New Zealand First leader Winston Peters has warned that planned Foreign Affairs job losses and the closure of overseas posts will cost more in the long run than they save.
A State Services Commission report last year said the ministry was looking at slashing 200 jobs out of almost 1000.
An announcement on the details is expected soon.
Peters, a former minister of foreign affairs who negotiated a big increase in funding for the portfolio, said a “slash and burn exercise” would seriously affect this country’s overseas trade.
He said the move was a “serious, retrograde step” at a time New Zealand was desperately trying to increase its export trade.
Phil Goff has also joined in the bleating, arguing that more bureaucrats in MFAT will increase exports. If only, it was so simple.
As it happens exports have been growing quite nicely. In the last three years, they have increased 15.1% to $46.1b. That’s pretty good considering the wobbly global economy. Why have they increased?
Well exports to China have increased 169.5% to $5.6b. The dollar increase of $3.5b makes up 59% of the overall increase in exports.
It was three years ago we signed a Free Trade Agreement with China. An agreement that Peters as Foreign Minister not only refused to vote for, but actively campaigned against with a newspaper ad campaign urging people to sign up in opposition to the FTA.
So Peters’ record is having opposed the China FTA which saw exports to China increase 170%, and instead his solution is more bureaucrats in MFAT. I doubt I have seen a more moronic economic prescription in recent times.