'Ahead of his time': Farming leader's personal tribute to Mike Moore

A New Zealand farming leader has joined tributes to former Prime Minister Mike Moore who died on Sunday.

The 71-year-old was director general of the World Trade Organisation from 1999 to 2002, and also served as New Zealand's ambassador in Washington DC. 

Federated Farmers President Katie Milne said many farmers would remember him as a man who rolled up his sleeves to fight for global trade liberalisation and making things better for New Zealanders in general.

"He was brimming with talent and positivity and wasn't afraid to stick his neck out," said Milne.

"Who can forget his tireless efforts to promote the lamb burger? He took quite a bit of stick for that but was ahead of his time in terms of creating markets for our products," she said.

Milne said Moore continued to strive for the interests of Kiwis in his international roles.

"I was lucky enough to be seated next to him at a function years ago. He had an incredible grasp of trade and its complexities around positioning free trade. He gave me many great insights; it was a privilege to have someone of his calibre willing to invest in me more than my fair share of his time that night."

"He left a strong impression and brought home to me how important it is to be apolitical on those issues that are crucial for the wider good of New Zealand, and actually also for the Pacific and developing nations."

Moore suffered a stroke in 2015, and his later years were plagued by health issues.