RNZ: The 9th floor – Moore

Written By: - Date published: 10:28 am, April 14th, 2017 - 45 comments
Categories: history, journalism - Tags: , , , ,

Guyon Espiner’s excellent RNZ series The 9th Floor, consists of interviews with five ex NZ PMs: Geoffrey Palmer, Mike Moore, Jim Bolger, Jenny Shipley, Helen Clark.

Here’s Mike Moore:

The Trader – Mike Moore: Prime Minister 1990

Former Labour Prime Minister Mike Moore worries about his party. Yes his party still. Oh, there is some bitterness and bad blood for sure, but he’s still a party member and desperately wants Labour to win office again.

“Yes I’m proud of what the Labour Party has done for people. And we can do it again,” he says. “I hope I live long enough to see another Labour government,” he chuckles, in one of many laughs we had that day.

But he has some sharp criticisms too. … “I think its basis is how you elect your [Labour] leader,” he says. “The caucus is our primary and sitting in that caucus you know what is going on and the idea that someone can not have the support in the caucus and the leader has to speak for that is a terrible idea.”

Of course Labour was always going to be thrashed in 1990 given the firefight over Rogernomics. Moore was only installed to “save the furniture”. Remarkably he nearly become Prime Minister again, going from a record loss to a near win as National was nearly ousted after one term at the 1993 election. But then Moore lost the leadership to Helen Clark. That still hurts. A lot. Although he’s complimentary about her government (the first two terms anyway).

Moore is a fascinating study of leadership. He knows what it is like to grasp power, to have power and to lose it. He’s also fascinating because he surprises. He’s a union man – yes, even now – and Labour party member, but he supports the TPP, ran the WTO and is a champion of globalisation. That’s why we called him The Trader in this series. …

Plenty more in the text, but for the full hour-long interview you’ll need to listen…

45 comments on “RNZ: The 9th floor – Moore”

  1. Once ..whatever 1

    posted 10:28, now 12:35 and no comment.
    A fitting epitaph as to what should be said about Mike Moore.
    All that went wrong with the Labour Party. The taste of treats and trinkets and AMEX Platinum, and rising tides lifting all boats (except of course those that already had a bloody big hole in them with only a tin mug to bale).
    Mike, the McDonald’s Lamb Burger.
    Baaaaaaaa!
    Not to say Guyon hasn’t done a good job, just that he comes from a perspective of never having experienced the neo-liberal agenda in his adult (thinking) life. So of course ‘there was no alternative’. Mike saved the few sticks of furniture we’re left with now for a good many: the Philips K9, the 20 year old rusted out Toyota …….
    Good job Mike – a true hero to Labour’s principles.

  2. millsy 2

    I simply cannot see how dragging the living standards of middle and working class New Zealanders down to the same level as what passes for working and middle class in China and India is ‘good’ for them.

    And allowing multinational corporations to have veto rights over social democratic leglisation should never be classed as ‘left wing’.

    Mike Moore was a newbie in Parliament when the ACC system was set up in 1974. This would never be possible under WTO/TPP and all that.

    • red-blooded 2.1

      You don’t have to like or respect Moore, but how about a bit of perspective? The average wage in India is $295 US per month (a different survey says $1654 per year); in China the average wage is $396.35 and the average household income is $10 220. NZ’s average income is $48 402 US. Not magnificent, but not in the range you’re suggesting.

      • weka 2.1.1

        Those are completely meaningless figures. What matters is the relationship of income to cost of living. Also in places like India and China the average is going to take into account peasant economies and city economies, so comparing that to NZ which doesn’t have that spread is also meaningless.

        • red-blooded 2.1.1.1

          So, if the actual figures are “utterly meaningless” surely that renders the original statement about “dragging the living standards of middle and working class New Zealaders down to the level of what passes for middle and working class in China and India” is totally meaningless and overblown. And please don’t make assumptions about my attitudes to inequality and poverty in NZ – there was nothing in my statement to invite the rant below. I simply don’t like “alternative facts”, no matter who uses them.

          • weka 2.1.1.1.1

            I’m not responsible for other people’s rants.

            “surely that renders the original statement about “dragging the living standards of middle and working class New Zealaders down to the level of what passes for middle and working class in China and India” is totally meaningless and overblown.”

            Overblown perhaps, but not meaningless. There would be more comparison between the living standards of middle classes in all those countries, rather than comparing something arbitrary like wage rates.

      • Once ..whatever 2.1.2

        They’re UTTERLY meaningless figures. It’s not JUST “the relationship of income to cost of living” (as Weka says), but the ability to survive in completely different cultural circumstance – not based on the values built up in a Western society.
        If I can survive in India amongst others (many of whom I’d never met before) on NOTHING – food, and a roof over my head in a harsh environment, I’d like you to explain how that could be possible in NZ – i.e. ANYWHERE – rural or urban. (Unless of course you think living in a car and begging for food is OK)
        You’re trying to apply a whole set of values and expectations based on Western ‘norms’ that are inappropriate. It’s bullshit.
        And whilst the Indian person might aspire to the niceties of having a flat screen TV or Ferrari, they’ve not yet succumbed to the culture of greed and individualism we’re now so committed to at the expense of others they have an affinity with.
        You should go try it sometime rb…..except I imagine you’re attitude and selfishness might be seen through within a very short time.
        You talk of ‘perspective’ ffs – you’re simply trying to impose yours on everyone else

  3. Jenny Kirk 3

    I don’t think I can listen to this interview. The man talked bulldust 30-odd years ago, and still does.

    • Karen 3.1

      +1 Jenny.
      I found the Palmer one interesting, even though I vehemently disagreed with his view of Rogernomics, but I wouldn’t be able to listen to Mike Moore without becoming absolutely furious.

      • Jenny Kirk 3.1.1

        + 100% agree Karen

        • SW 3.1.1.1

          What a stupid thing to say – it’s a very compelling interview whatever you think if the man.

          • Anne 3.1.1.1.1

            it’s a very compelling interview whatever you think of the man.

            I have to agree SW. Having become isolated from the Labour Party through half of the 80s and all of the 90s, I can listen to his views with not too many preconceived ideas.

            Interesting to note he was dead against Douglas’ flat tax idea – ‘a step too far’ he said. Also interesting to hear that he, Roger Douglas and the rest of the gang meet every year for a catch-up dinner. And after all that happened no-one quite managed to take the Labour Party out of Douglas. He’s champing at the bit to see Labour win in September.

  4. Chris 4

    Good to see Moore still knows everything, with a bit of selective memory syndrome thrown in.

  5. Mike Moore , more of Mike .

    Like hell,…

    And from the same man who was party to the Roger Douglas and David Lange govt and gave hearty approval to all its destructive ‘ reforms’….

    McPhail & Gadsby Let’s Learn Lange 1985) – YouTube
    Video for mcphail and gadsby more of Mike moore clip you tube▶ 1:31
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N9_YJS7rFDM

    Interesting clips from memory lane as well…

    McPhail and Gadsby – YouTube

  6. Ad 6

    Moore grew on me more on the international stage at both WTO and and as US Ambassador.

    I liked the ranginess and timbre of this interview – a properly complex human who gave all to public service and in doing so got better with age.

    His work on trade to eradicate global agricultural subsidies remains the bedrock of our diplomatic reputation, and was as effective as he could be from a small negotiating position.

  7. Ian 7

    His comment on watching country calendar is so true
    The current hatred of rural folk by Labour and the greens is counterproductive to their political aspirations.

    • peterlepaysan 7.1

      Your evidence of “hatred” would be interesting to view.

      I think that there is rather more evidence of rural (especially FF ) animus towards the greens and labour (after all profits and greed rule). WTF cares what those bludging lazy townie types think?

    • Jenny Kirk 7.2

      So just a couple of opinions – yours Ian, and presumably bulldusting Mike Moore, to be so sure that Labour and the greens have a “hatred of rural folk”. That’s a load of bulldust as well !

      • Ian 7.2.1

        The perception of the vast majority of farmer’s is that Labour and the greens are hellbent on putting us out of business .The vitriol dished out daily towards rural folk is staring out at you via the media every day. This blog is classic farmer hate speech.
        Take all the ranting over the selwyn river.It has been flowing for over a week now and not a mention anywhere .Amazing what the first decent rain in 3 years can do.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 7.2.1.1

          You mentioned that before.

          Is there anything other than rainfall that affects the Selwyn River? Irrigation, for example.

          Oh, and of course, regulations. How much water can be taken and so forth. Which brings us to ECAN.

          Stop whining and learn some manners.

        • Nic the NZer 7.2.1.2

          “It has been flowing for over a week now and not a mention anywhere ”

          Im confused. What was it doing before if its a river and it wasn’t flowing? Was it oozing before or something?

    • One Anonymous Bloke 7.3

      No-one hates you, Ian. Stop whinging about having to obey the law like everyone else.

  8. David Mac 8

    Headlines that touch us personally stick with us. When a farmer reads ‘Greens say nation’s dairy herd must be halved.’ They don’t go and read the policy and find out what they really mean. They have a thought ‘Cripes these jokers are trying to ruin us’ and whistle for their dogs.

    When Joe Avondale reads a headline ‘Greens say Auckland house prices need to pull back 40%’ his immediate thought is ‘Cripes, I’ll owe the bank $500k on a $400k house, it would ruin us’ grabs his lunch and runs for the bus.

    They are headlines that appeal to people that vote left anyway and scare away those that need to be wooed. Most of us have a bloke a few doors down with a white van and 2 ladders on the roof in his drive. Often outspoken, sharing his thoughts with 50 suppliers, customers, colleagues, family and peers every day. That joker used to vote left, he needs to be won back.

    • Ad 8.1

      True re headlines.
      Plenty of studies showing most people digest their news from headlines alone.

      Have you seen the latest North and South? Greens are glamming up. Won’t fool too many farmers, but they know thats not their target voter.

      • David Mac 8.1.1

        Yes Ad. I think the mock Vanity Fair cover is a fantastic idea. Great targeting. I feel there is a sector of blue voters that are thinking… ‘I’m getting a bit fed up with this smarmy know-all bullshit, it’s not Kiwi’ that could very easily spend one of their votes Green…they’d need to be confident they’re not about to go upside down on their mortgages.

        • Ad 8.1.1.1

          Proper headline news.
          They scrub up.

          If Labour did it they’d be accused of all sorts of sexist gender-whining apropos Ardern.

          Last two elections haven’t seen Greens superior branding translate in vote lift. But I appreciate the effort anyway.

          • David Mac 8.1.1.1.1

            The blue team are intimately aware of the power of a popular politician. New Zealanders warm to Ardern, we like her. We don’t really know why, we just do. When that happens, the slag lines have a reverse effect.

            eg: “Well she’s not very smart is she.” The guy in the street’s thought becomes….”Well I’m no mental giant either….was John Key an Einstein?”

    • Ian 8.2

      Even scarier when you read the policies .Quite scary how the main opposition party in nz has alienated itself from the people and businesses that create the wealth and income that keeps the country moving forward .
      While you all jack off on your purist ideologies Winston is laughing all the way back to cabinet .

      • Ad 8.2.1

        Don’t have to listen to political parties.

        Check Fran O’Sullivan in the NZHerald yesterday. She and the PMs science advisor are clear that the farming boom can’t continue in this form, and dairy farming is working directly against tourism. Our 1 and 2 industries.

        Labour and Greens won’t win huge swathes of farmers back. But then it only takes the tiniest fraction to tilt under MMP and National is gone.

        • David Mac 8.2.1.1

          You’ve raised a point I’ve not considered Ad. I think you’re right. Our number 1 and 2 industries are juxtaposed. The more energy we put into one, the more hindered the other.

          Really rubbish synergies.

          Cows on hillsides are becoming rarer and rarer around the world. What would happen if a farmer could stop milking and double his income by hosting guests from around the world. A taste of life on a Kiwi farm, jet boat ride up the river etc. He’d only need a token herd and half a dozen farm bikes. It’s gotta be more fun that the 2 dates with the girls, day in, day out.

          Get it all pulling in the same direction instead of grinding together. Tourism dollars are delicious for a nation’s economy. They come, spend plenty and go home again. Little load on our infrastructure.

          • Ad 8.2.1.1.1

            Absolute.

            I’ve never farmed but I’m first generation city and all my uncles and aunties are either milk, drystock, or forestry. Or retired somewhat from it.

          • Graeme 8.2.1.1.2

            There’s plenty in the tourist industry that are shitting in the nest just as much as some in agriculture. Just as there are an awful lot of framers doing amazing things for the sustainability of their land and businesses. there’s also huge synergies between agriculture and tourism. Agriculture is about growing food, tourism and hospitality is about consuming and showcasing that produce. And our visitors like it a lot.

            If we could get the philistines in both industries to change their ways and work to both industries strengths New Zealand could really get somewhere.

            In one of the photos in the RNZ article Mike Moore is holding up a book he wrote early in his career, “Adding Value” It was that sort of thinking that got us Marlbrough Sav. Blanc and Pinot down here in Otago along with a host of other premium meat and dairy products.

            • David Mac 8.2.1.1.2.1

              Yes, many visitors do like our food and wine. I don’t believe it is why they visit NZ. We do produce some world class produce. The market place for that: The tables of the world. I’ve noticed Zespri displays in the fruit and vege depts. of supermarkets around the world. Frankfurt, Amsterdam, Stockholm. What a great job that co-op has done for it’s stake-holders. Wine perves visit the Barossa valley in Oz, the South of France.

              I think people visit NZ because it’s safe, you can drink the water, the climate is mild, it’s relatively inexpensive but mainly because of the perception that once out of the cities around every corner is a scene just like in Lord of the Rings.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 8.2.2

        the main opposition party in nz has alienated itself from the people and businesses that create the wealth and income that keeps the country moving forward .

        Meanwhile on Earth, per capita GDP is always higher under Labour led governments, and people like Ian resort to telling lies to justify their whining.

  9. millsy 9

    I am not prepared to have our rivers poisoned so our farmers can make a few extra bucks. Sound like you are Ian. What have you got against swimmable rivers? Why do you think clean water is evil?

    • Ian 9.1

      You are proving my point .offensive hyperbole won’t get your team anywhere.
      I walk the talk.If you ask nicely I might take you to look at my river and adjacent native wetlands .

      • millsy 9.1.1

        No, you clearly think that any attempt to stop our farmers from polluting our water ways are evil, and that dirty rivers need to happen in order to make money.

        making money will always be more important than clean rivers in your opinion.

      • newsense 9.1.2

        Haha.
        What do you think disbanding a democratically elected council is?

        Had to laugh though- Bill Ralston telling off Andrew Little for suggesting farmers needed drought relief. No intervention in the free market for the Nats. If the small ones fall, what do the big farms care? More palm oil kernels on the fire! Go Go!

        Or Matthew Hooten twisting himself inside out to try to deny, unsuccessfully, that David Cunliffe could have ever had anything to do with Fonterra.

        Believe what you want, mate. I think kiwis assume farmers feed their cattle grass and would be shocked if they realised some of our farming practices. Let alone the water pollution, OECD reports and the ‘long term borrowing’ of the land along waterways.

        It was Labour that got farmers the first mover advantage in China. But you know, I don’t suppose that was really a big deal…

        Mike Moore has done a lot of good work for the class whose arrogance has caused the biggest double barreled shot to the foot of the Anglosphere- Brexit and Trump. You can’t ignore some of the people all of the time. I’m not saying he’s to blame for Cameron, Key, Obama et al…but the free trade will fix all orthodoxy hasn’t helped everyone.

  10. David Mac 10

    The Kiwis that care enough about NZ politics to be reading a blog like this are probably going to vote left or right till the day they die. Our votes are spoken for. It’s not us that needs to be won over, we’re set in our ways.

    Yes Ian, I hear your sentiment. There is a perception that Labour no longer represent those that keep the coal going under the boiler. I don’t believe it is so but it is the type of feeling that needs to be turned around for traction to be gained.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1

      Ian is a National Party shill spinning National Party talking points. It isn’t “sentiment” it’s malice, pure and simple.

  11. saveNZ 11

    Super interesting series, especially if you were too young at the time to really know about Palmer and Moore and just got stuck with the fall out from the policies, later on.

    It’s helpful because it puts the events and motivations of those politician’s into context, why they felt they had to do it, what went wrong, how they tried to stop it and what happened afterwards. Keen to see the Bolger one!

    +1000 Guyon Espiner and RNZ!

    Compulsory viewing.

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