Herald on WTO bid

The Herald editorial:

The Green Party is upset that Trade Minister Tim Groser’s international travel costs soared to almost $250,000 in the first three months of this year as he lobbied for support for his bid to be the director-general of the World Trade Organisation.

As far as I can tell the Greens don’t support there being a WTO, or in fact trade. The logic seems to be:

  1. Trade requires transport
  2. Transport requires power and fuel
  3. Power and fuel cause greenhouse gas emissions
  4. Greenhouse gas emissions cause global warming
  5. Global warming will destroy the planet
  6. Hence trade is evil and must be stopped

True, that sum is more than the combined totals of the Cabinet’s other frequent flyers – the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister and the Defence Minister.

But it pales into insignificance when viewed alongside the potential gains for this country, and for global trade, if Mr Groser were to succeed Pascal Lamy at the end of August.

The main advantage for New Zealand, if Groser wins, is that he is the best person for the job. This means he represents the best chance of getting a global trade agreement to conclude the Doha round. Such an agreement would be worth billions.

The knowledge and experience gained from these ventures into areas of huge complexity make him the candidate most likely to achieve a successful conclusion to the Doha round talks.

It may well be that the fact that no director-general has ever come from Latin America will thwart his bid. That, however, is no excuse for pettiness.

Well said.


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