Why keeping tabs on Tata suggests O’Connor should be quickening the pace in push for an FTA with India

Among the many issues related to the performance of the export sector and how the Government might further help it is the case for negotiating a  trade deal with India.

Australia has secured a free trade deal with  what  is  the  planet’s  fifth-biggest economy.

In contrast, Agriculture and Trade Minister Damien O’Connor says concluding a free trade agreement between NZ and India “is not a realistic short-term prospect”.

Intensive negotiations were held between India and NZ in the context of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership FTA negotiations, especially in 2018 and 2019, before India withdrew from the RCEP negotiations in November 2019.

“RCEP contains provisions enabling expedited accession by India should it wish to re-join RCEP at some point in the future, says O’Connor.  

In the meantime NZ and India continued to work together to strengthen their broader bilateral relationship, he says.

But why  should  NZ be  missing  out on getting something like Australia’s deal? Continue reading “Why keeping tabs on Tata suggests O’Connor should be quickening the pace in push for an FTA with India”

Little’s speech to nurses draws attention to the matter of language and comprehension as well as to visas and wages

 If the delegates at a conference of nurses yesterday serve as a guide, when it comes to our telling them what ails us and describing the symptoms, we should worry about how many cannot comprehend English and how many prefer to communicate in te reo.

This question of language and communication has been raised after Health Minister Andrew Little kicked off his address to the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Toputanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa Conference.

He chose words that are incomprehensible if you happen to have no grasp of te reo.

Tēnā tātou katoa

Ki te reo pōwhiri, kei te mihi

Ki a koutou ngā pou o te whare hauora o Aotearoa, kei te mihi

He taura tangata, he taura kaupapa e hono ana i a tātou katoa i tēnei rā,

Arā, ko te New Zealand Nurses Organisation Toputanga Tapuhi Kaitiaki o Aotearoa annual conference.

Mauri ora ki a tātou katoa.

Little’s speech has been posted on the Beehive website along with news that ministers have been… Continue reading “Little’s speech to nurses draws attention to the matter of language and comprehension as well as to visas and wages”

A2 share price rallies sharply after the dairy processor reports big jump in net profit

A mixed  bag  of  news  came  down the  line  for  New Zealand’s  dairy  industry  over the  past  week.  On  one  side,  Fonterra trimmed   its  forecast  payout  for  the  season, while  on  another a2  Milk   surprised   its  critics  by  reporting  a  42% jump  in  net  profit  to $114m.

Any   company  listed  on  the NZX  and  sitting  on a  cash  mountain  of  $800m  must  be  doing  something  right.    Yet  some of  the  headlines  on   its  result  focussed  on  what  might  go  wrong   for   the  company  that specialises  in marketing  a2 milk  and  infant  formula.

For  example  Business  Desk’s  Jenny Ruth  says the    biggest source of uncertainty for a2 Milk right now is China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) deadline of February 21, 2023, for companies selling infant formula in China to get a new form of approval.  It’s called the GB standard, which is a Chinese national standard. Foreign companies won’t be able to manufacture formula for the Chinese market beyond that date unless they meet the new standard and have that all-important tick from SAMR.

But the  investment  community  was  cheered  by the  result in  what  is  currently  a rather downmarket climate. A2 Milk’s  share price rallied sharply after the company reported the  leap in profit which was driven by strong growth in its infant formula business in China. Continue reading “A2 share price rallies sharply after the dairy processor reports big jump in net profit”

MPI allays foot-and-mouth rumours while prices fall again at dairy auction

It’s a tense time in New Zealand’s farming industries. Already the Ministry for Primary Industries has  had to shoot  down  an  overseas  news  report that  China  had  shut  its  borders  to  NZ  and  Australian  products  due  to  concerns   about  foot-and-mouth.

NZ  exports  to  China  are  continuing  as   normal, a Ministry  for Primary Industries spokesman said.

And Fonterra’s  fortnightly GDT auction  went  ahead  as scheduled  this  week,  with  keen  bidding   by   Chinese buyers.

Prices fell  for the  fifth  consecutive  time but  buying  caution  was  attributed to  the  fact consumers  are  worrying about soaring food prices. Other  observers  noted  the  impact on demand of disruption from Covid-19 lockdowns in China, an economic crisis in Sri Lanka and the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Continue reading “MPI allays foot-and-mouth rumours while prices fall again at dairy auction”

Recovering our relationships with China, ASEAN and Samoa while grappling with climate change and protecting the kauri

Buzz from the Beehive

New Zealand’s relationships with China, the ASEAN countries and Samoa were embraced by speeches and announcements that flowed from the Beehive after Disarmament Minister Phil Twyford had delivered his Statement to the 2022 Review Conference for the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Trade Minister Damien O’Connor addressed the China Business Summit, Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta departed for the Indo-Pacific region for a programme of talks on security and economic issues, and the PM announced the launch of a new climate change partnership with Samoa and confirmed support for the rebuild of the capital’s main market.

The PM’s announcements were accompanied by $15 million to support Samoa’s response to climate change and $12 million toward the rebuild of the Savalalo Market in Apia

Ministers with a domestic focus meanwhile were getting on with telling us about their legislative and regulatory agendas and other programmes.

A major item was the launch today of New Zealand’s first National Adaptation Plan, designed to ensure communities have the information and support they need to prepare for the impacts of climate change.

But our lives will also be affected – for better or worse – by:- Continue reading “Recovering our relationships with China, ASEAN and Samoa while grappling with climate change and protecting the kauri”

And if you aren’t getting the message about the need for those cost of living handouts, NZ is grappling with GLOBAL inflation

Buzz from the Beehive

The Minister of Social Development and Employment told us in our previous Buzz bulletin about a new report which shows Government support has lifted incomes for Beneficiaries by 40 percent over and above inflation since 2018.

But the government doesn’t limit its redistribution of our taxes to dishing out money to beneficiaries.  The PM and her Revenue Minister accordingly popped up yesterday to enthuse that from 1 August – today – an estimated 2.1 million New Zealanders will be eligible to receive the first targeted Cost of Living Payment.   

The recipients will receive an extra $116 per month eac for three months.

Continue reading “And if you aren’t getting the message about the need for those cost of living handouts, NZ is grappling with GLOBAL inflation”

NZ Herald regards NZ and China as allies – but this doesn’t gel with the PM saying our allegiances are with like-minded countries

“Nothing like  a  trip abroad   to  put  a  spring in the  PM’s  step” – or so said the  sub-heading  on  a  report  in  the   NZ  Herald   on  Saturday  of Jacinda  Ardern’s  visit  to  the United  States, a  visit  which  by  most accounts  was  successful  in its  primary   aim of reviving contacts with  both  political  and  business  leaders.

Political editor Claire Trevett put it aptly:

“NZ was looking for new growth in its relationship with the US after the pause of the Trump era”.

New Zealanders, too, were chuffed at  the  success  of  the  PM’s  mission,  her  popularity  with  the  Americans  she met,  and  especially her chat with President  Joe  Biden.  The applause she won for her address at Harvard University in itself  was  remarkable, and   probably  stimulated  Trevett  to  note that:

“The Ardern in the US was a stark contrast to the Ardern we have seen in New Zealand in recent months”.

So, will  we  see Ardern back  at the  top  of  her  form,  now  she  is home  again? Continue reading “NZ Herald regards NZ and China as allies – but this doesn’t gel with the PM saying our allegiances are with like-minded countries”

Yes, Mahuta has been mute on China’s Pacific manoeuvres, but maybe she awaits a steer from our White House-bound PM

National’s  Gerry  Brownlee  had  a  free   hit  on Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta,  whom  he  sees as   missing  in  action as  China  makes its  moves  to  become a dominant power in  the  Pacific.  These moves – potentially – pose a  security threat  to  Australia  and  New Zealand.

While  foreign  affairs  experts  are  expressing  alarm  and calling  on  the  government  to  urgently repair NZ’s  run-down defences, specifically  equipping  our  army  with  missiles  and  drones, there  is  silence  from both  Mahuta and Defence  Minister Peeni Henare.

Brownlie  says Mahuta

“….needs to front up and explain what she’ll be doing to salvage New Zealand’s relationship with the Pacific.

“Last week, we heard that China is seeking a sweeping agreement with ten Pacific Island countries, covering everything from national security to climate change and education. Three countries have already signed up or indicated their support; the Solomon Islands, Kiribati and Samoa. Continue reading “Yes, Mahuta has been mute on China’s Pacific manoeuvres, but maybe she awaits a steer from our White House-bound PM”

Why exporters should consider decoupling from China and focus more on opportunities provided by India’s growth

Not many New Zealanders   may  have  noticed what is  happening in China or India – but their   economies  appear  to  be  tracking  in  opposite  directions.  Those movements could have a powerful  impact in  turn   on  NZ’s  economic fortunes.

Point   of  Order  is  indebted   to   two  remarkable   pieces  of  journalism  for   insights  that give  context to these issues.  One  report appeared in  the  Guardian  Weekly,  the  other in  The  Economist.

The  first, by  Larry Elliott,  was headed “Stifled dragon: No-one  should take  delight in Beijing’s  economic  woes”  and argues  a  full-blown   economic crash  would be  as  damaging  to  the  world as  the  US sub-prime mortgage crisis  was.

The  report in  The  Economist focused  on  India’s  economy  which, it  said, is  likely  to be the  world’s fastest-growing big  economy this year.  The  details prompted  The Economist  to  editorialise  that   the  Indian  economy  is  being  rewired.

“The  opportunity  is  immense— and so  are  the  stakes”.

The question  for NZ  exporters, who  have  become  dangerously dependent on  the Chinese  market  is  whether  they should   now  be  exploring prospects   on the Indian  sub-continent.

Larry Elliott  wrote  that  China has  been  central to the  story of  globalisation over the  past  30  years,  but  now  it is  struggling.

More  than two years after  Covid19  cases  were  discovered  in Wuhan,  the  world’s  most  populous country has  yet to get on  top of the  virus. Continue reading “Why exporters should consider decoupling from China and focus more on opportunities provided by India’s growth”

Buzz from the Beehive – or (unwittingly) is the way being paved for booze in schools to boost kids’ health and wellbeing?

The news from the Beehive has been mixed on the trade front – greater trade liberalisation with China was welcomed by Trade Minister Damien O’Connor but was countered by his announcement (alongside Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta) of significant new sanctions against Russia.

It’s a good thing our trade with China is much greater than our trade with Russia.

But the government’s general inclination to regulate rather than liberalise is reflected in its signalling a Nanny State crackdown on what our kids can drink.

It has opened a public consultation on a proposal for primary schools to offer only “healthy” drinks.  We trust they know what they are doing with this one.

We say this because alcoholic drinks are good for our health, according to some websites checked out by Point of Order. Consumption must be moderate, true, but that should apply to whatever our kids eat and drink.

Hence we look forward to our toddlers toasting each other with a cheery “good health” before they sink their daily toddies.  Continue reading “Buzz from the Beehive – or (unwittingly) is the way being paved for booze in schools to boost kids’ health and wellbeing?”