Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 36, Number 25. 3rd October 1973
New Moves in Foreign Policy
New Moves in Foreign Policy
From the Foreign Desk
Government Knocks Trade with South Africa
New Zealand tariff preferences in favour of South Africa will cease from the end of this year, the Prime Minister announced in a letter to anti-apartheid groups last week.
Since the turn of the century New Zealand has assisted trade with South Africa by cutting tariffs on South African exports to this country. The effect of this has been to make South African goods more competitive than those from other, non-Commonwealth countries. Opponents of apartheid have argued that the tariff preferences have been one important way in which New Zealand has actively supported the apartheid system through its economic links with that country.
Some people, including Labour Cabinet Ministers Freer. Walding and Tizard, have argued in the past that the only effect of reducing trade with South Africa would be to deprive black workers of their jobs. This view has been completely rejected by the multi-racial South African Congress of Trade Unions. During his visits to New Zealand this year and last year SACTU representative John Gaetsewe said that black South Africans could not be worse off than they are now, and that cutting trade with South Africa would be welcomed as an act of solidarity with the black working class of his country.
From the way South African Consul-General Philip wailed when Mr. Kirk's decision on tariff preferences was announced, it can be seen that this move was in the right direction. But further work has to be done to ensure that New Zealand becomes fully committed to the international campaign to isolate South African fascism in every way.
. . . And Recognises North Vietnam
Announcements in the weekend from Mr. Kirk in New York, and Mr. Freer in Wellington stated that New Zealand has entered into diplomatic relations with the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.
This welcome decision indicates that the Government has, at long last, begun to recognise the realities of the political situation in Indochina. Contact with the DRV Government (which has been established since 1945) should help to counteract the stream of lies and deception from the White House which has formed the basis for New Zealand's policy towards Vietnam for years.
One of the reports of Kirk's talks with Nixon mentioned that the New Zealand Prime Minister had stated his support for the Paris Peace Agreement as the only way to end the conflict in Vietnam. (Interestingly, this report did not say that Nixon agreed with this view.) If Mr. Kirk examines that agreement closely he will note that there is a third government in Vietnam, along with the two this country already recognises, the Provisional Revolutionary Government of South Vietnam. And if the Labour Government is thorough-going in its support for the Vietnam Peace Agreement it will recognise the PRG. As the PRG's representative in Paris, Le Van Sau, suggested in a recent interview in the Australian 'Nation Review', recognition of all three governments in Vietnam is the one effective way countries like Australia and New Zealand can help get the Paris Peace Agreement implemented.