Fran O’Sullivan writes:
It is difficult to understand why Little prefers the judgment of NGO activists over that of a former NZ Trade Minister who not only negotiated the ground-breaking bilateral China free trade deal but also finalised the Asean deal with New Zealand and Australia.
Frankly there is nothing responsible in Little’s positioning.
Successive New Zealand governments – and their negotiators – have worked hard indeed to bring global economic giants like the United States and Japan and frankly protectionist nations like Canada into an Asia-Pacific agreement.
This is no mean feat.
New Zealand vision and leadership has been to the fore in securing TPP.
The reality is it had earlier proved impossible for New Zealand to forge separate bilateral agreements with these three countries as NZ was simply too small, too insignificant and not of sufficient strategic importance for these much bigger nations to bother.
This is a trade agreement that we initiated. It was not pushed on us. We managed to get the US to come on board, and also now Canada and Japan. It is a significant achievement. The TPP is far from perfect but it is clearly a net gain for NZ to be part of it, and we’d lose out badly if we were not part of it.
Labour MPs like Clayton Cosgrove and Stuart Nash will also be seething at their leader’s stance. Sure, they will cover it up in public – no-one wants to be dumped down the greasy pole of Labour’s political rankings by taking issue with their leader publicly.
There are a number of very unhappy MPs in Labour over this.
New Zealand has a proud record of bipartisanship when it comes to pursuing our advantage on the world stage: not just the many preferential trade agreements which successive National and Labour Governments have negotiated; but also our role in deepening global trade by taking a pro-active role in promoting major giants like China and Russia to successfully join the World Trade Organisation; promoting leaders like Helen Clark, Don McKinnon and Mike Moore to achieve high international office, and, securing NZ’s role on the Security Council.
NZ in opposition has always stuck to this bipartisan record, and up until recently so had Labour.