Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Just a bit shit really

So, the biggest trade deal in a generation has been finalised. The thing National was pinning all of its hopes of economic success on, John Key's "something special". And it turns out to be just a bit shit really, because it doesn't include dairy. New Zealand's primary industry, the whole reason why we engage in these talks, and absent some reduced tariffs on cheese in twenty years or so, its excluded. Slow clap, Mr Groser. Heckuva job you've done there. You've totally earned that knighthood you were gunning for, you royalist suckup.

And how much did we pay for this "free trade" deal that doesn't include dairy? Sadly, we don't know, because the text is still secret. A deal has been reached, but they are still keeping it all secret from the people whose name it is made in. I guess they really don't want the Canadian public to be able to vote on it. But from what we do know, we've avoided some of the worst bits - no dismantling of Pharmac or extended patent terms for pharmaceuticals, for example. But we did have to accept an odious investor-state disputes clause, allowing foreign companies to sue us if we try to legislate to protect worker's rights, public health, or the environment, plus a twenty-year extension of the copyright term to further incentivise dead people to produce more work. In other words, we give foreigners a policy veto on our democracy and enable foreign rent-seeking, in exchange for nothing, and no dairy. Another round of applause for Mr Groser!

Still, there's a positive side: not including dairy means less incentive for farmers to overproduce milk - a good thing given that we're already over our environmental carrying capacity for cows and our lakes and streams (and Christchurch's groundwater) are being poisoned by their shit and piss. So, Tim Groser's shit negotiating has inadvertently helped save our environment. Maybe that is something we thank him for.