web analytics

Free trade must be fair

Written By: - Date published: 3:30 pm, September 23rd, 2008 - 15 comments
Categories: economy, International - Tags:

In principle, a free trade deal between the US and the P4 countries (NZ, Chile, Singapore, and Brunei) is a good thing.

If we want our world’s limited resources to be used efficiently, we should not place artificial barriers in the way of trade without good reason. But we must make sure that the FTA doesn’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. We must insist on protecting labour and environmental standards in the FTA (which should be less of an issue dealing with the US than it was in the China deal). We must also not give up our right to buy medicine collectively via Pharmac, which allows us to get much better value for limited funds than would otherwise be the case. The worry is that the US will demand open access to our pharmaceutical market in exchange for freer access to their food markets.

It is a real victory for New Zealand diplomacy that we have managed to get this far but the devil will be in the detail.

15 comments on “Free trade must be fair”

  1. Matthew Pilott 1

    Did you hear Bernard Hackey last night? Apparently, when National was criticising Labour for not getting an FTA (at the time Australia got one) they were completely right, but now that Labour has made the breakthrough, it’s likely to be an unmitigated disaster for NZ.

    That guy is a complete joke – I was left wondering why JC would get him on. According to his “analysis”, you’d have to conclude that the AUS-US FTA was the first bilateral FTA the US had negotiated, because it was on that basis that Hackey concluded that NZ wouldn’t do well.

    Bernard, next time, just say: “Look, John, I’ll be honest with you. According to me, if Key has negotiated this, it would be the best thing since the CER. Unfortunately for NZ, Labour was at the helm, so we’ll probably do terribly and have to sell babies in order to get access to their markets. No, no reason for that, I’m not going to provide reasoned analysis, John, because I’m a hack.”

  2. Bill 2

    The principle of free trade deals is about as far away from ‘good’ as you can get Steve.

    The stronger, bigger economy will swallow the smaller, weaker one. Free trade decimates weaker economies. The US historically used many mechanisms such as tariffs precisely so that it could develop it’s industrial base free from the threat of a foreign economy dumping cheap goods on the domestic market and killing off domestic production. Now they are the ‘big boys’ things change because free trade works to their advantage.

    It’s the same deal with NZ trying to push free trade on the smaller Pacific Nations. The stronger looking to exploit the weaker.

    I guess that since NZ was stupid enough to voluntarily throw away almost all measures of protection anyway, it won’t make too much of a difference here.

    But equating free trade with fairness is an oxymoron.

    And what did the NZ government have to do to get FTS talks? Allow the USA to sell nuclear technology to India? Given the growing geo-political importance of India to the US and the fucking appalling instability in that region, I’d say it is a fair bet that was the trade off that got NZ talks.

    Nice. Pakistan has already said there will be a new arms race in the region because of the nuclear deal with India and NZ had a veto which it gave away for the sake of signing up to a thoroughly discredited, some might say venal, form of trade.

    Well done NZ. Maybe when the Indians and Pakistanis have stopped lobbing nuclear missiles at one another NZ companies can join in the rush to snap up reconstruction contracts? Good for the economy that.

  3. Carol 3

    I was pleased to see the Greens raised some questions about specific issues this afternoon in Parliament. It was pretty much on the points that Idiot/Savant raised on his blog: GM crops, getting rid of pharmac so big drug companies could have more power etc.

    Tho Annette King wouldn’t give any specific assurances, other than saying they would negotiate for the things that are important to NZ.

  4. a general comment.. I’m unaware any specifics in any case..

    But..

    I think it would be as well for enzed to know who they are dealing with.. and do any deals on that basis..

    my reservations arise in say enzed chambers of commerce for example being way behind the 8-ball of their US counterparts. Reason being that only a year ago the USCC were dead set against climate change policy solutions. And do were – and likely still are – enzed’s CC folks.

    But now with the whole secretariat coming out in favor of the USCC getting alongside legislators and into the game on a strong positive push, the possibilities of not least inequality are much higher.. US answers of course are unlikely to be kiwi answers.. at least scale alone suggests this..

  5. Matthew Hooton 5

    Bill, it is the small Pacific states that want free trade (including free trade in labour) with New Zealand, not the other way round. New Zealand tends to listen politely to their requests, declare a Pacific FTA to be a “major priority” and then hope go deal with the bigger boys. A bit like the way the US has treated us for a quarter century!

  6. the sprout 6

    A bit like National treats domestic industrial relations.

  7. vto 7

    I don’t like the idea of a FTA with the USA.

    I say NO!

  8. randal 8

    well so what. whats the right wing mantra. its not what you know its who you know. If we keep looking back then nothing will happen. Putting a pejorative spin on everything is defeatist and not worthy of a master of the kiwiverse…hehehehe

  9. Bill 9

    Okay Matthew, which players in the small Pacific States want free trade? And is what the governments are willing to accept in line with what the populations want? You see, historically, neo-liberalism and free trade are imposed on populations. There are no exceptions…unless you are perhaps able to point to an example or (and I know this is stretching it)… two?

    On the Pacific….

    “Pacific NGOs, churches and unions, meeting at the Pacific Civil Society Forum in Auckland (during August) released a joint statement on trade justice in the Pacific, warning of the likely impacts of a free trade deal with Australia and NZ. They advise Pacific leaders to be wary that Australia’s offer of a new seasonal workers’ scheme could be used as a bribe to start free trade negotiations. Civil society organisations are calling for Australia and New Zealand to act now to boost Pacific exports, rather than trying to push vulnerable Pacific nations into an unfair free trade agreement.”

    or

    “Liberalisation is it really providing a level playing field for small nations and bigger nations? We cannot see that. Actually this trade liberalisation is making small countries dance to a tune by bigger countries. Powerful countries.” Ephraim Kalsakau, Vanuatu National Workers’ Union Trade

  10. Matthew Hooton 10

    Bill, the governments and trade negotiators. I have no idea about the views of Pacific NGOs, churches and unions and take your word for it.

  11. Bill 11

    Matthew

    You do know about the views of NGOs, churches and unions. Their views are in the comment you replied to.

    And you know they suspect movement of labour will likely be used as leverage to impose a free trade deal.

    The link (which I forgot to paste) is http://www.oxfam.org.nz/news.asp?aid=1856

    And I really am curious as to whether you can name one instance of free trade ideology being adopted through means other than coercion or imposition.

  12. the sprout 12

    Bill, play fair – how can Matthew do his magic if you dismiss vacuous rhetoric and insist on fact?

  13. Ari 13

    Did you hear Bernard Hackey last night? Apparently, when National was criticising Labour for not getting an FTA (at the time Australia got one) they were completely right, but now that Labour has made the breakthrough, it’s likely to be an unmitigated disaster for NZ.

    While I agree with you that it’s a huge double standard the way he talked about an FTA with the USA before it was an actual prospect and the way he’s talking about it now, there’s no doubting the factuality of all the concerns he raised in his most recent interview. Even if all the tariffs on our meat and dairy products are lifted in this deal, we still have substantial subsides on their own products to contend with- and I’d be very surprised if we can beat them off any of those subsides given the enormous influence of the agricultural lobby in the USA.

  14. Draco T Bastard 14

    Truth Seeker has an interesting take on free-markets.

  15. Draco T Bastard 15

    Eeep O_O
    In the spam trap again 🙁

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Government spend up on state house sell off
    The Government has spent $28.9 million and has 129 officials working on its misguided state house sell-off, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “This is a scandalous waste of taxpayers’ money on a policy that won’t deliver a single extra… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Housing crisis has huge impact on education
    The National Government’s failure to get on top of the housing crisis is having a major impact on the quality of education a lot of school kids are getting, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says.  “There are thousands of kids… ...
    21 hours ago
  • Minister celebrates while arts organisations face cuts
    Maggie Barry was full of self-congratulations for her small arts announcement in the budget, ignoring the pain that a large number of organisations are facing due to her inaction, says Arts, Culture, Heritage spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.  “The Budget delivered a… ...
    22 hours ago
  • Regions miss out again in Joyce’s Koru Lounge Fund
      The regions have missed out yet again with Steven Joyce offering just $10m a year for key regional development projects while trumpeting a bunch of re-heated announcements, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “The dairy downturn has put… ...
    2 days ago
  • Children’s Commissioner misses out in Budget
      The Office of the Children’s Commissioner has missed out on a much needed boost in this year’s Budget, meaning they will be forced to continue their reduced monitoring role of CYFs residences, says Labour’s spokesperson for Children Jacinda Ardern. … ...
    2 days ago
  • Communities miss out in Budget
    Budget 2017 has left community and NGO providers feeling exposed about the services they provide to vulnerable families especially in smaller towns and communities, says Labour’s Whānau Ora Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta. “Approximately $40m will go into Whānau Ora to work… ...
    3 days ago
  • Budget2016: Two Worlds
    Sometimes I feel as if I live in two worlds. The world created by the National Government where everything is great and they’re doing a great job and the world as seen through the eyes of child advocates, community workers,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 days ago
  • Parekura would be proud – MTS gets boost
    The Labour Party is ecstatic that the Māori Party have shown support for one of Labour’s proudest policies, says Labour’s Māori Broadcasting Spokesperson Peeni Henare.  “The Māori Television Service was launched in 2004 by the late Hon Parekura Horomia. ...
    3 days ago
  • Māori housing in state of emergency
    The Government needs to declare a state of emergency for Māori Housing, says Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson and Te Tai Tokerau MP Kelvin Davis. “The extra $3 million a year Māori Housing Network fund will not scratch the surface in… ...
    3 days ago
  • State house sell off in disarray after provider pulls out
     The Government should cancel its planned sell-off of state houses after the second big community housing provider pulled out leaving the process in disarray, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “It is time for the Government to back away from… ...
    3 days ago
  • Nothing in Budget to help police to solve crime
    The Police Minister has failed to make communities safer with virtually no new money in yesterday’s Budget for police to address the appalling burglary resolution rates, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Stuart Nash.  “It’s a disgrace there’s no money or aspiration… ...
    3 days ago
  • Blog – Budget 2016: What about ordinary working people?
    Ordinary working New Zealanders don’t fare very well from this Budget. Setting aside the spin from the Government, it contains a lot to be concerned about and a fudging of the numbers. Green Party workplace relations spokesperson Denise Roche For… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    3 days ago
  • Real wages go backwards for next two years
    New Zealanders’ real wages will fall for the next two years as the cost of living outpaces forecast pay rises, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “New Zealanders have been doing it tough for far too long. They expect… ...
    3 days ago
  • The Attack on Public Education – by a thousand cuts
    Budget 2016 is another step towards the free public education system being a memory from the past. The Budget freezes the operations grant for schools and does not sufficiently cover the real increase in numbers of students entering the education system.… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 days ago
  • The Attack on Public Education – by a thousand cuts
    Budget 2016 is another step towards the free public education system being a memory from the past. The Budget freezes the operations grant for schools and does not sufficiently cover the real increase in numbers of students entering the education system.… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    3 days ago
  • The give with one hand – take with the other Budget
    The Minister of Health has pumped out media releases to 20 District Health Boards heralding increases in funding for their regions, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. “But when you add population growth and inflation into the figures you get… ...
    3 days ago
  • Budget offers no hope of fixing housing crisis
    The Budget’s underwhelming housing measures will give New Zealanders no hope that National is capable of fixing the housing crisis, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “There isn’t a scrap of an idea to help desperate young Kiwi families into… ...
    3 days ago
  • How the budget fails new New Zealanders
    Greens co-leader James Shaw was absolutely correct to say the 2016 budget is just papering over the cracks. There’s nothing in this budget to increase wages, address inequal pay for carers or deal with the shocking pay rates and employment… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    4 days ago
  • Parents will pay more as school budgets frozen
    Parents will pay more for their kids’ education as a result of this year’s Budget after the Government froze operational funding for schools, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “This means schools are effectively going backwards. They will need to… ...
    4 days ago
  • Sticking Plaster Budget fails the test
    Bill English’s penultimate Budget fails to tackle the structural challenges facing the economy – a housing crisis, rising unemployment, underfunded health and creaking infrastructure, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “This Budget applies a sticking plaster to a compound fracture.… ...
    4 days ago
  • John Key fails middle New Zealand with no fix for housing crisis, more underfunding of health
    Middle New Zealand has again missed out in this year’s Budget with not a single fix for the housing crisis, and health and education woefully underfunded again, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This Budget is just a patchwork… ...
    4 days ago
  • Labour Bill would back Kiwi jobs
    The Government’s $40 billion of buying power would go towards backing Kiwi businesses and jobs under a Labour Member’s Bill which will be debated by Parliament, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “My Bill – which was pulled from… ...
    4 days ago
  • Julie Anne Genter: My Budget 2016 wish is fairness
    When my parents first visited me in Auckland ten years ago, they remarked on how there were no homeless people on the streets. Coming from Los Angeles, they were used to seeing the impacts of horrendous inequality and a lack… ...
    GreensBy Julie Anne Genter
    4 days ago
  • Steffan Browning: Pesticide reduction and Organic Growth Strategy in Budget 2016
    Pesticide reduction The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to launch a pesticide reduction strategy that multiplies the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ capacity to reassess pesticides and other toxins.  The Agricultural Compounds and… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    4 days ago
  • Steffan Browning: Pesticide reduction and Organic Growth Strategy in Budget 2016
    Pesticide reduction The Budget is an opportunity for the Government to launch a pesticide reduction strategy that multiplies the Environmental Protection Authority’s (EPA) and the Ministry for Primary Industries’ capacity to reassess pesticides and other toxins.  The Agricultural Compounds and… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning
    4 days ago
  • Minister won’t fess up on wrong figures
    The Minister of Health was caught out telling porkies in Parliament today when he was asked about the number of people getting access to mental health and addiction services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. ...
    5 days ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Scrambled announcement policy on the hoof
    Paula Bennett’s scrambled desperate announcement that she will pay homeless people to move to the regions is just the latest evidence of the disarray this Government’s housing policy is in, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This is policy… ...
    5 days ago
  • Police Minister admits resolution rates fall short of expectation
    Police Minister Judith Collins has admitted in Parliament current burglary resolution rates are not meeting the expectations of our communities, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash “Out of 284 police stations in New Zealand in 2015, 24 stations recorded zero… ...
    5 days ago
  • Mojo Mathers: A better deal for animals in Budget 2016
    Currently we are failing animals in NZ. On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect. In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    5 days ago
  • Metiria Turei: What we need from Budget 2016
    Every family deserves a warm decent home.  Everyone believes that. This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.  Families are doing it… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    5 days ago
  • Dairy exports fall of 11%: Budget action on diversification needed
    Dairy exports have fallen 11 per cent compared to this time last year, a fall of almost $1.5b, showing the Government must take clear action on diversifying the economy in tomorrow’s Budget, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David… ...
    5 days ago
  • Investors driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland
    Investors cashing in on skyrocketing Auckland house prices are driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland and causing homeownership rates in some of our poorest suburbs to plummet, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New analysis shows… ...
    5 days ago
  • Budget must deliver on paid parental leave
    Budget 2016 must deliver 26 weeks paid parental leave by April 2018 – anything less will be short-changing families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “My Bill which is before Parliament this afternoon has majority support and does just that. I… ...
    5 days ago
  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    6 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    6 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    6 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    6 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    6 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    6 days ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
    National is making a mockery of the Budget process by dangling the promise of tax cuts but failing to include them in the Budget, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s tax cut promises have turned into a farce. One… ...
    7 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
    Today I want to talk about success. As we know success can come in many different forms, from the fact you all made it here at such an early hour on a Monday, for which I am very grateful, to… ...
    7 days ago
  • Budget must deliver for middle New Zealand
    The Government must ensure next week’s Budget stops the squeeze on middle New Zealand and delivers shared prosperity for all New Zealanders, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. The call follows new research commissioned by Labour that shows working… ...
    1 week ago
  • Our housing emergency – why we have to act
    Marama and Metiria at Homes Not Cars launch On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere