NZ Government says QLD prioritising local businesses despite trade agreements ‘crazy’

Ms Palaszczuk says the policy is about giving Queenslanders the opportunity to tender. (AAP: Rob Blakers)

Oz Kiwi opinion

The Queensland Government’s approach in this matter is very unfortunate.

You cannot seek to enjoy all the benefits of a seamless trans-Tasman economy, whilst simultaneously renouncing your responsibilities to uphold your side of the bargain and failing to provide a level playing field for individuals and companies regardless of their place of origin.

People on both sides of the Tasman and in all Australian states benefit from the creation of a single Australasian market. It would be a great pity to see this undermined by short-sighted and parochial policies.

04 August 2017

Chris O’Brien – ABC News

The New Zealand Government has issued a public invitation to Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk to discuss a “crazy” and “possibly illegal” decision to ignore trade agreements, which could threaten up to 30,000 Queensland jobs and $5 billion in state exports.

New Zealand Trade Minister Todd McClay said the State Government’s ‘Buy Queensland’ policy was regressive and disappointing.

The policy, which is due to start next month, will see Queensland businesses favoured over interstate and international suppliers for State Government purchases, even if their price is higher, and regardless of Australian trade agreements.

Mr McClay told ABC Radio Brisbane he did not think they could do that.

“I’ve asked for some advice on this but fundamentally it just doesn’t make sense, it’s not how trade works – it’s a little bit crazy,” he said.

“Maybe [Ms Palaszczuk] should come to New Zealand and when she comes, bring some businesses that are already doing work here and find some more work because that’s how you grow an economy.

“Queensland exports $5 billion worth of goods and services to New Zealand every year – there are probably 20,000 or 30,000 Queensland jobs as a result of that.”

But Ms Palaszczuk said Mr McClay had not even read her Buy Queensland> policy.

“I am more than happy to send him a copy,” she said.

She said the policy was about giving Queenslanders the opportunity to tender.

“I make no apologies – I am the Premier of Queensland and I am doing whatever it takes to ensure that we keep Queensland jobs here in Queensland,” she said.

Mr McClay said he was speaking to Federal Trade Minister Steve Ciobo “to work this out”.

“If every state in Australia pulled back and every country in the world pulled back it wouldn’t be good for either of our economies,” he said.

“New Zealanders don’t become richer by just merely selling to themselves, neither do Queenslanders.

“My approach is to go and look for more opportunities for Kiwis to grow our economy, not to close the door or build a wall.”

Mr Ciobo has written to Ms Palaszczuk, asking her “which free trade agreements Cabinet has agreed not to be bound by”.

[Read the ABC News article].

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