Editorials 14 April 2010

The Herald chomps into the apple debate:

Apple-growers from China, the United States and Chile are queuing to sell their fruit in .

They, especially, will be interested in New Zealand’s reported success in persuading the World Trade Organisation to overturn Australia’s long-running ban on the importing of apples from this country.

But they, too, are the reason Australia is bound to use every conceivable delaying tactic to deny the benefits of that verdict to New Zealand orchardists.

Protection of struggling Australian producers has become the only rationale for the ban in the latter years of its 90 years’ existence.

Hypocrisy for a nation which has championed free trade in agriculture.

In the process, however, Australia is besmirching its reputation as a promoter of free trade. At the moment, its trade practices are the subject of 10 complaints from other countries.

New Zealand has no such cases against it.


The Press also takes up the cudgels on apples:

The reported World Trade Organisation decision which would allow New Zealand to export apples across the Tasman is not just a victory for our pipfruit industry. It is also a big win for New Zealand trade officials and for the cause of free trade itself. For Australia to have used spurious science to block for so long New Zealand apples was nonsensical and a complete contradiction of its otherwise strong free-trade credentials.

If Australia do not accept the ruling, once final, then NZ can apply for and get trade sanctions against Australia. That would be very damaging to the relationship, but may be necessary if Australia refuses to comply with the rules it signed up to.

The Dominion Post focuses on the Three:

Father Murnane believes it unlikely that the Government will pursue a lawsuit against them because, he says, they don’t have much money and civil action would cost taxpayers too much.

He is right that yet more court proceedings would not be cheap. But sometimes protesters need to accept that principles can come at a cost.

Messrs Murnane, Leason and Land would surely be prepared to pay that price? If principles are worth standing up for – and they almost always are – those who hold them dear must be willing to go down to the wire to uphold them. If that means having an attachment order assigned to their income, or a lien placed against their property, to meet the cost of paying for damage to public property, so be it. And if the jury verdict was as popular as the triumvirate believes, their supporters will obviously be willing to help fund any damages awarded against them.

The solicitor-general should proceed. Taxpayers should not have to stump up the cash to fund this pointless protest.

The news their claimed poverty didn’t include half a million dollars of land, does make a civil case more appealing.

The ODT looks at competitive

Comparisons can help human beings, a competitive species, strive to do better – whether in NCEA pass rates or scholarship numbers or in provincial education correlations.

They give schools and communities the chance for pride, often well earned, or for motivation to do better next time.

Sometimes, too, they provide opportunities for finding reasons, often valid, why performances are down the scale. Even if bald results taken at face value can be misleading, they are a part of the information mix.

Except for those who want to ban them.

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