Monday, September 22, 2008

Yay us!

Hell, nobody else on this blog is gonna say it, so why don't I: congratulations to Helen Clark and Phil Goff for scoring us a free trade deal with the States. Good on you.



But how much sooner we could have got it were it not for the nuclear ships issue.

Psycho Milt said...

Oh Fairfacts, now you're just sounding desperate.


And it's just talks about having one.
It's not signed yet.
What does Obama think?
Not that I am suggesting he will be president.


Our best hope is for a McCain Palin victory.

Spam said...

I'll say it too, Milt. Well done.

Inventory2 said...

Don't be too fulsome in your praise PM - it;'s the start of negotiations, not the FTA itself. And we are only in it to keep Chile, Singapore and Brunei company.

Yes, it is a positive step, but there's a lot of water yet to flow under the bridge.


And it's one of those stories a government can whip out at whim to try and set the agennda.
With Liarbour having so many comms staff it has a huge advantage on the propaganda front.
And the media have been most willing accomplices in the Liarbour game.

LaFemme said...

I was wondering what Helen would be paid in exchange for throwing NZ's historic anti-nuke stance under the bus so the US/India could ink their nuke deal.
Now we know, don't we?
All that national point of pride: gone by lunch time.

Anonymous said...


this has nothing to do with Labour, who don't believe in free trade at all.

It has everything to do with the free trade deals set up by Grosser under Bolger with Singapore and Chile - which Labour opposed, and the Greens opposed most bitterly - and now the US has taken those on board.

It has absolutely nothing to do with Labour.

libertyscott said...

Well the free trade agenda has only been tarnished twice under Labour: First by the Alliance demanding that tariff cuts be frozen for five years. This has expired, along with the Alliance. Secondly, Labour tried hard to reverse commitments on audiovisual services (broadcasting content) at the WTO but was swiftly rebuked, killing off mandatory local content quotas on TV and radio.

Finally, the Greens have been doing their best to scupper anything to do with free trade, with Sue Kedgley warmly supporting French farmers in their battle for "food sovereignty".

Psycho Milt said...

I invite No Minister's readers to peruse this comments thread and note the big-hearted generosity of spirit with which right-wingers offer credit where credit's due...

Further, I invite No Minister's readers to compare the attitudes displayed on this thread with those that would likely be displayed if it were Prime Minister John Key who'd made that announcement this afternoon...

pdm said...

pm - I think John Key would have realistically pointed out that it is only the start of negotiations and therefore at least 3 years away if at all and that it probably won't happen if Obama is elected President.


PM, do you think this was another weapon of mass distraction to cover Winnie's lying ass and Dear Leader being totally behind her little lying poodle?

Paul G. Buchanan said...

Although it is still early in the process, this deal has been in the works for some time under Labour and is a winner. Yes, it follows on the trade opening schemes of previous governments, but the P4, bilateral FTA with the PRC and now this P4+1 arrangement are all Labour's doing (well actually, it is MFATs doing but Labour pushed the projects). Moreover, this deal, if finalised, is very astute because it binds the largest partner to the multilateral protocols of three economies of roughly similar (small to medium) size but different characteristics.

Bilateral FTAs between bigger and smaller partners tend to be asymmetrical and imbalanced in favour of the bigger partner because of the greater weight of the economies of scale involved (as is the case with the Australia-US FTA and NZ-PRC FTA), while multilateral FTAs between complementary sized economies spread costs more evenly and promote uniformity of rules. The proposed P4+1 would require the US to largely abide by P4 rules. There are bound to be points of exception and difference, but if the general P4 framework is upheld, then both costs and benefits of the enlarged partnership will be spread more evenly.

Regardless of who wins in November in both the US and NZ, this is a deal that will continue to be pursued. The variety of economic interests involved--oil, milk, forestry, shipping, high tech, primary good and value-added agro export, an array of manufacturing, plus the attendant service industries, to mention just a few, will ensure that no matter who rules the roost in both places, they are going to stay in the game. Over here in SIngapore there is no issue, as the regime does not bother with public opinion or political opposition on such matters and runs elections for its own benefit anyway.

Lafemme is wrong to imply that NZ, much less Labour, "got" something in exchange for supporting the US-India nuclear exchange within the NSG. Confronted with the exchange going through anyway or having NPT and IAEA protocols governing it, NZ bowed to the inevitable and insisted on the latter. Not ideal, but that is what diplomacy is all about. NZ got nothing in return other than assurances that the IAEA safeguards wold be observed. In sum: this is a completely different diplomatic issue and to suggest that it is in some way connected to the P4+1 is either ignorant or deliberately malicious.

What is true s that neither the NZ position within the NSG or with regard to the P4+1 proposal is a matter of partisan difference, at least between the major parties. NZ First and the Greens will like neither given their respective positions on nukes and FTAs, but the big players will see these negotiations for what they are--ways of improving NZ's stature in the world.

There is much more to the picture but I shall desist given the confines of blog commentary. I would like to thank PM for addressing issues other than the corruption scandal d'jour.

Ed Snack said...

Actually PM, I think you should read the press release carefully. It is no more than an agreement to talk about an agreement. Some Kudos, but your "headline" about Labour scoring a free trade agreement is pure, unadulaterated puffery. How can you expect people to praise something that might (assuming no Obama presidency for a start), just might turn into an FTA, (in 3 years at the earliest).

Come on Paul B, acknowledge the truth, talking about it ain't the same as doing it, never has, never will.

LaFemme said...

Paul, it is neither ignorant nor malicious (and more likely prudent) to suggest that in politics there is nearly always a payoff, and when you can't see the payoff clearly, one would be a fool not to ask: where is it?
And what has been the most shocking to me is how little comment there has been about this deal in NZ.

Heine said...

NZ is in good company here, all 3 countries we are with in the P4 have lower taxes and less Govt expenditure by GDP than NZ... so we have a lot to learn from our P4 friends.

Labour and National have done us a disservice by holding this up by not getting rid of our ancient cold war anti nuke policy - and Singapore and Chile already have a bilateral FTA arangement with the US while we are stuck in this 4 way.

But to make PM feel better about it, yes it was good that Labour got this organised before the election. So no arguement from me there.

If Obama is President then he will follow his Dem colleagues and hold back on the agreement... the Dem congress has already blocked them for Sth Korea amongst other countries...all of which I have blogged about in detail :)

Paul G. Buchanan said...

lafemme--I see your point and withdraw the previous characterisations of your comments. If there is a pay-out it is concealed at this point, but I still think that it is in the non-proliferation realm (or perhaps larger issues of security) rather than the trade realm.

Ed--I already mentioned in my original comment that there are IFs. You are right--talk is cheap. But this is not just talk.


Roar Prawn and Matthew Hooton makes a fair comment about the role of Phil Goff.
Goff looks set to be commended for his work , even if it is just an announcement of talks about talks.
While Dear Leader is trying to claim some credit for herself, this could well be Phil Goff's achievement, or maybe even Tim Groser.
Our Prime Minister has been shown up by how her anti-Amercianism is so old-fashioned and so damaging to our interests.
News of the possible trade deal only weakens her own position and her own leftist ideaolgy.
Dear Leader is so last century|!
The Clark era is over.
BBQ at Phil's place?, and with burgers and Texan steaks too!

Anonymous said...

this deal has been in the works for some time under Labour and is a winner.

Crap. Once again, started under National & Tim Grosser has far more to do with this than ANYONE in Labour. Labour did absolutely nothing for this. Nothing at all.

The most important trade thing National needs to do is sign up to the full Singapore Issues protocols (the old MAI).

That would kill pharmac dead: it would also mean that private hospitals and schools had to be funded in exactly the same way as state schools and there would be absolutely nothing a subsequent Labour/Green/COMMIE government could do about it

given the other P4 members have signed up to this, I'm sure the US would insist NZ did likewise. But there's no way Labour would.

Psycho Milt said...

Thanks Paul B and Heine.

Ed Snack: Yes, it is just the start of negotiations, yes the American agricultural lobby will see to it that our farmers don't get a look in no matter what's signed, etc etc. So what? It's still a great achievement that will likely benefit the NZ economy significantly.

I've seen plenty of traffic on right-wing blogs recently about how important it is for NZ that McCain wins the Presidency because he's more likely to deliver an FTA with NZ - so you all agree it's pretty damn important, huh? OK, so here's the govt announcing the opening of negotiations on just such an agreement - and because it's the wrong, suddenly you're all remarkably churlish about the whole thing.

Re McCain vs Obama, when it comes to free trade American presidents of all stripes pay lip service only. The main difference between Obama and McCain on this issue is that Obama isn't lying.

Re the effects of our anti-nuke policy on this process, all you're saying essentially is that we could have had an FTA a lot sooner if the Americans would just grow up. Is that really your intended meaning?

The most important trade thing National needs to do is sign up to the full Singapore Issues protocols (the old MAI).

That would kill pharmac dead: it would also mean that private hospitals and schools had to be funded in exactly the same way as state schools and there would be absolutely nothing a subsequent Labour/Green/COMMIE government could do about it

I love this kind of bullshit from righties. You all quack on about how European countries have surrendered their sovereignty to a collective with the setting up of the "EUSSR," and yet the moment you think you might be able to sell out our sovereignty to make us more like Singapore, you're all for it.

Heine said...

I wish NZ was more economically literate and prosperous as Singapore. :)

Any link to the fact that the Dems are not ratifying their free trade agreements now with a majority congress and Obamas isolationist approach? How will this change after November?

OECD rank 22 kiwi said...

So how is that Free Trade Agreement going?

New Zealand's standard of living lifting yet?

Or was it all a lame diversion to cover the CORRUPTION of the CLARK/PETERS AXIS.

Psycho Milt said...

Oh no, you guessed it - there is actually no agreement, it was all done by bribing the media and the relevant officials of the other four countries, just to distract people from more crap about Winston First. Seriously, are you on some kind of drugs?