TPP huge op­por­tu­nity to get ahead

Work­ing on so­lu­tions with en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists is a 2013 goal Bruce Wills writes.

Matamata Chronicle - - Rural Delivery -

IHAVE two big wishes for 2013 – agree­ing the Tran­sPa­cific Part­ner­ship (TPP) and an end to the ‘‘farmer ver­sus en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist’’ bick­er­ing.

If we can get en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists work­ing with us on so­lu­tions, a bet­ter en­vi­ron­ment will reap a pot of gold at the end of an eco­nomic rain­bow called the TPP.

Money makes all things pos­si­ble, some­thing you only dis­cover when you don’t have it.

The TPP is a US$21 tril­lion (NZ$24.9t) club and Europe would need an­other Ger­many just to match it.

I know some have sus­pi­cions and want ev­ery­thing done in the open but trade ne­go­ti­a­tions are like any ne­go­ti­a­tion.

Whether it is for wages or a used car, there are things that must be kept within four walls.

I doubt those of a con­spir­a­to­rial dis­po­si­tion would want their per­sonal de­tails posted on the in­ter­net.

I also know that any TPP deal will need leg­is­la­tion and if that does not pro­vide scru­tiny, what would?

The TPP must elim­i­nate all tar­iffs placed on prod­ucts to pro­tect domestic in­dus­tries from com­pe­ti­tion.

Any other non-tar­iff con­di­tion must be based on sci­en­tific stan­dards to make trade open, ac­ces­si­ble and above all, hon­est.

We will be on to a win­ner if we can get a high-qual­ity deal. Look at it like this: Twenty years ago, our two-way trade with Ja­pan was 10 times greater than our two-way trade with China.

Last year, Ja­pan rep­re­sented just half of our trade with China.

Our ex­ports to China have tre­bled since 2008 when the China free trade agree­ment was signed – a success story for trade ac­cess and open­ness.

Ev­ery New Zealand dol­lar you spend is backed by what we col­lec­tively ex­port. Like­wise, most farm­ers I know care deeply about the en­vi­ron­ment be­cause a farm is a home and a work­place.

This is why we need en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­en­tists work­ing with us for so­lu­tions.

The Min­istry for the En­vi­ron­ment’s 2012 water qual­ity re­sults for swim­ming shows that while farm­ing af­fects water qual­ity, so does hu­man ac­tiv­ity.

Farm­ing by it­self does not ex­plain the very poor water qual- ity at camp­grounds and around small ru­ral set­tle­ments nor, for that mat­ter, poor qual­ity water found in many of our ur­ban cen­tres.

Since it re­ceived that silly moniker ‘‘as among the worst in the west­ern world’’, the Manawatu River has ei­ther had the big­gest come­back since Lazarus, to be cleaner than Welling­ton’s Hutt River, or there is a hu­man di­men­sion to water qual­ity.

While his­tory will be the judge, I be­lieve Fed­er­ated Farm­ers’ ef­forts on the Land and Water Fo­rum (LAWF) may be the end of the be­gin­ning for fin­ger point­ing.

What emerged in its fi­nal report was agree­ment. Agri­cul­ture, coun­cils and even those or­gan­i­sa­tions we some­times rub up against found com­mon ground.

I ac­knowl­edge agri­cul­ture has been on the pol­icy back foot ever since some­one put two words to­gether and formed an un­help­ful slo­gan but LAWF changes that.

De­ci­sions about how we farm with water are bet­ter made by af­fected com­mu­ni­ties than by a dis­tant judge.

Some will con­tinue to throw pri­mary school taunts, but they are the fringe th­ese days.

LAWF is a big shift be­cause it recog­nises the im­por­tance of keep­ing farm­ing prof­itable and al­low­ing it to grow, as long as our en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts don’t.

That is why we need en­vi­ron­men­tal sci­en­tists work­ing with us on so­lu­tions in­stead of prob­lems.

With this and a TPP set to su­per­charge our ex­ports, it would make for a very happy new year in­deed.

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