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Salient: Victoria University Students' Paper. Vol. 30, No. 5. 1967.

New Zealand left out in the cold

New Zealand left out in the cold

"British Entry into the Common Market would force a lowering of New Zealand's standard of living," saye Mr. Dennis Rose of the Institute of Economic Research. "New Zealand would change from being protected to being a discriminated-against supplier," he said, painting a very black picture of New Zealand's immediate prospects if Britain decides to join.

Had Britain succeeded in her first attempt to join, the market area countries would have had to import 214,000 tons of butter-fat equivalent per annum in 1961-63, but on United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation projections the area including Britain will have generated an exportable surplus by 1975.

"British Entry," said Mr. Rose, at the second of the Political Science Society's special lectures, "will in fact shut her into a potentially self-sufficient market."

The position regarding New Zealand's meat exports would not be quite so unfavourable, he said, because of the relative unimportance of sheep meat in European consumption and production. British consumers eat four times as much sheep meat as do the French, the biggest European mutton consumer. For this reason Mr. Rose believed that the threshold, or foreign entry, price for sheep meat would be kept fairly low, unlike the threshold price for butter which has been set at a level more than double the present selling rate of New Zealand butter on the London market.

Pointing out the advantages of access to the New Zealand market which would probably be denied to Britain if she were to join the European Economic Community. Mr. Rose quoted that in 1961 New Zealand gave Britain a preference of between 14-16 per cent on the general level of tariffs imposed. These figures contrasted strongly with the average preference for all Commonwealth countries of only 6 per cent.

Invisible trade in 1965-66 amounted to £80 million in the favour of Britain, said Mr. Rose, much of this in the form of shipping costs. British entry in the EEC would mean an increase in the trend towards the carrying of New Zealand goods to the Pacific in non-British shipping.

"Such factors as these," said Mr. Rose, "might cause Britain to hesitate to throw New Zealand over the edge." But he countered this, however, expressing the opinion that Britain was definitely out to join the Market if she possibly could. "To fail in the present attempt would push Britain out once and for all." asserted Mr. Rose, "or at least for this decade."

Looking forward to future trading prospects Mr. Rose said: "Any simple or complete removal of tariffs could not be acceptable to New Zealand," but he emphasised the potential of bi-lateral agreements, for example with Russia or Japan, but pointed out that to gain such markets New Zealand would have to lower tariffs on goods from these countries to the level of, or lower than, tariffs on British goods.

"The next decade," he said, "will be difficult for most primary producing countries," but he was sufficiently optimistic to qualify this by suggesting "the long-term market for primary produce exports, however, appears to be quite good."