“The EU Free Trade Deal will add more restrictions, rather than granting new access to trade,” says ACT Deputy Leader and Trade spokesperson Brooke van Velden.

“Free trade is always good but this deal appears to have as much regulation as trade. There are minimal concessions and New Zealand has bought into sanctionable restrictions on the Paris agreement that sets a dangerous precedent restricting our ability to make our own policies.

“Ardern appears to have used the EU FTA to bind future governments to her own political agenda while forgetting to do the hard work getting access for staple New Zealand exports.

“The net effect may be more regulations on existing trade with very little new trade with what is already our fourth largest trading partner.

“It is in New Zealand’s DNA that we are a trading nation. ACT has always been the strongest proponent of free trade in Parliament.

“We welcome some aspects of this deal, like the major win on tariff reduction for kiwifruit, apple, wine and onion exporters. That will contribute to the New Zealand economy, providing more jobs for Kiwis.

“But we are concerned this deal sets a bad precedent for future access for our sheep, beef and dairy farmers in future trade deals. It’s no wonder they’ve described it as “extremely disappointing.”

“The Prime Minister should have left Europe without a signed EU-trade deal and asked for further negotiation rounds considering the shoddy access for beef exporters.

“In an ideological rush to be the first Government to sign a trade deal with “sanctionable commitments” to the Paris Climate Agreement, the Prime Minister threw away further trade negotiation rounds that could benefit our meat and dairy exporters.

“ACT is also now vindicated for skipping the Speaker’s Tour junket that’s set to cost taxpayers $211,000. Despite Trevor Mallard claiming this tour would help the EU Trade deal by alleviating concerns about our dairy – it’s clear this he and the other MPs failed.”

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