A cultural shift in the country’s trade policy work was reflected in a speech to the University of Auckland’s Public Policy Institute today. It is reflected, too, in the New Defence Priorities announced by Defence Minister Peeni Henare
These are designed to
“… ensure the Defence Force remains in the best position to continue serving New Zealanders as our region responds to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Government priorities for Defence will put a stronger focus on people, infrastructure, and the region in which we live, the Pacific, Henare said.
The top priority – people – includes
“… an increased focus on culture and diversity, to ensure the forces reflect New Zealand and the communities they serve”.
Henare has also released the four new Principles for Defence which “reinforce the diversity and values of New Zealand’s defence agencies”.
Most people will require an English translation to understand what these are all about. The Minister has obliged:
The Principles are:
- Angitu, which stands for success, effort and striving;
- Kotahitanga which speaks to unity, togetherness and collective action;
- Mana and Pono reflects the influence, trust and integrity in Defence; and
- Kaitiakitanga speaks to their work as guardians and stewards for the future.
When troops come under fire and a commander orders them to “take cover”, what language will be preferred?
Or if the urgent command is to “get the hell out of here!”
The new Priorities and Principles have been set alongside and are informed by the Secretary of Defence’s Defence Assessment 2021.
The encouraging title of this is “He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka: A rough sea can still be navigated.”
But what rough seas must be navigated?
“He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka: A rough sea can still be navigated continues to find the two principal challenges to New Zealand’s defence interests are the intensifying impacts of climate change and greater strategic competition
“This assessment has helped inform the new Defence Principles and Priorities and will be further taken into account, alongside other advice, when the Government conducts its next comprehensive defence policy review to ensure our policy settings are fit for purpose.”
Now let’s turn to trade.
The University of Auckland’s Public Policy Institute hosts an annual Auckland Trade and Economic Policy School, launched in 2019 with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (which means taxpayers).
COVID-19 restrictions resulted in ATEPS 2021 being postponed until 8-9 December – today, therefore, is the final day.
The event has focused on resetting trade rules and norms in the context of Covid-19
Sessions and themes included the geo-political context into 2022, supply chain challenges, developments in digital trade and sustainability, green trade policy after COP26 and – important in today’s climate of ideas – the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the Treaty of Waitangi (which doesn’t seem to have mentioned trade) and inclusive trade.
Two Ministers were listed among the speakers – Damien O’Connor (Trade and Export Growth), and Phil Twyford (Minister of State for Trade and Export Growth) along with Rino Tirikatene (Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Trade and Export Growth).
Tirikatane’s speech dealt with the growing Māori influence on New Zealand trade policy and he mentioned the special treatment Maori apparently expect nowadays from trade deals.
This year, we have achieved a number of significant trade milestones for Māori.
The New Zealand-UK Free Trade Agreement that we will sign in the coming months will include New Zealand’s most advanced set of provisions to recognise and benefit Māori trade interests, including through an Indigenous Chapter, the inclusion of Māori concepts in the FTA’s Environment Chapter (including recognition by both sides of the importance of engaging with Māori in environment conservation), provisions for Māori SMEs and wahine Māori to benefit from the FTA, and of course, tariff reductions on a range of products in sectors with big Māori interests, including honey, horticulture and seafood. This has been achieved in close cooperation with Māori. The hard work of Te Taumata, an independent Māori trade board, led by Chair Chris Insley, deserves particular mention here, with the body doing a lot of hard mahi to shape and inform the positions of our negotiators.
Of course, the Government must continue to support Māori businesses – as it does with all Kiwi businesses – as they navigate the new international environment for trade and grapple with the implementation of new COVID-19-related regulations around doing business, Henare said.
Perhaps he should dip into “He moana pukepuke e ekengia e te waka: A rough sea can still be navigated for guidance.
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