Todd McClay, new Trade Min­is­ter

The New Zealand Herald - - NEWS - — Au­drey Young

How are you feel­ing about your new job as Trade Min­is­ter?

Gen­uinely ex­cited. I’m go­ing to spend some time through the sum­mer work­ing out a few pri­or­i­ties for the next two years.

Is it your dream job?

It was one of the port­fo­lios I was in­ter­ested in when I came to Par­lia­ment. I had an in­volve­ment in trade and trade ne­go­ti­a­tions over­seas.

Where did you work in Europe?

In the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment for some time as chief of staff to Lord Henry Plumb who was at one time pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment but prob­a­bly more im­por­tantly had been pres­i­dent of the Na­tional Farm­ers Union when Bri­tain joined the Euro­pean Com­mu­nity. So I spent many years learn­ing about agri­cul­ture, and agri­cul­ture pol­i­tics and agri­cul­ture trade pol­i­tics from him when he was part of the Euro­pean Union. I also had a lob­by­ing com­pany in Brussels. We lob­bied on be­half of gov­ern­ments and com­pa­nies and I did a lot of work for New Zealand com­pa­nies in­clud­ing the New Zealand Dairy Board at the time, which had a $1 bil­lion fine im­posed against it for im­por­ta­tion of but­ter to Europe out­side of quota.

Will your time in Brussels give you an ad­van­tage ne­go­ti­at­ing a free-trade agree­ment with Europe?

I think it will cer­tainly be a help and per­haps an ad­van­tage. But we are lucky. We’ve got some of the world’s best trade ne­go­tia­tors in the Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs and Trade and I’ll be work­ing closely with them and re­ly­ing on them.

What have you learned from ex-Trade Min­is­ter Tim Groser ?

Prob­a­bly at the mo­ment and over the next hand­ful of months, the im­por­tance of re­la­tion­ships. Tim has got strong re­la­tion­ships with key play­ers from im­por­tant coun­tries. What are you do­ing over the sum­mer?

I’ll be with my fam­ily, tak­ing a bit of time away.

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