World from New Zealand

Here in New Zealand, there is absolutely no coverage of the forthcoming EU referendum in the UK. The longstanding inability of the UK to have a simple, free trading arrangement with New Zealand is met with weary resignation.

There is more interest in the newly signed Trans Pacific Partnership, which is the Pacific version of TTIP in the UK. Essentially a trade deal with the USA. It has been signed here and will now go through the normal National Interest Analysis stages in parliament. Though there is substantial opposition, there is little chance of it being rejected in New Zealand. Opposition here, as in the UK, is based on this trade deal being anything but a free trade deal. It represents one of the most egregious regulatory capture achievements by big business so far, to the detriment of ordinary consumers and tax payers. This case is well summarised by George Monbiot here. Hopes that the deal will not go through rest, as they do in the UK, on the US congress.

Separately New Zealand seems to be generally supportive, in a typically laid back and only vaguely engaged way, of Helen Clark’s bid to become the next Secretary General of the United Nations. Helen Clark is a former Prime Minister of New Zealand and is currently head of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). Sadly debate about whether she will get the job seems to be centred on buggins turn, rather than her suitability. The current Secretary General is Ban Ki-moon. So “Oceania” has just had its turn. This analysis would seem to point to a candidate from the former Eastern Europe, that has never held the role. However, Kofi Annan (Ghana) followed Boutros Boutros-Ghali (Egypt), so maybe Mrs Clark will yet get the job. Whoever gets it you can be sure there will have been all kinds of deals done that you will never hear about. You wouldn’t run a whelk stall this way!