Fortress New Zealand not our future

Column Articles
Wednesday, May 11, 2016

It was great to be able to support the introduction of the Trans-Pacific partnership in Parliament.  I am convinced that it will be fantastic for our region. It will provide genuine gains for our local industries including kiwifruit, avocados, dairy, beef and forestry through tariff relief and growth resulting from more competitive pricing.

Listening to the many submissions on the deal itself through the select committee, I was struck by the outspoken anti-corporate, anti-American and often anti-farming attitudes expressed.

It was clear that the dissenting views discounted specialist trade evidence and actual export sector evidence was seen as self-interested.  In most submitters eyes we should fear the connection with America and 40% of the worlds GDP for their imagined, future restraints on our way of life.

This experience has made me more focused on ensuring that our educational institutions find ways to connect our children to our country’s reality.  Globalisation and the increasing connectivity of our communities is the future.  We have a clear choice as a country.  It is now our job to embrace it and give ourselves the best chance to succeed. We must use a foundation of good underpinning infrastructure with our roading, rail, Ultra-fast broadband and ports, plus a skilled work force supported by a significant increase on innovation spending.  We must constantly drive hard against non-tariff barriers for trade, and look to sector investment in market to augment our NZTE, MFAT and MPI resources, because long standing technical and strategic relationships count in this game.  The alternative, which is our political opponents view, of Fortress New Zealand, will fail our companies, our communities and our country.