Key: Only National will deliver FTAs

John Key
John Key
National is trying to position itself as the only party which will deliver major free trade agreements, saying that Labour's trade policies will be scuppered by any potential coalition partners.

At a speech to Marlborough winegrowers in Blenheim yesterday, he jumped on Opposition promises to restrict land and house sales to foreigners as evidence that National was the only party which remained "open to the world".

He said free trade deals were the path to lifting incomes for New Zealanders, and reiterated National's commitment to a high-quality Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

Mr Key described the 12-country TPPA as "the 400-pound gorilla" because it included economic giants Japan and the USA.

Labour has previously said New Zealand will benefit from the TPPA, but has not taken a formal position and faces resistance from unions.

Mr Key said: "Labour can't form a government without being with the Greens or [Internet Mana]. And we know the Greens are totally opposed to TPP.

"I think it is a fair representation that only a National Government will deliver a free trade agreement with the United States."

Labour's trade spokesman Phil Goff said Mr Key's claims were "a nonsense".

He said Labour had a strong track record, having signed off the China FTA, and would push ahead with the TPPA "if it preserved our bottom lines" and guaranteed "real progress on market access".

If a Labour-led Government helped secure a high-quality TPPA, he said National would be foolish not to support it from the cross-benches when it was ratified.

Some opponents have criticised the secrecy of the TPP talks, and are unsettled by its provision for companies to take direct legal action against governments through closed-door courts.

Mr Key said the debate about the agreement was clouded by misinformation.
He said every trade agreement was negotiated behind closed doors and then ratified through Parliament.

"If we go out and say 'Here's New Zealand's bottom lines', then obviously everybody ... knows where they can push us to.

"More often we achieve a lot better than we might have been prepared to accept."

New Zealand is also seeking a free trade agreement with Korea and with Gulf states. Mr Key said local meat producers alone paid $90 million in tariffs to get their products into Korea.

As a signal of its National's "openness to the world", Mr Key announced a commitment to put $10 million over five years into helping more New Zealand high school students learn the languages of this country's Asian trading partners - Mandarin, Korean and Japanese.

"Our next generation need to be able to work in different cultural environments as our international and trading links grow, particularly with Asian countries," he said.

Mr Key released the party's trade and foreign affairs policy at the Winegrowers Conference, at the heart of which is a target of increasing the ratio of exports to GDP from 30 per cent to 40 per cent by 2025.


@Treeleaper: Labour is less sure of itself on free trade deals now as they protest the TPPA for example. Even if they were unequivocally supportive of quality free trade deals they would need the Greens support and they are absolutely against free trade. 

Our 'free trade' agreement

Our "free trade" agreement with China still results in tarrifs on our dairy exports for the next ten or so years while China strips us of our best livestock and expertise while also buying our farms.  We have no tarriffs on chinese imports but our manufacturing exporters have to live with the costs of the RMA, the minimum wage, and taxes that fund whole raft of social costs not seen in China like superannuation and health care and ACC and income support and the dole and occupational health and safety and higher interest rates and myriad other legislated imposts that Chinese manufacturers don't have to fund.  On top of that we have a freely floating and heavily speculated (and over valued) currency while China has pegged (and undervalued) its currency against the US Dollar.  We are being taken for suckers by these free trade agreements as the rules are not the same everywhere.  China has huge non-tarrif barriers to trade as well.  So the whole process of international trade is a dishonest sham and China is cheating more than most which is why it is the worlds largest creditor and we are among the planets most indebted people.

It is because their leaders are clever while ours are a bunch of mugs.  

Does Key think we're stupid?

Just how stupid does Key think we are?  Labour delivered more FTA's than Key's government has managed.  Keeping land in Kiwi hands is easily understandable by governments of most countries. 

This is just scare-mongering, but then given Hager's revelations should be be surprised that National would try to flannel us. 

Key not wrong

It's pretty much a done deal that National will be forming the Government again, so yeah!, John Key is right - they are the only party who will deliver major free trade agreements.

What utter nonsense!

Seriously!  For a start most of the FTAs this Government achieved were set in motion by the previous Government, via the Foreign Trade Minister Winston Peters.

Secondly... well, there is no second, other than Key is getting so desperate now he is willing to say anythng to try and get back every one of his very wealthy supporters.