For the past seven years the government has been negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership. All along they've told us that this would be the road to economic nirvana, that the negotiations would deliver a "high quality" free trade agreement which would open the US to New Zealand dairy products and make us (well, polluting dairy farmers) all rich.
The reality turns out to be a little different:
The dairy deal for New Zealand at Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) talks is looking "disastrous", according to Federated Farmers dairy industry chairman Andrew Hoggard.
Hoggard, who has spoken with New Zealand negotiators in Hawaii, said the United States, Canada and Japan are refusing to open up their protected dairy industries.
Negotiators were concerned the discussions would end on Friday without a good dairy deal.
"It could be a backwards step for the New Zealand dairy industry. It's going to be a disastrous conclusion," Hoggard said.
Not only would it give those protectionist countries access to the same markets as New Zealand, it would be setting a poor precedent for future trade deals.
And in exchange for this remember we'll be gutting Pharmac, accepting US copyright mafia laws, and allowing foreign corporations to sue us and win compensation if we attempt to (or even merely continue to) protect our health or the environment. We give up all that, for nothing.
So why would "our" government ever sign such an obviously shit deal? For the same reasons they refuse to boot Serco or fail down failed charter schools: because having spent seven years and vast amounts of political capital on it, backing out now would be admitting failure. It would be admitting that it was all a waste of time and that they made a mistake trying to pursue an FTA with the USA (which you'd think they would have figured out after the Australian experience). That would be intolerable to them, so instead we will have a bad deal foisted on us to protect their colossal egos. And to add insult to injury, they'll probably award themselves some gongs for their "service".