A helping hand from the State for a range of causes, from the tourist industry (some operators, anyway) to Pasifika festivals

A bundle of statements and speeches has emerged from the Beehive in the past 24 hours.

We can’t closely examine all of them but suggest public servants whose pay is being frozen or subject to a stiff test before it is increased might take a look at some of the Government’s spending decisions.

Spending on cultural festivals, for example.

Here’s our attempt at giving readers a record of what has been done with their money or to improve their wellbeing … Continue reading “A helping hand from the State for a range of causes, from the tourist industry (some operators, anyway) to Pasifika festivals”

CANZUK – a terrible name but a promising idea

Every so often, an editor desperate for copy runs a feature promoting some Commonwealth-revival initiative.  Most of these are bad ideas. But a recent one is worth thinking twice about.

CANZUK is a proposal for arrangements, or even a pact, leading to freedom of movement, free trade and foreign policy coordination between Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom (the “CANZUK” countries).  It has its own global think tank and advocacy body (Canzuk International) with a modest profile in the four countries.  It got a bit of coverage on Stuff last year.  Now its getting more air time in the UK as Boris Johnson’s government seeks to exit the EU by 31 October.

Continue reading “CANZUK – a terrible name but a promising idea”

The golden era of trade growth may already be over


A report by Chatham House, Trade Policy Under President Trump, points out that the rate of increase in global trade volumes has slowed to approximately 3% annually since 2012 – less than half the average trade growth rate over the three decades before the global financial crisis in 2007 – and while global trade grew twice as fast as world GDP in real terms between 1985 and 2007,  since 2012 it has roughly kept pace with GDP growth.

Trade bureaucrats are achieving less

While average tariffs applied by WTO members have fallen from about 12% in 1996 to around 9%  in 2013, the report also says that – as participation in GATT and membership in the WTO has expanded, and the less contentious ‘wins’ for liberalising trade have been achieved – each successive trade round has taken longer.  The current Doha Development Round – dealing with tricky areas like agriculture – has been going since 2001.

The report also identifies a pattern of new trade restrictions, despite the G20 commitment to open markets after the global financial crisis.   Continue reading “The golden era of trade growth may already be over”