In 1972, at age 23, Mike Moore became the youngest Member of Parliament ever elected in New Zealand. This was the start of a long parliamentary career for Mr. Moore that was to span the next 27 years. Although he lost his seat in 1975, he was re-elected in 1978 and held his seat until his retirement.
In 1984 the fourth Labour Government was elected and Mike was appointed as Minister with portfolios for overseas trade, sport and tourism. He soon became widely known in his position as Overseas Trade Minister when he played a leading role in launching the Uruguay Round of GATT negotiations that same year. Perhaps in recognition of the skilled diplomacy necessary in gaining international agreements, he also became Minister of External Relations in 1987. In 1988 he undertook a further portfolio, as Deputy Minister of Finance and in 1990 became Minister for Foreign Affairs.
1990 also brought another challenge for Mike when Prime Minister Geoffrey Palmer resigned that September. Mike Moore won the post, but his term as head of government lasted only eight weeks. The general elections of October 27 resulted in the ousting of the Labour Party in favour of the opposing National Party. Mike retained leadership in opposition until the 1993 election, when the Labour Party failed to win enough seats to return to power. Replaced as Labour Party Leader by Helen Clark, Mike undertook instead the role of Opposition Spokesman on Foreign Affairs and Overseas Trade until 1999.
In 1998, given his long interest and experience in international trade, Mike decided to run for the post of Director-General of the World Trade Organisation. He was supported in his bid by the National Government. After a lengthy contest he was elected to the job on 22 July 1999 and took up the post on the 1st of September that year. In the turbulent climate surrounding the role of international trade agreements, Mike faced significant challenges to head a peaceful and productive Fourth WTO Ministerial Conference in Qatar.
Mike has received numerous awards for his work including the New Zealand 1990 Commemoration Medal. In 1999, he was awarded New Zealand's highest honour, the Order of New Zealand and in 2000, Lincoln University, New Zealand, conferred upon him an Honorary Doctorate of Commerce.
In August 2010 Mike took up his post as New Zealand's US Ambassador - his acceptance followed a clear "mood change" from American representatives on the New Zealand-US Business Council in favour of a free trade deal.