The Coalition Government should haul new Health Minister David Clark into line and stop him demanding resignation letters from all the District Health Board Chairs around the country, National Party Spokesperson for State Services Todd McClay says.
“This sets an extremely dangerous precedent across the public services. These people are working hard to lead large and complex organisations on behalf of the public,” Mr McClay says. “It’s demeaning and insulting to require them to sign resignation letters without cause because the new Health Minister wants to show them who’s boss.”
“This is a very bad way to start working with Crown entities and companies,” Mr McClay says. “It’s a highly political approach which I had hoped this Labour government would not follow.
“There are a whole lot of people in those government agencies who are focused not on politics but on getting the job done. The new government would serve New Zealand’s best interests by letting them get on and do the job.
“Health Board Chairs concerned by David Clark’s ham-fisted move could well seek legal advice on the implications this has on good employment practice.
“Labour won’t get experienced people to serve on the Boards of Crown organisations if they are going to hire and fire them on a whim.
“Kiwis would be right to feel concerned by Clark’s drive to stifle hard working public servants. Perhaps Jacinda Ardern should demand her new health Minister signs his own letter just in case.”
Trade Minister Todd McClay says a trade agreement with Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru could be worth 10,000 jobs to provincial New Zealand and will give Kiwis unprecedented access to fast-growing Latin American markets.
This comes as Mr McClay calls for public submissions on FTA negotiations with the Pacific Alliance countries.
“Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru combined have 221 million consumers and a GDP of US$3.85 trillion, which is equivalent to the world’s sixth largest economy,” Mr McClay says.
“This is an important market for us now, and we want the public and the business community to consider how they might take advantage of the increased opportunities for both trade and investment that will result from an FTA.”
Mr McClay says increasing trade and business links with the Pacific Alliance will also advance the prospect of New Zealand serving as a trading bridge between South America and Southeast Asia.
“The Government will be pushing hard for a high-quality agreement. It’s important we hear from New Zealanders about what they would like to see prioritised and progressed during negotiations, Mr McClay says”
Mr McClay says negotiations with the Pacific Alliance will begin in the coming months and are expected to progress swiftly. Public submissions are due by October 16.
For more information on how to make a submission, visit: https://mfat.govt.nz/en/trade/free-trade-agreements/agreements-under-negotiation/pacificalliance
Trade Minister Todd McClay says he expects the NZ-European Union Free Trade Agreement to be formally launched later this year after the European Commission and New Zealand both finalised their respective negotiating mandates.
“It’s extremely important the European Commission and New Zealand have completed this next step,” Mr McClay says.
“European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker also announced tonight in his ‘State of the Union’ address that he is seeking approval to launch negotiations and aims to conclude the NZ-EU FTA by late 2019.”
“An FTA will give New Zealand companies an opportunity to significantly increase trade with the EU.”
“Two-way trade with the EU is worth more than $20 billion a year and creates thousands of jobs and opportunities for every region and city of New Zealand.”
Mr McClay says the Bill English-led Government will be pushing for a high-quality, comprehensive FTA.
“More than 8500 jobs are created in New Zealand by every billion dollars of exports,” Mr McClay says.
“That means a deal with the EU that increases trade has the potential to create thousands more jobs for Kiwis.”
The European Commission will now send its negotiating mandate to the European Council. Approval is expected later this year.
National’s Trade Spokesperson Todd McClay says Labour needs to be clear how many trade deals it would be prepared to renegotiate in pursuit of its political point to ban foreign house buyers, following revelations yesterday it would renegotiate the Korean FTA.
“There are identical issues around Labour’s policy with our trade deal with Taiwan as there is with the Korean FTA,” Mr McClay says.
“Labour would need to renegotiate the lucrative Taiwan trade deal to implement their rushed housing ban, along with the Korean FTA.
"The Taiwan deal is worth more than $1.2 billion to our economy each year. Exports to Taiwan have increased by around 25 per cent since 2013 when the deal entered into force. This growth has created thousands of jobs for Kiwis.
“Yesterday it was Korea, today it would be Taiwan - that's two important trade deals Labour would have to renegotiate to make their political point – that is simply naive.
"Labour is being reckless with trade and jobs. Their risky announcement will concern businesses who rely on the certainty and opportunity these trade deals provide. It will concern New Zealanders whose jobs rely on the trade access we've successfully negotiated with countries like Taiwan and Korea.
“Labour already wants to tax New Zealanders out of business. Now it wants to renegotiate them out of business too.
"New Zealanders deserve answers before they cast their vote. Labour needs to explain why we need all these big changes in economic policy when even they agree the New Zealand economy is performing well."
Labour must come clean about its plans to renegotiate the Korean free trade agreement which is worth billions to New Zealand’s economy and supports thousands of jobs.
Jacinda Ardern has said this morning she wants to renegotiate New Zealand’s trade agreement with South Korea – a trading relationship which is already worth more than $4 billion a year,” National’s Trade spokesperson Todd McClay says.
“This is another example of ill-thought out and vague Labour policy made up on the hoof. It’s simply not good enough for Jacinda Ardern to put the economic fortunes of New Zealand at risk along with thousands of jobs and businesses.
“Labour even seems to think it could renegotiate this deal by Christmas when it took five years to negotiate in the first place.
“That’s just not credible. Where is the detail on how they would do it? And what concessions would they be prepared to give away in return?
“New Zealand is a small country dependent on trade with exports supporting 620,000 jobs and contributing more than $70 billion to our economy every year.
“Labour already wants to tax New Zealanders out of business. Now they want to renegotiate them out of business too.
“The Korean FTA provides greater access for New Zealand forestry, dairy, beef, lamb and kiwifruit, along with opportunities for education, science and technology – it’s our sixth-largest export destination.
“How can our exporters plan to grow or invest or hire more staff when there is no certainty?
“Voters have a right to know what they are voting for. Labour must front up with the detail,” Mr McClay says.
National’s Trade Spokesman Todd McClay says Labour has questions to answer about its deliberately vague housing ban announcement which could rip up trade deals and cost thousands of jobs New Zealanders rely upon.
“A ban would cut across a range of existing Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) we have with countries like Singapore, Australia and Korea and cause considerable difficulty with China,” Mr McClay says.
“These FTAs have non-discrimination provisions that ensure New Zealanders are treated fairly overseas, and in return that our trade partners are treated fairly in New Zealand.
“I’m sure there are many inconsistencies in what Labour is proposing, but they have provided zero detail – so it is impossible to tell.
“Labour owes New Zealanders the respect and courtesy to provide details on this announcement, which could put trade jobs at risk.”
Mr McClay says the jobs of 620,000 Kiwis rely on having competitive access to overseas markets.
“A ban would force New Zealand to renegotiate many of our trade agreements. We would be likely to lose some trade access as a result of renegotiations which would harm New Zealand companies and Kiwi jobs.
“As usual there is no detail from Labour. New Zealanders need to know what they are being asked to vote for.”
Trade is vital to our future – exports now account for more than $70b of our national income, and more than 620,000 New Zealanders depend on exports for their jobs.
National knows that New Zealand exporters, both big and small, are world beaters when they’re given the chance. That’s why National have committed to delivering New Zealand’s boldest-ever trade push if re-elected.
Importantly, where the opposition parties are shying away, we’re showing leadership and working towards a successful conclusion for TPP11.
The TPP11 has the potential to:
- add $2.5b to our economy annually,
- create tens of thousands of new jobs,
- save New Zealand companies $222m in tariffs each year, and
- be our first FTA with four new countries, including Japan – the world’s 3rd largest consumer market
This is a hugely valuable agreement for New Zealand both strategically and economically.
We’re the only party fighting for it.
On top of this, in the next term of government, we will:
- aim to complete trade negotiations with Mexico, Chile, Colombia and Peru and countries in Southeast Asia;
- prioritise negotiations with India, Russia, and the Gulf Cooperation Council countries;
- launch trade negotiations with the European Union, United Kingdom, Sri Lanka and Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay;
- Upgrade our current agreements with China, Singapore, and Southeast Asia.
National knows that international trade is vital to our economic success. It underpins our businesses, it creates jobs and it lifts wages.
For example, New Zealand’s two-way trade with China grew from $8 billion a year in 2008 to $23 billion last year. This insulated us from the worst effects of the Global Financial Crisis.
Improving trade access is a crucial part of National’s strong economic plan which is delivering returns for all New Zealanders.
We have a once in a generation chance to tear down trade barriers and only National is willing to take this opportunity.
Labour are incapable of showing leadership on trade because they do not believe in it.
Our trade competitors around the world are moving ahead with their own trade agreements.
If we shy away now and turn our back on trade it will harm our exporters, destroy jobs, and reduce our market access overseas.
As a small country, we punch well above our weight when it comes to trade in global markets.
When given the chance, we know that New Zealand exporters are world beaters.
We’re backing Kiwis.
Trade Minister Todd McClay has welcomed Vanuatu to the landmark Pacific trade and development agreement PACER Plus and says this is another important step in developing the economies of our Pacific Island neighbours.
“Vanuatu wasn’t ready to sign in June when we concluded the agreement, however, we've been working closely with them and I am pleased the Cabinet of Vanuatu has agreed to sign PACER Plus today,” Mr McClay says.
“This brings the number of countries in PACER Plus to 11 and I encourage others, including Fiji and Papua New Guinea, to take another look at the agreement and join.”
PACER Plus was concluded after eight years of negotiations.
Mr McClay says the agreement will help raise the standards of living, create employment opportunities and increase the export capacity of our close friends in the Pacific.
"PACER Plus strikes a fair balance between lowering tariffs and offering greater certainty for New Zealand businesses and investors, while ensuring Pacific Island countries benefit from sustainable trade and development,” Mr McClay says.
“Vanuatu will now be able to access assistance from the PACER Plus Readiness Package - jointly funded by New Zealand and Australia.”
Note: PACER Plus signatories include: Australia, the Cook Islands, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu
Trade Minister Todd McClay says the Government has agreed a negotiating mandate to upgrade the China Free Trade Agreement that will deliver thousands of jobs and be worth billions to our economy.
“China is a significant trading partner. Our FTA with China has helped New Zealand companies stay in business during the GFC and keeps Kiwis in jobs,” Mr McClay says.
“We currently have $24 billion of two-way trade with this large economy and impressive growth in education, tourism and goods exports.”
“Trade means jobs - we know 8500 jobs are created in New Zealand from every billion dollars of exports.”
“Upgrading the China FTA will increase trade and deliver more jobs in every region and every city of the country."
Mr McClay says the upgrade priorities for the Bill English-led Government include a better deal for dairy, forestry and wood processing exporters, new rules to enhance online and digital trade and better measures to deal with non-tariff barriers.
"We want to free up access and continue to level the playing field for kiwi exporters," Mr McClay says.
“We have set a joint target of $30b of two-way trade with China by 2020.”
“The upgrade will make it easier for us to hit this significant target. We are committed to delivering for New Zealanders.”
The adoption of this mandate follows MFAT-led consultation and engagement with the public and business. MFAT continues to welcome feedback on the China FTA upgrade via its website.
Trade Minister Todd McClay says he is deeply disappointed Queensland is pushing ahead with discriminatory government procurement rules which will unfairly disadvantage and potentially harm New Zealand companies.
Mr McClay has today initiated formal consultations with the Australian Federal Government to fight for the fair and balanced trade access that New Zealand companies have a right to expect across the Tasman.
“Initiating consultations sends a strong message that the Bill English-led Government will not stand by whilst an Australian state government undermines our mutually beneficial relationship,” Mr McClay says.
“The NZ Consulate-General has been engaging with Queensland over the last 2 weeks, however this has not led to a satisfactory outcome. Queensland has confirmed that New Zealand companies will be impacted by its policy from tomorrow.”
“The Queensland Government's policy means everyone comes second. Queensland companies have been welcome to bid for government contracts in New Zealand and under Closer Economic Relations we expect New Zealand companies to be treated exactly the same in Queensland.”
The initiation of CER consultations follows an urgent visit to Canberra by Mr McClay to register his grave concerns with ministerial counterpart Steve Ciobo.
"I am grateful to Minister Ciobo and the Federal Government for taking this issue seriously. We have agreed to a constructive process that protects our important trading relationship."
“Queensland companies continue to provide millions of dollars worth of goods and services to our Government. New Zealand businesses must be shown the same courtesy in Australia,” Mr McClay says.
“Economic Development Minister Simon Bridges has raised his concerns with the Queensland Government under the Australia-New Zealand Government Procurement Agreement.”