[23 January/Radio NZ]

Seven major agricultural organisations are urging the government to use forums like the World Economic Forum meeting of global government and business leaders in Davos to try to rescue the World Trade Organisation (WTO). Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern used the WEF meeting to speak about issues like climate change and New Zealand’s ‘wellbeing Budget’ but did not address some of the major challenges facing the global trade system. Seven organisations that cover almost all of New Zealand’s primary (the Dairy Companies Association of New Zealand, the Meat Industry Association, Beef + Lamb New Zealand, Horticulture New Zealand, the Horticulture Export Authority, SeafoodNZ and NZ Winegrowers) said the government should also be active in securing the future of the WTO. The groups highlighted that the appeals process of the WTO could collapse this year due to insufficient judges, which would deprive small countries like New Zealand of important protections against bigger countries that might bend the rules of world trade and that resolving the issue requires collective action from developed countries if we are to protect jobs in New Zealand.