Public March against Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)

NZ-WIDE RALLIES 8 NOV #TPPANOWAY

On 8 November 2014 Kiwis will kickstart the global day of action against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). The TPPA poses an enormous threat to NZ’s ability to regulate for itself, and gives foreign investors and multinationals new rights to control our laws. This could mean losing the ability to regulate our workplaces, our environment, our health and education systems and much more.

PUBLIC PROTEST MARCH AND RALLY, DUNEDIN
Saturday 8 Nov — meet 1:00 PM at the Dental School, 310 Great King Street, for a march along George Street and then rally in the Octagon.

Speakers include Metiria Turei (Green Party), Aaron Hawkins (Councillor) and Bob Lloyd (University of Otago).

TPPANOWAY cartoon

The TPPA is being called a trade deal, but really it’s a corporate power-play designed to control and curtail everything from environmental protection and affordable medicines right through to internet freedom.

It’s complex and has been negotiated in secret but essentially, the TPPA is an international ‘trade agreement’ that amongst other things could hand foreign corporations the power to overturn NZ laws if their profits are threatened.

It’s a threat to our democracy and to our environment.

Here’s an example of what it could look like in practice; in the future if a more progressive government wanted to strengthen laws to protect our coastlines from oil drilling or our national parks from mining, then foreign companies like Statoil or Shell could potentially sue New Zealand for the loss of profit!

█ For more information on the TPPA head to http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

Disclaimer: This notice does not constitute or imply an endorsement or recommendation of any kind by Elizabeth Kerr and the parties to What if? Dunedin.

121 Comments

Filed under Business, Democracy, Economics, Events, New Zealand, People, Politics

121 responses to “Public March against Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)

  1. Now I know who is against it, I am for TPPA!

    • Elizabeth

      raymac97, to be on the safe side a disclaimer… that said, lots of people from all walks of life are against TPPA. Secret trade negotiations? What we don’t know scares !! But yes, see the Greenie thing again.

  2. Peter

    Any decent country would want as much as possible to control its own destiny. This transnational agreement takes this away.
    Where America goes, for example, is not a choice but an obligation. Why would we want to be tied into this crumbling empire desperate to maintain its foothold over world affairs?

    • USA will not have much hold over world affairs if its enemies have anything to do with it. After the USA has been weakened, guess who goes down with them, no matter who they are or how we trade with other nations?

      • Peter

        Ray. Superpowers historically rise and fall. America’s destiny is no different. All the reason to make our own path more secure without the baggage of being part of US involvement in wars which are none of their business. America seems to have this view of its place in the world as being a World Policeman. Trouble is cops get shot. Especially when they are gun toting ones.
        We should leave those countries in the Middle East well alone in their madness.

        • Elizabeth

          Humanitarian efforts are something New Zealanders should always be part of as world citizens.

        • Calvin and Peter what will defend us when the superpower breaks or the “policeman” is shot? The analogy fails anyway as when one or two or a whole team of policemen get shot that’s when big powers are best to be your friends because they can replace their casualties. We can’t.

  3. Peter; I think you are right. There is nothing whatsoever for New Zealand by effectively becoming a vassal to the USA and its Corporate moguls by signing the TPPA. Despite our Trade Minister Groser’s enthusiasm for the TPPA, there is some truth in the saying it is very dangerous for a mouse to lie down with an elephant. If he believes that by joining this arrangement that NZ will gain greater access to the partners’ markets for our dairy, meat and other agriculture products then he is dreaming. You only have to look at history and the USA tariff structures against NZ which are still in place and no way will it give way in the TPP negotiations. Then there is the long standing constant battle trying to get agricultural products of almost any sort into Japan except for horrendous tariffs and quotas. Can we ever forget the European Commission’s ‘Butter Mountain’ built on hopelessly uneconomic farming systems reliant totally on huge public subsidies and tariff barriers. All this against NZ. We have already been forewarned that the pharmaceutical giants are gunning for the dismantling of the actions of ‘Pharmac’ and its ‘generic drug’ purchases. Once this deal is ‘inked’ watch our medical costs go through the roof. Does that bother the ‘fat cats’? Then there is the insurance industry, all just waiting to recover their outgoings over the Christchurch earthquakes damages. Have we forgotten the ‘genetically modified “corn gate” with Monsanto’ attempting to collar the market for seeds which produce infertile crops? Thus locking the industry into ‘Monsanto’ forever after. That is what NZ would be faced with and no power to stop it. The government is extremely naive in all of this, and have short memories. Unless of course there is some hidden agenda which might just enrich some of the merchant bankers’ mates. Now, can anyone think of anybody in government who might benefit?

  4. Peter

    Ray. I think many people in this part of the world see America as our eternal protector from way back during WW2 and subsequentally as an insurance policy during the Cold War. They also believe that America will naturally come to our aid if we are threatened by….. God knows who.

    The reality is there is no guarantee. Witness the Ukraine…far more strategically important than little old NZ stuck down in the South Pacific. America is reluctant to go in there guns blazing on this one…..amazingly…. and prefers to use other economic and diplomatic means to avoid the annexation of the Ukraine by Russia.

    Asia, which is our nearest ‘threat’, is not an amorphous force. All larger powers there like China, India and Indonesia have their own external and internal battles to contend with. In any case, countries like China don’t need to invade us militarily. They have done so economically…..along with countries like America….and dare I say it, Australia. That is why I am against trade treaties like TPPA.

    • If Al Quaida or ISIS does do something destructive to us, many who hate America will be griping that America did nothing to help us if before it happens we get offside with USA.

      • Peter

        Ray. For a start terrorist attacks are random. They can happen anywhere, anytime.
        Also after WW2 America has lost pretty well every war or conflict it has entered into. ‘Shock and awe’ is no guarantee for our security or theirs.

        • Peter, what do you propose to do about so called random terrorists then? They are not random we know who they are likely to be and how they are created. Did you get educated at the LSE?

        • Ray, we don’t know who they are. Some people are suspected and watched, others are so unexpected that even their families are shocked when they carry out an act of political-motivated violence. Those are the real “randoms”. What a mild-mannered person with religious beliefs feels can alter, at some point attacks on the militants of their religion-politics becomes too much for them to stomach. At that point their belief in peace is overturned by what they see as unwarranted persecution.
          Do you remember how pacifists used to be asked, what if an enemy soldier attacked your mother, raped your sister, would you still refuse to use a gun, would you still insist on being a pacifist and let them get away with it?
          That’s how huge powerful forces (from countries with predominantly other religions) push moderates to become extremists. Some go over to join the fighters. Others attack the powerful countries inside, in their own home country, on behalf of what they see as the persecuted people.
          These “terrorists” can’t be fought like ordinary armies of old-style wars. Each man and woman has made an individual decision to join. Some join up to form organised groups, coordinated by leaders, but they are not like regular armies. Anyone who thinks they can be fought and destroyed by old-style military methods, even though the tools are modern, is a dangerous dreamer. Worse, because while the soldiers in the trenches fired on other soldiers, modern hands-off warfare results in deaths of all-sorts. Women, children, pacifists, ordinary people who find the battle has suddenly landed in their front yard – suddenly mutilated, dead, homeless, hungry. From the point of view of the moderate Moslem chap or chick, that’s liable to turn their priorities. Live and let live isn’t working, the extremists on their own side were going too far, they thought, but now this takes the matter into a whole new dimension … and they can’t close their eyes to it, they have to stand up for the people who are persecuted, make a stand against the persecutors.

          And this is the point where a nice kid from a nice family in NZ feels pushed to take violent action. When? Where? What building, what plane? What shopping mall? In America schoolkids do it because of personal angst, and you think in NZ someone can be stopped from doing it in support of their strongly held beliefs plus anger that NZ is taking part in the persecution of their religious peer group in another country?

          The more intervention from outside, the more anger at being bullied and innocent people killed, the more reasons to become an activist, or terrorist as opponents from outside like to label them. It’s bad enough the killings already being carried out, more deaths by forces from outside won’t make the situation better, can only make it worse by pushing more individuals over the edge to active support of those the big powers are with huge resources are opposing.

  5. I don’t really know whether I agree or not, because it’s being kept totally SECRET… That’s the real deal. Why is the Govt refusing to allow the public access to the detail/info ?

  6. Zedd, put your question alongside this one:
    Why is John Key rarking up passions for and against changing the flag, now?
    Media have plenty of “fast food” – highly coloured and flavoured – to fill their pages with new-flag material, it takes away the need to find more substantial issues to report, discuss, interview people from various disciplines about.

  7. Right Hype, it’s no more than a frivolous diversion. Bound to excite the ‘deep thinkers’ of our society. Right up there with the RWC, Americas Cup, Melbourne Cup and even Key’s lowly cup of tea with Banks. But hey! if it keeps the dogs at bay over poverty, going into Iraq, the TPPA, Pike River, even such mundane things as ‘student debt’ stymieing the new generation of so called wealth creators, at least till John Key is ready to jump ship and relocate to Hawaii then it can’t be bad. Can It?

  8. Whenever a high-excitement issue gets pushed by government, council, con-artist the rule has to be the same as with stage magicians – what is the other hand doing? The one that’s not waving and pointing in a different direction?

  9. Sally, what poverty indeed. Try bring up a family of three, put a roof over their heads, feed, clothe and educate them on a basic wage of $18.50 per hr. Nothing green about that, just hard slog.

    • Sally

      Interesting that you define poverty as $18.50 an hour. That is no excuse to send kids to school on an empty stomach. Maybe a touch of red showing through the pale green.

      • Sally, I don’t define poverty at $18.50 an hour. I merely pose the situation. Neither pale green nor slightly red, just neutral. I guess I detect in your ‘aura’ more than a hint of blue. At least in the old days blue served to make the washing whiter, or is that before your time?

        • Sally

          Yes Calvin I can recall those little bags of blue that were added to the washing. Blue boys they were called, To make the washing whiter. Today the Blue boys are in the political wash, and when added to the elections, not only do they make the elections sparkling blue. They have the capability of removing both the reds and greens from the political wash.
          Now to get back to your original argument to bring up a family of three on $18.50 hr. Well that is a bit hollow, because if you add all the government handouts that are thrown at a family of three on your mythical $18.50 hr, it equates to approximately $24.03 hr, and no one forced them to have three children if they couldn’t provide for them. That’s alright nanny state will look after them.

        • Sally you are spot on. They will get superannuation too even though they have contributed little to it.

        • Sally, fair enough. I don’t advocate a ‘nanny state’ where the taxpayer covers the bottom dwellers either. Nor do I support the outlandish salaries dished out of the same funding pot. When you look at some of the inequities around us you can’t help but come to the conclusion that there has to be a fairer way. In our own town we see the Vice-chancellor of the university drawing a salary of $560,000pa ($10,769pw) plus free living in the University Lodge, and presumably a vehicle. Then there are the lesser folk in the institution on six figures churning out debt ridden youngsters by the train load. On the local government we see heaps of six figures being paid, all out of the public purse. Corporate greed where for example the CEOs of the energy supply companies, which run absolute monopolies (who can exist without electricity) being paid salary plus incentives amounting to $millions. Then we talk about the mythical $18.50per hr living wage. Please, no-one tell me we live in a fair society. When the decisions are made by the 5 per cent and the 95 per cent just get the picture it can only end in tears.

  10. And $18.50 is the “Living” wage. What’s the real minimum wage then? The slow-death wage?
    Perhaps it’s the “bad start leading to poor lifelong health and early death” wage.
    Handy hint, to all children – take care not to be born into a family on the minimum wage.

  11. Peter

    Ray. If terrorist acts are not random and we knew who the terrorists were we would be better at preventing their carnage. The better way is to prevent the conditions where terrorists germinate and grow. Economic development….not the trickle down variety.

  12. Elizabeth

    We’ve heard plenty in the news lately about the large wealth of the IS due to oil. Culturally, violence and terror aren’t merely the preserve of the destitute and starving. They broadly underly the human condition. The short supply is most often deep-seated tolerance, humanitarianism and compassion.

  13. Simon

    I see the latest council representation review team appears to have been selected with a strong flavour for race.

  14. Peter

    Ray and Sally. Basically accusing the less well off as bludgers who should be grateful is as blue as it gets.

    • Sally

      We are now being accused of calling the less well off bludgers. Now that’s an attack from the far left, so far left that the red has jumped of the shade scale.
      Well brothers if you can’t win with good debate, then throw in the abuse card. Anything to get them away from the truth.

      • Could not have said it any better than Sally.

      • Peter

        Sally. The old nanny state cliche says it all. People who are lazy, have no initiative or desire to lift themselves out of their situation, relying on ‘the nanny state’ to help them.
        Of course those who are well off pleading for tax breaks and help because of the high NZ dollar etc are exonerated.

  15. Sally, not to put too finer point on it, your last post seems to me to be getting into the ‘bully mode’. Why, I’m not sure, as to date the debate seemed to be quite reasonable and moderate. It was you, after all, who introduced the colour angle implying political bias when, certainly as far as I am concerned, the poverty question is real, and a social time bomb. I don’t give a toss about political parties. As far as I am concerned they are all in denial about the real problems. raymac97’s “could not have said it any better than that” speaks for itself really.

  16. Elizabeth

    ### dunedintv.co.nz November 10, 2014 – 7:10pm
    Dunedin residents take to the streets to protest
    Hundreds of Dunedin residents have taken to the streets to protest a multi-national trade agreement. Locals marched through the central city at the weekend to air their concerns about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. It’s something that protest organisers, and participants, hope to see New Zealand pull out of completely.
    Video

    ****

    ### dunedintv.co.nz November 7, 2014 – 6:58pm
    Nightly interview: Jen Olsen
    People around the country are gearing up to protest the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Tomorrow’s nationwide day of action against the agreement includes Dunedin, and event organiser Jen Olsen joins us to explain its significance.
    Video

  17. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 3 Mar 2015
    NZ just a ‘minnow’ in controversial TPP deal
    By Eileen Goodwin
    The Trans-Pacific Partnership will increase the power of global corporations, and be a bit like the SkyCity convention centre deal on ”super steroids”, Prof Jane Kelsey told an audience in Dunedin yesterday. New Zealand was a ”minnow” in the controversial deal, which was more about extending corporate power than traditional trade concerns such as tariffs. […] Unlike in other countries, the treaty would not go to the New Zealand Parliament for ratification, but would be at the discretion of the National-led Government’s Cabinet.
    Read more

    Protest rally this Saturday in Dunedin, starting from dental school at 1pm.

    TPP Agreement (via ODT)
    • Involves 12 countries comprising 10% of world population, 30% of world GDP.
    • Critics argue against extension of corporate power over governments.
    • Negotiations for five years, now in final stage.
    • Negotiating documents will not be released until four years after agreement reached; some have been leaked throughout.

  18. Elizabeth

    ODT Online Sat, 7 Mar 2015
    Protest march over Trans-Pacific Partnership
    By Vaughan Elder
    Cool weather and the threat of rain did not stop more than 1500 people from marching on Dunedin’s Octagon today as part of nationwide protest action against the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). […] Like other critics of the trade agreement – planned for 12 countries including the United States, Japan, Singapore, Australia and NZ – the protesters slammed the deal as an attack on democracy and a ”corporate power grab”.
    Read more

    • Elizabeth

      Updated story:

      ### ODT Online Mon, 9 Mar 2015
      March against ‘dirty deal’ done in secrecy
      By Vaughan Elder
      […] The protest, part of a national day of action across 23 centres, drew MPs, city councillors and health professionals to join forces in Dunedin to oppose the agreement. […] the protesters slammed the deal as an attack on democracy and a ”corporate power grab”. […] Supporters of the TPPA, including New Zealand’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said the deal would deepen economic ties and open up trade, boost investment flows, and promote closer economic and regulatory co operation.
      Read more

  19. Elizabeth

    ### dunedintv.co.nz March 9, 2015 – 5:44pm
    Protesters call on the government to abandon the TPPA
    Dunedin political leaders and community heavyweights are behind calls for the government to abandon the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. Local members of parliament and councillors were among the 1500 people who marched in protest against the deal. The rally was one of more than two dozen simultaneous protests nationwide, all held for one common cause.
    Video

  20. Elizabeth

    [extract]
    ODT 21.3.15 Passing Notes by Civis (page 35)

    ODT 21.3.15 Passing Notes by Civis p35 (2)

  21. Elizabeth

    LATEST

    New Zealand will not back deal that does not significantly open dairy markets, with an eye to United States, Japan and Canada, as well as Mexico.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 1 Aug 2015
    TPP deal looks unlikely
    Source: Reuters
    Talks on a Pacific Rim free-trade pact are unlikely to end in a final deal, sources involved in the talks say, with a dispute between Japan and the United States over autos, New Zealand digging in over trade in dairy products and no agreement on monopoly periods for next-generation drugs.
    Trade ministers from the 12 nations negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which would stretch from Japan to Chile and cover 40 percent of the world economy, delayed until 4pm (local time) a news conference originally scheduled for 1:30pm on the Hawaiian island of Maui.
    Read more

    ****

    Classic from Steve Braunias:

    The secret diary of … Tim Groser in Hawaii
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11490102

    ****

    ODT: Editorial: Trade, but at what cost?
    Trade agreements have again become hot topics as the Trans-Pacific Partnership talks in Hawaii continue grinding along this week. The talks were seen as the end of what has been a long, difficult and extremely secretive process – a process from which voters in the 12 countries participating have been excluded.
    http://www.odt.co.nz/opinion/editorial/351043/trade-what-cost

  22. Calvin Oaten

    Professor Kelsey has been campaigning for years against the ‘neoliberalism’ of ‘Rogernomics’, which since 1984 and earlier has pursued the concept of ‘free markets’. What this has achieved is a massive transfer of wealth from the masses to the less than 5 per cent. The result we see all round us today. A massive debt laden economy based on selling at ever inflated prices our houses to each other. No productivity there or increase in real GDP. The financial manipulators claim access to the ‘holy grail’ none more so than John Key and his inner cabinet. True capitalism relies on the market to discover value, and when central banks try to control the price of money via interest rates manipulation then distortions arise and values are disguised. When the distortions become too great the natural ‘reversion to the mean’ is inevitable. That is what we are all about to witness in the very near future. This time because the distortions are so great the ‘corrections’ will be extremely painful and lengthy. Thousands of unfortunates who have been seduced by the ready and cheap availability of finance have bid up their house purchases to astronomical mortgage levels. When the break comes their properties will ‘revert to the mean’ and they will be bankrupt, as indeed will the lender banks. Jobs will disappear and businesses will be unable to finance their operations. Here in Dunedin we will see the DCC flounder under its welter of debt. Meantime our stupid governing ‘cliche’ will try to push the TPPA to completion. At least it would put the new flag’s $27million off the table. Once we have traded away New Zealand’s sovereignty who needs a flag and what would you fight for? Let the All Blacks do it, they are well enough paid.

  23. Peter

    What is the difference between selling your country’s sovereignty/interests, to larger nations and corporates, and the good old fashion charge of treason against individuals who sell out their country to foreign interests?

  24. Elizabeth

    Trade ministers from 12 countries have been working feverishly to further entrench an economic system that Prof Jane Kelsey says puts us at risk of social, political and financial crisis.

    ### ODT Online Mon, 3 Aug 2015
    Magazine
    Scorched earth
    By Bruce Munro
    It is not unusual to be trying to calculate time zone differences when emailing or telephoning Prof Jane Kelsey. For the past five years, the authoritative critic of globalisation has relentlessly tailed trade ministers and negotiators to all corners of the globe as they have crafted the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
    Read more

    █ Jane Kelsey (59) is professor of law at the University of Auckland, social commentator and author of The Fire Economy, in which she calls for urgent action to develop a socially progressive alternative to the neoliberal economic model.

  25. photonz

    We can join the TPPA getting us access to 45% of the global economy, or we could opt out, and thereby commit economic suicide.

    Then we’d still be selling unprocessed logs to Asia, because we can’t add value and jobs by processing wood into products because of high tarrifs,

    And we still won’t get into huge beef markets like Japan because the tarrifs are 38.5-50% – but our competition will.

    • Simon

      photonz To get added value jobs by processing wood rather than sending logs to Asia. First of all you need to be competitive by only paying the same low wages as Asia. Is that what you want for NZ.

      • photonz

        You’re argument is void, because WITH the tariffs, we have to have lower wages than without them.

        By your reasoning, we should bother exporting anything that requires workers.

        Right now because of tariffs, we’re not even adding a little bit of value by processing our vast forestry resource as cut timber.

    • Peter

      photonz. You are never competitive where there are tariffs which lift the barriers higher.
      If these large trading blocs are so marvellous why is there still such strong resistance, in say the EU countries, where people have seen their jobs and their country’s sovereignty disappear?
      Switzerland is a country not bound by economic blocs which threaten its future. Bilateral trade is also another option if you have good, well priced products to sell.
      It stands to reason that the access we have through trading blocs is not set in stone. Especially when there are unpredictable, more powerful forces in other bloc countries which can tighten the screws on any agreements which can be renegotiated.
      As Calvin says, would be seriously expect Japan and the USA to allow a competitive edge on similar products they produce? Why should they listen to a country with only 4.5 million people? The size of some of their cities.

      • photonz

        Peter – yourself and Calvin are completely wrong about Japan never moving on their high beef tariffs. They have ALREADY offered to reduce the 39% tariff to 9%. The negotiation has been, is to get it even lower.

      • photonz

        Oh – and you mentioned Switzerland. They have trade deals with several blocks including the Middle East, Central American states, and of course have had a free trade deal with the European community since 1972, have been a member of the European Free Trade Association since 1960 – not to mention around 30 other free trade deals with dozens of countries around the world, with more being negotiated right now.

        Interesting that they have few protections on trade with anyone, except for food, which is very expensive – 51% more expensive than NZ.

        For a comparison between NZ and Swiss costs, see –

        http://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/compare_countries_result.jsp?country1=New+Zealand&country2=Switzerland.

        • Derek.

          photonz. With these trade deals does Switzerland negotiate them from inside or outside of belonging to a bloc? That makes a difference and in a way answers the question whether we need to be in. Afterall we have a FTA with China already. With another deal on the way with South Korea. With the world in a state of many bi- and multilateral deals it makes you wonder about crossover complications.
          The EU is now such a large convoluted jumble of countries trying to hold an economic union together. To think Turkey was considered for entry!

        • photonz

          Derek, Switzerland was a founding member of the EFTA – European Free Trade Association.

          It has been argued that we have a much bigger chance of getting the likes of Canada to drop diary tariffs, and Japan to drop beef tariffs, if it means them entering a large free trade pact.

          And very little chance of them dropping them if a small country like us negotiated bilateral agreements.

  26. Calvin Oaten

    photonz; No-one will get into the Japanese beef markets without facing soul destroying tariffs. No-one will get unfettered access to the USA dairy markets without restrictions. No-one will get uncontrolled access to buying land in China. This whole TTPA is obviously being set by the ‘Big Boys’, both governments and business. Why else would there be such secrecy and lack of disclosure, even to sovereign nations’ parliaments? Why indeed is John Key and Tim Groser so intent on denying our elected representatives the right to debate and decide what’s best in the interests of the citizens? Isn’t that democracy at work? If anyone thinks that the interests of the people come first with these people over the personal gains to be had by ‘brown nosing’ the money bags then they are naive. We don’t have to sell unprocessed logs to Asia except that is the only form in which they can be. If you think the TPPA would change that then you must believe in Santa Claus. Me, I gave up on believing there is such a thing as an honest politician eons ago.

  27. photonz

    Where to start?

    Not even US congress has had a chance to see the details of the TPPA – it’s quite normal for trade negotiation to be negotiated this way.

    The really funny thing is people have gone hysterical about this, but haven’t uttered the smallest whisper of protest about EXACTLY the same thing with the recently negotiated Korea FTA deal. (or the China FTA).

    Having a domestic debate about what we want and what our bottom line is, is just as stupid as negotiating to buy a $500,000 house, and letting the seller know you’d really like it for $400,000, but if pressed you’d go as high as $600,000.

    Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has said that tariffs on NZ processed wood exports to many Asian countries work as effectively as an outright ban.

    And if you don’t believe tariff reductions aren’t beneficial, how do you explain our exports to China taking a decade to grow $1b during the boom of the 2000s, but $8.5b in just seven recession years since the FTA – that’s 80 years of growth at the pre-China FTA rate.

    And of $10.5b annual exports to China, nearly $8b are products OTHER than dairy.

    • Calvin Oaten

      photonz, you ask, “how do you explain our exports to China taking a decade to grow $1b during the boom of the 2000s, but $8.5b in just seven recession years since the FTA, that’s 80 years of growth at the pre-China FTA rate?” The answer is simple, China benefited from the huge ‘credit explosion’ since 2000 and became immensely rich. The increase in standards of the population took many past the ‘beans and noodles’ level to seek more protein and variety. Also an unprecedented opportunity to grow infrastructure. But that has all plateaued now and you just need to look at the Australian ‘iron ore’ story to see that. The fact is the ‘credit boom’ has done its job and taken forward development in advance to the point where it has hit a wall. Demand has slowed, just look at the energy position. Oil consumption has slackened as the supply and prices indicate. photonz, if you think that when the push comes to shove that the “biggies” will be nice to the “littlies” and be kind in negotiations on things like ‘fair trade and tariffs’ and not heavy the deals then you are naive. Just you watch the land grabs that will/are taking place in desirable locations like NZ. When the Chinese have secured our farms and processing facilities then we might just be lucky if we can get a job in them, assuming we are happy to work for Chinese rates. Sovereignty will be a term only found in the history books.
      photonz, it’s the money stupid, follow that and watch as it implodes all around you, see the property market bankrupt many, ask yourself, ‘is not the whole politic not a grand Ponzi scheme?’ Better still, ask Mr Key if he really gives a toss for the citizens of New Zealand.

      • photonz

        Calvin – where your explanation fails, is in the fact that when China was growing the fastest (mid 2000s pre global financial crisis boom, and pre FTA), our growth in exports was low.

        Our exports to China increased 1000% faster after the FTA was signed, even in the middle of the GFC when China’s total imports were stagnant or went backwards.

  28. Rob Hamlin

    I think, photonz, if you look a the graphs we will be able to sell our agro based products pretty easily eventually. That’s because the World’s population is outgrowing its resources, and everywhere the acid is on to lock up areas that are not well developed economically before their inhabitants realize that they actually hold the whip hand.

    The Big Boys are moving to secure guaranteed access to these resources with or without the consent of the populations who also occupy those areas – and preferably at the prices that they feel like paying too, both now and into the future. The USA has locked Canada and its resources in via the NAFTA (Ask a Canadian how well that free trade agreement has worked for them). The EU is looking at other areas that offer the means. Ukraine. Why is that important to Europe, the USA and the Russians? because it sits on only one of two chernozen soil basins in the World, that’s why. The American mid-west – the current breadbowl of the World is the other.

    Siberia remains protected by one of the largest and grumpiest nuclear arsenals in the World so China, the third big player, is looking elsewhere – South America, Africa, towards which it is buying up large and establishing a set of bases (The String of Pearls) to protect its access to it. It is also building a fleet of aircraft carriers to ‘protect its investments in the far oceans’. We won’t talk about their new fortified islands in the South China Sea. These investments are not restricted to Africa – Oceania is also a prime target. It is also located in ‘the far oceans’ – hmmmm! Assets that guarantee access to raw materials are being bought up across Oceania at a head spinning rate – and not just by the Chinese.

    Of course the natives (that’s us) may eventually cotton on that this is actually a bad thing for them. They may elect governments that try to stop these assets being sold or the resources that they generate being exported on the owners’ terms. That’s where these trade agreements come in mighty handy to these big players if they can get them signed in time. They can be used as a legal method of stopping this process, or if these get legal blocks overridden by the desperate inhabitants of the countries concerned a causus belli then exists – and the ‘investment protecting’ fleets of aircraft carriers can be ‘legally’ and self righteously despatched to defend the ‘legitmate commercial rights’ of their investing/ruling classes.

    That’s how the British Empire and others like it was built – on treaties that the natives did not understand, and the subsequent militarily and economically one-sided enforcement of them. The Treaty of Waitangi was just one of many. Only one country in this part of the World avoided invasion by nineteenth-century industrial powers in the interests of protecting legitimate commercial/treaty rights of access to raw materials. That country was Thailand, and it avoided it by permanently hiring one of the top treaty lawyers of the day (a Belgian) and leaving all negotiations that could not be avoided altogether up to him. As a result they avoided the yoke – just.

    So that’s what we are being set up for, photonz. We export land and resources and are rewarded by the twenty-first century equivalent of Brummagen rubbish (iPhones). Could we end up starving in this land of plenty? Oh yes. If we sell the means and resources and then sign the treaties. It’s worth remembering that as nearly 40% of its indigenous population starved to death in the Potato Famine, Ireland was a major export participant in the ‘free market’ for food. The Anglos who owned the land that produced all this grain that was shipped down to Dublin, Cork and Limerick in convoys under armed guard and past the dying did very nicely out of it – they probably went to church every Sunday too.

    It’s also worth remembering that only a few hundred miles from all the hunger, death and misery that exists within the Horn of Africa, verdant farms produce nutritionally worthless salad crops which are processed and packed ‘in situ’ into nice transparent plastic boxes with labels, and air freighted every day to the ready-made salad displays of the supermarkets of northern Europe. Clearly, nobody in power in Europe gives a shit about this obscene situation, so why should their attitude be any different if it was us, photonz? Please don’t say because most of us happen to be white – the times they are a changing – cultural/national stupidity and its consequences are now colour blind.

  29. photonz

    For the last 20 years the increase in world food production has been faster than world population growth.

    And new technology is allowing us to increase that growth even more.

    And despite population growth, inflation adjusted food prices here cost no more than they did 30 years ago.

    But you’re right about distribution. I’ve been to Ethiopia and seen the food warehouses distributing aid in the dusty drought-prone lowlands, while not a few hundred miles away, but just a few miles away (and several thousand feet higher in altitude), the Ethiopian Highlands are lush and green.

    Within a distance as short as Dunedin to Waikouaiti you can have areas that see no rainfall at all in a year, to highlands that get over twice Dunedin’s rainfall.

    But I don’t see an overall major world food shortage. Some estimates say we currently produce 50% more food than we need. I recently viewed enormous 20 hectare glasshouses near Auckland which can produce tomatoes competitively with cheap imports.

    And the total tomato production for the whole country covers just 600 ha – that’s about 95% smaller than one single sheep station I used to stay on.

    So if we need to, we can increase food production by 1000-2000% per hectare just by changing from growing grass and feeding it to animals, and grow crops instead.

    • Sweet 100

      photonz. Produce your evidence to back up your statement. “I recently viewed enormous 20 hectare glasshouses near Auckland which can produce tomatoes competitively with cheap imports.”

  30. Rob Hamlin

    Let me be quite clear, the World’s food reserves in hand have been drifting down for decades. The USA now has no strategic food reserve at all. I doubt if many OECD countries do. China does – a big one, and it’s getting bigger, but it would still not bridge a single failed annual food production cycle. And that’s the problem photonz, growing stuff takes time, and it cannot be expedited. That’s why food rationing in the UK after WWII lasted until 1956. To put it bluntly, food has an extremely short lead time for demand (if you don’t eat from now on you will be very hungry by the time you go to bed tonight) and an extremely long lead time for supply (supplying you could take years or even decades).

    The World’s population is dependent upon three crops: wheat, maize and rice, in that order. So fine are our margins of safety now that if just one of these crops fails, just once, we will be facing famine. The chances of such a failure are growing. I return to the example of Ireland. The Irish Potato Famine occurred because the population was forced to grow potatoes to survive. There was only one criteria for potato seed selection – cropping volume. Rapidly, a situation developed where the entire Irish potato crop consisted of one monoclonal variety, the Irish Lumpy. A variety that turned out to be critically vulnerable to a single pathogen, the fungus phytophthora infestans. The result of that bug’s arrival was a complete and repeated crop failure – they had no choice but to replant lumpies even after failures – they had no other seed stock on hand.

    Yes photonz, you can increase intensity, but as an ex commercial farm manager and agricultural research scientist let me assure you that the price of increased output is always increased instability and decreased resilience. If we get these three critical crops to the point where they are a single global monoclonal (and patented) GM monocultural crop, then, when some gribbly dials the right number, we will be in immediate and ongoing trouble – and this WILL happen eventually. The issue is likely to be aggravated by the degree and speed to which people and stuff (plus gribbly) can now move around the planet. If the companies who produce these GM crops continue to put their competitors and their alternative seeds out of business by copyright suits, the stocks of alternative seed stock may have fallen so low that it might take decades to multiply them up to the point of recovery. That, by the way, is the sole reason why I oppose commercial GM seed.

    At that point there will be famine. Billions of people, somewhere, may have to die. Now in Beijing, Washington and Berlin they will face a decision – if by that time we have sold the assets, signed the treaty and we have continued with our absurd labrador puppy like defence assumptions that nobody is going to attack us and/or violate our ‘rights’. The decision under those particular circumstances will be: Do they die, or do we? Which way do you think that decision will go photonz? We will not have any say in those particular deliberations. But would you decide any differently if some other nation had been collectively stupid enough to give you that option?

  31. photonz

    When you look at the worst possible doomsday scenario for every aspect of every situation, you get an imaginative sci-fi movie script like you’ve outlined above.

    However when I drive in the countryside I see food production being more reliable than any time in human history. I see irrigation that will help in dry years. I see whole orchards that are netted to keep birds away. I see wind machines that will automatically counter frosts when the temperature drops. I see soil testing so farmers have the correct levels of nutrients instead of guessing.

    I see supply lines that are faster and more reliable than ever before. I see pesticides that work better than ever before. I see produce that can be bought out of season because we have advanced so far in cool storage and preserving products.

    In other words, even just a few decades ago we had very little control over our food supply compared to today. And we’ll have even more control in the future.

    As for GM crops – I spent many years in Africa. And millions are dying in Africa now, not because they have GM crops, but because they don’t have them.

  32. Rob Hamlin

    photonz, I have bought enough grade 2 hort. land to feed my family plus a bit. You, and those that depend upon your judgement can rely on these wonderful things that you see if you like. As I say, my primary problem with GM is its tendency, due to the technology and the legal approach of its owners, towards a dangerous level of monoclonality.

    I suspect that Africa is already riddled with GM. There’s not much legislation against it in that area as far as I am aware. I doubt if the locals will ever get to eat much of it however. One of the good things about Africa, if you are considering using it as a larder, is the World is already well used to seeing people, starving to death there. Chances are they won’t ask if they never had the food in the first place, or if they did, and someone from elsewhere nicked it.

    As to the ‘doomsday scenario’, the cultural conceit that lies behind this description will be our undoing. If you are allowing a totalitarian regime that controls one of the most powerful nations on earth, that has murdered tens of millions of its own citizens and million of others who have been unwillingly internalised (Tibet), that is in aggressive territorial dispute with many nations that it borders on to, plus many more such as the Phillipines that are hundreds of miles of ocean away, and that is also building weapons systems that are clearly specifically aimed at reaching out even further, into the ‘far oceans’ where your nation is located, to buy up your land, and change the rules to suit themselves – well it does seem unwise – doesn’t it?

    • Diane Yeldon

      Good. Pleased to see someone saying something nasty about China (or at least those in political control of China who warrant it). I am quite sure they see New Zealand as a great food source for their population. (Theirs, not ours.) I have long thought that the only thing that will save New Zealand from suffering the fate of Tibet is if China self-destructs first from internal tensions and problems. Luckily for us, there is quite a good chance of that.

      • I have a suggestion. Since the USA is no longer fighting for democracy we should be around for the Huge Stauch between Islamic forces and Chinese communist ones. If China does not stand up against them we are all sauced.

        • Diane Yeldon

          Raymac97: That lot will have to take a ticket and wait. I think the next main event on the world stage is going to be Russia taking on ANZUS which means the US. Great tweet going around the Internet at the moment, with Putin saying to Obama, “Bitch, get me a sandwhich.”
          The bone of contention is supposed to be Syria. But it could be Russia wanting to market its oil. Or it could just be that Obama and Putin hate each other’s guts. Or it might be that the banksters want to use war to obliterate the financial mess in Europe. Or the Illuminati want to kill off surplus population, especially refugees. Whatever it is, I’m glad I don’t live in Europe.

        • Diane, some of what you say may be true but I was writing about distant future. Remember that Chinese plan hundreds of years in advance unlike us westerners. Secondly, the “Illuminati” is a myth and a really old fashoined one at that. I do not think that any secret power separate from elected government is “controlling it all”. People are just easily conned by political party machines that’s all. If Illuminati were so cunning and powerful they would have been far more successful than is the present case. I heard about them more than 35 years ago.

  33. photonz

    While there is no doubt a demand for good quality horticultural land, and I’m sure there always will be, interesting to note that the majority of tomatoes now grown in NZ are NOT grown in soil.

    As we gain more knowledge of what each crop needs, we will control nutrients more, and we will be able to grow more crops in land that was previously not suitable.

    There are huge health benefits for Africa of GM crops, not to mention the ultimate health benefit – avoiding dying of starvation. As technology progresses, more and more companies will gain the ability to modify crops, so I don’t see a single company controlling seed production long term.

    As for the “yellow peril” – China has lifted about a third of a billion people out of poverty, which is a good thing. I’m sure they’ll try to get every economic benefit they can, just like the US has done over the last fifty years.

    Data this week shows that 86% of major foreign investment in NZ is by countries other then China, but for some reason we don’t seem to be worried about any of them.

    I just don’t buy the doomsday attitude that everything (GM crops, China, TPP etc) will all be as disastrous as it can possibly be.

  34. Rob Hamlin

    Regrettably what we would consider to be a ‘doomsday scenario’ is everyday reality for the majority of this planet’s inhabitants, Sadly, they cannot choose whether or not to ‘buy’ it – it comes as part of the services of their states. In fact for the inhabitants of places like Syria our doomsday scenario might be a welcome relief – A place to go on vacation.

  35. photonz

    Life expectancy is increasing across most of the world. Even in Africa where it dropped because of Aids, it’s now increasing significantly.

    And despite Syria, annual deaths from war across the globe is lower than just about any time in the last hundred years.

    And living standards across the world continue to get better and better – see

    So to come up with a scenario where everything is so bleak and we have the most negative outcomes possible, you pretty much have to disconnect with what’s happening in the real world, cherry pick the worst possible things, and ignore anything that’s not negative.

  36. Elizabeth

    Note Jane Kelsey’s comments towards the end of the article.

    ### ODT Online Thu, 5 Nov 2015
    Full TPP text released
    New Zealand has released the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on behalf of the twelve member countries in its capacity as Depositary of the agreement. Trade Minister Tim Groser welcomed the release. “New Zealand supported the release of the text as soon as the technical work to finalise the agreement was completed,” he said. “I am pleased that this has happened and that the public will be able to thoroughly review the full text of the TPP well before it will be signed by governments.” NZME
    Read more

    █ The full text can be found at http://www.tpp.mfat.govt.nz/text

  37. Calvin Oaten

    One of the joys about the TPP which will please photonz is the fact that we ‘plebs’ won’t know the full ramifications until six years from its birth. That is the disgusting truth of this Key government that it would take part in this great fraud. Whether the TPP turns out to be good for NZ or not, this will go down as proof positive that our government is corrupt. Too late! she cried.

  38. photonz

    There was a lemming-like hysteria over the TPP (and the China FTA before it) – the big evil monster that was going to bring doomsday.

    Now many protesters find it far too difficult to believe they could have been so wrong (again). So many just carry on barking at a monster that’s not actually there.

    Six years on from the China FTA, even the most optimistic govt projections were irrelevant, because actual REAL trade figures showed an 800% increase in growth – hundreds of percent higher than even the most optimistic predictions.

    Yet the same protesters told us the China FTA was going to bring disaster to NZ.

  39. Calvin Oaten

    photonz, there’s a big difference between selling to China our produce and selling to China our means of producing that produce. It’s not lemming like hysteria, it’s simply looking at the longer picture. China will always in the end do what’s best for China and we forget that at our peril. “REAL trade figures showed a 800% increase in growth-hundreds of percent higher than even the most optimistic predictions.” What do you suppose caused that, photonz, if not China’s being happy to purchase? If and when they are no longer quite so happy, do you think it will still happen? I love your super optipmism.

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “China will always in the end do what’s best for China and we forget that at our peril.”
      True, Calvin. That’s their politicians’ and negotiators’ job.
      Trouble is NZ’s politicians and negotiators don’t get it about doing what’s best for NZ – long-term as well as short, ie in time for looking good immediately before next election, term.

      Add in the idealists such as the loony-tuners on our council who are determined to kneecap local interests so “brave little Dunedin” can set a good example and send a Message to the rest of the world. And the rest of the world care HOW much? Eh?
      Sorry, I mislaid my ear trumpet, can I borrow yours please?

    • Mike

      As some of you know I do a bit of business in China – I don’t much worry about selling China the means to make their own stuff – they already know – remember that 1/4 of the world’s smart people live in China and the personal upside for them is much greater than it is for us, a whole generation are suddenly becoming middle class, something we take for granted.

      China can already make things far cheaper than we can, labour is cheaper, manufacturing tools are cheaper (taxes are actually higher, but not so much if you export). They can also ship things far cheaper than we can in NZ.

      Opportunities are bright ideas, realising that you can have them here in Dunedin, bring them to reality in China and ship them to the world, and keep the profits in Dunedin.

      That’s my up side.

      I think that China’s also a great potential market – tourism, wine, milk powder (pity that whole clean green thing is starting to look a bit cow-shit stained) – but we should be seeing if we can sell staples like duck and pork.

      BTW: remember that milk will never be a real giant product for sales to Asia (except for baby formula) – remember that genetic adult lactose intolerance affects ~90% of people of east Asian descent …..

      • Elizabeth

        Mike, ~90% ? – hmm, quick google, light reference (my italics)

        “Lactose intolerance in infancy resulting from congenital lactase deficiency is a rare disorder. Its incidence is unknown. This condition is most common in Finland, where it affects an estimated 1 in 60,000 newborns.
        Approximately 65 percent of the human population has a reduced ability to digest lactose after infancy. Lactose intolerance in adulthood is most prevalent in people of East Asian descent, affecting more than 90 percent of adults in some of these communities. Lactose intolerance is also very common in people of West African, Arab, Jewish, Greek, and Italian descent.
        The prevalence of lactose intolerance is lowest in populations with a long history of dependence on unfermented milk products as an important food source. For example, only about 5 percent of people of Northern European descent are lactose intolerant.”
        [Genetics Home Reference – A service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine] http://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition/lactose-intolerance

        • photonz

          And in regards to selling milk powder for infant formula, don’t forget that next year the Chinese birth rate has the potential to go up by 100% overnight when they redact their one child policy.

    • photonz

      Calvin says “China will always in the end do what’s best for China ”

      You mean it will look after its own best interests?

      Just as every other country on the planet does? (without exception)

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Yes exception. New Zealand. Rushed into Kyoto, Auntie Helen’s NZ smugly setting a good example. Not unlike Our Wee Jinty these years later, leading her chums to abjure investment in anything connected with fossil fuels.
        NZ like the littlest kid desperately wanting to be allowed into the big kids’ tree hut, prepared to do anything, sign anything, to be allowed to climb the rope ladder, too eager and too immature to worry precisely what the Oath of Treehouse Allegiance includes. Or excludes.

  40. Gurglars

    Mike is right, one only has to look at the number of barbecue restaurants in Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing and 100’s of other cities larger than those of New Zealand.

    The staple food is Char Sui, sweet roast pork, Gai, Chicken and xa xiu siu all barbecued. Lamb is a very small part of their diet.

    So chickens, ducks and high density pig farms instead of dairy cows is our answer for farming to our major potential market.

    And for all those who watch the intensive farming and dislike the concept, then the alternative is a subsistence economy just like England in the 19th century.

    The Green/Labour coalition will want to stop dairy farming, pig farming, duck farming and fish faming. In other words they want you to ride a bicycle, eat stinging nettles and live like the Mayor of Casterbridge.

    The reality is that if we follow that vision most will live not like the mayor but like peasants and probably end up like Ireland with a potato or other type of vege famine.

    Our problems are mainly the possibility of dangerous diseases like foot and mouth, GE contamination of our feed crops and eco terrorism.

    • Mike

      it’s more than that, pork IS meat – the Mandarin word for meat is usually the same as for pork – check out your menu next time you eat chinese – 肉 pork/meat – 牛肉 beef (cow meat) 羊肉 lamb (sheep meat) 鸡肉 chicken …. there is a pig-meat combination but it’s seldom used.

      Pork is very much a staple in China, more so than beef or lamb.

  41. Elizabeth

    Fairly strong editorial stance today!

    Opponents [mainly university academics and left wing organisations] are not the ones employing the very people who rely on exporters finding an extra order or two to continue paying wages and tax.

    [TTP] offers encouragement to small and medium enterprises which make up about 95% of New Zealand’s economy.

    ### ODT Online Mon, 9 Nov 2015
    Editorial: TPP: opportunities, not barriers
    OPINION Details of the landmark Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal between 12 countries, including New Zealand, have been made public – reigniting the debate about the benefits or not of signing up to such undertaking. Clearly, the deal is nowhere near completed and opponents will start to gather around the globe to stop the TPP in its infancy. Scrutiny from all nations will start in earnest.
    Read more

    • Mike

      The thing is that it doesn’t really help small business – what it really does do is give large multinational corporations a leg up over small companies by allowing them to sue nation states – I can’t afford to do that, nor probably can any business in Dunedin – but Exxon can, and Philip Morris, and McDonald’s, and Pfisser – big American companies – all who actually did have a seat at the table when it was being negotiated, who got to look at the drafts during the negotiation, who got to provide their input to the negotiators.

      No small businesses had that luxury, I wasn’t allowed to look at the drafts, or to lobby the government about the parts that will impact my business before it was signed, and now I have no chance.

      Nor did ordinary people – copyrights were created as a compromise – the public created laws to protect authors, with the understanding that as a trade the materials being put into copyright would eventually go into the public domain – the ‘Disney’ clause that expands copyright to 75 years makes a mockery of that – there’s no quid-pro-quo if copyrighted materials go into the public domain after we die.

      • photonz

        Mike – analysis done for the US government on the TPP says the opposite – that it’s actually more beneficial for smaller companies than large ones.

        That’s because they will be able to get into overseas markets much more easily, whereas previously only large companies had the resources to get through all the red tape.

        • Mike

          Red tape? I honestly don’t see any, but I work in the tech industry, I can imagine people selling food into protected markets may be better off (eventually).

          I sell both services and products – the hard part is finding customers, TPPA doesn’t help me with that – it is likely to expose me to other countries’ IP regimes in ways I wasn’t before.

          I honestly don’t think the US government is a disinterested party here, take their analysis with a grain of salt. So far my reading of the TPPA (it’s quite tough going) reads like a wish list from various big business interests – for example, protecting big US drug companies against smaller ones underselling them doesn’t really seem beneficial to me; protecting Disney by making it impossible to service our cars except through an authorised dealer doesn’t either

          Mostly though I worry that this government is giving away future governments’ ability (the will of the people) to make the laws that we want – I can’t wait for bozo Woodhouse telling us with a straight face that they can’t pass that law because McDonald’s might complain. We are trading democracy for corporate oligarchy.

        • photonz

          I also sell online so can effectively sell my creative work tariff-free already.

          Although I’m all for greater copyright protection from the TPP if it helps me from being ripped off as much as I am now.

          As for patent protection for new drugs – if we don’t have a reasonable protection, what company is going to spend millions on a new cancer drug, if they’re never going to get payback for their R&D before it goes off patent?

          The more protection you give, the more new (better) drugs will be developed for cancer etc.

          So if you let other pharmaceutical companies copy drugs sooner, a small proportion of what’s available now will become cheaper, but you kill off the R&D for many future wonder drugs.

  42. Calvin Oaten

    The ODT is not famous for interpreting financial things otherwise it would be more diligent in its appraisals of the DCC. The TPP is a lawyers nightmare and time will prove that so I’m sure. As all the signatory countries have yet to have their governments ratify the agreement it’s difficult to believe it will survive in its current form, if at all. Politicians, for their survival need to heed the vibrations in their territory and this is where the fun will be. For starters when the USA Senate and House won’t consider it till March, the dawn of the main election season, look for pecuniary interests to come to the fore. That TPP is not a done deal by any means and the ODT might well dwell upon that fact.

  43. Rob Hamlin

    “Countries which uphold the rule of law and uphold strong institutions do not get targeted with investor state dispute settlement provisions.”

    Countries like Germany and Australia to name but two?

  44. Calvin Oaten

    Mike couldn’t have summed it up better. “We are trading democracy (not to mention sovereignty) for corporate oligarchy.” Ask yourself what is the motif? Try “PROFIT”.

    • photonz

      If there were no profits, the government wouldn’t receive a single cent of business tax – not a cent.

      Without company profits, you’d instantly wipe out a large part of our health system, a large part of our education system, and a large portion of social security benefits.

      Without company profits, job numbers decline. The last thing companies do if profits are low or non-existant is hire more workers.

      Profits are what gives the government a large part of its income, give workers pay rises, and create more jobs.

      • Calvin Oaten

        photonz, that is a spurious response. Of course profits are essential, as businesses either profit or die. True, from those profits come taxes to government and wages to workers. Simple 101 stuff really. But you dismiss the idea of extortion which is profit taken, not necessarily by fair competitive trading but by inveigling cronies within power to set up and legislate monopolistic terms and conditions that shift the balance to certain sectors thus profits are ensured and able to be predicted. That is all encapsulated in the guise of a free trade agreement which in itself is a nonsense term as it simply does not exist. Free trade is that which takes place between a willing seller and purchaser under agreed terms and price. Show me a single inter nation situation where that takes place.

        • photonz

          Every time someone complains that companies are making absurd or unfair profits, I ask them to tell me what the company is as it must be a great opportunity from an investor’s point of view.

          So please tell me what these companies are that have an unfair advantage. They might be worth investing in.

          For years I was being told electricity companies were raking in massive profits, yet I was only getting a 5% dividend from Contact Energy, taxed to 3.5%.

          I eventually sold up at just under $9 per share several years ago. Since then there’s been years of whinging about how much money they’re still making, yet Contact’s share price today is just $5.

          The TPP will be a huge benefit to NZ.

          As Helen Clark said, it would be an “unthinkable disaster” for New Zealand if we were left out of it.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Not just ‘profit’, Calvin. Immediate profit. Not taking any kind of long term view. Imports, mostly Chinese, destroyed New Zealand’s local clothing and shoe manufacturing industries and that is just the start. I’d be surprised if we can still make a shovel in this country, let alone a needle.

      • photonz

        Actually Diane, you have the choice of buying shoes manufactured right here in Dunedin. You’re probably going to pay over $200 for a basic shoe, but they’re well made.

        So where are your shoes made?. Do you complain about lack of manufacturing in NZ, but buy cheaper imports like everyone else anyway?

        Ditto with clothing. You have the choice to buy clothes made in Dunedin, if you want to pay a whole lot more than mass produced clothing.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        Darn tootin’ Diane. It’s not profits that’s bad, it’s wearing blinkers so as not to look left or right, and racing towards the fast money.
        Destroy future prospects? Eh? “We don’t do Future, we do Now.”
        Long-term investments in people, in reserving resources for when they’ll give high returns? No, we don’t do Contingency Plans, we don’t do deferred gratification (essentials today, so we can have twice as many nice-to-haves in a few years).
        We’re like the kids who can’t resist eating the lolly, not even with the promise that by fighting temptation for a couple of minutes they get given another one.

      • Diane Yeldon

        Oh, and I make some of my own clothes. But buy jeans because they are ridiculously cheap and yet still well-made. No, I don’t like rubbishy Chinese imports. Or anything rubbishy. It’s just other countries’ exports filling up our bulging landfills.

        • photonz

          Let me get this right – you buy imported shoes, but are blaming imports for shoes killing shoe manufacturing here? (but it’s ok because they are from Italy instead of China?)

          I don’t like rubbishy products regardless of whether they come from overseas or from here. The range of products from China ranges from rubbish to far better than anything you’d get here.

          I did work for two books a while back, One publisher was determined to get his made in NZ. The other decided to get theirs printed in China which ended up being half the cost, half the time, and much better quality. The one who got his printed in NZ ended up in court trying to get some of his money back for a shoddy job.

          I know I’d rather be doing a creative high tech job that I enjoy, than working in a sweatshop factory making clothes or shoes.

        • Diane Yeldon

          I’m quite happy to buy NZ made shoes, photonz. I’d prefer to buy them. Just haven’t found any good ones up till now. But will check out what’s available. Especially if well-made NZ shoes can compete price-wise with Italian ones. Shoes can be virtually handmade and that’s craftsman or craftswoman work. Some people enjoy this kind of work – not mindless production line boredom but making the product right through from the start to the end. Just like so many women like knitting sweaters out of good quality wool. Or sewing shirts out of durable cotton (like I do.)

        • photonz

          The problem is a large part of the population either can’t afford (or don’t want to pay for) expensive hand crafted shoes.

          So if we did still have shoe and clothing factories here, they wouldn’t all be craftsmen and craftswomen enjoying their work.

          The reality is that the vast majority would be factory workers with a bad jobs on low pay.

          I had an auntie who spent her life working in a clothing factory in Dunedin for not much money – it certainly wasn’t “the good old days”.

          If we want to attract new jobs, I think we should set our sights higher than low paid factory jobs.

  45. Rob Hamlin

    I buy Dunedin shoes. They work out cheaper in the end.

  46. Calvin Oaten

    photonz, you say; “So please tell me what these companies are that are making absurd or unfair profits as I might invest in them.” In our little pond try the major banks for starters. All overseas owned siphoning capital out of New Zealand by the truck load. Because they can.

    • photonz

      I’ve had shares in one of the Aussie banks for years – same story – a 5% dividend BEFORE tax (3.5% after tax). and over five years, share price has gone from A$23 up to A$26 – that’s just 2.5% p/a increase.

      In other words, no increase at all if you take inflation into account. So the claims of massive profiteering, and the profits that shareholders actually take, are again two totally different things

      And nobody is forcing people to use the big Aussie banks – there’s certainly Kiwi Banks desperately touting for market share. It’s the same as the shoes – half the people who whinge about the Aussie Banks choose to bank with them.

      Personally, I use my Aussie Bank because the service is so much better – no massive queues like at Kiwibank, foreign exchange accounts, and branches and ATMs throughout Australia and Asia for when I travel.

      And I’m not alone in owning shares in the Aussie Banks. The people of NZ though NZ Super and ACC own quite a chunk, not to mention 2 million New Zealanders in Kiwisaver, the vast majority of whom will have shares in the Aussie banks whether they know it or not.

      • Calvin Oaten

        Photonz, fair enough. So what you demonstrate is that you don’t give a toss for what might or might not be best for NZ as a whole. It’s an “I’m all right Jack, she’ll be right. Live for today and bugger tomorrow or anybody else.” I like your honesty and hope it gives you a sense of fulfillment which you can celebrate with your friends, assuming you have any.

        • photonz

          On the contrary. It’s far better for NZinc to actually do something like buy back a little bit of an Aussie Bank – rather than doing nothing but sitting at my computer and whinging about their shareholders profiteering. That achieves nothing.

          Even better, is that the money spent on those shares, was originally earned from me producing material that is sold to Australia (and other countries).

          Similarly I have investments who are NZ exporters – you know – the one sector that stops NZ going into bankruptcy (and the sector that wholeheartedly wants the TPP)

          Or I could sell all those investments that are all helping NZ, and contribute to the NZ housing crisis by buying a rental property.

  47. Calvin Oaten

    Finally I get it, ‘photonz’ is an analogy meaning “all light shines from me”. Being at the centre must be an enervating and fulfilling experience. Pray tell, which bit of an Aussie Bank would you advise one to buy and how would that benefit NZ as a whole? You buying a rental property will contribute to the NZ housing crisis? In which way, remove it or exaggerate it?

    • photonz

      Calvin – when you keep making assumptions, when you know little about someone, it’s no surprise you continually getting your assumptions wrong.

      Personally I wouldn’t recommend buying into Aussie banks – there’s much better returns elsewhere. I’m only in for diversification, and so I accept a low return, albeit with a relatively low risk.

      It’s blatantly obvious that baby boomers buying up rental properties is not good for the country. All that money that could be in the productive sector, has gone into housing.

      All that money, yet what has changed – we still have exactly the same house we had five years ago. Nothing more has been produced. Nothing has been exported. No jobs have been created.

      The only difference is the house prices have gone up and we are deeper in debt.

      • Calvin Oaten

        photonz – making assumptions when you know little about someone and getting those assumptions wrong is easy to do when the messages emanating from that person are so perplexing. First you say you invest in the Aussie banks as a diversification then you say you wouldn’t recommend doing so. Huh? Some diversification eh? Buying up rental properties is not good for the country, no jobs created, nothing produced. That is absolutely right and it has been fostered by the readily available falsely cheap credit from the aforementioned banks. Hence the obscene profits I alluded to. This hijacking of the pricing of money by the world’s central banks is the guts of the problem the world faces today, together with over capitalising of production facilities because of the false pricing signals of credit has resulted in gross over consumption on that credit. Now the world’s shrinking demographics, over built debt funded potential production is outstripping future consumption capacity, which in turn buggers the ability to service that debt created, which must result in a massive ‘reversion to the mean’ which genuine free market capitalism always does. It’s what economists call a business cycle. Supply always expands to meet demand. When demand slackens supply tends to overshoot resulting in surplus inventories, then cutbacks in production. In a word a recession. Usually mild in effect and quickly rebalanced. But due to the serious interference of these natural actions this time will be different if not horrendous. Playing with TPPs etc will not be of any help once national selfserving defensive measures kick in. That’s when sovereignty takes precedent and it becomes a race to the bottom and the devil take the hindmost. Watch out for the biggies preferences then. It’s when the myth of free trade and ‘globalisation’ will be seen for what it really is. We are already witnessing ‘currency wars’ and that can only intensify. The deflation enemy fortells that the current debts will be unserviceable putting governments and society under pressure. Cutbacks on public expenditure will be severe, we already see it in health and education. Social welfare is in the gun as well. Good times might be put on the back burner for quite some time. Pity our DCC doesn’t understand that.

  48. Elizabeth

    Government bungled calculations on how copyright changes in TPPA would affect New Zealand.

    ### NZ Herald Online 12:46 PM Thursday Mar 17, 2016
    Benefits to artists of TPP copyright changes outweigh overestimated costs, says economist
    By Nicholas Jones – political reporter
    Copyright changes in the Trans-Pacific Partnership will be worth millions of dollars to New Zealand creatives and companies – and the Government estimate of a net annual cost of $55 million is embarrassingly wrong, an economist says. Dr George Barker, the director of the Centre for Law and Economics at the Australian National University, appeared before the foreign affairs, defence and trade select committee today, to present on the copyright aspects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Dr Barker was appearing on behalf of Recorded Music New Zealand, who had paid his costs to come from Australia.
    Read more

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