Trump breaks all the rules – marginalises Key, McCully, Joyce and MFAT

It seems poor old Economic Development Minister Steven Joyce copped a dildo in the chops and was subjected to international ridicule for nothing.

At Waitangi last year, a novelty penis was hurled at Joyce by way of protesting the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement which the trade ministers of 11 countries had signed in Auckland the day before.

Now US President-elect Donald Trump has confirmed he will pull the US out of that agreement as soon as he can – putting the future of the entire agreement at risk.

In a rather cat and mouse game, Trump left it until the day after the leaders of the TPP finished talking about him behind his back and left the Apec Summit in Lima to break the bad news to them.

At Apec in Peru, Key was not the only leader hoping for a change of heart by Trump.

It appeared to be based on the reasoning that politicians often said things on the campaign trail that they did not go through with in office.

It ignored the fact Trump is not a politician.

Swapping China for the US, or the TPP for RCEP is little consolation for New Zealand given it already has a comprehensive free trade agreement with China.

But there was some good news to flow New Zealand’s way from China’s determination to step into the breach.

The APEC timing of the announcement about the upgrade of the FTA between New Zealand and China was no coincidence.

The New Zealand Government had not expected to get agreement on the terms for the upgrade talks until mid 2017.

Given that, there was some surprise China agreed to a pitch from New Zealand for an Apec-timed announcement.

That was made during visits by Foreign Minister Murray McCully and Trade Minister Todd McClay in the weeks leading up to the US election.

It makes New Zealand the first developed country to get a free trade agreement with China and the first in line for an upgrade. It was China showing it can walk the talk.

The US was not only the prize New Zealand wanted. It was the prize most other countries also wanted.

Trump has announced the US will now look to bilateral agreements rather than multilateral agreements involving groups of countries.

A little country waits and the signs are that it will wait for a long time.

The Government will push to try to get in the queue. But that will not be easy.

It may pay to remember Trump is not a politician.

Trump may not like swamps, but he does like fairways and greens.

The only thing Trump appears to know about New Zealand is that it is the homeland of golfer Sir Bob Charles.

Australia’s Malcolm Turnbull had to resort to going to Australia’s golfer Greg Norman to get Trump’s number when trying to hook up a meeting.

Perhaps New Zealand should take a leaf out of Turnbull’s book and enlist Sir Bob to try to get attention.

It wouldn’t be the first time.  Key has dragged sport stars overseas along with him to try and open doors.

Trump is clearly not going to accept normal channels.  By ignoring “the swamp”, bypassing established media and cutting the establishment out, Trump needs to be engaged in a totally different way.

And luckily, in Key, we have just the fellow for the job.

 

 

– Claire Trevett, NZ Herald

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