COMMENT:

It's a bit like putting the produce-laden cart before the lumbering Clydesdale as the Government tries to bring the public on board with free trade deals and what they're calling a 'Trade for All' agenda.

It seems a bit like the coalition cobbers trying to salve their guilt for opposing the likes of the old Trans-Pacific Partnership and now supporting it since its name has become more of a mouthful with Comprehensive Progressive added to its title. In reality the CPTPP's actually become more incomprehensible than it was with Donald Trump pulling the plug severely weakening the economic grunt of it.

This soft sell to the public was Jacinda Ardern's first big announcement after putting her feet under the Beehive's Cabinet table yesterday.

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And just like all Government announcements without substance they're setting up a board to advise on how to woo the great unwashed when it comes to trade. And as usual they've appointed the chair with the boardroom chairs to be filled later, or as the blurb said "in due course".

Their blurb was stating the bleedingly obvious, they want trade benefits to flow to all New Zealanders, they want them to be felt throughout the country, not just in the major cities. Like the last Government did, trying unsuccessfully to sell the Trans-Pacific Partnership, they'll be holding meetings and hui around the country over the next couple of months.

Now that's bound to be a good night out.

Trade has always benefited the whole country for goodness sake. Most of our significant exporters are in rural New Zealand, they're called dairy, sheep and beef farmers, winegrowers and orchardists. They do well and the whole community benefits.

It's a government's job to govern and those who run this trading nation from the Beehive should get on with the business rather than engaging focus groups and crowd sourcing to make everyone happy about what is after all New Zealand's bread and butter and always has been.

Again focusing the public's attention on trade could rebound on this earnest Government. We're in the process of upgrading our free trade agreement with China for example, to make it as good as the Aussie's deal.

The man who vehemently opposed it the last time he was Foreign Minister, Winston Peters, hasn't done a lot to endear himself to the Chinese with his recent barking about their activity in this region but refusing to eat his words after the Beijing said he was wrong. Peters insisted we're a sovereign nation and have the right to be upfront and frank.

On one level that's admirable but on another it risks not putting butter on our bread.

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