Goff serves to Norman

March 4th, 2008 at 11:20 am by David Farrar

Phil Goff makes short shift of ’s scare mongering over the agreement with :


Comments by co-leader Russel Norman that: “Parliament has no say over this (China Trade) agreement”, is absolutely incorrect, says Trade Minister .

“The China trade agreement cannot come into effect without parliamentary scrutiny and support. Dr Norman should acquaint himself better with New Zealand’s parliamentary system,” Mr Goff said.

“The full agreement and a National Impact Analysis will be tabled in Parliament at the time the Agreement is signed, and will be posted on the Web.

“This process will allow parliamentary and public scrutiny of the agreement, with the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defence Committee likely to call for public submissions on it.

“Legislation then has to be introduced for the agreement to be given effect in domestic law, and must be passed by Parliament for that to happen.

That’s a great serving by Goff. Especially where he suggests that Norman, not yet an MP, doesn’t even know how Parliament works.

“It is likely that this legislation will receive overwhelming support in the House, though of course this remains to be tested.

I’d be appalled if National doesn’t support it. The Greens will of course be against – as they seem to be against all trade agreements. What will be very interesting is how NZ First votes. Their previous voting record and rhetoric means they should vote against. But Winston will be aware of how bad it will look for the Foreign Minister to vote against a trade agreement. As his party has no decision making capability excluding him, I suspect he will make them vote for it.

“While I cannot comment on the detail of the agreement while it is still going through final technical discussions and has yet to be submitted to Cabinet for final approval, I can say that the sort of suggestions made by Dr Norman are nonsense.

“Free movement of labour, for example, has never been considered by anyone as part of the negotiation. To even make that suggestion is absurd.

Sounds like a scare-mongering tactic worthy of Winston – beware the hoards moving here to take your job!

“The Greens appear to have already made up their minds to oppose a trade agreement with China, New Zealand’s third largest trading partner and fastest growing export market.

“However, it would be more sensible for them to first examine what the agreement actually involved, which all parties in parliament will soon have the opportunity to do,” Mr Goff said.

I’m going to take a punt and predict that no matter what the details are of it, the Greens will be against it.

This is one area where I am very supportive of the Government – depending of course on the final details.

Russel Norman has responded on Frog Blog.

9 Responses to “Goff serves to Norman”

  1. Buggerlugs (1,453 comments) says:

    Yes, Russel the Commie has responded and still fails to see the point. What a dick.

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  2. pushmepullu (686 comments) says:

    There’s no way the government would be signing this if they didn’t know the public were demanding it… and for every free trade deal Labour are able to negotiate, National would negotiate three or four. And it’d be nice to have a trade agreement that wasn’t empowering a communist dictatorship, for that matter. Where’s the deal with the USA, eh? Probably waiting until a non-socialist government comes to power, and who can blame the US for that?

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  3. emmess (1,807 comments) says:

    The Greens would even be against a free trade agreement with Greenland

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  4. John Dalley (347 comments) says:

    Pushme – WTF are you on about. National will need to back flip on the Aanti Nuke issuee if you expect a free trade agreement with the USA, and a FTA with the USA needs to be more balanced in NZ’s favour than the one Austranlia has.

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  5. roger nome (2,381 comments) says:

    So no discussion over whether this “free trade deal” would be good or not, just nit picking around technicalities? Something tells me that there’s a few pollies and right wing internet commentators out there that don’t wont ordinary New Zealanders to know what this deal would really mean. I for one would like to see the fine print.

    [DPF: And you will]

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  6. PaulL (6,054 comments) says:

    DPF: Russel does have a point. Parliament doesn’t get to scrutinise the deal before it is signed, only between it being signed and being passed into law. Is there any reason why parliament couldn’t? The US do it that way. Goff is replying to a strawman of what Russel said, and to some extent you are agreeing with that.

    In general I am in favour of free trade agreements, but you’d have to agree that it is possible to have a bad free trade agreement, and that with this government so eager for any bit of good news, they could be signing something that is way less than ideal for us. The Chinese are also known to be hard negotiators.

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  7. baxter (799 comments) says:

    I wonder if the agreement will allow the Chinese to make investments in strategic assets such as Auckland Airport. I recently read a review of a book by an American Banker listing some of the problems he encountered in dealing in China. The book is titled ‘Mr China’. Part of the review makes the following points.

    For example it relates the problems in replacing a dishonest factory manager, to whom the enormous number of factory workers felt loyalty.

    Sack him, and the local mayor arranges to turn off your electricity for a few weeks, and the workers will strike.

    Buy into a brewery.

    Then cope with the problems of unfilled cans or bottles, or the use of bottles that previously were used for garlic-laid soya sauce, and still bear that label.

    Try dealing with bankers who ignore your instruction not to meet cheques that are signed by unauthorised signatures.

    Try using a court system that is highly politicised and prefers the national interest to those of foreign investors.

    Try dealing with the extraordinarily casual attitude towards safety, pollution or intellectual property.

    And none of this deals with issues like a written language that is remarkably multi-meaning; hospitality customs that are designed to produce leg-less guests.

    They are clever; willing to make sacrifices to achieve long-term goals; they are loyal to their own families and communities; and they are not easily fooled by foreigners seeking to exploit their low-wage mentality, or their modest aspirations.

    Mr China is an impressive, modern account that should make retail investors think deeply about the often glib selling of the “Asian story” by ticket-clipping, irresponsible people pretending to have the secret to successful investing.

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  8. PhilBest (4,967 comments) says:

    DPF, that’s “short SHRIFT”. Look up your dickshunary.

    Now if we had a REAL free trade deal with China AND with the USA………

    I find it amusing that the same old lefties go on about the “good old days”, but oppose free trade agreements. “The good old days” were almost entirely consequent on a long, long, long “free trade deal” with Britain and the Commonwealth. (But we didn’t think of it that way back in those benighted days). And ‘the good old days” came to an end when our “free trade deal” ran out – when the Brits joined the EEC. Not real hard to understand, is it?

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  9. PaulL (6,054 comments) says:

    PhilBest, yes, a free trade deal. But combined with enormous trade barriers to those not on the inside. I’m not sure that is the same as what we’re getting with China.

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