11 months ago

The Star: March 30, 2017

14 Thursday

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The Star Latest Christchurch news at www. .kiwi Thursday March 30 2017 15 Viewpoint Boosting trade a priority NEW ZEALAND is fundamentally a trading nation and our broad international trade ties are part of the reason why we’re doing so well today. Successive New Zealand Governments have finalised trade agreements with a number of countries, including Australia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Korea and China. Exports are now worth $70 billion to our country’s economy. Our agreements so far are working well for exporters and getting Kiwis a good return. Our goods exports to mainland China are now four times what they were before the FTA and our wine exports to South Korea have increased by 30 per cent after just six months. Prime Minister Bill English recently launched our new trade strategy – Trade Agenda 2030 – which lays out the Government’s commitment to forging new and improved trade ties, and further investment to achieve that. We’ve set the ambitious goal of having FTAs cover 90 per cent of New Zealand’s goods exports by 2030, up from 53 per cent today. In Budget 2017, $91.3 million over four years will be dedicated to helping us achieve this. Gerry Brownlee This will go towards forging new trade agreements, maximising the benefits of existing ones, establishing new diplomatic posts in Dublin and Sri Lanka and supporting Kiwi exporters to enter new markets. Canterbury is well-positioned to profit from this initiative, which will boost our alreadystrong regional economy. For the 12 months ending September 2016, the greater Christchurch gross domestic product was $22.2 billion. That’s a 9.9 per cent share of the national GDP. The total value of the region’s export trade through our ports for the 12 months ending January 2017 was $4.7 billion for Lyttelton Port and $0.8 billion for Christchurch Airport. I’m sure many Canterbury businesses will relish this renewed emphasis on trade and I look forward to seeing them prosper. •Gerry Brownlee is Minister supporting Greater Christchurch Regeneration Rail part of the big picture I THINK it’s really exciting that over the last couple of weeks the debate and conversation about public transport and rail for the wider Christchurch area has been reignited. Sparking the most recent debate is Hornby man Tane Apanui’s proposal to have commuter rail for a fraction of the cost previously mooted. While the details of this particular proposal are being mulled over by the powers that be, I believe the big picture and vision also needs to examined. Over the last six years, the shape of greater Christchurch has changed so much. Housing developments in Selwyn and Waimakariri have boomed and with them has come the inevitable traffic congestion. So far, only roads have been suggested as solutions. For me, we need to be imagining a future with increased public transport – of which commuter trains are an exciting part of the mix, along with roads, cycling and good pedestrian routes. The debate about commuter rail is far from new. Labour had a policy to get it started at the last election. We also had a plan to further integrate the various players responsible for transport in the area. Here in Canterbury, transport responsibilities are shared between various local authorities. It’s a delicate balance, with ECan responsible for operating public transport and respective councils footing the bill for infrastructure, such as shelters and car parks. The entry of the Greater Christchurch Public Transport Committee, which brings together all the players, has been a welcome development. Improved collaboration in public transport decisionmaking is expected as a result of the committee. This is vital to making sure that the greater Christchurch we build back is not a relic of the 20th century, but one that is ready for our future. So, my hat goes off to Tane for ensuring the debate about commuter rail is not solely an Auckland issue. •Megan Woods is Labour’s Canterbury spokeswoman •More Viewpoint, page 17 MASSIVE STOCK LIQUIDATION 20-50% OFF CENTRAL | BARRINGTON | FERRYMEAD PH 0800 922737 | CARESAPPLIANCES.CO.NZ