Ardern on the TPP

One of the first big tests for the incoming Jacinda Ardern led government will be the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement, which is in the final stages of renegotiation after Donald Trump withdrew the United States, and will need to be addressed at the APEC conference next month.

Ardern has indicated Labour may accept the 11 country trade agreement as long as there were tweaks limiting foreign purchases of property.

Stuff:  Jacinda Ardern: Changes to trade deals possible – walking away from TPP ‘not necessary’

Prime Minister-elect Jacinda Ardern faces a tough sell to impose last minute changes on a free trade agreement between the 11 Pacific Rim countries, as they set to close the deal next month.

Ardern has confirmed she will be heading to Vietnam in November for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders forum.

It’s her first big test on the international stage where Jacinda Ardern will be rubbing shoulders with the likes of US President Donald Trump, and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Recent reports have also suggested Russian President Vladimir Putin will be attending.

No less, her yet-to-be-appointed Trade Minister is expected to chair a sideline meeting in the dying throes of negotiations to reach a deal on the TPP11, and Ardern expects to change tack on negotiations and push for a ban on foreign property speculators.

David Parker was Labour’s spokesperson for Trade & Export Growth, and is one of the few incoming ministers with previous experience in Cabinet.

Labour will need someone with experience to dive straight into this important issue.

Leaders involved were hoping to sign the new agreement on the sidelines of APEC,  which meant a tight timeline for trade officials to gain concessions while working to hold ground in other areas.

Ardern She told TVNZ’s current affairs show Q+A she was confident a Labour government policy to ban foreign ownership would not force her to walk from the deal.

From the Q+A interview transcript:

CORIN So you want those things. Do you want, I guess, the tag that can come with it — that sort of Brexit, nationalist sort of tag that can come with that? The idea that we’re suddenly not outward-looking so much.

JACINDA I think probably that sentiment builds up not just around economic markers. In fact, we are a party that believes, for instance, on the important role of trade. We are a free and fair trade party. We are not closed-minded in the role that we have to play in the world.

CORIN But you’re putting in a foreign buyers ban.

JACINDA Yeah, but that’s because we have an absolute failure in our housing market and we’re willing to make sure that we act to preserve the right of anyone who chooses to make New Zealand home to buy a home here. But if I can just finish. That sense of whether or not we’re a closed-off country who isn’t open to the world, I would absolutely refute. New Zealand has always marked out is path as an independent foreign-policy voice but also a world leader. I want us to be seen to be open to ideas but a world leader in areas like the environment and climate change – not closed-minded but outward-facing but looking after our interests.

CORIN You might refute it, but the message that’s sent to investors and to the globe might be that New Zealand is looking more inward and more worried about banning foreigners from buying homes.

JACINDA Well, given that, actually, most of our trading nations who’ve recently signed free trade agreements have done exactly the same thing. I doubt they–

CORIN But we don’t have the same luxury as them.

JACINDA I doubt they look upon us as doing anything they wouldn’t consider doing for themselves.

CORIN We’re $200 billion in debt to the world.

JACINDA We don’t have the luxury of making sure that housing is affordable? We do. We are a prosperous nation. If you can’t get the most basic thing right as ensuring your people are housed in affordable, dry homes, then I don’t know what kind of country we can promise to be to anyone.

CORIN So is that a higher priority than securing a trade deal involving Japan, the world’s third-largest economy? 

JACINDA I refuse to accept they’re mutually exclusive.

CORIN Would you walk away from the TPP, involving Japan, over that issue?

JACINDA Again, that’s not necessary. Our view is that it will be possible to balance our desire to make sure that we provide housing within our domestic housing market that’s affordable by easing demand and banning foreign speculators from buying existing homes, whilst meeting our trade goals as well.

CORIN Have you considered other mechanisms that would do the same thing?

JACINDA Look, we’ll be looking to ways that we can balance that desire to ban foreign speculators. Whichever mechanism we use to deliver it, that is our goal.

CORIN Is your coalition partner comfortable with progressing the TPP?

JACINDA Look, we all see the need to grow exports for us to see extra value gained for our exporters. That is a consensus amongst us. There are concerns with things like ISDS clauses. That’s something that we will continue to work through.

CORIN Well, first of all, are you going to go to APEC?


CORIN Do you think you can go there and convince the other parties to renegotiate this deal? I mean, you’re under a lot of time pressure, because they’ve actually been working on this right up to the last minute. They want a deal signed, don’t they? And you’ve got to go there and try and convince them to hold off.

JACINDA My job is to go there and convince them to sign to an agreement that will be in our best interests as well. I’m not going to set out on this task, already having decided it’s too hard.

CORIN You don’t feel the pressure of some big players on the world stage that will be wanting you to sign that?

JACINDA Look, I’ve operated in an international environment, albeit a slightly different one, before. I’m used to different forms of negotiation in that kind of environment. Absolutely everyone brings their own interests to the table; that’s what a negotiation is. That’s what we’ve just had for the last 10 days. But my job will be to advocate on behalf of New Zealanders – both homeowners, potential homebuyers and exporters.

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  1. I feel sure she’s referring to her stint as leader of the Socialist Youth Movement.

    I hardly think that calling everyone Comrade at APEC. Will not cut the mustard with even China. They need substance. Labour’s actual position on TPPA is well documented.

    If they roll over again it’s going to look very unprincipled.

    According to Jane Kelsey:

    “Labour must address its own criticism that the TPPA lacks evidence of benefits to NZ

    ‘Before the new government can decide its position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), including whether it would genuinely boost exports and provide a net benefit to the country, Labour needs to address its own criticism that there is inadequate evidence to support even the original deal’, says University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey.

    Labour’s minority viewpoint in the select committee report on the TPPA (set out below) said: ‘the modelling as presented is not sufficient for us to be confident benefits proposed in the National Interest Analysis will eventuate. … Questions about whether the deal might secure just an additional nine jobs for the industry went without compelling answer from Government officials’.’*

    Elsewhere, Labour noted that international academic studies showed there could be job losses to New Zealand from the deal.

    To remedy these defects, ‘Labour joins calls made by submitters calling for further modelling of the TPPA’s impacts on employment and wage distribution. We also join submitters calling for a related public health analysis of the TPPA impact.’”

    • PDB

       /  23rd October 2017

      “Look, I’ve operated in an international environment, albeit a slightly different one, before.”

      No, she is referring to her job in the Morrinsville fish and chip shop dealing with Chinese spring rolls, imported French fries and Hamburg(ers).

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  23rd October 2017

    Let’s protect our own property speculators from competition. Typical socialist corruption of markets. To be followed by grateful donations from favoured players of course.

  3. David

     /  23rd October 2017

    If Ardern had any experience, and lets leave aside the sycophantic reporter who didnt actually ask the obvious “what doing”, she would address the foreign buyer non issue through the tax system or through a stamp duty.
    I am pleased that she seems to value free trade agreements though, certainly more logical than Winston Muldoon who is all for the regions but not trade deals.

    • Fight4NZ

       /  23rd October 2017

      “the sychophantic reporter”
      This was interesting in that it reveals the mind set that leads to the conclusion that MSM is left wing, flying in the face of reality.
      If this was the case the whole approach of the discussion would have been to attack any indication that Labour would continue to support TPPA.
      However the actual line of questioning is how can you consider any tweaks when that might mean we jeopardize our chance to sign. Your beef being he failed to ask one question you felt pertinent.
      Save your complaining for when for at 10 years your line of questioning has all but disappeared and anything remotely balanced is a heresy.

  4. Alan Wilkinson

     /  23rd October 2017

    Curious that she wants to advocate for homebuyers but not for homesellers. Of course she knows Labour already acted for them by strangling supply so now they have to strangle demand. Horrendous and a condemnation of Key that he put useless Smith in charge of doing nothing about it.


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