Colin Moyle

Colin James Moyle CBE (born 18 July 1929) is a former politician of the New Zealand Labour Party. He was a Government Minister in the Third Labour and Fourth Labour Governments. In the Fourth Labour Government he oversaw the removal of farming subsidies and the establishment of a fisheries quota system.


Colin Moyle

Colin Moyle, 1968 II.jpg
Moyle in 1968
26th Minister of Agriculture
In office
26 July 1984 – 9 February 1990
Prime MinisterDavid Lange
Geoffrey Palmer
Preceded byDuncan MacIntyre
Succeeded byJim Sutton
In office
8 December 1972 – 12 December 1975
Prime MinisterNorman Kirk
Bill Rowling
Preceded byDouglas Carter
Succeeded byDuncan MacIntyre
18th Minister of Forestry
In office
8 December 1972 – 12 December 1975
Prime MinisterNorman Kirk
Bill Rowling
Preceded byDuncan MacIntyre
Succeeded byVenn Young
3rd Minister of Fisheries
In office
26 July 1984 – 9 February 1990
Prime MinisterDavid Lange
Geoffrey Palmer
Preceded byDuncan MacIntyre
Succeeded byKen Shirley
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Manukau
In office
30 November 1963 – 29 November 1969
Preceded byLeon Götz
Succeeded byRoger Douglas
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Mangere
In office
29 November 1969 – 24 December 1976
Preceded byNew electorate
Succeeded byDavid Lange
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Hunua
In office
28 November 1981 – 14 July 1984
Preceded byWinston Peters
Succeeded bySeat abolished
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Otara
In office
14 July 1984 – 27 October 1990
Preceded byNew electorate
Succeeded byTrevor Rogers
Personal details
Born
Colin James Moyle

(1929-06-18) 18 June 1929 (age 91)
Thames, New Zealand
Political partyLabour
Spouse(s)Millicent
Alma materUniversity of Auckland

Early lifeEdit

Moyle was born on 18 July 1929 in Thames.[1] Before entering parliament, Moyle was a secondary school teacher at Okaihau College. He later owned a dairy farm in Northland where he farmed cattle and sheep.[2]

Moyle joined the Labour Party as a teenager and while still in sixth form was a campaign volunteer for Hugh Watt in the Onehunga electorate. He attended University of Auckland and was a member of the university's socialist club alongside other future Labour MPs Martyn Finlay and Bob Tizard.[3] He was then president of the Hobson Labour Representation Committee for two years. He then became secretary of the Labour Party's Regional Advisory Committee and from 1959 a national organiser for the party. He also helped organise the publishing of the party newspaper The Statesman which had a circulation of 100,000 at its peak.[4]

Member of ParliamentEdit

New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
1963–1966 34th Manukau Labour
1966–1969 35th Manukau Labour
1969–1972 36th Mangere Labour
1972–1975 37th Mangere Labour
1975–1977 38th Mangere Labour
1981–1984 40th Hunua Labour
1984–1987 41st Otara Labour
1987–1990 42nd Otara Labour

MP and Minister, 1963–75Edit

Moyle stood unsuccessfully for the Hobson electorate in 1957

He first entered parliament in the 1963 general election, as a Labour MP for the South Auckland electorate of Manukau. In 1969 the Mangere electorate was created in the same general area, and Moyle moved his candidacy there, allowing Roger Douglas to take over Manukau. Moyle was elected for Mangere in the 1969 election, and would hold the electorate for another eight years.[5] He was soon appointed to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister of Agriculture and Lands.[6]

In the 1972 general election, the Labour Party came to power for the first time in over a decade, forming the Third Labour Government led by Norman Kirk. Moyle was appointed to the Ministerial positions of Agriculture and Fisheries, Forests, and Science. In September 1975 he also became Minister responsible for the newly formed Rural Banking and Finance Corporation.[7] He was generally well-regarded, especially as Minister of Agriculture. He was 'enduringly popular with the farming community',[8] and was instrumental in opening up New Zealand's meat trade with the Middle East.[9] As Minister of Forests, Moyle also helped preserve the remaining stands of giant kauri.[10]

In August 1974, Kirk died suddenly, and Bill Rowling took over as Prime Minister and Labour Party leader. He stood for the position of deputy to Bill Rowling in 1974 after Hugh Watt decided to not to stand again. He was eliminated on the second ballot with Bob Tizard winning on the fourth ballot.[11]

Opposition and the Moyle affairEdit

Labour unexpectedly lost power in the 1975 general election, bringing to power the Third National Government led by Robert Muldoon. Moyle remained on the frontbench and was appointed Shadow Minister of Agriculture and Shadow Minister of Science & Technology by Rowling.[12] Many within Labour were dissatisfied with their party's performance under Rowling, and began a campaign to replace him. According to political commentator Bruce Jesson, Moyle was the preferred candidate due to his strong performance as Minister of Agriculture.[13] However any potential leadership coup was derailed due to what became known as 'the Moyle Affair' of 1977.

Muldoon accused Moyle in Parliament of having been questioned by the police on suspicion of homosexual activities, which were then illegal in New Zealand. After changing his story several times, Moyle resigned from Parliament. He later said that he had not been obliged to resign, but had done so because "the whole thing just made me sick".[9] It has been suggested that Muldoon saw him as a leadership threat and acted accordingly.[14] Initially Moyle intended to stand for re-election to vindicate himself of the allegations, but withdrew his name from the nominations only three days before the selection meeting.[15] Ironically, the subsequent 1977 by-election was won by David Lange, and the attention that this got him helped propel him to the leadership of the Labour Party and his landslide victory over Muldoon in the 1984 election. In a 1990 interview, Moyle said that the scandal had made him a "sadder and wiser person".[9]

Moyle then turned his attention to nominating for the nearby seat of Papatoetoe, which was newly created and incorporated parts of Mangere. He garnered much local support but the selection resulted in a deadlock between himself and former Eden MP Mike Moore.[16] He then put his name forward for another new seat in south Auckland electorate, Hunua, but lost to Malcolm Douglas.[17] In the 1978 election, Moyle stood for and failed to win the Whangarei electorate.

Re-election and new Ministerial careerEdit

In the 1981 election, Moyle stood for and won the Hunua electorate. This was abolished before the 1984 election, and Moyle stood for, and won, the new electorate of Otara, which he held until his retirement in 1990.[5] Soon after his return to Parliament he was returned to the Shadow Cabinet in February 1982, becoming Shadow Minister of Overseas Trade and Shadow Minister of Rural Banking.[18] When David Lange replaced Rowling as leader he appointed Moyle as Shadow Minister of Agriculture once again.[19]

In 1984 Labour was again returned to power, forming the Fourth Labour Government under David Lange. As one of the few Labour MPs with Ministerial experience, Moyle was reappointed to Cabinet, again holding the portfolios of Agriculture and Fisheries (now separate departments) and regaining charge of the Rural Banking and Finance Corporation.[20] The government's policy was market liberal and reformist. Driven by Finance Minister Roger Douglas, it embarked on a programme, known as Rogernomics, aimed at deregulating the economy. Moyle's portfolio of Agriculture was strongly affected by this, as the farming sector had been one of New Zealand's most heavily subsidised. In the 1982-83 financial year, for example, it has been estimated that farm subsidies cost 'well over' a billion New Zealand dollars.[21] Under the Fourth Labour Government, virtually all state financial assistance was removed from agriculture.[22] Moyle was a supporter of the reforms,[9] but was not associated with them to the same extent as many of his colleagues despite their effect on his portfolio.[23]

The fishing industry was also overhauled at this time. In particular, a Quota Management System was introduced in order to manage the country's fishing stocks. Because this initially made little provision for traditional or other Māori fishing rights, it was challenged by the Waitangi Tribunal and several iwi.[24] Under Moyle, a Maori Fisheries Act was introduced to deal with this, recognising Māori rights to a share of fisheries and the fishing industry.[25] He also supported the New Zealand Wool Board in its expansion into conducting commercial activities, albeit whilst continuing with their regulatory functions as well. Earlier in December 1972 he had encouraged this during the third Labour Government, but the Wool Board had been restricted by new regulations passed in February 1978 by the Muldoon Government.[26]

Although involved in several important reforms, Moyle had a low profile in the government, avoiding publicity.[9] At the 1987 election he had announced that he would probably retire from parliament at the 1990 election, and in 1989 he confirmed this.[27] Along with other Ministers who had announced their retirement, Moyle was dropped from Cabinet by Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer in early 1990. He had wanted to keep his Ministerial position until that year's election in order to complete the restructuring of the meat industry.[9]

In the 1990 Queen's Birthday Honours, Moyle was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, for public services.[28]

Life after politicsEdit

Moyle retired to a 300 hectare sheep and cattle farm at Waimate North in the Bay of Islands with his wife Millicent and son Greg who is his co-farmer.[29]

During the 2015 Northland by-election Moyle voted for Winston Peters, whom he defeated in Hunua in 1981; it was the first time in his life he hadn't voted for Labour.[30] For the by-election Labour did not oppose strategic voting, preferring Peters win than the National Party candidate.[31]

Personal lifeEdit

Moyle is a convert to Roman Catholicism.[2]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ Lambert 1981, p. 453.
  2. ^ a b Hayward 1981, p. 103.
  3. ^ Grant 2014, p. 222.
  4. ^ "Lives of 11 New Members". The New Zealand Herald. 2 December 1963. p. 5.
  5. ^ a b Wood 1996, p. 98.
  6. ^ Grant 2014, p. 152.
  7. ^ Wood 1996, p. 59.
  8. ^ Calder and Tyson 1999, p. 19.
  9. ^ a b c d e f "Interview with Colin Moyle". The Evening Post. 25 August 1990. p. 25.
  10. ^ Hayward 1981, p. 131.
  11. ^ Freer 2004, pp. 197–9.
  12. ^ "Surprises Among Party Spokesmen". The New Zealand Herald. 30 January 1976. p. 10.
  13. ^ Metro: 142. November 1988. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  14. ^ Lange 2005, pp. 105-6.
  15. ^ "Moyle goes, and Jelicich-Moore race seems on". Auckland Star. 12 February 1977. p. 1.
  16. ^ "Walkout risk may upset seat choice". Auckland Star. 6 August 1977. p. 1.
  17. ^ "Candidate". The Press. 5 November 1977. p. 6.
  18. ^ "How They Line-up". The New Zealand Herald. 20 February 1982. p. 3.
  19. ^ "Labour leader allocates responsibilities". The Press. 17 March 1983. p. 3.
  20. ^ Wood 1996, p. 68.
  21. ^ McLauchlan 2006, p. 154.
  22. ^ Rudd 1990, pp. 93f.
  23. ^ Lange 2005, p. 253.
  24. ^ Sharp 1990, p. 262.
  25. ^ Johnson 2004, p. 395–397.
  26. ^ Edwards, Brent (5 September 1989). "Moyle supports Wool Board's new activities". The Evening Post. p. 2.
  27. ^ Goulter, John (5 September 1989). "Moyle says retirement is definite". The Evening Post. p. 1.
  28. ^ "No. 52174". The London Gazette. 16 June 1990. p. 30.
  29. ^ Hubbard, Anthony (10 January 1999). "Yesterday's faces living out of the spotlight". Sunday Star-Times. p. A8.
  30. ^ @patrickgowernz (25 March 2015). "Colin Moyle has voted for Winston Peters. 1st time in life hasn't voted Labour. Moyle beat Peters Hunua 1981" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  31. ^ Kirk, Stacey (9 March 2015). "Andrew Little prods Northland to vote for Winston Peters". Stuff.co.nz. Retrieved 2 May 2017.

ReferencesEdit

  • Calder, Mick; Tyson, Janet (1999). Meat Acts: The New Zealand Meat Industry 1972–1997. Wellington: Meat New Zealand.
  • Freer, Warren (2004). A Lifetime in Politics: the memoirs of Warren Freer. Wellington: Victoria University Press. ISBN 0-86473-478-6.
  • Grant, David (2014). The Mighty Totara: The life and times of Norman Kirk. Auckland: Random House. ISBN 9781775535799.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Hayward, Margaret (1981). Diary of the Kirk Years. Queen Charlotte Sound and Wellington: Cape Catley.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Johnson, David (2004). Hooked: The Story of the New Zealand Fishing Industry. Christchurch: Hazard Press.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Lambert, Max, ed. (1981). Who's Who in New Zealand (12th ed.). Wellington: Reed.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Lange, David (2005). My Life. ISBN 0-670-04556-X.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • McLauchlan, Gordon (2006). The Farming of New Zealand (2nd ed.). Auckland: Penguin.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Rudd, Chris (1990). "The role of the state in the New Zealand economy". In Holland, Martin; Boston, Jonathan (eds.). The Fourth Labour Government: Politics and Policy in New Zealand (2nd ed.). Auckland: Oxford University Press.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Sharp, Andrew (1990). "The problem of Maori Affairs, 1984–1989". In Holland, Martin; Boston, Jonathan (eds.). The Fourth Labour Government: Politics and Policy in New Zealand (2nd ed.). Auckland: Oxford University Press.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
  • Wood, G. A. (1996). Ministers and Members in the New Zealand Parliament. Dunedin: Oxford University Press.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
Political offices
Preceded by
Duncan MacIntyre
Minister of Fisheries
1984–1990
Succeeded by
Ken Shirley
Minister of Agriculture
1984–1990

1972–1975
Succeeded by
Jim Sutton
Preceded by
Douglas Carter
Succeeded by
Duncan MacIntyre
Preceded by
Duncan MacIntyre
Minister of Forestry
1972–1975
Succeeded by
Venn Young
Preceded by
Les Gandar
Minister for Science
1972–1975
Succeeded by
Les Gandar
New Zealand Parliament
Preceded by
Leon Götz
Member of Parliament for Manukau
1963–1969
Succeeded by
Roger Douglas
New constituency Member of Parliament for Mangere
1969–1977
Succeeded by
David Lange
Preceded by
Winston Peters
Member of Parliament for Hunua
1981–1984
Vacant
Constituency abolished, recreated in 1996
Title next held by
Warren Kyd
New constituency Member of Parliament for Otara
1984–1990
Succeeded by
Trevor Rogers