Upper Hutt Council TPP resolution very disappointing

Hutt Valley news
Friday, February 26, 2016

“The decision by the Upper Hutt Council to declare itself a ‘TPP Free Zone’ is very disappointing,” says Chris Bishop, National List MP based in the Hutt Valley.

“While the resolution is of course legally meaningless – it sends totally the wrong message about Upper Hutt being ‘open for business’ and its desire to grow its economy to provide higher wages and jobs for Upper Hutt families.

“The reality is that TPP will be good for Upper Hutt, opening up a market of 800 million consumers to Hutt exporters. In particular, the agreement will be great for awesome Upper Hutt craft beer brewers like Panhead and Kereru.”

The TPP will eliminate all tariffs on beer in the following four markets (tariffs are already zero in the other TPP countries):

  • Mexico: 20 per cent tariff eliminated immediately.
  • Malaysia: 5 Malaysian Ringgit/litre (NZD$1.80/litre) tariff eliminated by Year 16.
  • Peru: 9 per cent tariff eliminated by Year 6.
  • Viet Nam: 23 per cent tariff eliminated by Year 11.

“New Zealand has almost no beer exports at the moment with these new tariff elimination markets (only $35,000 in 2015, all to Malaysia and Viet Nam), in part because the tariff rates are high,” Mr Bishop says.

“I fully support the council branding itself as a destination for craft beer brewers – but the rhetoric has to be consistent.

“The simple reality is that TPP does not change the fundamental ability of government at all levels in New Zealand to fulfil their core functions. Arguments like ‘TPP is an attack on the sovereignty of Upper Hutt’, as was reportedly said by one councillor, demonstrate the basic lack of facts behind the resolution.

“Rather than engaging in political grandstanding, the council should engage with experts on the agreement and raise any concerns they have. They should attend the TPP Roadshow meeting in Wellington on 18 March.”