Skip to comments.NEW ZEALAND: Top trade negotiator dumped
Posted on 05/22/2005 9:23:51 PM PDT by shaggy eel
New Zealand's top trade negotiator, Tim Groser, has been dumped as ambassador to the World Trade Organisation.
Mr Groser is standing as a National Party candidate in the general election - a decision Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton today described as betrayal.
Mr Groser told Mr Sutton on Friday he was retiring from the public service, but did not say when.
Today the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said he had been "placed on leave" and his duties taken over by deputy ambassador Tony Lynch.
"The electoral Act allows for Mr Groser to continue as an MFAT employee after the election if he is not elected," the ministry said in a statement.
"The Government has, however, decided that at this time it requires a WTO ambassador in Geneva, and it is therefore not able to keep this specific position unfilled throughout the pre-election period.
"Mr Groser will not carry out any of the duties and responsibilities of New Zealand's ambassador to the WTO."
Mr Groser holds another job at the WTO which is not decided by the Government.
He is chairman of its agricultural negotiations committee, appointed by the WTO' 148 member countries.
Mr Groser, and National Party leader Don Brash, believe it is possible to keep that job and be an MP at the same time.
That decision will be up to the Geneva-based committee, and Mr Groser is leaving tonight to talk to its members.
Mr Sutton said today there was no way Mr Groser would have got the job without being New Zealand's ambassador to the WTO.
The ministry said in its statement it would be consulting the WTO leadership about Mr Groser's chairmanship of the committee.
"In the meantime, Mr Groser is available to continue in this role," it said.
Earlier today Mr Sutton said Mr Groser seemed to think he could serve the Government and try to bring it down at the same time.
"He has let the team down. He has been one of several people in a key team," Mr Sutton said.
"Frankly to leave at this critical point is, I think, a betrayal of the debt of honour to see the job through that anyone in such a position accepts."
Green Party co-leader Rod Donald said Mr Sutton should "chill out".
"Mr Sutton is angry because he claims Mr Groser cannot support both the government of the day and National," Mr Donald said.
"Clearly he can, because their trade policies are identical."
Mr Donald said if Mr Groser wanted to continue in the job of chairing the WTO committee he should delay his swearing in as an MP until he was ready to meet those obligations.
Thanks. Saw it on NZPundit this morning. I wonder if Marian would be too moderate for "Ms" Clark? ;-)
I wonder which party the replacement will be from?
,,, that's why Marian has minders. Ups and downs are remote controlled.
Stephen Ching is Labour's great hope to drag in the Chinese votes in Auckland. He recently borrowed money from a friend who he tried to fast track thru the application process to be a Justice of the Peace, using his political connections - standing down while an inquiry is underway.
Klark has taken major hits time and time again from this sort of behaviour from her trash pile of individuals... it's inevitable. If you want to be the Minister of everything, there's too much time for your underlings to get into mischief. They're very naughty children and matron Klark should know better. She's got problem children and control of the media - but Don's got capable people and his credibilty and sense of timing are looking more and more viable day by day.
,,, how can she have any confidence in anyone who doesn't worship her?
sad but true
The Government has sent a strong signal that top trade official Tim Groser should be removed as chairman of worldwide talks worth billions of dollars to New Zealand.
Prime Minister Helen Clark made it clear yesterday that the Government had lost confidence in Mr Groser newly confirmed as a National Party candidate continuing to chair the World Trade Organisation's agricultural negotiations committee.
Mr Groser was stood down as New Zealand ambassador to the WTO yesterday, and intends to resign by the end of the week. But he wants to stay as agricultural chairman a WTO rather than New Zealand Government appointment for key negotiations to end export subsidies.
Mr Groser's term as chairman runs till December, when trade ministers meet in Hong Kong to discuss progress on the talks. The agricultural committee will also hold a crucial meeting in Geneva in July.
Miss Clark launched a stinging attack on Mr Groser, describing him as dispensable to New Zealand's cause. She signalled New Zealand expected the WTO to dump him as agricultural chairman.
"It's up to the WTO who it appoints. . . but whether the WTO would want to go down the track of employing someone who can't enjoy the confidence of a member state and has resigned as ambassador is something the WTO would want to consider.
"He was able to get that job because he was a Geneva-based trade ambassador. He will no longer be a Geneva-based trade ambassador, and that is something the WTO needs to reflect on."
Government sources said Miss Clark's comments were significant because WTO appointments were by consensus, and that was now gone.
Foreign Affairs and Trade secretary Simon Murdoch said the Government would consult WTO leaders on Mr Groser's position.
But Mr Groser was adamant he could remain as chairman and said he would stay in Geneva at his expense. Finding a replacement required all 148 countries to agree, which was unlikely at this crucial stage.
National says Mr Groser can stay in Geneva rather than campaign during the election. Leader Don Brash also promised that should Mr Groser be elected, he could stay in Geneva till December.
Dr Brash accused Labour of playing politics with the national interest by opposing Mr Groser's staying on.
"It is insane to throw aside the bipartisan nature of New Zealand trade policy like this. Helen Clark should put the national interest ahead of petty party politics."
Mr Murdoch said New Zealand's deputy ambassador to the WTO, Tony Lynch, had taken over. Mr Groser could continue as an employee after the election, though the Geneva posting would not be kept open.
Mr Groser is certain to win a top-30 place on National's list, making his election highly likely.
"Control freak. YOU SAY CONTROL FREAK WHO!"
,,, if you've ever seen venom leaking out of the pits of hell, here it is.
,,, give Heather Simpson the job and Helen can make the tea and scones for her in Geneva once she loses the election.
~~~ not a pretty picture ~ pray for a National victory!
My Dad knows Steven Ching personally and I have met him on a couple of occasions. Trust me, you don't know half of him yet and this character is even worse than you imagined.
<< ,,, if you've ever seen venom leaking out of the pits of Hell, here it is. >>
That is the absolutely truest line in this thread.
Anyone who doubts the Sodomist-Marxists are other than a Sodom and Gomorrah-esqe manifestation of evil must spend more time with Edmund Burke!
,,, right on the money Brian.