10]

In 1998, he ran for the post of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation and was elected to this position on 22 July 1999. He took up the post on 1 September 1999; close enough to the 1999 election to not trigger a by-election.[3][11] The deal with his rival and successor Supachai Panitchpakdi meant that he served only half of the usual six-year term in the post.

Political positions held

Moore in 1992 while Leader of the Opposition
  • Opposition (NZ Labour Party) Spokesman, Foreign Affairs 1993–1999
  • Leader, Parliamentary NZ Labour Party 1990–1993
  • Prime Minister of New Zealand 1990
  • Minister of Overseas Trade and Marketing 1984–90
  • Minister of Tourism, Sport and Recreation 1984–87
  • Chairman, Cabinet Committee, Economic Development and Employment 1984–90
  • Minister for the America’s Cup 1988–90
  • Minister of External Relations and Trade 1988–90
  • Deputy Minister of Finance 1988–90
  • Member of Parliament, Waimakariri (formerly Papanui and Christchurch North) 1978 – 1999
  • Member of Parliament, Eden 1972 – 1975.[4]

World Trade Organization

Mike Moore was the Director-General of the World Trade Organization from 1999 to 2002. His term coincided with momentous changes in the global economy and multilateral trading system. He attempted to restore confidence in the system following the setback of the 1999 WTO ministerial conference held in Seattle. Ministers at the 2001 ministerial conference in Doha, Qatar regarded him as the driving force behind the decision to launch a new round of multilateral trade negotiations—the ill-fated Doha Development Round. That 2001 meeting also saw the successful accession to the WTO of China and Chinese Taipei, which along with Estonia, Jordan, Georgia, Albania, Oman, Croatia, Lithuania and Moldova joined during Mr Moore's term, bringing the majority of the world's population within the rules-based trading system. He gave particular attention to helping poor countries participate effectively in the multilateral trading system.[11]

Later life

Moore became New Zealand Ambassador to the United States in 2010.[12]

He had a heart valve operation in 2014 and was admitted to hospital in Washington DC in April 2015 after a mild stroke.[13] In November 2015, he announced that he would leave his post on 16 December and return to New Zealand due to his deteriorating health.[14]

Moore was a supporter of the Campaign for the Establishment of a United Nations Parliamentary Assembly.[15]

International services and appointments

  • Commissioner, UN Commission of Legal Empowerment of the Poor.
  • Commissioner, Global Commission on International Migration.
  • Director General of the World Trade Organisation 1999–2002.
  • Founding member, Global Leadership Foundation.
  • Senior Counsellor, Fonterra.
  • Member, Trilateral Commission.
  • Member, Economic Development Board, South Australia.
  • Special Advisor, China Institute for Reform and Development’s World Trade Organisation Reference Centre.
  • New Zealand Government Trade Envoy.
  • Special Advisor to the UN Global Compact for Business and Development.
  • Former Board Member to the Gottlieb Duttweiler Institute.
  • Member, Board of Governors for the Institute for International Business, Economics and Law, University of Adelaide.
  • Adjunct Professor, La Trobe University, Melbourne Australia and University of Adelaide, South Australia.
  • Chairperson, Advisory Board of Carnegie Mellon University, Adelaide.
  • Honorary Professor, Beijing Normal University, Zhuhai.
  • Honorary Professor, Chinese University for Political Science and International Law, Beijing.
  • Honorary Professor, Shanghai Customs College.
  • Visiting Professor, School of Public Policy, University of Birmingham, 2003.
  • Member, Competition Council, South Australia.
  • Honorary President, Beijing Afforestation Foundation.[16]


Moore with Vladimir Putin in 2001.

Mike Moore is an author of a number of books, on subjects ranging from politics to the Pacific. His most recent book on globalisation, 'A World Without Walls', has also been published in Chinese and Turkish. He has a regular newspaper column that appears in five countries.[3][17]


  • 'Saving Globalization' (Wiley, 2009)
  • 'A World Without Walls' (Cambridge University Press, 2003, also published in Chinese and Turkish)
  • 'On Balance'
  • 'Beyond Today'
  • 'A Pacific Parliament'
  • 'The Added Value Economy'
  • 'Hard Labour'
  • 'Fighting for New Zealand'
  • 'Children of the Poor'
  • 'A Brief History of the Future'[11]

Honours and awards

  • The Order of New Zealand[18] – New Zealand's highest honour
  • Commemoration Medal 1990 – New Zealand
  • Honorary Doctorate of Commerce – Lincoln University, New Zealand
  • Honorary Doctorate in Economics – People's University of China (Beijing)
  • Honorary Doctorate in Commerce – Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
  • Honorary Doctorate, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
  • Honorary Doctorate in Law, La Trobe University, Australia
  • Commander of the Order of the Equatorial Star – Government of Gabon
  • Chancellor’s Medal (Medalla Rectoral) – University of Chile
  • National Order of Côte d'Ivoire and also the Order of the Golden Heart of Kenya – Government of Kenya
  • Order of Duke Branimir with Ribbon – Republic of Croatia
  • National Honour of Georgia – Government of Georgia
  • The Medal of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay – Government of Uruguay – highest national honour
  • Pope John Paul II Annual Medal – The Holy See.[16]
  • Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia[19] for service to the South Australian Government by developing initiatives in economic reform and for service to the education sector.

See also


  1. ^ "Privy Counsellors". privycouncil.independent.gov.uk. Privy Council. Retrieved 30 March 2018. 
  2. ^ Traue, J. E., 'Who's Who in New Zealand' A.H. & A.W. Reed 1978 ISBN 0-589-01113-8
  3. ^ a b c Prime Minister of New Zealand – Past Prime Ministers: Mike Moore. Primeminister.govt.nz. Retrieved on 6 July 2011.
  4. ^ a b International Union of Socialist Youth (Veterans). Iusy.org. Retrieved on 6 July 2011.
  5. ^ a b Wilson 1985, p. 221.
  6. ^ Freer 2004, p. 226.
  7. ^ Wilson 1985, p. 97.
  8. ^ Editorial: Ousting about 'saving the furniture', Dominion Post, 28 June 2013
  9. ^ Quin, Phil (2 April 2011). "Phil Quin: The anatomy of a failed Labour coup". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 15 May 2015. 
  10. ^ "Electorate Candidate and Party Votes Recorded at Each Polling Place – Waimakariri" (PDF). Retrieved 6 July 2013. 
  11. ^ a b c La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia: 4th Annual Global Finance Conference Archived 28 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.. Gfc2007.org. Retrieved 6 July 2011
  12. ^ Beehive Website Archived 24 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine.. Beehive.govt.nz (20 February 2010). Retrieved on 6 July 2011.
  13. ^ "Former PM Moore in US hospital after stroke". The New Zealand Herald. 23 April 2015. 
  14. ^ "Mike Moore heading back to NZ". Stuff. Retrieved 21 November 2015. 
  15. ^ "Supporters". Campaign for a UN Parliamentary Assembly. Retrieved 2017-09-21.  first1= missing last1= in Authors list (help)
  16. ^ a b Mike Moore Official website. Mike-moore.info. Retrieved on 6 July 2011.
  17. ^ La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia: Media Release Archived 25 February 2008 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^ "The New Year Honours 2000". New Zealand Gazette (3): 93. 19 January 2000. Notice Number 2000-vr424. 
  19. ^ "Honorary Appointments and Awards within the Order of Australia". Commonwealth of Australia Gazette. 2 December 2011. Archived from the original on 26 November 2012. Retrieved 20 September 2012. 


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