Finally Govt backs down on Russia

Stuff reports:

The Government has suspended efforts to restart trade talks for a free trade deal with Russia. 

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had said previously New Zealand planned to restart trade talks with Russia after they were suspended in 2014, although this had yet to happen.

Ardern said “the situation has changed”, and she and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters agreed all efforts to restart negotiations have been suspended. …

The change of direction comes after months of Peters being clear on his plans to work towards a FTA with Russia.

He reiterated that intention only a week ago when he said: “When you start talking about those moral judgements, you might not be trading with anybody very quickly. A lot of countries we deal with would not survive a serious human rights issue, or gender equality issue or an ethnic issue debate – but we still trade with them.”

It’s good the Government finally did the right thing, but wow did it take a huge amount of pressure for them to do so.

You basically had the UK High Commissioner having to use a loud hailer to tell the Ardern-Peters Government that if you don’t back us on this against Russia, then wave goodbye to a free trade deal with the UK and/or EU.

So good that Ardern finally over-ruled Peters, but our traditional allies have been aghast that it took so long. We were looking like the sole Putin supporter around.

Former Australian PM Tony Abbott said:

Former Prime Minister Tony Abbott has accused New Zealand’s Foreign Minister Winston Peters of making excuses for Russia over the 2014 downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

The media have gushed over Ardern’s foreign policy steps because she had huge crowds in the Pacific as she handed out dosh. But here’s the reality with our major allies:

  1. Pissed off Australia with her interference in their domestic politics on Manus Island
  2. Pissed off the US by gossiping over what Justin Trudeau said about Donald Trump mistaking her for Trudeau’s wife
  3. Pissed off the UK be being so slow to back them against Russia over the nerve agent attack
  4. Pissed off the EU by committing to a free trade deal with Russia while it was under EU sanctions


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