Good Luck with That Trade Deal, Winston

Winston Peters, our Foreign Affairs Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, travels to Washington again this week to try to secure a trade deal with the US, particularly over steel tariffs.

Winston was talking up his chances of pulling off a deal, seeming confident that he will manage it this time.

Foreign Minister Winston Peters is heading to the US to meet with senior Trump administration officials for the second time in just over six months.
Peters will again meet Secretary of State Michael Pompeo during his Washington visit this week.
But, unlike the last time he was in the US, Peters will not meet US Vice-President Mike Pence.
In a statement, Peters said he was looking forward to advancing New Zealand’s political and economic relationship with the US, “as well as the Coalition Government’s commitment to religious freedom, and to countering violent extremism worldwide”.

I’m not sure whether that last statement was intended as a slight towards President Trump or not. It could certainly be seen that way, and if so, it was unwise of the DPM to be making such statements while going cap in hand to the US for a trade deal.

He is scheduled to deliver a speech in Washington which will focus on the importance of the two countries’ bilateral relationship.
It would also be an opportunity to “further strengthen trade and economic co-operation between New Zealand and the United States,” he said.

A Newspaper.

In other words, please give us an exemption on steel tariffs, just like you did for Australia.

While NZ-US relations have definitely improved in the last decade, most of that can be put down to John Key’s very good relationship with Barack Obama. Things have definitely gone backwards in the last 18 months. Remember this?

Looks like a cosy chat between good mates, doesn’t it?

Once again, Winston’s coalition partner is not going to make life in Washington easy for him.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has condemned comments made by the US President attacking four Democratic congresswomen and says she utterly disagrees with him.
President Donald Trump has been accused of racism after posting tweets attacking Democratic congresswomen.
He claimed the women “originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe”, before suggesting they “go back”.

She just cannot help herself, can she? Not even while Winston is on a plane to Washington to beg for a trade deal can she apply a bit of diplomacy and keep her opinions to herself.

Ardern told Morning Report there’s no place for comments like that and she is proud that the opposite exists in New Zealand.
“Usually I don’t get into other people’s politics, but it will be clear to most people that I completely and utterly disagree with him.

I wonder if Malcolm Turnbull or Scott Morrison would agree with her statement that she ‘usually doesn’t get into other people’s politics’?

These women, particularly llhan Omar, are anti-American. Trump is drawing the American people’s attention to that. This is not a stupid move on his part. Effectively he is saying that those who do not like the country, particularly those who have been voted into power, should simply leave.

A lot of Americans will agree with him.

“I’m quite proud that in New Zealand we take the opposite view, that we take the view that our Parliament should be a representative place, it should look and feel like New Zealand, it should have a range of different cultures and ethnicities and never should a judgement be made about the origin of anyone, and their right therefore to be in Parliament as a representative.
“We should celebrate our diversity, we do in New Zealand, I’m proud of that and so I obviously take a very different view to President Trump.”

A Newspaper.

This is not an attack on diversity by Trump. It is an attack on anti-Americanism. If we had representatives in our parliament who acted in the same way, we should not be proud of that at all.

There are a number of reasons why a trade deal with the USA is a pipe dream, such as their protectionism of their own industries, and the position of Pharmac in NZ, which no doubt the USA would like to overhaul.

But first and foremost, because Jacinda never misses an opportunity to criticise President Trump, even when we need his administration to look kindly on us. Winston Peters’s trip to Washington, cap in hand, is probably going to be a waste of time.