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Trade retaliation

Written By: - Date published: 1:21 pm, August 3rd, 2016 - 50 comments
Categories: China, exports, john key, national, trade, useless - Tags: , , , , ,

McClay and Key have made a total mess of the Chinese steel fiasco:

Gordon Campbell on Todd McClay’s faulty memory

As NZF leader Winston Peters was saying yesterday, McClay’s obvious difficulty in getting his story straight is part of a wider credibility problem with this government. Time and again, whenever an issue arises the initial response by government is to deny or diminish the problem – nothing to worry about here, everything’s OK, move on. In McClay’s initial version, China’s threat to retaliate if we pursue dumping allegations over their steel was only ‘hypothetical’ – and was intimated to be a media creation that people shouldn’t take seriously.

Then, hang on. In line with the usual pattern, as embarrassing details emerged into daylight, the story changed. Oh, McClay had somehow ‘forgotten’ he was briefed on this issue only a week beforehand. Then, a bit later: oh, actually MFAT has been working on this issue for the past few months. Over which period, supposedly neither McClay and/or officials had thought to adequately brief Prime Minister John Key. McClay has apologised to the PM for that alleged lapse.

It has been a classic protect-the-leader response. Note: McClay apologized to Key for exposing him to criticism, and not to the New Zealand public for repeatedly misleading them. That’s the first rule in these kind of scandals: protect the leader at all costs.

Currently, the Key government is still locked in re-assurance mode. Allegedly, no threat of retaliation by the Chinese exists …

Well then, what a strange coincidence:

Zespri confirms Chinese officials issue risk notice over kiwifruit

Chinese authorities have followed through on their controversial threats to clamp down on imports of kiwifruit into the country.

It comes after China threatened to slow down New Zealand dairy, wool and kiwifruit exports, to retaliate against New Zealand for initiating a preliminary inquiry into cheap Chinese steel allegedly being dumped here.

After the threats were revealed, Prime Minister John Key publicly castigated Trade Minister Todd McClay for covering up the threats. He sought and received assurances China would not go through on them.

But on Tuesday, despite the assurances, China was revealed to have issued a risk notification and strengthened inspection and quarantine processes on New Zealand kiwifruit entering China ports. …

The Nats are in a difficult spot here, no doubt about it. The weak steel is a serious issue and it should be investigated. But their usual tactics of deny and lie have been caught out yet again. We need competent government on this issue – are we going to get it?

Vernon Small:

50 comments on “Trade retaliation ”

  1. Ad 1

    Would be great to see some of our Ministers doing some actual political work for a change. Like standing up to China.

    Come on John, stand up to them.

    • Michelle 1.1

      He needs to walk his talk and ‘get some guts’

    • Olwyn 1.2

      Surely with a trade agreement it is more about paying attention from the outset. It is one thing to explain that we cannot use such-and-such steel because it does not meet NZ standards and another to subject China to media howls of “sub-standard steel from China” when the deal has been done and the road or bridge is half built.

      • Ad 1.2.1

        Fully agree this sits in the first instance with NZTA and Fletchers.
        In particular their collective procurement, quality control, risk and audit, materials insurance, testing framework, completion bonding, and subcontractor control frameworks etc etc.

        But when all that fails – and trust me I know the infrastructure business reasonably well – it’s time to turn to politics. That’s NZTA’s job, not the contractors’. NZTA has the responsible Minister.

        China’s Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, China Development Bank, and many others, may keep touting to have infrastructure jobs coming their way, but they will be treated like cheap subbies unless they understand the post-Christchurch safety framework with full Directors’ liabilities that is now in place.

        More broadly than New Zealand, it’s not anybody’s job but China’s job to prove their companies and their materials should be hired for jobs globally. This taint will go round the world real fast.

  2. McFlock 2

    I have serious doubts about the leadership abilities of our prime minister – apparently none of his subordinates feel the need to advise him of important issues, instead preferring to fuck it up by themeselves.

    • ianmac 2.1

      Surely Key was aware of this problem much much earlier than stated. I bet Key said to McClay,”Lie low. It will not be important.”
      Then when the truth started emerging it became, “You naughty boy Todd. You should have told me and if you say that you did tell me, remember that I and only I choose who will stay in Cabinet.”

      • McFlock 2.1.1


        I’m just really tired of the excuse that he didn’t fuck up because he made idiots responsible for the job and they fucked up.

        When did incompetence become an excuse for failure?

        • Ch-ch Chiquita

          And I wonder how much each and every such incompetent idiot is being paid.

      • North 2.1.2

        Yeah…..ya gotta let King John have a way out…….but I reckon there must be some real disquiet in that caucus. And Judith’s on the prowl. Can’t help herself. Control freak. Nasty.

    • Repateet 2.2

      Don’t doubt his leadership ability when his style of lying is so successfully learned by his underlings.

  3. save nz 3

    We need competent government on this issue – are we going to get it? – Nope!

    The Natz are quite happy to have weak steel, when people die, they can just blame someone else for it.

    They got away with leaky building.

    At the end of the day, the Natz and in particular John Key are the worst negotiators possible for NZ. Time and time again, they come back from some overseas visit or trade deal only to report back they got nothing, Zilch, zip, zero and instead signed away some right or another costing the country billions for a magic bean, have crap goods streaming in or low wages workers, or actually just a golf game or handshake to feel they are important. No wonder the Natz are popular overseas. They really are the village idiots.

    • Draco T Bastard 3.1


    • srylands 3.2

      “Time and time again, they come back from some overseas visit or trade deal only to report back they got nothing, Zilch, zip, zero ”

      Can you give an example?

    • srylands 3.3

      Perhaps you could run through the list of the trade agreements negotiated by the current government, and compare the outcomes to those achieved by the agreements concluded under the last Labour Government.


      I can’t see any differences. Perhaps you could give three examples. Or are you simply making shit up?

      • Gangnam Style 3.3.1

        # examples, ok, off the top of my head…

        Bending over backwards to Warner Brothers & selling out NZ workers when Peter Jackson pretended he was going to move his entire production over seas, yeah right!

        & 2 times coming back from the UK & Australia with diminished rights for New Zealanders living in those countries, hows that?

        • Chuck

          “Bending over backwards to Warner Brothers & selling out NZ workers when Peter Jackson pretended he was going to move his entire production over seas, yeah right!”

          The Govt sorting out a deluded union about to wreak the NZ film industry more like it.

          “& 2 times coming back from the UK & Australia with diminished rights for New Zealanders living in those countries, hows that?”

          You are confusing the last Labour Government signing away rights for kiwis.

          The current Government is on the ball though…


          • Gangnam Style

            Yeah that’s precisely what unions do, destroy jobs :eyeroll: It was all a con on the part of Jackson & Warners, but whatevers, only the deluded believe otherwise.

            & no, the National Govt have been in for 8 or so years now, so again OWN IT! The “Labour did it too” meme is tired & meaningless.

            • Gosman

              Name me one worker who has been adversely affected by the outcome of the deal around the Hobbit? If you can’t name somebody then please explain to me exactly how a worker could be adversely affected.

        • Gosman

          When did Australia change the rules around New Zealanders living in Australia receiving benefits ? I believe it was when Helen Clark was PM. Did she do anything to stop this?

          • Halfcrown

            You are correct Gosman Clark 2001, and being the author of it did not do anything about it. However this current shower of shit has also not addressed the problem in the last 8 years.

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            A centre-right racist politician called John Howard pandered to centre-right hate speech around immigration. This happened in Australia. I’m not sure what Helen Clark could have done to solve centre-right bigotry.

            • Gosman

              Hold on. People are criticising National for not being able to get other nations to do something yet you think Labour not getting them to do it is okay because it is a little difficult. Me thinks you might have a case of double standards.

              Btw Labor was elected to power in Australia in 2007. Clark was still in power at this time. Why couldn’t she influence a center left party?

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                People…you might…

                There’s only one of me. I note your argument is based on you putting words in my mouth, and what else to expect, considering your well-earned reputation for lying.

      • dukeofurl 3.3.2

        Saudi Arabia- Gulf States

        “New Zealand is in negotiations to conclude five free trade agreements, with another process towards negotiations underway”

        Theres a bigger list of FTA concluded but not in force- TPA death spiral

      • save nz 3.3.3

        TPPA so good for dairy and the country – ha ha ha – Even JK could not lie well enough to proclaim a good deal there. Funny enough now instead of milk sales we now have farm sales under National… And instead of $8 for milk solids what is it $5 or is it even less?

        Going to the UK to sort out NZ working Visas and get our youth a good deal…

        Going to OZ to sort out the imprisoned Kiwi’s who were being deported…

        Sending Collins to the anti corruption summit (held by Cameron who has a family tax haven in Panama) and now we are being investigated by the EU for corruption and dodgy tax havens set up by John Key’s sometimes family lawyer…

        Every time JK goes to lobby for Helen Clark her chances drop further.

        • save nz

          Importing in pollen with PSA virus after being told it was very dangerous to biosecurity to do that!

    • esoteric pineapples 3.4


    • Me 3.5

      Hope you don’t mind, I’m reposting “At the end…idiots” on my Facebook page. Never a truer statement.

  4. Draco T Bastard 4

    We need competent government on this issue – are we going to get it?

    Nope because they’re too gutless to say to China: We’d like to do this investigation to clear up the matter and put in place processes to ensure that it doesn’t happen again but, as you’re opposed to this, we’ll just be stopping all trade with China.

    • Michelle 4.1

      Our PM is very gutless and when he goes overseas he is like a little lamb going to be the slaughted

  5. doc 5

    shining example of free trade at work, you got the big boots you get the best from free trade….

  6. dukeofurl 6

    We double down and do a ban on all chinese steel until the strength certificates can be individually verified.

  7. adam 7

    One day, and two ministers exposed for incompetence. Housing and now this.

    Where are the media calling for heads, where are the cartoons, where is the laughing at these muppets when they walk down the street?

    I think we are now into fully laugh at a national MP mode. I mean yes you could get angry, and you could shout. But seriously.

    The only response to this level of incompetence – laughter, these guys are so bad you gotta laugh at them.

    • Keith 7.1

      I worry because this amount of incompetence means National tends to resonate with voters and goes up in the polls!

      Still the oblivion of lying will be interesting. Who will fluff their lines this time?

  8. xanthe 8

    eeek first time i have seen zespri porn on the standard 🙂

  9. The Chairman 9

    “The Chinese had expressed their extreme displeasure at New Zealand inquiries into cheap Chinese steel allegedly dumped on the local market.”

    What about our displeasure (not to mention the potential risk to life) from being the recipients of inferior steel?

    • Draco T Bastard 9.1

      Apparently that doesn’t matter to either the Chinese or our government.

      • The Chairman 9.1.1

        It’s looking that way.

        As far as the Government is concerned, they could be doing far more.

        ACRS New Zealand head Stephen Hicks had first-hand experience of the UK regime, and said it was the “wild west” in New Zealand.

        Dr Hicks said the gold-plate standard in steel quality was Europe and the UK, where no steel could be used structurally unless it was certified, and all testing had to be audited by a third party.

        In the face of a resistant Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), he said unfortunately it came back to political will.

        “How it would look would be that the government mandates the performance requirements in the product standards, saying these tests have to be repeated three or four times, and those tests have to be done or overseen by a third party organisation.”

        He said the other crucial catalyst would be customer demand – and the government was key there too because it could require all road builders to use only properly certified steel.


        • save nz

          Exactly look at Pike River!! A death mine. Nobody held accountable!!!
          CTV building, another death building. Nobody held accountable!!!

  10. joe90 10

    Tories huh…

    Theresa May has been warned by China not to risk driving away Chinese investors as the country’s official news agency questioned the British government’s delay in approving the controversial new Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant.

    Xinhua news agency said China understood and respected Britain’s requirement for more time to think about the deal, but it dismissed fears that China would put “backdoors” into the technology used on the project, that might present threats to UK national security.

    It said: “China can wait for a rational British government to make responsible decisions, but cannot tolerate any unwanted accusation against its sincere and benign willingness for win-win cooperation.”


    • save nz 10.1

      That deal is the joke of the century. While China puts through solar power they sell power at 3 times the rate to the UK and put the UK in eye watering debt. Why bother with military force when China can just turn the lights off in Britain! Ha Ha.

      Or mother nature can do it for them, aka “The Japanese nuclear plant stricken by a deadly tsunami two years ago is facing the dire issue of containing radioactive waste water, as operators rush to repair yet another possible disaster.

      The March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami left the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant stricken, badly damaging its reactors, which serve to cool nuclear cores.

      Now contaminated groundwater containing radioactive strontium, a byproduct of nuclear fission, is leaking from damaged reactor structures at an alarming rate of 75 gallons per minute.”

  11. SimonM 11

    I don’t think it will come to much. There’s no way Beijing would want to damage their man in Wellington, Don Key, when he’s already doing such a great job for them.

  12. Sabine 12

    i think the hardest part is finding someone ‘competent’ within the National Party.

    the incompetent ones are constantly on tv touted as heros of the realm.

    but then, they may call it incompetence where i call it an all around ‘we can’t give a fuck’ attitude to anything that concerns this country.

    housing for the people? We can’t give a fuck we have ours.
    food for kids in schools? we can’t give a fuck we’re not hungry.
    surgery for sick people? we can’t give a fuck we are not sick.
    safe steel for our buildings? We can’t give a fuck cause we are not going to upset the chinese.

    see, its only incompetence if you look at it from our side.

  13. gsays 13

    An unintended consequence of the race to the bottom.

    ‘spose this means we are sure of be buying more cheap Chinese locos

  14. NZSage 14

    There’s a lesson to be learnt here.

    If China can ignore the supposedly free trade agreement they have with NZ perhaps we can stick two fingers up the the TPPA when and if it commences.

    • RedLogix 14.1

      For a very long time the Chinese have more or less done whatever they liked in terms of international trade. Especially around fixing their currency artificially low while everyone else’s has been floated.

      The lesson has been there to learn for quite some time.

    • Draco T Bastard 14.2

      International law isn’t followed by the major players unless it suits them to do so. We’ve seen this time and time again over the years.

      The lesson is that international law isn’t worth the paper that it’s written on.

      • Instauration 14.2.1

        Yep – opine duality and hypocrisy
        China sells steel to international markets at less than the cost of production = “Dumping”
        New Zealand sells KG of milk fat to international markets at less than the cost of production = “difficult trading conditions”

  15. Neil 15

    NZ Herald readers may be surprised to learn that there is in fact a steel fiasco, as that publication have refused to report on it.

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