Mike Moore is being officially farewelled today - the mark of a life well lived.

A decent contribution has been the outpouring of goodwill, fond memories, and overarching gratitude towards the work he did and the passion he brought to the cause.

The fact no one has had a bad word to say, speaks volumes. Not that bad words are offered in such circumstances, but the lack of tributes in their volume and kindness are often telling for lesser figures.


As I watched the Parliamentary tributes on Tuesday, it struck me what a shallow lot we have representing us these days. Not from what they were saying, they were all appreciative of what Moore had given, even if most of them weren't about the place when he did it.

But that's part of the legacy, isn't it? If what you did is still remembered, admired, and effective long after you're gone, you've achieved something worthwhile.

Former New Zealand Prime Minister Mike Moore dies aged 71. Video / The 9th Floor / RNZ

No, the realisation came, and I checked it out by looking through the list of all the MPs in the house currently. Firstly, accepting I follow these matters intensely and few are as into politics as I am, I hadn't even heard of 22 of them. Twenty per cent of the Parliament had made such a dismal attempt at anything, that a person who is absorbed in the game hadn't even heard of them.

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There are the bunch on their way out and, to be blunt, not a giant among them - in some cases, not even close.

There are a few heavyweights in the place at the moment. I'll spare names given the nature of this is about recognising greatness, not the mediocre.

But there is the odd heavyweight who's been around a while, held some decent power, influence, and possibly, in time may well be seen as having contributed something significant. But not one of them is in Moore's league.

That sadly, I think, says something about the demise of the profession.


Moore should stand out, of course, because he was exceptional, and not everyone can be like that. But tragically, too many aren't like that or even close.

Moore was admired when he was there, and when he wasn't. He was looked up to here, and internationally. He was a visionary, he was a storyteller, and he was a disciple of principles and ideas before their time.

No one in there right now looks, sounds, or acts like that.

Go back far enough and it was only the landed gentry and wealthy who went to Parliament because they were paid to be there. Once salaries were handed out, yes, it became more representative, but it also became a career, and that's dangerous.

Although virtually all of them head to Wellington with the best of intentions, too many get hijacked by the glamour, money, power, or the bubble type effect of the place, and end up basically having a job and little more.

Mike Hosking. File photo / supplied
Mike Hosking. File photo / supplied

The profession deserves better and, as such, we deserve better. Politics and its art should be inspirational, aspirational, and certainly transformative.

The modern Parliament is a pit of lifers, incompetents, apparatchiks, pretenders, and the odd diligent, hard working, well meaning local representative. But we have no rock stars, no players on the verge of the history books.

And that makes today's farewell all the more important, given the realisation of just how good he was. But sad too, in the sense, he was not part of a larger field of brilliance.