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The National Business Review – September 17

APEC Free Trade Pact – ACC Playing Politics – Poll ECA – Analysis and Commentary

Top-level talks in Washington over the next few weeks will decide the future of an influential new free-trade pact THAT would help New Zealand crack the protected American dairy market. The pact, linking the US, New Zealand, Australia, Singapore and Chile, would give a huge fillip to the free-trade cause on the eve of a new round of global negotiations. Trade Minister Lockwood Smith said it would also keep Apec focused amid a growing realisation that its Bogor goals of regional free trade by 2010/2020 will not be easily achieved.

ACC is playing down the benefits of reform in an attempt to retain a dominant role in workplace insurance after the general election. Although it reported this week it had cut long-term accident claims by more than 15% and was well ahead of targets to put more claimants back to work, it has generally been reluctant to trumpet its success. This has led to highly sourced claims, two months out from the election, that it is keeping the lid on success stories for political purposes.

At a time when labour relations is shaping up as a key election issue , the latest National Business Review- Compaq poll shows most people still do not feel the Employment Contracts Act has made any difference to them personally. The survey shows 61% of people chose the “no difference” option when asked about the effect of the ECA on them personally. A further 16% said the act had affected them positively.


Apec comes of age
Trade correspondent David Barber wraps up an historic summit as the regional trade
body gains political clout
Foreign policy analyst Stuart McMillan assesses the role of New Zealand leadership in handling of world crisis
Los Angeles Times columnist Tom Plate puts an American perspective on Apec and Asia’s economic malaise

Our worst big idea
Economist Gareth Morgan sees hypocrisy in New Zealand’s free trade stand against agricultural subsidies

East Timor underlines defence review
Political strategist Jeff Gamlin argues the Quigley report provides the basis for a change in military strategy

For further information: Nevil Gibson, Editor-in-Chief Ph 0-9-307 1629 or email

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