CER, the Closer Economic Relationship between Australia and New Zealand is 30 years old and both countries are better for it.
The two Prime Ministers are in Queenstown for the annual Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ meeting.
Prime Minister Key and Prime Minister Gillard acknowledged the 30th Anniversary of the Australia/New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Agreement (CER).
CER is widely acknowledged as the vehicle which has seen successive governments on both sides of the Tasman progressively remove barriers to trade in goods, services and investment between the two countries. . .
CER in effect gives us a domestic market of 20 million extra people instead of just our own 4 million.
The population advantage isn’t so great for Australians but the open borders make travel easier and give businesses on both sides of the Tasman more opportunities. Consumers benefit from more choice and often lower prices and/or higher quality.
The relationship has had the odd strain. An example of this was the non-trade barriers Australia tried to impose on New Zealand apples.
However, the World Trade Organisation ruled in our favour – and Ms Gillard had to swallow that when she lost a bet with our Prime Minister:
Ms Gillard made a bet with New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key on the outcome of the 2010 Rugby World Cup – a deal that would see the leader of whichever country lost eat an apple from the winning country.
Luckily for Mr Key, the All Blacks reigned supreme.
The bet was symbolic of the end of Australia’s 90-year ban on New Zealand apples, following a World Trade Organisation ruling that it must allow imports.
Ms Gillard finally honoured the bet during dinner with Mr Key, his wife Bronagh, and Ms Gillard’s partner Tim Mathieson in Queenstown, New Zealand, on Friday night.
“I’d have to say, of course, Australian apples are better,” Ms Gillard said.
She added that Mr Key had tried to serve her New Zealand apples on multiple occasions. . .
She would say that about the apples, but I don’t think all the consumers in her country would agree with her.