Labour support trans-Pacific trade alliance

The Government is reported to be close to signing up for a trade deal with countries across the other side of the Pacific. And the Labour Party is supportive.

NZ Herald:  Labour says it will support a trade deal with Pacific Alliance

New Zealand is on the cusp of signing a significant free trade deal with Latin American and South American countries.

The Pacific Alliance, which is made up of Chile, Mexico, Colombia and Peru is expected to announce tomorrow morning whether it will enter formal negotiations on a new deal with New Zealand.

New Zealand would be the first country to secure a free trade agreement with the trading bloc, which is currently worth $1.1 billion in two-way trade.

Trade Minister Todd McClay is in Cali, Colombia, speaking to his counterparts from the four countries in a bid to get the negotiations underway.

Mexico and Chile were in the Trans-Pacific Partnership that has stalled now the US has withdrawn.

Unlike the TPP Labour are supporting this one:

The Labour Party said today it would support a Pacific Alliance agreement, which means any deal is likely to survive if the Government changes in September.

Foreign affairs spokesman David Parker said that like New Zealand, these four countries were looking towards Asia for trade.

“They are doing good things through that alliance to reduce trade barriers, which also affect New Zealand. So we are supportive of that.”

His party’s main concern was about any provisions which allowed investors from the alliance countries to buy land and houses in New Zealand.

Labour was also concerned about any investor-state dispute settlement provisions, which McClay confirmed would be a part of an FTA with the alliance.

Parker said Labour’s main focus if in power would be to advance a trade deal with the EU.

But a deal with the EU is likely to take quite a while.

An interesting stance by Labour – is it because the US is not a part of it?

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters was more sceptical about an FTA with the Latin American and South American countries, saying that growth in those regions had been stagnant for 30 years and that New Zealand should be dealing with bigger economies in the Americas like Brazil.

He did not necessarily oppose a deal with Pacific Alliance grouping, but said he would first want to be certain that the deal was not simply “hype and presentation” and that it was in New Zealand’s interests.

Very vague.

Todd McClay has been very busy since he took over Trade from Tim Groser at the end of 2015.

Laila Harre joining Labour

It has been hinted at recently but has now been confirmed – Lalia Harre is re-joining the Labour Party.

1 News: Laila Harre rejoins Labour Party, sets her sights on standing in election

After 30 odd years, Laila Harre has re-joined the Labour Party – and she wants to be a Labour candidate at next year’s election.

“It’s been a while. It’s really great to be back,” says Ms Harre, who first joined Labour in 1982 at the tender age of 15.

She parted ways with Labour in the late 1980s; disillusioned by the reforms at state asset sales of the David Lange Labour Government and the “Rogernomics” policies of the then Finance Minister Roger Douglas.

Jim Anderton left too and Laila Harre joined him at NewLabour, which later morphed into the Alliance, which was a grouping of NewLabour, the Democratic Party, Mana Motuhake, and the Greens.

After the Alliance fell to pieces in 2002 Harre had a break from politics.

Then in 2012-13 she worked for the Green Party as ‘ inaugural issues director’.

The next year, 2014, she became leader of Kim Dotcom’s Internet party.

The veteran campaigner says she does regret her four months with the Internet Party because of the damage it did to her reputation.

I’m not surprised. Then she had a break from parties until returning to her roots now, Labour. He ex-colleague from the Alliance Party Matt McCarten is wheeling and dealing for Labour in Auckland and I expect has had some influence in this move.

Now she believes that the time isn’t right for new political parties.

“The Left, I guess have consolidated around Labour and the Greens – and Labour, I think, are really strongly reconnecting to their roots and they are my roots in the trade union movement.”

Nick Leggett was rubbished by left wing activists, first for leaving Labour and then for joining National. He was criticised for not being committed. I wonder what they will say about Harre’s party hopping.

Labour general secretary Andrew Kirton says that Harre will have to go through the same process as other hopeful candidates.

Rumours have linked her to New Lynn, which will become available with David Cunliffe’s exit, but others have also expressed an interest there – New Labour candidate for Rangitikei with Deborah Russell hoping to head north.

Deborah Russell said she had been approached by several Labour associates to seek the nomination for the New Lynn seat David Cunliffe is vacating.

She would have run again in Rangitikei if the New Lynn opportunity had not come.

That sounds like virtually a done deal in New Lynn. Perhaps Harre will stand in Auckland Central as it looks like Jacinda Ardern wants to pick up Mt Albert now David Shearer is leaving.

A divinely crafted political entity

Chris Trotter is back to blasting “Labour’s 1984-1990 betrayals” and wishfully proposing a “divinely crafted political entity” in An Opposition Worthy Of The Name?

The signal achievement of National’s nine years in opposition was the unification of the Right. With ruthless efficiency, Don Brash and John Key rolled up National’s electoral competitors, leaving only the vestiges of parties that had once attracted, between them, more than 10 percent of the popular vote.

.In contrast to this approach, Trotter wants a left wing dream team.

The bitter truth is that if a beneficent angel were to uplift the best politicians from Labour, the Alliance (before it disappeared) the Greens and the Mana Party, and drop them into a divinely crafted political entity that might – or might not – continue to exploit the still potent Labour brand, then the Government of John Key would be in real trouble.

The current Labour Party bleats on (and on, and on) about being a “Broad Church”, but the sad truth remains that its reservoir for recruitment has never been shallower.

That is a real problem for Labour.

A genuinely “broad church” party of the Left would balance off  Andrew Little with Hone Harawira, Jacinda Ardern with Laila Harré, Stuart Nash with John Minto, Kelvin Davis with Annette Sykes, Grant Robertson with Julie Anne Genter and Annette King with Metira Turei. The whole spectrum of alternative power: from Soft Centrists to Hard Leftists; would be covered.

He must presume that Jim Anderton is in permanent retirement and perhaps that Matt McCarten is going to remain in the background coordinating it all.

Here is a better look at Trotter’s divinely crafted political entity:

  • Andrew Little
  • Hone Harawira
  • Jacinda Ardern
  • Laila Harré
  • Stuart Nash
  • John Minto
  • Kelvin Davis
  • Annette Sykes
  • Grant Robertson
  • Julie Anne Genter
  • Annette King
  • Metira Turei

That’s just twelve, more would be needed for a Cabinet.

That’s just 50% Labour. Even with last election results and current poll numbers that must be based on Trotter’s perception of competence and electability rather as it is nowhere near proportional representation.

It is disproportionately weighted to the far left with three from the MANA Movement plus Laila Harré, all from the Mana/Internet disaster rejected by voters.

The most notable omission is James Shaw. As Green co-leader that’s odd.

And leaving out Labour’s best performer, Phil Twyford, is curious.

That line up would attract the vote of the 1% who supported Internet/Mana and possibly most of the Green supporters, say 10%.

And if they are lucky about half of the current Labour supporters, the left and the unions, might be happy with that, but few of those with some leaning towards the centre and the 10-20% of centrist voters who have deserted Labour are unlikely to be impressed.

Trotter’s list may be divinely crafted by unions and far left activists, but it would destroy Labour. Andrew Little would be unlikely to get back in on the Labour list.

Perhaps that’s what he wants.