Jackson takes another small step towards action at Ihumātao while Mahuta aims for the heavens with Treaty-influenced space policy

Buzz from the Beehive

Down here on Earth – more particularly, in Ihumātao – progress on doing whatever is going to be done to that disputed patch of land has been glacial.

Newsroom drew attention  to the dawdling in an article in April which noted that Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson had hoped a governance group, Roopu Whakahaere, would be up and running in February

“…  but it could now be late May before that happens”.

Or June, perhaps.

At the time Newsroom posted that article, 16 months had passed since the Government announced the controversial land – home to a long-running occupation – had been purchased by the Crown from Fletcher Building for $30 million.

Yesterday Newsroom reported that the governance group has finally met.

Almost 18 months to the date the land was purchased, the three Ahi Kā representatives have been mostly decided and the group had its first meeting with Māori Development Minister Willie Jackson late last month.

And yesterday Willie Jackson officially announced …

Drum roll, please. Continue reading “Jackson takes another small step towards action at Ihumātao while Mahuta aims for the heavens with Treaty-influenced space policy”

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”

Geographical Indications are among the sensitive issues for NZ in free-trade talks with EU

Trade  Minister  Damien  O’Connor  has  revived hopes  that  New Zealand  can  land  a free  trade  agreement  with the  UK  this  year  and another one subsequently  with  the  EU, following  his just- concluded  mission  to  European capitals.

Farm lobbies  had  not been  confident   when  he  set  out.  In  the case  of the  UK  we had been beaten to the punch by  Australia.

It  seemed  unlikely  NZ  could  get  anything better  than their  Australian counterparts  who  appeared willing to  accept  a  long  phaseout on duties  on,  in particular,  most farm products, including dairy.

Since then Australia  has  entered  the  AUKUS  pact,  which  particularly  riled France’s President Macron because Australia’s decision to  acquire  nuclear submarines  from the US   meant cancellation of  a  previous  (very expensive)  deal to  buy French   diesel-powered submarines.

So  one  of  the major thrusts of  O’Connor’s  mission  became advancing  free trade negotiations with the EU.

Continue reading “Geographical Indications are among the sensitive issues for NZ in free-trade talks with EU”

Free trade agreements: why NZ might look again at trying to join the USMCA

Britain, like New Zealand, is having a hard time even focusing the US Government on a free trade agreement. Rather, NZ is going the way of encouraging President Joe Biden’s administration to reconsider joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Transpacific Partnership.

We believe a NZ-US free trade agreement was barely mentioned during trade minister Damien O’Conner’s Washington DC meeting with US Trade Representative Katherine Tai and others.

Issues such as the USA’s position on the World Trade Organisation were higher on his agenda.

Ahead of the presidential elections last year, Biden made clear his lack of enthusiasm for free trade, mainly at the behest of American trade unions which provided massive financial and “get out the vote” support. Only 6.1% of the US private work force is unionised. Continue reading “Free trade agreements: why NZ might look again at trying to join the USMCA”

A NZ-UK trade agreement will be another – albeit small – step in the re-ordering of global trade

There is increasing chatter in London that the NZ-UK trade deal will be announced in days, with invitations to briefings being diaried for Tuesday.

But it’s worth noting that the UK commentators seem to be excising the prefix ‘free’ from the ‘trade agreement’, perhaps reflecting better understanding that these days there is no free trade without a substantial regulatory component.

While NZ’s producers will no doubt be grateful if they get an Australian-style phased reduction of tariffs and quotas as has been briefed, the non-tariff/quota regulatory barriers will be just as important in the long run.

That at least would seem to be the view of the eminent organ, the Irish Farmers Journal, in its assessment of the currently-fraught implementation of free trade arrangements between the EU, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Great Britain (ie, the UK minus Northern Ireland).

Continue reading “A NZ-UK trade agreement will be another – albeit small – step in the re-ordering of global trade”

UK-NZ free trade agreement looks likely to replicate Aussie deal, although Brits will be driving a hard bargain

With trade minister Damien O’Connor due in the northern hemisphere in September, London’s Daily Telegraph reports a free trade agreement between the UK and NZ is close.

Citing sources in the UK Department of international Trade, the newspaper says hopes are growing that a deal can be secured “within weeks.”  An announcement on New Zealand before the end of August is “highly possible” as discussions intensify.

 Australia’s agreement with the UK was settled in June.  The UK Government hopes to get it signed off by Boris Johnson and his counterpart Scott Morrison when the latter visits Britain in October for the Cop26 climate conference.

The Daily Telegraph’s source said trade secretary Liz Truss would be driving a hard bargain on key areas of interest.

“New Zealand will need to give us more on services, mobility and investment if they want a deal. If we have to go beyond then into September to get the best deal, then so be it.”

Any agreement  is likely to take a similar shape to Australia’s, which proposes a widespread liberalisation including staged removals of tariff quotas on agricultural exports which has drawn criticism from British farmers.

The Telegraph says the NZ FTA is expected to have a negligible effect on the UK’s GDP, with modelling by the trade department even indicating that an extensive deal could mildly reduce Britain’s national output.

Recent events have provided a potentially awkward backdrop for what may be the final weeks of talks.  Amazon last week announced that it would shift production of its highly anticipated Lord of the Rings TV series from New Zealand to the UK, in a major blow to the country’s creative and tourism industries, the paper said.

O’Connor (like the Black Caps) will deserve a victory parade if he can secure a trade deal with the UK that outscores Australia’s

The  government  has  been  beating  the drum on the  prospects  for  a  free  trade  deal with the United Kingdom, which it claims  is part  of the wider work  it is undertaking to support New Zealand’s economic recovery from Covid-19.

Following  Trade Minister Damien O’Connor’s sessions  with UK Trade Secretary Truss in London to push along the bilateral negotiation, officials’ teams will spend the coming weeks finalising FTA details with the aim of reaching agreement in principle in August.

Foreign Minister Nanaia Mahuta told Parliament NZ  is working to achieve a high quality comprehensive trade deal.

“Our priority is a deal that delivers benefits for all New Zealanders. That includes seeking elimination on all tariffs over commercially meaningful time frames, and that takes account of our ambition across the agricultural sector”. Continue reading “O’Connor (like the Black Caps) will deserve a victory parade if he can secure a trade deal with the UK that outscores Australia’s”

The omens look good for exporters wanting a better deal from FTA with the UK – but not so good for endangered albatross

Trade Minister Damien O’Connor kicked off our day with the cheering news that New Zealand and the UK have committed to accelerating their free trade agreement negotiations with the aim of reaching an agreement in principle this August.

This compensated for the news that the first day’s play on the scheduled first day of the cricket test between the Black Caps and India had been abandoned.

“We’ve held constructive and productive discussions towards the conclusion of a high-quality and comprehensive FTA that will support sustainable and inclusive trade, and help drive New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID,” Damien O’Connor said.

He will leave the UK on Monday morning for Brussels where he will meet with his trade counterpart to advance NZ’s FTA negotiations with the European Union.

His good news landed in our in tray on World Albatross Day but the news from the Beehive for the endangered Antipodean albatross was ominous. 

Their numbers are declining at an alarming rate.

Albatrosses feed on fish near the surface, making them vulnerable to being caught on fishing lines or in nets.

Acting Conversation Minister Ayesha Verrall said the government has a plan aiming to reduce domestic bycatch to zero and is funding a wider roll-out of cameras on inshore fishing vessels. Continue reading “The omens look good for exporters wanting a better deal from FTA with the UK – but not so good for endangered albatross”

Here’s hoping Damien O’Connor can strike a trade deal with the UK on terms similar to those secured by the Aussies

We have had the chance to scan the new Australia-United Kingdom Free Trade agreement and – if Trade Minister Damien O’Connor can negotiate similar terms for us – the prospects look hearteningly good for NZ.

Beef and sheep meat tariffs on Australian exports to the UK will be eliminated after 10 years. Sugar tariffs will be removed after eight years, and dairy tariffs after five years.

Short and medium grain milled rice will get immediate duty-free access once the FTA is in place.

During the countdown to tariff-free trade, Australian producers will gain incremental access to the British market.  Beef producers gain immediate access to a duty-free quota of 35,000 tonnes (rising to 110,000 tonnes a  year in a decade).  With sugar exports, producers have immediate access to a duty-free quota of 80,000 tonnes, rising by 20,000 tonnes each year.

Dairy farmers will also have access during the transition period to a duty-free quota for cheese of 24,000 tonnes. This will rise to 48,000 tonnes by year five. Continue reading “Here’s hoping Damien O’Connor can strike a trade deal with the UK on terms similar to those secured by the Aussies”

Foreshore legislation (2004) and trade agreement (2005) reverberate in latest Beehive announcements

Events in the early 2000s – the enactment of the Foreshore and Seabed Act 2004 and the signing of the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement by Brunei, Chile, New Zealand and Singapore in 2005 – have had consequences which are reflected in announcements from the Beehive in the past two days.

Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little this morning announced the Crown has recognised 14 customary marine title areas along the East Cape and East Coast in nga rohe moana o nga hapu o Ngati Porou.

And Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor yesterday welcomed the United Kingdom’s intention to submit a formal request to accede to the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

The wording of Little’s statement is curious.

“This recognition reflects the determination of nga hapu o Ngati Porou to safeguard their longstanding customary rights and the continued exercise of mana by nga hapu o Ngati Porou in their rohe moana.”

Does this mean claimants who have yet to secure a similar safeguarding of their customary rights are insufficiently determined?

But let’s backtrack. Continue reading “Foreshore legislation (2004) and trade agreement (2005) reverberate in latest Beehive announcements”