Parker pushing for more trade with better social equity

One of the Government’s most notable achievements so far has been helping the eleven country Trans-Pacific Partnership (now CPTPP) to a final agreement, despite not being on Labour’s Taking action in our first 100 days list (that isn’t surprising because Labour had made a big deal and political capital by opposing it, albeit on limited grounds). It is expected that the final agreement will be signed in Chile on 8 March.

The quiet achiever here has been Minister of Trade David Parker, but credit also has to go to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern for giving Parker the trade portfolio, and for the Labour dominated caucus for presumably supporting Parker’s trade agreement aims.

Parker’s full job description is Minister for Economic Development, Environment, and Trade and Export Growth, as well as Attorney General and Associate Minister of Finance.

Parker is also busy working on other improvements to trade access for New Zealand.

Newshub: Need to build support for free trade seen

New Zealand’s Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker is pushing a message of inclusiveness in a bid to build public support for freer trade after meeting APEC business leaders.

The APEC Business Advisory Council is holding its first meeting of the year in Auckland, which concludes on Sunday.

The council is the voice of business in APEC. In their annual report to APEC leaders, released Sunday, members called on leaders to show leadership on further liberalisation of trade in goods and services as well as investment flows.

When Mr Parker engaged with the APEC business leaders on Friday, he underscored the need for business to help re-build public consensus for trade, which has eroded around the world.

Ironically public consensus for trade had looked to be somewhat eroded when there were large protests against the TPP in 2016, and Labour, NZ First and the Greens were all in support of the opposition (Labour MPs took part in protests).

Mr Parker called for emphasis on labour, small business, women and the environment.

Mr Parker said many people had felt left out by globalisation and were worried about a concentration in wealth.

These concerned had to be recognised and addressed, he said.

While Parker is pushing for further liberalisation of trade he is adding wider social considerations. This is one of the aims of the Ardern government. They are pragmatically working on trade agreements, but trying to take on more of a social conscience.

This likely to be fine with the many, but a few will remain opposed to more free trade and globalisation.

The current Government’s approach is an evolution of the trade and social direction of the past Clark and Key/English governments.

Parker is Labour’s most experienced minister, and so far looks to be their star performer.

His approach may dismay some on the hard left, but already with a left-wing government they have nowhere else to go. The Greens may continue to resist trade agreements, but Labour is very close to National on trade so should be able to progress on trade matters with a super majority.

Rather than throwing out ‘neo-liberalism’ and starting fresh as some left wing activists want, something untested and very risky (economically and socially), Parker and the Labour government are taking a safe and sensible approach, working on improving on the trade, financial and social direction New Zealand has been going in.

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14 Comments

  1. David

     /  February 5, 2018

    Labour had a direct and active roll in making FTA,s unpopular and marched against them and now the hypocrites are happily signing something its believed is not much different.
    The changes were made pre Parker and mostly things were taken out that the Americans only had wanted in. Labour hypocritically again wont release the text for the scrutiny so people wont know how little they actually did but after their shrill insistance over the TPP negotiating process that the text be released and it was undemocratic to negotiate in secret.
    We cant see the text because obviously their bottom lines they wanted before signing arnt there. If National was in power this would now be a dirty secret deal and they would be marching again.

  2. Blazer

     /  February 5, 2018

    No one in Labour is against what is called ‘free tade’.National’s version of the TPPA was ‘swallowing endless rats’,compliments of self proclaimed ‘wunderkind negotiator’…Tim the flop Groser.Parker is probably the smartest guy in the room,when it comes to…Parliament.

    • As you would expect after further negotiations the CPTPP looks better (as reported, we haven’t seen the text yet) than the TPP, but there are only minor differences apart from those due to the withdrawal of the most contentious country with some of the most contentious clauses.

      • David

         /  February 5, 2018

        Given this will be the most transparent government ever, except of course when answering OIA requests or actually showing the voting taxpayers whats in the 33 page coalition agreement, why wont they release the agreement ? We just sit here and take their word that its better, its very early to be treating the public with such contempt, disdain and arrogance. Given all that I am happy we are in the TPP.
        And just because Parker wears glasses and looks bookish doesnt bestow great intellect on him.

        • Blazer

           /  February 5, 2018

          ‘ We just sit here and take their word that its better, its very early to be treating the public with such contempt, ‘…you’ve sucked it up for the last 9 years…why worry…now.

        • “why wont they release the agreement ?”

          I think that the Government has said that they can’t release the text until all countries formally agree with it.

          • alloytoo

             /  February 5, 2018

            Which to me seems entirely reasonable, however wasn’t Labour et al bleating like stuffed pigs when National presented that argument.

            • Blazer

               /  February 5, 2018

              ‘ bleating like stuffed pigs ‘…is this a mixed metaphor?The 6000 page text was available to…read.

    • Blazer

       /  February 5, 2018

      an extremely disingenuous tweet from someone who like most critics…has probably not even read the articles in the agreement.

  3. Alan Wilkinson

     /  February 5, 2018

    When Mr Parker engaged with the APEC business leaders on Friday, he underscored the need for business to help re-build public consensus for trade, which has eroded around the world.

    He’d better start within his own party and Government then.

  4. PartisanZ

     /  February 5, 2018

    ” … its very early to be treating the public with such contempt, disdain and arrogance.”

    Except that contempt, disdain and arrogance is the hallmark of ‘government’ as we know it, regardless of ilk, and that all Labour-led are doing is continuing the contempt, disdain and arrogance which has personified governments for decades – if not centuries – but in contemporary times since and perhaps most especially the First National government 1949 – 57 …

    Add to this that post-1984 NZ governments are more-or-less only managers of the economy on behalf of global corporate-capitalism and the contempt, disdain and arrogance is magnified threefold or more …

    Short of some truly revolutionary paradigm shift, nobody has any choice nowadays but to “re-build public consensus for trade, which has eroded around the world” because there is no mistaking that, under the corporate-capitalist system, trade is what pays for it all – ethics entirely disregarded – while, Catch-22-like, at the same time, “many people had [accurately] felt left out by globalisation and were [justifiably] worried about a [real and measurable] concentration of wealth.”

    When APEC Business Advisory Council “members call on leaders to show leadership on further liberalisation of trade in goods and services as well as investment flows”, so-called ‘leaders’ do exactly what they are told …

    It could all be done quite differently … enviroconomy … eco-nomy … ergonomy … new economics … but the human race and especially its rat-race component are not ready for the requisite ‘consciousness shift’ and probably won’t be until catastrophic calamity overtakes humankind …

    Meantime all Labour-led is saying is, “Yep, let’s sign up, since we’ve got no choice anyhow” …

  1. Parker pushing for more trade with better social equity — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition