Orkney and Shetland MP, Alistair Carmichael, has today voiced concerns as the outline of a UK-New Zealand trade deal was announced. The deal is expected to follow in the form of the upcoming agreement with Australia, giving significantly greater access for New Zealand agriculture with almost no predicted GDP growth for the UK according to the government’s own estimates. The National Farmers’ Union has already warned that the deal risks “huge downsides” for farmers.
Mr Carmichael said:
“While we are some way from a final deal text, what information we have appears to confirm the fears of farmers and crofters, particularly lamb producers. They are rightly concerned that this deal, as with Australia, opens the door to food produced to a lower standard and without reciprocal opportunities for our own producers.
“Once again there is little sign of any parliamentary vote on this deal in the offing – we need to have a clear say from representatives. There is little point in having a Trade and Agriculture Commission if it is to be bypassed throughout these negotiations, or in lauding parliamentary sovereignty if accountability is an afterthought.
“This announcement again gives the impression of a government more interested in the appearance of a deal than what that deal contains. It risks long-term economic upheaval for our farming and crofting communities just so that the Prime Minister can burble rugby metaphors and pretend to be a dealmaker. As we are already seeing with the chaos and incompetence around past negotiations with the EU, deals made solely for the headlines can quickly go sour. Not for the first time I fear that Boris Johnson expects to rack up bills on our account and let someone else pay the price.”