Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s return from maternity leave was supposed to start with an announcement to boost business confidence.
Instead of which she introduced Trade for All which is once again more hui and little doey.
It’s a bit like putting the produce-laden cart before the lumbering Clydesdale as the Government tries to bring the public on board with free trade deals and what they’re calling a ‘Trade for All’ agenda.
It seems a bit like the coalition cobbers trying to salve their guilt for opposing the likes of the old Trans-Pacific Partnership and now supporting it since its name has become more of a mouthful with Comprehensive Progressive added to its title. . .
And just like all Government announcements without substance they’re setting up a board to advise on how to woo the great unwashed when it comes to trade. And as usual they’ve appointed the chair with the boardroom chairs to be filled later, or as the blurb said “in due course”.
There would be no need to spend time and money trying to improve their supporters’ poor perception of, and misconceptions about, trade had Labour not spent so much effort in opposition campaigning against it in contradiction of the long-established bi-partisan approach both Labour and National took in the past.
This is using taxpayers’ money to talk to their supporters because most other people understand the benefits and importance of trade.
Their blurb was stating the bleedingly obvious, they want trade benefits to flow to all New Zealanders, they want them to be felt throughout the country, not just in the major cities. .
Trade has always benefited the whole country for goodness sake. Most of our significant exporters are in rural New Zealand, they’re called dairy, sheep and beef farmers, winegrowers and orchardists. They do well and the whole community benefits.. . .
Businesses will be relieved that Labour has seen the trade light again, but setting up yet another committee and doing yet more consultation won’t help confidence.
The Government’s ‘Trade for All’ agenda is simply a rehash of National’s work on trade and won’t make up for plummeting business confidence caused by the Government’s anti-growth policies, National’s Trade spokesperson Todd McClay says.
“Trade for All is nothing more than a shameless rebranding of National’s Trade Agenda 2030 which was aimed at creating opportunities for our exporters to compete on the world stage.
“But while National was consulting on Trade Agenda 2030 with businesses, exporters and the public Labour, NZ First and Green MPs were marching in the streets against the TPP.
“While the Government’s backflip on trade is welcome, it won’t be enough to turn around New Zealand’s worst business confidence levels in ten years.
“We know this is a direct result of bad policies like raising taxes, restricting foreign investment and axing oil and gas exploration – yet the Government refuses to acknowledge that, choosing instead to lecture businesses over their supposed bias. . .
Instead of action, all this announcement offers is more talk.
And rather than providing reassurance it merely shows that the government doesn’t understand business and has no idea how to address the understandable and growing lack of confidence.
Businesses don’t need yet another bloody committe and more bloody meetings.
They need policies which recognise the importance and value of business.