It's Our Future http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz Kiwi Voices on the TPPA Thu, 27 Nov 2014 23:13:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 US Report shows zero Australian economic growth from TPP http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/us-report-shows-zero-australian-economic-growth-from-tpp/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/us-report-shows-zero-australian-economic-growth-from-tpp/#comments Thu, 27 Nov 2014 09:23:06 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7503 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/us-report-shows-zero-australian-economic-growth-from-tpp/feed/ 0 SIS Scandal Leaves Key Unscathed http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/sis-scandal-leaves-key-unscathed/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/sis-scandal-leaves-key-unscathed/#comments Tue, 25 Nov 2014 12:35:26 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7501 Press Release – iPredict

Prime Minister John Key has been almost entirely unscathed by the SIS scandal, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealands predictions market, iPredict. The probability Mr Key will remain leader of the National Party …IPREDICT LTD

NEW ZEALAND WEEKLY ECONOMIC & POLITICAL UPDATE

Wednesday 26 November 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

www.ipredict.co.nz

SIS SCANDAL LEAVES KEY UNSCATHED

Prime Minister John Key has been almost entirely unscathed by the SIS scandal, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict. The probability Mr Key will remain leader of the National Party until at least the end of 2016 is unchanged and the probability National will lead the next government is down just 1% to 52%. Judith Collins is expected to return to Mr Key’s Cabinet before the next election. Economic forecasts are broadly unchanged.

Politics:

• As overwhelmingly forecast by iPredict, Andrew Little was elected leader of the Labour Party last Thursday. Stocks on how long Mr Little will remain in the job will be launched in the near future.

John Key is expected to remain National leader until at least the end of 2016 (73% probability, steady compared with last week) and has a 47% probability of remaining National leader until at least the end of 2017 (up from 46% last week)

• Steven Joyce is again favourite to become National Party leader if a vacancy arises (26%, steady compared with last week), followed by Paula Bennett (25% probability, down from 28%), Jonathan Coleman (10%, steady) and Simon Bridges (8%, steady)

• Next election expected in 2017 (93% probability, up from 89% last week)

Judith Collins expected to be appointed to Cabinet before next election (65% probability)

• National expected to win 2017 General Election (52% probability, down from 53% last week)

Economics:

• Quarterly GDP growth expected to be:

o 0.8% of GDP in the September quarter (steady compared with last week)

o 0.8% in the December quarter (steady compared with last week)

o 1.0% in the March 2015 quarter (steady compared with last week)

o 1.1% in the June 2015 quarter (steady compared with last week)

• Unemployment expected to be 5.3% in the December quarter (steady compared with last week)

• Unemployment stocks for 2015 will be launched in the near future

• Current account deficit expected to be 2.4% of GDP in the September quarter (down from 2.6% last week) and 3.8% of GDP in the December quarter (steady)

• Annual inflation expected to be:

o 1.1% to end of December quarter (steady compared with last week)

o 1.4% to end of March 2015 quarter (steady compared with last week)

o 1.7% to end of June 2015 quarter (down from 1.8% last week)

o 2.1% to end of September 2015 quarter (steady compared with last week)

• Official Cash Rate priced to be:

o 3.504% on 11 December (up from 3.502% last week)

o 3.506% on 29 January (up from 3.503% last week)

o 3.520% on 12 March (up from 3.518% last week)

o 3.546% on 30 April (up from 3.545% last week)

o 3.599% on 11 June (up from 3.598% last week)

o 3.655% on 23 July (up from 3.654% last week)

o 3.712% on 10 September (up from 3.711% last week)

o 3.769% on 29 October (new stocks)

o 3.821% on 10 December 2015 (new stocks)

o OCR stocks out to June 2016 will be launched in the near future

• Fiscal balance expected to be:

o -0.03% of GDP in 2014/15 (down from +0.02% last week)

o 0.95% of GDP in 2015/16 (steady)

o 1.98% of GDP in 2016/17 (steady)

o 2.37% of GDP in 2017/18 (steady)

Foreign Affairs/Constitution:

• The Trans-Pacific Partnership is not expected to be ratified by the US Congress before 1 July 2017 (only 29% probability it will be, up from 23% last week)

• Helen Clark’s prospects of being the next UN Secretary General have are 20% (steady compared with last week)

• There is a 19% probability New Zealand will become a republic by 2020 (steady compared with last week)

Notes:

• iPredict Ltd is owned by Victoria University of Wellington. Details on the company and its stocks can be found atwww.ipredict.co.nz.

• The weekly economic and political update is prepared by Exceltium Ltd on a pro bono basis and is based on a snapshot taken at a random time each week. This week’s was taken at 12.39 pm today.

ENDS

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Accelerating Over the Cliff in our Latest Roadster http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/accelerating-over-the-cliff-in-our-latest-roadster/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/accelerating-over-the-cliff-in-our-latest-roadster/#comments Mon, 24 Nov 2014 12:45:33 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7497 Article – Paul Martin

The Intergovernmental Report on Climate Change earlier this year noted if action is not taken soon the resultant 2C increase in global temperatures will have severe, and irreversible impacts on human habitation and economic activity.

Accelerating Over the Cliff in our Latest Roadster: and never mind the road-kill!

by Paul Martin
November 24, 2014

The Intergovernmental Report on Climate Change earlier this year noted if action is not taken “soon’ the resultant 2C increase in global temperatures will have ‘severe’, and ‘irreversible” impacts on human habitation and economic activity.

Governments, in their desperation to feed the “god of growth” are increasingly making more and bigger foolish decisions that undermine our sustainability as a species on this planet. Take for instance, the ever-increasing taxpayer dollars pouring into oil and gas explorations, or the actions of corporate-resourced governments such as the UK or New Zealand, with their intent to emasculate regulations that protect the environment against corporate interests. Or the potential horrendous environmental impacts of international agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The “god of growth” must be fed, regardless of the consequences to our planet and the species who inhabit it.

While climate change gets all the press these days in the media; it should be noted that climate change is just one of a multitude of impacts of homo sapiens’ drive for “progress’ and ‘growth’ over the past 200 years. For those species (including humans) at the sharp end of climate change- those in tropical countries or drier hotter climates, the impacts are likely to be truly horrendous over the next 100 years -and for the next few thousand years beyond that. However what underpins this destruction of our planet is our incurable arrogance that we are somehow “superior” beings who are overlords of the other species on this planet.

It is absolutely undeniable that unless we can co-habitate with the other remaining species that we have not killed off as yet-we too are doomed as a species. We are entirely reliant on other species for our short, medium and long-term survival. No amount of concrete or tar or metal or money can hide this fact.

What is required is a fundamental shift by all humans on this planet to understand that every other species shares an equal right to life on our little blue ball. Killing off a species or a few million individual sentient beings to make way for a shopping mall, is just nonsensical.

While we may pretend, we have not behaved in any way as caretakers of this planet; we have not behaved rationally and with fore-thought, we have not allowed the blinkers to fall from our eyes to let ourselves see the folly of our shallow understanding that because we are homo sapiens, then anything that does not exist or think like a homosapien is inferior, and not worthy of life, unless it is for our use: for us to kill and eat, or for human tourists to gawp at while they destroy the surrounding environment. A supposed scientific principal which argues that other species are inferior to one particular species whose “superiority” is based on the core attributes of that one species and no other, is a rather dubious piece of scientific endeavour! This superficial belief, called anthropocentrism, or speciesism, must be eliminated from human consciousness, if we are all to continue to thrive or even survive on this planet.

To put it bluntly, those rationales exhibit primitive thinking and zero compassion for other species; let alone a rather dubious understanding of the laws of cause and effect.

In all the reports about climate change or even loss of bio-diversity it is very rare to see an analysis of the impacts of homo sapiens’ folly on other species. In almost every case you will instead see a superlatively superficial analysis of the impacts of climate change in dollars and cents, or the cost of a species lost we can no longer exploit. Those analyses are proof in themselves that we have lost our way as a species in a spectacularly ignorant way.

It is time for us to change-and soon…

ENDS

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“A strong, viable WTO is essential for New Zealand” http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/a-strong-viable-wto-is-essential-for-new-zealand/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/a-strong-viable-wto-is-essential-for-new-zealand/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 12:42:12 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7493 Speech – World Trade Organisation

Smaller economies such as New Zealand can benefit strongly from the platform that the WTO provides for negotiating agriculture, cutting red tape at the border and other issues, and for small and medium-sized enterprises, which do not have the same …A strong, viable WTO is essential for New Zealand — Azevêdo tells NZ institute

Smaller economies such as New Zealand can benefit strongly from the platform that the WTO provides for negotiating agriculture, cutting red tape at the border and other issues, and for small and medium-sized enterprises, which do not have the same capacity to overcome barriers such as complex and differing systems of rules, Director-General Roberto Azevêdo told an event organized by the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs at Victoria University, Wellington, on 18 November 2014. This is what he said:
Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

It’s a pleasure to be here at Victoria University — and here in New Zealand.

I want to thank Peter Kennedy and the New Zealand Institute of International Affairs for arranging this event.

This is a crucial time for the multilateral trading system — and therefore it is a particular pleasure to be here today.

New Zealand is known as a champion of free trade, and as one of the most open economies in the world.

This is a trading nation. Around 4 out of every 10 dollars that the economy produces is generated by exports.

This country was one of the original 23 parties of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade in 1948, and it was a founding member of the WTO in 1995.

You have always shown tremendous leadership in the multilateral trading system, and at the domestic level through major reforms to open up the economy and diversify your export base — embodied today in the “Business Growth Agenda”.

This leadership is all the more remarkable given your size and relative geographic isolation — because I think that New Zealand has offered an example in how to overcome these factors.

You have used your competitive advantages, such as in agriculture, to make the most of the trading system — and indeed you have become a world leader in a number of areas — and you have used the multilateral system to make your voice heard at the international level.

I have seen first-hand at the WTO that New Zealand takes its participation in the global trading system extremely seriously. And as a consequence, I think it’s fair to say that you are much more active and influential than one would expect judging solely on your economy or market size.

Not only do you play your full role in negotiations, but you use other parts of the system to benefit New Zealanders as well.

Smaller economies can benefit strongly from the platform that the WTO provides, and New Zealand, for example, has successfully challenged trade measures of much larger countries through the WTO’s dispute settlement mechanism over the years.

So I know that the value of trade is widely appreciated here.

But, over the next few minutes, I hope I can also give you a sense of: why the WTO is more important than ever for New Zealand and; why, one year on from our successful Bali ministerial conference, your support for the multilateral system will be absolutely crucial in the weeks and months to come.

In fact over the last week, including at the recent APEC and G-20 Summits in which New Zealand participated – there has been some good news for the multilateral trading system and the WTO – but I’ll get back to that in a moment or two.

But first, to set this in context, I want to take a broader look at the trading landscape as I see it today.

There is no doubt that the trade picture has become more complex in recent years as non-multilateral free trade agreements have proliferated.

New Zealand has 9 regional trade agreements in force — reflecting your leadership in the Asia-Pacific region. The recently concluded negotiations with Korea is yet further evidence of this.

You have also played a key role in building the trade bridges which led to many of these initiatives — including the key role New Zealand played in the commencement of the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations.

As I see it these initiatives co-exist with the multilateral system — and they can bolster it in a significant way.

They are bricks which can help build the edifice of global trade rules and liberalization.

But there is no doubt that these agreements have grown much more rapidly in recent years. The WTO has been notified of over 250 regional agreements that are in force today.

And I think we can be honest that this is in part borne out of frustration at the pace of delivery at the WTO. There is a perception that these other agreements can deliver results more quickly.

However, while these initiatives complement the multilateral trading system, it is clear that they cannot substitute it. We need to remain engaged at all levels.

And let me explain why.

Quite simply, there are many big issues which can only be tackled in an efficient manner in the multilateral context through the WTO.

Crucially for New Zealand, farming subsidies cannot be fully tackled in bilateral deals.

I understand fully that further agricultural reform is key to the livelihoods of many New Zealanders.

As a major agricultural exporter, and as the world’s largest dairy exporter, you still face high levels of protection in many markets — both developed and developing.

Trade barriers cost your exporters about $2 billion a year – which equates to about $525 for every citizen of this country.

Therefore it is essential that we make progress on this issue — and the only place that this can happen effectively is within the WTO.

But this is not the only issue that is inherently multilateral.

Trade facilitation was negotiated successfully in the WTO because it makes no economic sense to cut red tape or simplify trade procedures at the border for one or two countries — if you do it for one country, in practical terms you do it for everyone.

Financial or telecoms regulations can’t be efficiently liberalized for just one trade partner — so it is best to negotiate services trade-offs globally in the WTO.

Disciplines on trade remedies, such as the application of anti-dumping or countervailing duties, cannot significantly go beyond WTO rules.

The simple fact is that very few of the big challenges facing world trade today can be solved outside the global system. They are global problems demanding global solutions.

Indeed, it seems self-evident to argue that global companies operating in global markets will inevitably demand global rules.

But the fact is that global companies are more ready for, and able to cope with, regulatory complexity — even if it is an increasing draw on resources.

More often it is the smaller players and the SMEs which lose out.

SMEs are increasingly trading internationally, but inevitably they don’t have the same capacity to overcome barriers, such as complex and differing systems of rules.

Lifting the burdens on businesses to help them trade is likely to benefit SMEs the most. And this is as it should be, given that they tend to be the biggest job creators.

Global rules support this effort. And they provide an important backstop, so that even if we’re not always moving things forward, we know that because of the multilateral system countries cannot fall back into bad practices and raise new barriers at their own will.

But we need to look at the bigger picture.

Low growth in many developed economies along with signs of declining growth in the emerging economies has led to suggestions that we didn’t just lose GDP growth in the years since the crisis — but that the level of potential growth has declined too.

So we need to find structural ways to respond and to boost productivity — and trade liberalization is an obvious candidate.

It is a long time since any major steps on this front — it is two decades since the completion of the Uruguay Round and the creation of the WTO.

We are living off the liberalization of the past — we are living off the reforms negotiated by the last generation.

And we all know that the big gains will come not through negotiating free trade agreements with countries that already have low tariffs — but through negotiating with those that still have big cuts to make.

So we must make progress at the multilateral level to deliver the jobs, growth and development that we all want to see.

It is almost a year now since the WTO’s successful ministerial conference in Bali.

This was a remarkable moment:

• Firstly, because members reached a series of very important agreements on trade facilitation, agriculture and development which promise to provide a real economic boost.

• And secondly because this was the first multilateral agreement that the WTO had achieved in almost 20 years.

I want to take this opportunity to thank the government of New Zealand for the work it did to ensure that Bali was a success.

Minister Tim Groser continues to be a champion of the multilateral trading system and there are few who understand it better than he. Your ambassador in Geneva, John Adank, has also been playing a key role just like many of his predecessors. John is now the Chairman of the Agriculture Negotiating Group of the Doha Round.

So once again your leadership at all levels is vitally important.

Bali breathed new life into the organization and in the first half of the year we were moving forward with a sense of renewed trust and momentum.

This meant that we were looking at tackling some of the bigger issues of the Doha Round, which had been stalled for some years.

But the world of trade negotiations is never easy – there are lots of ups and downs. In July, just a few months after Bali, we missed an important deadline to implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement.

Differing views on the implementation of two Bali issues — trade facilitation and the public stockholding programmes — created an impasse.

And this has effectively paralysed the negotiating arm of the WTO since then.

Of course we have been working solidly since July to try to find a way to move forward.

And this is where I come to the good news of the last seven days.

On Thursday last week I received very positive news that the US and India have reached an understanding that could help us overcome the impasse and enable the implementation of all the Bali issues including the Trade Facilitation Agreement.

I strongly welcome this development and I applaud the leadership that has been shown by India and the US to move things forward.

It represents a significant step in our efforts to get the Bali Package and the multilateral trading system back on track.

And in Brisbane on Sunday there was further good news with the strong commitment of all G-20 leaders to implement all elements of the Bali Package. They all strongly welcomed the breakthrough between India and the US as something that could now help pave the way for implementing all elements of the Bali Package, including the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

This is why straight after this meeting, I will be heading to the airport to get on a plane back to Geneva.

We must now hold consultations in Geneva to build consensus among all WTO members. We have a special meeting of the General Council on 26 November when I hope we will be able to confirm that the Bali Package is back on track.

It is essential that we use this momentum to move forward in all areas of our work.

We are in a crucial moment for the future of the WTO.

First, we need to ensure support of the wider WTO membership to what has been agreed between the US and India.

Resolving the impasse will be just the beginning of our work to implement Bali.

We must start implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement and advance our work towards a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security purposes. We must also deliver all other aspects of Bali — including with a focus on LDC issues.

We also need to move forward on the post-Bali agenda and I was pleased that G-20 leaders also gave their strong commitment to our efforts to develop a work programme on this as quickly as possible.

In fact, at the G-20 leaders discussion on trade in Brisbane, I was delighted to hear the strong and unequivocal support of leaders for the importance of the multilateral trading system. And Prime Minister Key was amongst the strongest to speak on the importance of trade as an engine for growth.

Of course leaders also recognized we have problems, so it was even more pleasing to me that they specifically decided to have another discussion in Turkey next year on how we can make the system work better. This is an important and significant outcome.

An immediate priority that will continue building confidence and trust will be to deliver on the post-Bali work programme that was originally meant to be finalized by December. This work has been on hold since July and clearly this deadline is no longer achievable — we will need to adjust this time frame.

In my view this work programme is achievable — and, indeed, it is essential that we make progress here because this will be the first step in tackling the big agricultural issues that are so important for the future of this economy.

As I have said, while other trade agreements can be important, agriculture can only be properly tackled at the multilateral level.

It will take time and a lot of political engagement. But it is essential that we move forward. So we must work to redouble our engagement at the multilateral level.

And while there is a lot to do, there are reasons to be positive about the future.

In addition to the breakthrough regarding the Bali Package, we also heard positive news last week about a potential expansion of the Information Technology Agreement.

New Zealand is a signatory to the original Information Technology Agreement struck in 1996.

In the light of new technological developments, efforts have been underway since 2012 to extend the Agreement to cover approximately 200 additional products.

Some envisage an ITA liberalization package with trade coverage of anywhere up to US$ 1.4 trillion. This is bigger than the current trade in automotives, and three times bigger than trade in the clothing sector.

So I strongly welcome this breakthrough which brings this expanded agreement closer to reality.

This is good news for New Zealand.

Moreover, after two years of negotiations, last month New Zealand joined the WTO’s Government Procurement Agreement. Participation in this agreement means access to $1.7 trillion in procurement opportunities for New Zealand’s companies.

So I think that this shows things are happening at the WTO.

Our challenge now is to build on this momentum.

Putting the Bali Package back on track for implementation is an essential first step.

Your continued engagement and leadership will be crucial at every stage of this effort.

New Zealand’s support is essential for the WTO.

And I hope I have demonstrated today that a strong, viable WTO is also essential for New Zealand.

Thank you for listening.
ENDS

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China FTA allows investors to sue over domestic law http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/china-fta-allows-investors-to-sue-over-domestic-law/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/china-fta-allows-investors-to-sue-over-domestic-law/#comments Tue, 18 Nov 2014 12:37:44 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7491 Press Release – AFTINET

China FTA includes rights for investors to sue governments over changes in domestic law but full text remains secretChina FTA includes rights for investors to sue governments over changes in domestic law but full text remains secret

“After all the positive news about access for Australian farmers to Chinese markets, the government summary of the China-Australia Free trade agreement briefly mentions that it includes special rights for foreign investors to sue governments for damages if a change in domestic law can be claimed to harm their investment, known as ISDS,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) said today.

“We could face a scenario where Chinese investors could sue local, State or Federal governments for damages over a change in environmental or other regulation. We have also opposed this provision in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement with the US, Japan and nine other Pacific Rim countries, because ISDS is clearly against the national interest,” said Dr Ranald.

“The Philip Morris tobacco company is currently using such rights in an obscure Australia-Hong Kong investment agreement to sue the Australian government over plain packaging legislation, despite the fact that the Australian High Court found that they were not entitled to compensation under Australian law. Australian High Court Chief Justice French has recently criticised the impact of ISDS cases on national court decisions,” said Dr Ranald.

“The reports of three Australian Parliamentary inquiries show that these international tribunals lack the independence and consistency of national legal systems They are made up of investment law experts who can be lawyers one month and arbitrators the next, and there is no system of precedents or appeals, resulting in inconsistent decisions which generally favour investors,” added Dr Ranald.

“Claimed ‘safeguards’ for health and environment legislation in ISDS clauses in recent agreements have not prevented foreign investors from suing governments over health and environmental laws. The US Lone Pine mining company is sing the Québec provincial government over environmental regulation of gas mining. The Eli Lilly pharmaceutical company is suing the Canadian national government because of a court decision refusing a patent. And the French company the Veolia is suing the Egyptian government over a contract dispute which includes a rise in the minimum wage for workers,” said Dr Ranald.

“It is a predictable pattern with this government that we have a grand announcement that deal has been completed but the text remains secret and the details cannot be scrutinised. All we have is the government’s own summary which emphasises the positives. With trade agreements, the devil is always in the detail. We call for the full text of the China free trade agreement to be released well before it is signed for public and parliamentary scrutiny,” said Dr Ranald.

ENDS

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Gordon Campbell on Australia scoring trade points with China http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/gordon-campbell-on-australia-scoring-trade-points-with-china/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/gordon-campbell-on-australia-scoring-trade-points-with-china/#comments Mon, 17 Nov 2014 15:03:14 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7489 Column – Gordon Campbell

It hasnt been a great year for Trade Minister Tim Groser. The Trans Pacific Partnership deal has been deadlocked all year, amidst increasingly desperate attempts to jawbone it towards the finishing line.

Gordon Campbell on the Australians scoring trade points against us with the Chinese

by Gordon Campbell

It hasn’t been a great year for Trade Minister Tim Groser. The Trans Pacific Partnership deal has been deadlocked all year, amidst increasingly desperate attempts to jawbone it towards the finishing line. Secondly, we’ve just concluded an FTA with Korea that lacks adequate milkpowder provisions, which can only be read by the Japanese (in a TPP context) as a sign that we will perhaps settle for less. To top it off, Australia has just signed a FTA with China that has far better provisions on dairy exports than what New Zealand currently enjoys in our own FTA with China. This has not escaped the attention of the Japanese press, who reported the Aussie FTA this morning in this fashion:

The agreement gives Australian dairy farmers tariff-free access within four years to China’s lucrative infant formula market, minus any of the “safeguard” caps that currently restrict competitors from New Zealand.

As the Japan Times story pointed out, Australia is trying to shift its economy away from a ‘mining boom’ to a ‘dining boom’ – and it has the same burgeoning Asian middle class in its sights as we do:

Paul Glasson, vice president of the Australia China Business Council, hailed the much-improved access for up to 40 service industries including health, law and aged care, as well as for agricultural products such as dairy, rice, wheat, wool and cotton.

Once the agreement is fully implemented, Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb said in a statement, 99.9 percent of Australia’s current resource, energy and manufacturing exports will enjoy duty free entry into China.

“Wine makers, currently selling more than 200 million Australian dollars worth of goods to China each year despite tariffs of between 14 and 20 percent, will also see tariffs eliminated over four years. Tariffs on horticultural products, seafood and other goods accounting for 93 percent of Australian exports by value will also be reduced to zero by 2019.

Clearly, Australia now has the momentum on trade with China, and New Zealand will be playing catch-up when Chinese President Xi Jinping visits here later this week. On RNZ this morning, Groser was making the best of a bad situation, and talking up the Australian gains as an opportunity for New Zealand to bring forward the removal of those “safeguard” caps on our dairy exports, which Groser cited as due to expire in 2019. On Xi’s visit here tomorrow, it will be interesting to see if the Chinese leader will accept the arguments for putting his trans-Tasman suitors on an equal footing.

The race to succeed Ban Ki-Moon
While we await the anointing of the next Labour Party leader this afternoon, there was a fascinating piece of leadership speculation published last night – about the likely next UN Secretary General – by veteran UN watcher Colum Lynch in Foreign Policy. Lynch does a great job of explaining (historically, geographically and in terms of realpolitik) just how the UN’s main players and its regional power blocs go about the business of selecting the global organisation’s leadership. Yes, Helen Clark does get a mention and – as reported in this column a few months ago – Lynch also casts Clark’s cost-cutting drive at UNDP as a way in which she has been pressing her credentials for the top job.

Helen Clark, a former prime minister of New Zealand and currently the head of the U.N. Development Program, is believed to be running a stealth campaign for U.N. chief from her day job…

…In recent months, Clark has been trying to earn a reputation as a reformer by launching a belt-tightening campaign that has led to rare staff cuts at the U.N. Development Program. But her candidacy took a hit in October when the United States’ congressionally created watchdog responsible for monitoring U.S. funds for the payroll of Afghan police sharply criticized the U.N. Development Program for mishandling hundreds of millions of dollars in foreign assistance for the Afghan National Police. The U.N. agency countered that it had drawn the world’s attention to the misuse of funds but that it had limited authority to guarantee that Afghan authorities used the funds correctly.

As Lynch explains, there are strong arguments for why either an East European or a Latin American should be considered the frontrunner this time around, for the top job. Ultimately, the wishes of the General Assembly are less important than the veto powers exercised by the five permanent mem,bers of the Security Council. Last time around, it was the US ambassador to the UN John Bolton and his Chinese counterpart Wang Guangya who secretly met and agreed to scupper the prospects of the Indian candidate Shashi Tharoor and propel Ban Ki-Moon into the top job:

Years later, Bolton acknowledged in his memoir that the Indian’s candidacy broke “one of the UN’s unwritten conventions, namely that SGs should come from smaller fry [countries].” Bolton wrote that U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice had confided to him that in choosing Ban she was underscoring America’s preference not only for a candidate from an allied country but for an individual who was weak. “I am not sure we want a strong secretary general,” Bolton claimed she said.

After two terms of Ban’s ineffectual rule, will the P-5 really want to install another round of impotence at the UN? The longer the crisis in the Ukraine festers, the harder it will be to find an Eastern European acceptable both to Russia and to the rest of the Security Council permanent members. And finally, talking of the Ukraine…On the eve of the G20 meeting, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin did a long and fascinating two part interview with German television. The transcripts are here and also here.

Among the points that Putin makes – besides citing Kosovo as an example of “separatism” accepted by the West – is that the trade deal reached between the EU and the fledgling government in Kiev had major economic repercussions for Russia:

Let us look at what the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement stipulates. I have said this many times, but it appears I have to repeat it once again: it eliminates the import duties for the European goods entering Ukrainian territory, brings them down to zero. Yet as Ukraine is a member of a free trade zone within CIS, zero customs tariffs have been introduced between Russia and Ukraine. What does that mean? It means that all European goods will flow through Ukrainian territory directly to the customs territory of the Russian Federation.

There are many other things that may not be clear for people who are not informed regarding these matters, but they do exist. For example, there are technical regulations that are different in Russia and in the EU, we have different standards. Those are standards of technical control, phytosanitary standards and the principle of determining the origin of goods. By way of an example I would cite the component assembly of cars in Ukrainian territory. According to the Association Agreement, the goods manufactured in the territory of Ukraine are intended for our market within the framework of the Russian-Ukrainian free trade zone. Your companies that invested billions of euros in factories in Russia (Volkswagen, BMW, Peugeot, Citroen, the US Ford, and others) entered our market on completely different terms, on condition of deep localisation of production. How could we accept that?

So we said from the outset, “We agree, but let us proceed step by step and take into consideration the real problems that can emerge between Russia and Ukraine.” What were we told in response? “It is none of your business, so get your nose out of these affairs.”

Dolly Gets Pitiful
I don’t really think this song is a vote by Dolly Parton for anyone in particular for the Labour leadership, but…it could well be prophetic.

ENDS

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PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference – 17 November 2014 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/pm-post-cabinet-press-conference-17-november-2014/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/pm-post-cabinet-press-conference-17-november-2014/#comments Sun, 16 Nov 2014 15:24:13 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7483 Article – The Scoop Team

The Prime Minister met with reporters today to discuss: The governmental, independent and other departmental inquiries into the Philip Smith incident Roger Suttons resignation as Chief Executive of CERA owing to sexual harassment The APEC East …

PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference – 17 November 2014

Scoop Audio+Video

by The Scoop Team

The Prime Minister met with reporters today to discuss:
• The governmental, independent and other departmental inquiries into the Philip Smith incident
• Roger Sutton’s resignation as Chief Executive of CERA owing to sexual harassment
• The APEC East Asia summit and the G20
• New Zealand’s Free Trade Agreement with South Korea
• TPP talks and the dairy industry
• Upcoming legislation around passport cancellation
• Concerns about the global economic outlook raised at the G20
• Representatives of the air forces of Five Eyes nations currently in New Zealand
• The role of SAS troops in Iraq
• The CAA investigation into Gerry Brownlee

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Click a link to play audio (or right-click to download) in either
MP3 format or in OGG format. <!–

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–>

ENDS

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Little Favoured For Labour Leader, Deputy Race Open http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/little-favoured-for-labour-leader-deputy-race-open/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/little-favoured-for-labour-leader-deputy-race-open/#comments Sun, 16 Nov 2014 12:52:36 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7481 Press Release – iPredict

There is now nearly a 90% probability Andrew Little will be elected leader of the New Zealand Labour Party tomorrow but less clarity than ever about who will be his deputy, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealands …IPREDICT LTD

NEW ZEALAND WEEKLY ECONOMIC & POLITICAL UPDATE

Monday 17 November 2014

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

www.ipredict.co.nz

LITTLE NOW OVERWHELMINGLY FAVOURED TO BE NEXT LABOUR LEADER BUT DEPUTY RACE WIDE OPEN

There is now nearly a 90% probability Andrew Little will be elected leader of the New Zealand Labour Party tomorrow but less clarity than ever about who will be his deputy, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict. Most economic forecasts are steady this week with a small increase in interest rate expectations and a small improvement in the fiscal forecast for 2014/15. John Key is expected to remain National Party leader until 2017 and his party is expected to win the election that year. If there is a vacancy within National, Paula Bennett is favoured to succeed Mr Key.

Politics:

Next Labour Leader expected to be:

o Andrew Little 87% probability (up from 71% probability last week)

o Grant Robertson 11% probability (down from 24% last week)

o David Parker 2% probability (down from 5% last week)

o Nanaia Mahuta 0% probability (steady compared with last week)

Next Labour Deputy Leader expected to be:

o Jacinda Ardern 28% probability (down from 36% last week)

o Nanaia Mahuta 16% probability (steady compared with last week)

o Grant Robertson 9% probability (up from 5% last week)

o Annette King 6% probability (down from 8% last week)

o David Parker 5% probability (up from 4% last week)

o David Shearer 3% probability (down from 5% last week)

o Andrew Little 2% probability (down from 7% last week)

o Stuart Nash 2% probability (down from 4% last week)

o Other 29% probability (up from 16% last week)

John Key expected to remain National leader until at least the end of 2016 (73% probability, up from 72%) and has a 46% probability of remaining National leader until at least the end of 2017 (steady compared with last week)

• Paula Bennett favourite to become National Party leader if a vacancy arises (28%, down from 29% last week), followed by Steven Joyce (26% probability, down from 27%), Jonathan Coleman (10%, up from 8%) and Simon Bridges (8%, steady)

• Next election expected in 2017 (89% probability, down from 92% last week)

• National expected to win 2017 General Election (53% probability, up from 52% last week)

Economics:

• Quarterly GDP growth expected to be:

o 0.8% of GDP in the September quarter (steady compared with last week)

o 0.8% in the December quarter (steady compared with last week)

o 1.0% in the March 2015 quarter (steady compared with last week)

o 1.1% in the June 2015 quarter (steady compared with last week)

• Unemployment expected to be 5.3% in the December quarter (steady compared with last week)

• Unemployment stocks for 2015 will be launched in the near future

• Current account deficit expected to be 2.6% of GDP in the September quarter (steady compared with last week) and 3.8% of GDP in the December quarter (steady compared with last week)

• Annual inflation expected to be:

o 1.1% to end of December quarter (steady compared with last week)

o 1.4% to end of March 2015 quarter (steady compared with last week)

o 1.8% to end of June 2015 quarter (steady compared with last week)

o 2.1% to end of September 2015 quarter (steady compared with last week)

• Official Cash Rate priced to be:

o 3.502% on 11 December (up from 3.499% last week)

o 3.503% on 29 January (up from 3.501% last week)

o 3.518% on 12 March (up from 3.514% last week)

o 3.545% on 30 April (down from 3.549% last week)

o 3.598% on 11 June (up from 3.597% last week)

o 3.654% on 23 July (up from 3.653% last week)

o 3.711% on 10 September (up from 3.710% last week)

o OCR stocks out to June 2016 will be launched in the near future

• Fiscal balance expected to be:

o 0.02% of GDP in 2014/15 (up from -0.02% last week)

o 0.95% of GDP in 2015/16 (steady)

o 1.98% of GDP in 2016/17 (steady)

o 2.37% of GDP in 2017/18 (steady)

Foreign Affairs/Constitution:

• The Trans-Pacific Partnership is not expected to be ratified by the US Congress before 1 July 2017 (only 23% probability it will be, steady compared with last week)

• Helen Clark’s prospects of being the next UN Secretary General have fallen to 20% probability, down from 25% last week

• There is a 19% probability New Zealand will become a republic by 2020 (steady compared with last week

Notes:

• iPredict Ltd is owned by Victoria University of Wellington. Details on the company and its stocks can be found atwww.ipredict.co.nz.

• The weekly economic and political update is prepared by Exceltium Ltd on a pro bono basis and is based on a snapshot taken at a random time each week. This week’s was taken at 12.39 pm today.

ENDS

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Korea Free Trade Agreement better than nothing http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/korea-free-trade-agreement-better-than-nothing/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/korea-free-trade-agreement-better-than-nothing/#comments Sun, 16 Nov 2014 12:20:16 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7479 Press Release – Federated Farmers

New Zealands recently signed Free Trade Agreement with Korea is a positive step in freeing up our trade relations and represents an absolute bottom line for the quality of outcomes for further agreements.17 November 2014

Korea Free Trade Agreement better than nothing

New Zealand’s recently signed Free Trade Agreement with Korea is a positive step in freeing up our trade relations and represents an absolute bottom line for the quality of outcomes for further agreements.

“We appreciate how difficult it has been to reach an agreement with Korea, and are pleased to now be on a level playing field with our trade competitors in that market,” says Dr William Rolleston, Federated Farmers President.

“Free Trade Agreements are about ensuring meaningful liberalisation of agricultural trade by removing trade barriers, tariffs and quotas, and negotiations must be vigilant. We must be careful no to let the long phase-out period affect other trade negotiations such as the TPP.

“Whilst we weren’t the first cab off the rank, and not everything has been included in this agreement, a $65 million reduction in tariffs in the first year is meaningful to our primary industries. This is set to increase by three percent a year for the next 15 years.

“Our beef industry stands to gain a lot from this agreement. Korea is New Zealand’s fourth largest export market by volume, and now set to reduce its 40 percent tariff over 15 years.

“The political sensitivity in reaching this agreement is significant, with Korea’s farmers vehemently opposed to agricultural liberalisation. However, our relationship has been solid with Korea since we stood beside them in the Korean War and we are compatible trading partners, helping this agreement get over the line.

“This isn’t just good business for New Zealand. Reaching an agreement makes good business sense for Korea too. We are a trade friendly country, with most of our imports tariff free, our highest tariff rate being 10 percent. Without a Free Trade Agreement they would risk losing their market share to other competitors we have FTA’s with.

“We commend the efforts that have gone into getting this agreement together, but it’s not over yet. New Zealand and Korea will now have to seek approval of the Fair Trade Agreement before agreeing on a date to bring it into force,” concluded Dr Rolleston.

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South Korea Free Trade Agreement http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/south-korea-free-trade-agreement/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/south-korea-free-trade-agreement/#comments Sun, 16 Nov 2014 07:15:19 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7477 Press Release – Professor Jane Kelsey

Coverage of the free trade agreement just concluded with South Korea has been all about agriculture which is being talked up without anyone being able to see the fine print, according to Professor Jane Kelsey, It appears the legal scrubbing …Renegotiate South Korea FTA if it gives foreign investors the right to sue
‘Coverage of the free trade agreement just concluded with South Korea has been all about agriculture – which is being talked up without anyone being able to see the fine print’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey,

It appears the legal scrubbing of the text will take several more months. Until then New Zealanders will not get to see what the government has negotiated, again behind closed doors.

‘There may be a solid argument to support the dairy part of the agreement, although it sounds like New Zealand will have got less than trade competitors such as the US and Australia’, Jane Kelsey said.

‘But this agreement is not just about dairy or old-fashioned commodity trade. It will also impact on New Zealand’s regulatory sovereignty. That is the concern I have consistently raised about such treaties, Professor Kelsey explained.

‘The biggest concern here is the investment chapter, which is likely to include the controversial investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions. These provisions involve potentially major incursions on New Zealand governments’ right to regulate in the national interest.’

Professor Kelsey notes that New Zealand has far fewer investment dispute obligations than most other countries, a number of which are currently trying to find ways out of them.

‘Investor-state dispute settlement is hugely controversial in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. That is partly because US investors are involved, but also because the system of international investment arbitration is deeply flawed.

‘That was the view of many governments who spoke at a conference session on investment arbitration during the World Investment Forum in Geneva that I attended several weeks ago.’

‘We simply should not be signing up to any more agreements that lock us into this failed system’, Kelsey said.

Business New Zealand would seem to share some of Professor Kelsey’s concerns. Their submission in response to a survey by the OECD in 2012 said they saw no need for such provisions in agreements with developed countries that have sound legal systems like New Zealand’s. [i] That clearly includes South Korea.

‘At a time when there is a global backlash against investor-state dispute settlement in such agreements, and when New Zealand has limited exposure to date, we should be telling the government to go back to the table and take ISDS out of the agreement.’

‘Moreover the government should release the text now so New Zealanders can see what other issues that are not about real trade have been included.’

ends

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