Conforming to TradeWednesday, May 9, 2001
The ability to trade is a fundamental requirement of NZ's farming industries.
Today's announcement by the Government of NZ's further withdrawal from international military arrangements
and expectations although not significant in net military effect it has the potential to aggravate
future relationships at a trading level.
To be perceived, as a clean green nation is one thing, even of being a nation of tree huggers can be
handled with a smile. But to be named as inconsequential self-important actors on the periphery of
the world's vision when we raise our fingers in contempt of the values of the governments of the
countries with which we wish to trade has little to recommend it.
Sure, there are countries that have markets in which we can sell our products, but certainly not at
the prices that are received from the US, EU or even Australia.
There is no doubt that NZ can set its own course and accept the consequences but it is an unpalatable
reality that trade is the first causality when attitudes shift between countries.
Should such a shift happen as a result of todays announcements farmers will be the first to feel the
chill through reduced prices for their products.
It could be that the Government has replaced military with trade in the country's frontline.
Lets hope farming viability isn't the next frontline casuality.