Within one week, the government has been caught short by Russia moving to ban our beef and a slow response to some Kiwi dual-citizens entering the United States.
“Nathan Guy, the Minister for Primary Industries, has seriously dropped the ball on Russian beef exports just as he has with dairy,” says the Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader of New Zealand First, Member of Parliament for Northland.
“Mr Guy is in no position to play diplomat having said in Parliament that it ‘does not make sense’ to negotiate a free-trade agreement with Russia. What precipitative nonsense.
“National has deliberately alienated Russia to earn brownie points with a diplomatic world that no longer exists. This is despite Russia being the world’s number two dairy importer and in 2017, is set to become the world’s number two beef importer.
“The Russians have noted National’s recent record and this is why we have the barest sliver of the Russian market, which is forecast to import 1,398,000 metric tons of beef this year.
“Our $11m, mostly beef offal exports, is a damning indictment on the incompetence of Messrs Key, McCully, Guy and Groser. In fact, what on earth is Tim Groser, our supposed ‘man in Washington,’ now doing to justify his politically appointed salary?
“Outside of the cocktail circuit, the Trump administration is unlikely to warm to obsequious individuals who describe opponents of the TPP as breathless children. New Zealand First believes we can do a real trade deal with the United States that respects our interests and theirs.
“It is how British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson quickly confirmed that British dual nationals weren’t affected by the temporarily entry ban. Here, Mr McCully blamed Ministry of Foreign Affairs staff for his own inaction.
“National needs to look in the mirror and not act like bulls in the diplomatic China shop as our exporters and citizens are suffering,” Mr Peters said.
National on how to lose trading partners and alienate markets
“I actually think that New Zealand should show solidarity with other countries that have applied sanctions on Russia because of the actions that it has undertaken ...”
Rt Hon John Key (22 July 2015)
“This [Trans Pacific Partnership] is a moving game, and we need adults to do this, not breathless children to run off at the mouth when the deal is not actually finished.”
Hon Tim Groser (29 July 2015)
“I am surprised that the member is alluding in the House this afternoon to the fact that New Zealand should be there negotiating a free-trade agreement with Russia. That does not make sense – that does not make sense”.
Hon Nathan Guy (17 November 2015)
“The Minister of Trade continues to support the view, actually, that New Zealand should show solidarity even though we do not have bilateral sanctions on Russia in relation to the Ukraine issue. What he was talking about was the removal of unilateral restrictions that were put on by Russia that well and truly pre-date this issue and go back to 2011. Actually, the Minister of Trade is quite right for welcoming that”.
Rt Hon John Key (19 August 2015)
“Well, OK – maybe you should wander off and study a bit more economics, and work out that they [Russia] have got no money to buy anything through the front door or the back door. That is the reason prices are going down. Russia is in serious financial difficulty because of oil prices.”
Rt Hon John Key (8 March 2016)
"I’m so frustrated with the lack of strategic thinking of the US."
Hon Tim Groser (1 June 2016)
"We got pretty close to a trade agreement with Russia ... and we actually pulled that because of Russia's involvement in Crimea and we stayed pretty close to like-minded countries not least of them being Europe ... That position is slowly changing, talking to a few European leaders recently."
Rt Hon John Key (20 November 2016)
“Yet [Ambassador] Groser was unabashed: he regaled the crowd with the story of how he first snagged Trump’s cell phone number (he knew a guy who knew a guy), and professed his own thrill about the end of “PC” culture”.
Washingtonian (23 January 2017)
Published as per NZ First News. Image