Title: The Tragedy of Mike Moore Credit: Craig Young Comment Tuesday 15th January 2008 - 2:13pm1200359580 Article: 5469 Rights
Mike Moore Sadly, former Labour leader Mike Moore is an anachronism, and he doesn't realise that he had to be overthrown fifteen years ago as Leader of the Opposition. That doesn't excuse his current blue-anting attack on Helen Clark. Honestly, I wish I didn't have to write this piece. Mike Moore was an ally to our communities, supporting homosexual law reform in the mid-eighties, and then insuring that most of his caucus voted alongside National's social liberals to pass inclusive additions to the Human Rights Act 1993. However, he has consistently failed to realise one central facet of New Zealand politics since the mid-eighties- the populist/professional split. Populist leadership often involves charismatic, inspirational leaders whose flaw is that they rely on cults of personality and personal loyalty to maintain their grip on political power, often at the cost of incorporating capable dissidents into a more broadly based powerbase. If that sounds familiar to our older readers, it may be so for a reason. For all their differences over economic policy and party affiliation, Moore was more like Rob Muldoon than he was similar to many within his own Labour caucus. The other side of that divide consists of professionals or technocrats- like Helen Clark, who use their discipline, strategy and focus to craft enduring leadership. Moore never understood that this political divide was why Clark had to succeed him. Instead, he did his best to try to undermine her leadership, and his erstwhile parliamentary colleagues after she became Leader of the Opposition, and during her first term in that role. I was happy to see reconciliation, and happier still to see Mike head off to become Director of the World Trade Organisation. As for many of his followers, the more able buried their hatchets and became valued members of the party organisation, caucus and Cabinet- Clayton Cosgrove, for example. Unfortunately for the centre-right, the looser cannons didn't. They left Labour altogether, and clustered around a fellow populist leader, ACT's Richard Prebble, whose similar failings all but destroyed his party. It is thus no surprise to see Moore's mugshot on the webpage of ex-ACT MP (and archpopulist herself) Muriel Newman, the misnamed Centre for New Zealand Political Research. And Moore isn't really attacking the Electoral Finance Act as he claimed, but wants retribution against his technocrat-aligned former caucus colleagues, presumably through trying to undermine public confidence in Clark's leadership so that Phil Goff can eventually succeed - which will happen if Labour loses the forthcoming general election, anyway. However, this time, Moore has gone too far. It's not his dissent over the Electoral Finance Act that is the problem - it is that he has knowingly and openly aligned himself with an anti-Labour political organisation to achieve his objectives. If he is still a Labour Party member, his current actions may end in his expulsion from that party. Its organisational and parliamentary leadership have been patient enough over these antics, but he may find he has exhausted their patience and forbearance over this. Craig Young - 15th January 2008    
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