Colin Moyle

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The Honourable
Colin James Moyle
CBE
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries
In office
1972–1975
Prime Minister Norman Kirk, Bill Rowling
Preceded by Douglas Carter (Agriculture) Peter Gordon (Fisheries)
Succeeded by Duncan MacIntyre
Minister of Forests
In office
1972–1975
Prime Minister Norman Kirk, Bill Rowling
Preceded by Duncan MacIntyre
Succeeded by Venn Young
Minister of Agriculture
In office
1984–1990
Prime Minister David Lange, Geoffrey Palmer
Preceded by Duncan MacIntyre
Succeeded by William Sutton
Minister of Fisheries
In office
1984–1990
Prime Minister David Lange, Geoffrey Palmer
Preceded by Duncan MacIntyre
Succeeded by Ken Shirley
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Manukau
In office
1963–1969
Preceded by Leon Gotz
Succeeded by Roger Douglas
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Mangere
In office
1969–1977
Preceded by New electorate
Succeeded by David Lange
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Hunua
In office
1981–1984
Preceded by Winston Peters
Succeeded by Seat abolished
Member of the New Zealand Parliament
for Otara
In office
1984–1990
Preceded by New electorate
Succeeded by Taito Philip Field
Personal details
Born (1929-06-18) 18 June 1929 (age 85)
Thames
 New Zealand
Political party Labour
Religion Roman Catholic

Colin James Moyle, CBE (born 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.

Early years[edit]

Moyle was born on 18 July 1929 in Thames.[1] Before entering parliament, Moyle was a secondary school teacher and also had a dairy farm.[2]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Parliament of New Zealand
Years Term Electorate Party
1963–66 34th Manukau Labour
1966–69 35th Manukau Labour
1969–72 36th Mangere Labour
1972–75 37th Mangere Labour
1975–77 38th Mangere Labour
1981–84 40th Hunua Labour
1984–87 41st Otara Labour
1987–90 42nd Otara Labour


MP and Minister, 1963-75[edit]

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.[3]

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.[4] He was generally well-regarded, especially as Minister of Agriculture. He was 'enduringly popular with the farming community',[5] and was instrumental in opening up New Zealand's meat trade with the Middle East.[6] As Minister of Forests, Moyle also helped preserve the remaining stands of giant kauri.[7]

In August 1974, Kirk died suddenly, and Bill Rowling took over as Prime Minister and Labour Party leader.

Opposition and the Moyle affair[edit]

Labour lost power in the 1975 general election, bringing to power the Third National Government led by Robert Muldoon. 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.[8] 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 threat and acted accordingly.[10] 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'.[11] While out of parliament he returned to farming.[12]

Re-election and new Ministerial career[edit]

In 1981, 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.[13] 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.[14]

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.[15] Under the Fourth Labour Government, virtually all state financial assistance was removed from agriculture.[16] Moyle was a supporter of the reforms,[17] but was not associated with them to the same extent as many of his colleagues despite their effect on his portfolio.[18]

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.[19] Under Moyle, a Maori Fisheries Act was introduced to deal with this, recognising Māori rights to a share of fisheries and the fishing industry.[20]

Although involved in several important reforms, Moyle had a low profile in the government, avoiding publicity.[21] At the 1987 election he had announced that he would probably retire from parliament at the 1990 election, and in 1989 he confirmed this.[22] 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.[23]

In the June 1990 Queen's Birthday Honours List, Moyle was awarded a CBE for public service.[24]

Life outside politics[edit]

Moyle is a convert to Roman Catholicism.[25]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Who’s Who in New Zealand, 12th edition, edited by Max Lambert, p453 (1981, Reed, Wellington)
  2. ^ Hayward, p.103.
  3. ^ G.A. Wood, Ministers and Members in the New Zealand Parliament, Dunedin: Oxford University Press, 1996, p.98.
  4. ^ Wood, p.59.
  5. ^ Mick Calder and Janet Tyson, Meat Acts: The New Zealand Meat Industry 1972-1997, Wellington: Meat New Zealand, 1999, p.19.
  6. ^ Evening Post, 25 August 1990, p.25.
  7. ^ Margaret Hayward, Diary of the Kirk Years, Queen Charlotte Sound and Wellington: Cape Catley, 1981, p.131.
  8. ^ Metro, November 1988, p.142.
  9. ^ Evening Post, 25 August 1990, p.25.
  10. ^ David Lange, My Life, 2005. ISBN 0-670-04556-X
  11. ^ Evening Post, 25 August 1990, p.25.
  12. ^ Evening Post, 25 August 1990, p.25.
  13. ^ Wood, p.98.
  14. ^ Wood, p.68.
  15. ^ Gordon McLauchlan, The Farming of New Zealand, 2nd edition, Auckland: Penguin, 2006, p.154.
  16. ^ Chris Rudd, 'The role of the state in the New Zealand economy', in Martin Holland and Jonathan Boston, eds, The Fourth Labour Government: Politics and Policy in New Zealand, 2nd edition, Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1990, pp.93-4.
  17. ^ Evening Post, 25 August 1990, p.25.
  18. ^ Lange, p.253.
  19. ^ Andrew Sharp, 'The problem of Maori Affairs, 1984-1989' in Martin Holland and Jonathan Boston, eds, The Fourth Labour Government: Politics and Policy in New Zealand, 2nd edition, Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1990, p.262.
  20. ^ David Johnson, Hooked: The Story of the New Zealand Fishing Industry, Christchurch: Hazard Press, 2004, pp.395-7.
  21. ^ Evening Post, 25 August 1990, p.25.
  22. ^ Evening Post, 5 September 1989, p.1.
  23. ^ Evening Post, 25 August 1990, p.25.
  24. ^ 1990 Queen's Birthday Honours List
  25. ^ Hayward, p.103.
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