Winston and the FTA

Written By: - Date published: 11:04 am, April 9th, 2008 - 27 comments
Categories: economy, International, nz first - Tags: , ,

New Zealand First’s opposition to the China FTA is no surprise but it is interesting to reflect on the grounds for it that Winston Peters has laid out:

a) the deal is not good enough. A pretty weak argument when the other option is no deal.

b) the immigration provisions are bad and shouldn’t be part of FTAs anyway (also the CTU’s position). Also not strong arguments, we’re only talking 1800 Chinese and there’s no inherent reason why limited movement of labour shouldn’t be in an FTA.

c) the opposition to the FTA is a protest vote against New Zealand’s ‘hands off’ export policy. Peters is on stronger ground here. If we didn’t have a neoliberal, inflation-myopic monetary system with a floating currency (we are one of the smallest economies in the world with a free-flaoting currency, it puts us at the mercy of speculators), we could keep the exchange rate lower, which would deliver far greater increases in export earnings than even the China FTA.

Those who say that Peters’ opposition to the FTA would impair his ability to be Foreign Minister because it confuses foreigners know nothing of how diplomacy works in the real world. Other countries find our arrangement unusual but, just like us, they have found it doesn’t really matter that the Foreign Minister is not a part of the Government and doesn’t always vote with the Government in Parliament. And like us, they will just get on with the job of diplomacy, political quirks aside. Countries know that when they deal with New Zealand they can trust us to work in good faith and keep our side of agreements. How the Foreign Minister votes in Parliament doesn’t matter.

Finally, it was good to see Key on Breakfast refusing to use this issue as a club to beat the Government, despite Paul Henry practically begging him to do so. Key even said Peters could still be Foreign Minister in a theoretical National-led Government. The worst Key could say was the ‘optics’ are bad for foreigners (see paragraph above). Not that Key’s position was principled. As he admitted himself, Key just can’t risk getting (more) offside with Peters when he might need to deal with him post-election.

No doubt, Peters has done well here. He has put his critique of our entire export policy to centre-stage, he has avoided criticism from either major party, and his party and himself are in the limelight with a message that will resonate with many voters.

27 comments on “Winston and the FTA”

  1. Matthew Pilott 1

    Did anyone watch Peters on Campbell Live last night? What an embarrassing affair – Peters needs to grow up. his line of “by the time Chinese tarriffs have been removed it will have been 36 years since we dropped ours” is patently stupid.

    What would you do Winston, delay the FTA a few years to make it an even 40?

    Cutting your nose to spite your face. Still, it might resonate with some folks, his reasonijg seems a bit too weak to wash though, I found it juvenile.

  2. infused 2

    What I love is recently the acupuncture school of New Zealand recently applied for a grant as there was a shortage of workers in New Zealand. It was denied as the need could not be found.

    What do you know, 200 extra acupuncture works are going to be bought in under the FTA.

    Nice one govt.

  3. infused 3

    Matthew Pilott: He is right. China have been throwing our goods at us for years. We sign the agreement and we STILL have to wait.

  4. Matthew Pilott 4

    http://tv3.co.nz/video/CampbellLiveinterviewsWinstonPeters/tabid/367/articleID/51851/Default.aspx?ArticleID=51851#video

    If you can stand his arrogance for long enough. Campbell doesn’t exactly shine, but, he’s interviewing the foreign affairs “face” of NZ for christsakes!

  5. Matthew Pilott 5

    Infused, as I said, would you prefer to delay the FTA and wait a bit longer? not have it at all because of teh delay? I fail to see a more reasonable alternative, and when you look at the forecast benefits, they’re in out favour several times over.

  6. Matthew Pilott 6

    Infused, if the need isn’t there, they won’t be able to get the jobs, and therefore won’t be allowed into the country. OTOH, we will get extra nurses and workers other trades that currently have actual shortages – nice one govt…

  7. Steve Pierson 7

    Matthew, we’re hoping to put the vid up in a bit i actually think that Peters shows one way to cope in an interview when you’ve got a weak position to defend – yes he was juvenile in a way but by taking the fight to Campbell he didn’t have to be defensive all the time, not for a moment did he seem unsure of himself or stumble umming and ahhing, compare that to how Key deals with interviews when he is defending a weak position or one he does’t really believe in. Plus, there are a lot of people who don’t like journos either and enjoy seeing them being given a hard time.

    Is it adult or good for the level of political debate? No. Is it clever handling of the media? yes

  8. infused 8

    300m of benefits pfff. Like most manufactures say, who gives a shit. We have lost more than gained on this IMO. Not just from a money/job perspective, but from bowing down to China. We look like idiots. Tibet, who gives a shit.

  9. higherstandard 9

    SP

    What was unprincipled about Key’s comments this morning – one of my colleagues told me all he was blandly present the reality of MMP politics and that he wasn’t at all surprised by NZ First and Peters position.

    Regarding Winston he is a political animal, one should be under no illusion that Brown’s comments last week and Winston’s performance last night are all just the start of his campaign to be Kingmaker again after the election and add to that Winston stealing Labour’s position as protector of NZ’s assets – you have to admire the pure political animal in him.

  10. Steve Pierson 10

    hs. It’s unprincipled that Key doesn’t think what Peters is doing is acceptable (as he said when he talked aobut bad opitics) but won’t criticise for base political reasons.

  11. Tane 11

    infused, as I understand it manufacturing tariffs were due to be reduced anyway, and for many manufacturers the FTA has actually extended the protection of tariffs for another couple of years.

    Manufacturers have many reasons to complain about policy settings – the MEA in particular has made some good points about the Reserve Bank’s narrow focus on inflation. But they also have a tendency to moan.

    [captcha: King Noriega]

  12. higherstandard 12

    I thought he said it would look odd to someone from outside NZ but that it’s part and parcel of MMP – I’m sure he’d like Winston and NZ First gone after the election but MMP means you have to be pragmatic mus as Labour will be privately seething about Winston but publicy saying exactly the same as Key.

  13. Phil 13

    In defence of the RBNZ… many manufacturers are more than happy to moan about the exchange rate hurting export revenues, but they refuse to acknowledge the beneficial impact of the exchange rate on two of their major import costs – fuel and steel (or, metals in general).

    Swings and roundabouts…

  14. Pablo 14

    That’s an excellent post Steve, cheers

    Key is merely playing realpolitik the way that Clark has had to do. He can’t slag off the FTA if he will be PM in 8 months, so he is playing the game in the only way open to him. Interesting about him conceding that he might have to play with Peters after the election, I thought the National startegy was to win 50% of the party vote?

    Peters is just playing to his audience isn’t he? No problem there, I’m sure that he & Clark have discussed how it will play out for months. Like you say, overseas governments aren’t idiots, they know that politics is a game of horse-trading. Peters’ role might be unusual, but it appears to have workedand, in many ways, made it easier for Key to deal with him post-election (ie by giving them a framework whereby both parties reach a deal without losing face).

  15. higherstandard 15

    Pablo

    Like you say, overseas governments aren’t idiots, they know that politics is a game of horse-trading. I wonder aht would have happended to s politician in the same position in Mainland China.

    Perhaps the way the dealt with their head of state FDA might give us a clue –

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/05/29/health/main2860989.shtml

    NoW if we could only have something similar in place for senior civil servants in NZ.

  16. Policy Parrot 16

    Should we take Key’s endorsement of Winston Peters so soon after such vile comment from NZFirst as a sign that [National] implicitly approves of such an agenda?

  17. higherstandard 17

    PP

    Indeed but only as long as you do the same honour for the incumbent government.

  18. Joker 18

    Can you tell us Steve P of your extensive international diplomatic credentials that make you elegable to comment on “how diplomacy works in the real world”?

    At the time of Winstons appointment international publications were editorially scratching their heads over how one can be a minister whilst outside of Government.

    This latest episode will only serve to reinforce what inconsequential little weirdos we are.

    Captcha: fist overated
    Sounds like something that our education minister might say.

  19. Phil 19

    Steve, I refer to this comment;

    “… monetary system with a floating currency (we are one of the smallest economies in the world with a free-flaoting currency, it puts us at the mercy of speculators), we could keep the exchange rate lower, which would deliver far greater increases in export earnings than even the China FTA.”

    This is totally wrong.

    Firstly, size doesn’t matter. Its well known and accepted that being ‘small and open’ is an afwul lot better than being ‘small and closed’ when the shit hits the fan internationally. The spreading and management of ‘risk’ in its many forms lies at the heart of free trade.

    Secondly, having a free-floating exchange rate does not put us at the mercy of speculators at all. It does put speculators at the mercy of other speculators, but that is a world of difference. If you really weant to get technical about it, it is speculators (through arbitrage) who keep global exchange rates in the reasonably harmonious state we have enjoyed for most of the last two and a half decades.

    Thirdly; “we could keep the exchange rate lower” Yes, we could, technically. However, this requires the selling of NZD by a central authority (be it govt or central bank). How do you sell dollars you dont have in reserves? You have to print more, and more, and more, and end up like France post-revolution, like Germany post-both-wars, or like the SE Asian economies in the 90’s.

  20. Steve Pierson 20

    Phil. Small economies in Eastern Europe have done very well with currency boards keeping the exchange rate within acceptable bands relatively to currency baskets. It has prevented big currency swings, the risk of which scare off investment, and allowed imbalances to be actively managed, rather than hoping the market will sort it out eventually without too much of a crash.

    You seem to be the expert: can you tell me of another economy in our size range with a totally free floating exchange rate, including having a central bank that doesn’t take an ideal exchange rate, as well as an ideal inflation rate, into its considerations when setting interest rates?

  21. Draco TB 21

    This latest episode will only serve to reinforce what inconsequential little weirdos we are.

    No, what it does is prove that the rest of the world isn’t quite as advanced in their understanding of democracy as we, one of the oldest democracies in the world, are.

    How do you sell dollars you dont have in reserves? You have to print more, and more, and more, and end up like France post-revolution, like Germany post-both-wars, or like the SE Asian economies in the 90’s.

    But that’s what we do anyway. Its just that it’s done through private banks so they can make a profit from doing nothing rather than through a central agency. There’s nothing to stop it coming crashing down which, by the looks of things, it’s about to do anyway (the global credit crunch is a direct result of these monetary practices).

  22. Richard 22

    That interview last night was a great prelude for Boston Legal later on. The old champ Denny/Winny pulls it out of the bag when you thought he was gone. It was just classic Winston, Campbell just got so wound up it was hilarious.

  23. higherstandard 23

    Delicious

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/feature/story.cfm?c_id=1501819&objectid=10503174

    In his informal comments to business people, Mr Goff described the situation as “bullshit”.

    captcha – also prudently ….obviously not

  24. r0b 24

    Don’t get too excited HS – “Mr Key yesterday reiterated his position that it was conceivable that Mr Peters could be foreign minister in a National-led government”. Criticism that the Right hurls today might come back and haunt them tomorrow.

    I think it’s 2 parts BS to 1 part sophisticated MMP politics myself.

  25. higherstandard 25

    rob

    Agreed – it’s just refreshing that Phil Goff can leave politics aside and call it for what it is – in hindisght I expect Key probably wishes he had called it bullshit as well – might have done something to counter his blandness regarding the politics of the situation..

    Perhaps we could offer Winston a position with the All Blacks during every World Cup year ….. as he pops up once every four years stirs up the shite but does at least tend to manage to get over the line every time – worth considering surely.

  26. Matthew Pilott 26

    HS – I agree fully regarding phil Goff. I take it more that it’s not so much his opinion of Winston’s ‘two hats’ but what Goff thinks of his actual opinion on the FTA.

    Also good point about the world cup – the man is like clockwork, I was waiting for the Asian/Immigrant/Beneficiary bashing to begin this year, it was inevitable! “Peaks” at the right time…

  27. r0b 27

    I don’t like Winston, but he can be funny: “Apparently there was a constitutional crisis in New Zealand last week but fortunately it was confined to a word processor in the parliamentary press gallery.”

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/section/1/story.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10504196

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    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    1 week ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    1 week ago
  • Union solidarity with Ihumatao land occupation
    by Daphna Whitmore Every Sunday for the past two months unionists from First Union, with supporters from other unions, have set out to the Ihumatao land protest, put up gazebos and gas barbeques, and cooked food for a few hundred locals and supporters who have come from across the country. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • Climate Change: The wrong kind of trees?
    Newsroom today has an excellent, in-depth article on pine trees as carbon sinks. The TL;DR is that pine is really good at soaking up carbon, but people prefer far-less efficient native forests instead. Which is understandable, but there's two problems: firstly, we've pissed about so long on this problem that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • No freedom of speech in Turkey
    Canan Kaftancioglu is a Turkish politician and member of the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). Like most modern politicians, she tweets, and uses the platform to criticise the Turkish government. She has criticised them over the death of a 14-year-old boy who was hit by a tear gas grenade during ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Speaker: Tadhg Stopford: Why I’m standing for the ADHB
    Hi there, just call me Tim.We face tough problems, and I’d like to help, because there are solutions.An Auckand District Health Board member has nominated me for as a candidate for the ADHB, because her MS-related pain and fatigue is reduced with hemp products from Rotorua.  Nothing else helped her. If I ...
    1 week ago
  • Good little vassals
    The Inspector-General of Intelligence and Security has published their report on whether the SIS and GCSB had any complicity in American torture. And its damning. The pull quote is this:The Inquiry found both agencies, but to a much greater degree, the NZSIS, received many intelligence reports obtained from detainees who, ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Who Shall We Turn To When God, And Uncle Sam, Cease To Defend New Zealand?
    Bewhiskered Cassandra? Professor Hugh White’s chilling suggestion, advanced to select collections of academic, military and diplomatic Kiwi experts over the course of the past week, is that the assumptions upon which Australia and New Zealand have built their foreign affairs and defence policies for practically their entire histories – are ...
    1 week ago
  • The Politics of Opposition
    For most of the time I was a British MP, my party was out of government – these were the Thatcher years, when it was hard for anyone else to get a look-in. As a front-bencher and shadow minister, I became familiar with the strategies required in a parliamentary democracy ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • More expert comments on the Canadian fluoride-IQ paper
    The Green et al (2019) fluoride/IQ is certainly controversial – as would be expected from its subject (see If at first you don’t succeed . . . statistical manipulation might help and Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear). Anti-fluoride campaigners have been actively promoting it ...
    1 week ago
  • The return to guerrilla war in Colombia
    by Gearóid Ó Loingsigh On August 29th a video in which veteran FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) commander Iván Márquez announced that they had taken up arms again was released. There was no delay in the reaction to it, from longtime Liberal Party figure and former president Uribe, for ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Air New Zealand identifies this enormous plot of unused land as possible second airport site
    Air New Zealand couldn’t believe its luck that this seemingly ideal piece of real estate had so far gone entirely unnoticed. Air New Zealand’s search for a site to build a second Auckland Airport may have made a breakthrough this afternoon, after employees scanning Google satellite imagery spotted a huge, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Redline on the Labour Party
    No-one on the anti-capitalist left in this country today puts forward a case that Labour is on the side of the working class.  There are certainly people who call themselves ‘socialist’ who do, but they are essentially liberals with vested interests in Labourism – often for career reasons. Nevertheless, there ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    2 weeks ago
  • New Fisk
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour’s failure
    When National was in government and fucking over the poor for the benefit of the rich, foodbanks were a growth industry. And now Labour is in charge, nothing has changed: A huge demand for emergency food parcels means the Auckland City Mission is struggling to prepare for the impending arrival ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Ardern attempts to vaccinate Clarke Gayford live on television to prove that it’s safe
    Gayford, pictured here on The Project, before things got wildly out of control. A bold public relations move by the Government to encourage parents to vaccinate their children has gone horribly wrong. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern appeared on tonight’s episode of Three’s The Project, where the plan was for her ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Has Mr. Whippy gone too far by parking on our front lawns?
    Mr. Whippy’s business model has driven it down a dark road of intimidation. Residents in major centres around the country are becoming disgruntled by the increasingly aggressive actions of purported ice cream company Mr. Whippy, who have taken to parking on people’s front lawns and doorsteps in a desperate attempt ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Cleaning up the water
    Today the government released its Action Plan for Healthy Waterways, aimed at cleaning up our lakes and rivers. Its actually quite good. There will be protection for wetlands, better standards for swimming spots, a requirement for continuous improvement, and better standards for wastewater and stormwater. But most importantly, there's a ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Fronting up
    Today I appeared before the Environment Committee to give an oral submission on the Zero Carbon Bill. Over 1,500 people have asked to appear in person, so they've divided into subcommittees and are off touring the country, giving people a five minute slot each. The other submitters were a mixed ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Politics of science – making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear
    Anti-fluoride activists have some wealthy backers – they are erecting billboards misrepresenting the Canadian study on many New Zealand cities – and local authorities are ordering their removal because of their scaremongering. Many New Zealanders ...
    2 weeks ago

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