We feel bound to the Christian image of humanity – that is what defines us. Those who do not accept this are in the wrong place here. – Angela Merkel who celebrates her 63rd birthday today.
Angela Merkel has been chancellor of Germany since 2005.
Hillary Clinton is likely, though not certain, to be the next president of the USA, if only because many people see her as the lesser of two evils when compared with the Republican candidate Donald Trump.
Half the candidates vying to become the next Secretary General of the United Nations are women, including former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark.
Theresa May has been sworn in as UK Prime Minister. (The BBC profiles her here.) and 14 other countries already have women as heads of government or elected heads of state .
The countries, women leaders and year they took office are:
* BANGLADESH: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (2009)
* CHILE: President Michelle Bachelet (2014)
* CROATIA: President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic (2015)
* GERMANY: Chancellor Angela Merkel (2005)
* LIBERIA: President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (2006)
* LITHUANIA: President Dalia Grybauskaite (2009)
* MALTA: President Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca (2014)
* MARSHALL ISLANDS: President Hilda Heine (2016)
* MAURITIUS: President Ameenah Gurib-Fakim (2015)
* NAMIBIA: Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila (2015)
* NEPAL: President Bidhya Devi Bhandari (2015)
* NORWAY: Prime Minister Erna Solberg (2013)
* POLAND: Prime Minister Beata Szydlo (2015)
* SOUTH KOREA: President Park Geun-hye (2013)
* TAIWAN: President Tsai Ing-wen (2016)
Does being female make a difference to what they do and how they do it?
My answer to that is probably, everyone brings a different perspective to a role and gender would have some influence on the difference.
If women ruled the world some things would change but a female perspective in itself wouldn’t mean better or worse.
The world has and has had good and bad leaders and it will continue to have them regardless of whether they’re men or women.
But I think the world would be a better place if people were regarded as people, accepted and respected for what we have in common and differences like gender and race were immaterial.
Prime Minister John Key has more good news for trade:
New Zealand and the European Union are to pursue a free trade pact – but don’t expect any action until at least 2015.
Prime Minister John Key made the announcement in The Hague after meeting European Commission president Jose Manuel Barroso and European Council president Herman Van Rompuy. He described it as “quite an important” meeting
Two-way trade between New Zealand and the 28 members of the EU totals $16 billion a year.
Key said the EU has, for the first time, agreed to consider a free trade agreement.
But he admitted an ambitious EU-US trade deal, as well as a pact with Canada, will take priority for the Europeans.
Further progress is also not possible until after European Parliament elections this year, but officials will undertake a scoping study.
“We are actually seeing progress and a breakthrough that historically hasn’t been a option available to us,” Key said.
The deal has the support of both the British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who he met on the sidelines of the major international summit. . .
Some of the credit for this must go to the good relationship between them and Key.
Two-way trade between New Zealand and the EU is worth about $16bn a year and has the potential to rise to $20bn by 2020.
But exporters are hamstrung by hefty tariffs – including 8.2 per cent on kiwifruit. By comparison, Chile pays nothing because it is already signed up to an FTA with the 28-country bloc.
“It is easy to look at Europe and think Greece and Spain and some of the well pronounced debt problems,” Key said. “But sitting in amongst that are hundreds of millions of very wealthy consumers who earn a lot, spend a lot and fundamentally are the target market for what we sell.” . . .
A free trade deal with the EU won’t happen quickly but it would bring benefits for producers and their consumers who are paying far more than they need to for our produce because of tariffs.
The EU is our third biggest trading partner in spite of the handicaps we face from duties imposed on our products.
Spain is our biggest market for kiwifruit, even with that 8.2% tariff. The only other New Zealand produce I’ve seen there was apples.
It’s not hard to find New Zealand lamb in the UK and our venison in Germany.
A free trade deal would make it easier for our produce to compete on price and give people their more choice at a lower cost.
It would allow us to put our trading eggs in more baskets which would give better security and bargaining power.