Coromandel Chronicle - November 2015

Columns
Wednesday, November 4, 2015

The start of daylight saving and Labour Weekend are two calendar markers that remind us summer is just around the corner. All indications are that this summer will be a long, hot and potentially very dry one. Long term weather forecasters are advising farmers to make the most of the spring growth and to prepare as much feed as possible now for what may be a challenging dry spell come February, March and April. I’ve been pleased to hear from local farmers that they are already making plans to ensure they won’t be caught out.

The last few weeks have featured two big announcements namely agreement on the Trans Pacific Partnership and the announcement that a vast new ocean sanctuary is to be created in the Kermadec region.

New Zealand has one of the largest marine economic zones in the world. The Kermadec region is situated 1,000 kilometres northeast of New Zealand. The new ocean sanctuary will encompass a massive 620,000 square kilometres, about twice the size of New Zealand’s land mass. It’s one of the most pristine and unique places in the world and is home to many fish and marine species not found anywhere else. It will be one of the largest and most significant fully protected areas on earth. The sanctuary will be a no-take zone – all fishing and mining will be prohibited. I’m confident that in years to come the decision to create it will be remembered as one of the most significant environmental initiatives ever made. I chair Parliament’s Local Government and Environment select committee and in that capacity I’m very much looking forward to being actively involved in the legislative process that will be required to establish the sanctuary.

The Trans Pacific Partnership provides terrific new opportunities for our primary producers, manufacturers and exporters. As a small trading nation the agreement gives us something we’ve been working towards for more than 40 years, a trade agreement with the world’s number one and number three trading economies, the USA and Japan. But added in are excellent new arrangements with the other nine TPP partners as well.

This represents roughly 40% of global GDP and one third of world trade. This is big news in our region. It means huge opportunities have been opened up for our primary producers and manufacturers.  Overall the TPP will eliminate tariffs on 93% of New Zealand exports to our TPP partners making it much easier to sell our products into those markets.

All in all it is a modern global trade agreement. There are other gains as well. It explicitly requires countries like Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam to ban child labour. All partner countries will be forced to crack down on human trafficking or they will be not able to take advantage of other parts of the agreement.