Minister for everything Stephen Joyce wrote some nonsense in the paper today about how trade agreements and more exports will mean more jobs:
I would like to make the point that trade access is hugely important for a small country like New Zealand.
Without fair and equal trade access we can’t sell as much of our goods and we get less for them. And that means fewer jobs.
This make-work bias is as bad as those who oppose trade agreements on the grounds of an anti-foreign bias. Trade affects the composition of employment, not the number of jobs. Paul Krugman spent a good part of the 1990s trying to explain that to the general public and public intellectuals.
Back in the day, New Zealand television programming was sold cheaply into the Australian market. Many cultural and other products are exported into foreign markets and sold for whatever they can get above the price of shipping or digital transmission. What else explains all that rubbish on cable TV?
Under the Closer Economic Relations agreement that creates a single market between Australia and New Zealand, New Zealand made television programming content must be treated the same way as Australian content so it was included in their 50% local content rules for commercial television back from whenever I remember this story from. There was a Federal Court of Australia case that ruled that New Zealand television programming was Australian content programming for the purposes of the relevant media regulations because of Closer Economic Relations.
From the late 1990s, with revival of the New Zealand film and television industry, New Zealand content was starting to flood the Australian market, especially in the off-season in the summer when stations were looking for cheap content to fill a low ratings period.
Naturally, this Kiwi invasion did not please the rent seeking Australian television programme production industry and many a mendicant actor, writer and producer
Where there is a will, where there is a way: minimum quality standards are introduced into the Australian content rules defined by price – a price that happen to be above what the television stations used to pay for New Zealand made programming.
By means of glasses, hotbeds, and hotwalls, very good grapes can be raised in Scotland, and very good wine too can be made of them at about thirty times the expense for which at least equally good can be brought from foreign countries.
Would it be a reasonable law to prohibit the importation of all foreign wines, merely to encourage the making of claret and burgundy in Scotland?
…As long as the one country has those advantages, and the other wants [lacks] them, it will always be more advantageous for the latter, rather to buy of the former than to make.