Another challenge for Damien O’Connor: NZ has fallen behind Aussies and the Brits in striking free trade deals with India

As  India  fulfils  its  long-held   dream of  becoming  an  economic  super-power, New Zealand  is  again  being  left  on  the  sidelines.  First Australia  and  now  the  UK  have  beaten  it  to the punch  in  securing  free  trade  deals with India, a country  in Asia with  which  New Zealanders  have  always   felt  an  affinity — and  not  just  in  cricket

As The Economist  reported   earlier  this  month,  a  vast national  market  is  being created there and  empires  are  being built  on  new  technologies.

India  is  forecast  to be  the  world’s  fastest -growing  economy in 2022. For  India  to grow at 7%  or 8% for  years  to  come  would be  “momentous”.

The Economist  cited  four  pillars that  will  support  growth in the  next  decade:  the  forging  of  a  single  national  market, an expansion  of  industry  owing to  the   renewable  energy  shift and  a  move  in  supply  chains away  from China, continued  pre-eminence  in  IT, and  a  high-tech  safety net for  the  hundreds  of  millions  left  behind  by  all  this. Continue reading “Another challenge for Damien O’Connor: NZ has fallen behind Aussies and the Brits in striking free trade deals with India”

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”

Hate speech law proposals aim to create a safe and inclusive society – but discrimination is unlikely to be discouraged if it is positive

The government has declared its intention to make hate speech a Crimes Act offence and to increase the penalties for inciting hatred or discrimination.

It has announced a public consultation on proposed changes to the Human Rights Act 1993

“… to strengthen protections against speech that incites hatred and discrimination; and seeking New Zealanders’ views about how they would make New Zealand more socially cohesive”.

Writer George Orwell would have relished the language applied by Beehive spin doctors to describing the objective. The government is launching a “social cohesion programme to address incitement of hatred and discrimination”.

We imagine this is not intended to discourage or eliminate discrimination of the sort that bestows favours or privileges when the government promotes an “us” and “them” society through the increasing development of Crown-Maori partnerships.

Treating Maori and non-Maori separately is reflected in a raft of policies, as evidenced  (for example) in the latest announcement on the Infrastructure Acceleration Fund.

Final decisions had yet to be made on how the full Housing Acceleration Fund would be used, Housing Minister Megan Woods said this week, but $350 million has been ring-fenced for a Māori Infrastructure Fund.

So where is a fund that has been ring-fenced for other ethnicities?

The government and its supporters will insist this is “positive” discrimination which makes it an acceptable arrangement – a necessary one, even – under the Treaty of Waitangi, although it seems to be at odds with today’s announcement of a significant programme of work to create a safer, more inclusive society. Continue reading “Hate speech law proposals aim to create a safe and inclusive society – but discrimination is unlikely to be discouraged if it is positive”

Indian flight ban passes muster with many lawyers but human rights chief wants more information

Chief  Human Rights Commissioner Paul Hunt is championing the rights of New Zealand citizens and residents who are being inconvenienced by the Government’s decision to suspend travel from India for two weeks.  

The Government needs to be more transparent about the decision, which took effect yesterday and will remain until April 28, he huffs.

Other experts and commentators seem to have found enough evidence to be satisfied – perhaps with reservations – about the legality of the travel constraint.  

Newshub recalled Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying the move had been made due to the large number of Covid-19 cases coming into New Zealand from India.

The country is currently battling a massive resurgence of the virus, with about 116,000 new cases announced on April 6 alone.

The numbers have surged since then. Continue reading “Indian flight ban passes muster with many lawyers but human rights chief wants more information”