Monday, July 18, 2005

Rod Donald is an Idiot

Commenting on the free-trade deal signed with Singapore, Brunei and Chile today, Rod Donald said:

"Exactly why we would want a free trade deal with Chile, a country that produces lots of meat, fish and fruit, is beyond me."

"It is an energy-wasting exercise in futility to ship identical goods back and forth across the Pacific."

That is such a bullshit argument. Just because New Zealand and Chile produce similar goods doesn't mean that NZ doesn't nevertheless have a comparative advantage over Chile in certain specific areas. If importing beef (for example) from Chile while exporting lamb was really an 'exercise in futility' then it simply wouldn't fucking happen. New Zealand Importers are not going to buy Chilean produce simply because they can, but only if it is more efficient to do so. Protectionism is rationally indefensible. Read this.

To be fair, I'm not totally opposed to the Greens. I support stronger carbon taxes (or actually, I would propose a different scheme, but that's another post entirely), which would make international trade (via increased transport costs) relatively less attractive. The Greens could oppose free-trade on the grounds that importers and exporters don't pay for all the use of the environment and is therefore socially inefficient (although that would apply to domestic trade aswell), but opposing it on the grounds of protecting our jobs or some other such nonsense is just short-sighted and ignorant.

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