Business and Cultura

Patriotic movie that Politburo found prickly

by Tracey Rudduck-Gudsell

Russian child soldiers were common in World War II.


When the Soviet Politburo commissioned Andrei Tarkovsky to direct Ivan’s Childhood, they expected a rousing patriotic tale of a brave boy soldier defending mother Russia.

Released in 1962, Ivan’s Childhood, was acclaimed as a masterpiece, however the Politburo found it profoundly disturbing, and unable to say exactly why, engaged in a typical act of historical revisionism: Premier Nikita Kruschev declared there had been no child soldiers.

This is somewhat contradicted by photos of victorious Russian soldiers posing on the Reichstag steps, with a uniformed boy prominently in front.

Early in World War II, Russian troops regularly adopted children as their unofficial company mascots. Soviet leaders quickly appreciated the propaganda potential, enlisted them as official uniformed soldiers and made stirring films of their brave battlefield exploits.

Strange as it may sound, Tarkovsky used these boy soldiers to construct a film about love.

In young Ivan’s dreams, we see the love for his dead mother now curdled into hatred for the Nazis. And among the soldiers, there’s a complex web of love for each other – whether it’s the men who love Ivan as a company mascot or a frustrated lieutenant unable to express his love for a fellow woman officer.

Ivan’s Childhood also contains many scenes of exceptional beauty, with the birch forests recalling the work of American photographer Ansel Adams.

But this is war after all and what makes Ivan’s Childhood so disturbing is the sucker punch it delivers at the end. Until then the war is abstract, only felt through the ruined landscape the characters inhabit. No one is killed on screen. In later years, one of Ivan’s lead actors said: “All film is fantasy: it’s not reality.”

Tarkovsky alludes to this when Ivan leafs through captured German documents and encounters Albrecht Durer’s engraving of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Ivan sees Death riding his horse and recognises it as a Nazi soldier he has seen riding a motorbike. Rather than it being childhood naivety, Ivan has recognised in the fantasy of Durer’s artwork a solid reality he has seen.

And the sucker punch? This is when reality intrudes on fantasy. Tarkovsky grafts in documentary footage taken when the Soviets tookBerlin, which blends seamlessly with the preceding film. It takes a few seconds to realise what has snuck past our eyes: Film of Goebbels and his dead family, laid out for inspection, and a German officer hanging in an attic, surrounded by the family he had earlier shot. It’s little wonder the Politburo was so disturbed.

Tauranga Film Society will screen Ivan’s Childhood next Wednesday, 6.20pm at Rialto Cinema.


Bay of Plenty Times

Friday, September 2, 2011


Tim Groser in the Bay to talk trade and growth

Graham Skellern

Local exporters were yesterday given hope of selling into new markets as New Zealand chips away at more free trade agreements.

Trade Minister Tim Groser, who is standing in the New Lynn electorate, visited export companies in Tauranga yesterday and talked about huge opportunities in emerging economies – “that’s where the growth is.”

He said the developed world was drowning in a sea of debt and it was yet to be seen whether the adjustment would be brutal or measured.

Mr Groser said if local exporters could keep costs under control, they had the opportunity of feeding, clothing and educating people in the emerging countries with stronger growth rates – such as Indonesia, India and Russia.

He said New Zealand was the only country in the world negotiating a free trade agreement with Russia, and Russia would soon be admitted as a member of the World Trade Organisation.

“This will accelerate our negotiations, and I don’t think New Zealanders think of the commercial opportunity in Russia. The place is coming out of chaos – it had 80 years of communism and then unregulated capitalism.”

Mr Groser visited Stoney Creek Manufacturing in Greerton and saw the potential for the company to sell its high-tech hunting jackets inRussia. “There are some extraordinarily rich people who go hunting over there,” he said.

Katikati-based Puma Dart Products was also looking at the Russian market.

Following the trade agreements with China and Hong Kong, New Zealand has taken the first steps towards a closer economic co-operation with Taiwan.

“We will be the first country to join the three dots of China together, in terms of free trade,” Mr Groser said.

He was also excited about the export potential in Indonesia, the fourth largest country in the world with 240 million people.

Indonesia has completed domestic procedures to enter the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Area (AANZFTA).

Mr Groser said that from January, businesses on both sides of the Tasman would be able to capitalise on the agreement’s considerable opportunities for mutually advantageous trade with Indonesia, an important trading partner.

“Indonesia is a major emerging economy, which is the largest in South East Asia and accounting for more than one third of ASEAN’s gross domestic product. Indonesia is expected to be one of the world’s top economies by 2030,” he said.

Local exporters can also capitalise on the latest move by the nine Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) countries – Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, Vietnam, and the United States.

At a recent meeting in Hawaii, the partnership announced an ambitious, 21st Century agreement that will enhance trade and investment among the TPP partner countries, promote innovation, economic growth and development, and support the creation and retention of jobs.

He said he met many New Zealanders doing incredible things – innovation in the primary sector is obvious but there are lots of smart IT and other companies.

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise was working with 450 high growth companies, and some of them will be based in the Bay.

“We want them to double their growth,” Mr Groser said.

“We ain’t going to get richer by selling to ourselves and we have to increase the export orientation in the country. Exports have gone to the front of our thinking,” he said.

During his day in Tauranga, Mr Groser visited the Newnham Park Horticultural Innovation Centre at Te Puna and was impressed. He inspected a robotic kiwifruit picker.


Bay of Plenty Times

Thursday, November 24, 2011


Anne Boniface: Outlook steady in the face of exchange rates

Anne Boniface

Exchange Rates

The New Zealand dollar surged to new post-float highs against the United States dollar (USD) in May. Since then European sovereign debt concerns, particularly aboutGreece, have led to a more risk-averse tone being adopted in markets and theNew Zealanddollar (NZD) to retreat from its highs. Risk aversion tends to see the NZD depreciate relative to global reserve currencies such as the USD.

Nonetheless, though below recent peaks, the Kiwi remains at historically high levels. A key factor underpinning this strength for some time has been strong commodity prices. Given our broad expectation of softer commodity prices later in the year as emerging market demand slows and some supply constraints ease, we also expect the NZD to drift a little lower in the second half of the year. This should provide some support for NZD farm gate prices.

Interest rates

The Reserve Bank has left interest rates on hold since its 50 basis point post-earthquake insurance cut in March. In its June statement, the bank noted the improving tone of indicators of economic activity outsideCanterburyand reiterated its intention to eventually raise rates from their current very stimulatory levels. For borrowers, this means the window of opportunity for sitting on floating rates before jumping into fixed term is quickly narrowing.

Importantly, this tightening cycle has now been effectively decoupled from rebuilding activity in Canterbury, which we don’t expect to really kick into gear until 2012. With this in mind, we expect the first move to raise rates in an extended tightening cycle will be in December 2011. While we broadly share the Reserve Bank’s view on the pace of hikes over 2012, we suspect that in 2013 rates will have to rise higher than the 5 per cent currently incorporated in the Reserve Bank’s forecasts and current market pricing.


Global dairy prices have continued their gradual slide in the last few months. We are likely to see some further modest downward pressure on prices with expectations of modest improvements in global production over the next year and the pace of demand growth in emerging markets set to slow over the same period.


Land Rural confidence has been boosted by significant improvement in farm gate prices in recent months and the boost to production in some sectors provided by the very mild start to winter. At the margin, this may be starting to gradually flow through to the rural property market. The Real Estate Institute of New Zealand reported a lift in rural sales volumes in both April and May. However, it must be remembered that this modest improvement has come off very depressed levels while prices appear to have broadly stabilised. The volume of sales is still over 50 per cent below 2008 peaks.


Lamb prices have continued to edge higher in recent months, while beef prices have started to soften. Both, however, remain at historically high levels. Elevated feed costs are likely to provide a headwind to northern hemisphere herd expansions. Closer to home, Australia’s decision to halt live cattle exports to Indonesia will be closely watched by markets.


While cotton prices have moderated, wool prices have continued to edge higher in recent months as supplies remain tight particularly in Australia and New Zealand. This is likely to continue to support prices. That said, some of the one-off supply constraints, including China’s 12-month ban on South African wool imports, may reverse in the second half of 2011.


Russia’s announcement that it would resume wheat exports from July put downward pressure on prices. Stocks remaining tight in many markets, weather concerns and shifting expectations of northern hemisphere harvest yields have all been adding to volatility in markets.


Hawke’s Bay Today

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Yani Johanson: From Russia with love

Yani Johanson is a city councillor.

The cool feeling of grass soothes my bare feet as I walk softly over it.

I gaze at people of all ages playing in the swimming pools and hydroslides in the hot sun, and wonder why no one else is standing where I am. A tap of my shoulder from behind by a security guard soon answers my question why. In spite of not speaking or understanding Russian, I comprehend from the frankness of the exchange that I should hop off my comfortable spot and onto the scorching, but able to be walked on, hot concrete pavement.

So far it is about the most serious trouble I have encountered (apart from the suspicious customs officials who thought my aged NZ passport looked a bit on the fake side), on an otherwise memorable trip to a place vastly different than New Zealand.

Spending time in Russia via Malaysia is certainly an eye-opening experience. Although I’m here for private reasons and in a personal capacity, I cannot but view my journey, and what I have seen in my surrounds, without thinking of what the future of Christchurch holds.

I realise that many things are similar no matter where you are in the world such as shopping malls, traffic congestion, and tragedy. Sadly, a few days after I arrive in Russia an overcrowded ferry capsizes leaving at least 200 dead, including many children.

A national day of mourning is declared for the following day and full safety investigations are ordered immediately. There is no mucking about. Yet I also see unique and special things that set places and people apart.

One of those is Air Asia X. It is a special airline, the importance cannot be underestimated. It flies directly between Kuala Lumpur and Christchurch.

I was expecting the plane to be about half full and at least have a spare seat next to me to spread out into in but I was delighted to see hardly any empty seats, let alone one right beside me. This shows that our region and our city is still being well visited in spite of all we have been through.

Malaysia and especially Kuala Lumpur is a melting pot of people from various ethnic cultures. The fact that so many people there speak English, unlike my next destination is a huge plus for its tourism. One can imagine that perhaps a second language should be compulsory in our own education system and what huge benefits in a globalised world that may bring.

I am in Krasnodar and it is a smaller Russian city about two and a bit hours flight from Moscow. I have been here about a week and have ventured towards the coastal area by the Black Sea and back again.

There are two distinct things that leave a strong impression. First public spaces have pride of place, are well maintained, and are vibrant through the use of colourful flowers and clever lighting. It makes me think if we are serious about our Garden City image in Christchurch we have to do better.

Second is the way in which you see young children and older adults are integrated into the heart of public life. Whether it is in a market, at the beach or in the street, you see a wide range of ages playing and interacting in close proximity. This appears to happen during the day but also late at night and helps contribute to a sense of safety.

As I get ready to return home to the huge challenges at hand, I am mindful of the importance of the potential of being able to create this harmony and beauty in the renewed central city.


The Star

Saturday, July 16, 2011 8:00


Back in theUSSR? No thanks

Don Farmer

DESPERATE attempts to stop beautiful Russian women from falling in love with foreigners and deserting Mother Russia have brought a wry smile from Masterton’s Russian-born artist Luda Welch.

Russian politician Nikolai Kuryanovich has griped that “our women ? the most beautiful in the world ? are going abroad. By doing this they are wasting the most valuable thing we have, the gene pool of our nation.”

Ludasays his complaint has come a good few decades too late.

“The best ofRussia’s gene pool was destroyed by sending off the best people toSiberiamany years ago,” she said.

Luda, who is married to musician and healer Greg Welch, said there was a multitude of reasons why Russian women sought foreign partners.

The razzle-dazzle of never-before-known materialism had its attractions for some ? and escaping from the clutches of vodka-soaked chauvinists is a sufficient reason for others.

“Many girls who fleeRussiajust want to get away from Russian men,” she said.

Mr Kuryanovich is a member of an ultra-nationalist party inRussiaand is the author of a bill being drafted to try and prevent the exodus of Russian women.

He wants Russians who marry foreigners to be exiled and stripped of their citizenship.

And while condemning women from going abroad he also doesn’t want people bringing foreign spouses toRussiaeither.

Since the fall of communism Russian marriages to foreigners has increased dramatically and a magazine poll last year found that one in three Russian girls wanted to marry a foreigner and live abroad.

Luda has been inNew Zealandfor eight years having first come here on holiday after the collapse of theSoviet Union.

Her parents remain inRussiaand she and Greg visit each year.

Wairarapa Times Age

Monday, June 13, 2005


Cooking up a plan

Sarah Hardie Friday,

TASTY TREATS: Christiana Taigel of Carterton with cupcakes from a recipe in her cook book, the proceeds of which will go to aid a dance school in Russia.


The forgotten children of Vladivostok, Russia, have touched the heart of one Carterton girl, who is writing a cookbook to raise money to help the orphans of the poverty-plagued city.

Christiana Taigel has collected more than 100 recipes from families in her home school group and put them together in a book, which she hopes to publish before Christmas.

“I’m going to sell it to raise money for the children over there and I’ve heard there’s a dance studio so I would love for some of the money to go towards that because I love dancing. I do ballet, contemporary and tap,” the 13-year-old said.

Christiana’s mum Nina said the book started out as typing practice but after meeting Rachael Hughes, who started the charity Living Hope, which helps Vladivostok’s children, it turned into a charity mission.

“I thought, rather than her typing aimlessly, she could put it to good use and create this book, and all profits will go to Living Hope,” her mum said.

Living Hope began in 1997, with Hughes, who, on her way to take up a teaching post in Russia, was nearly pick-pocketed by a hungry, homeless child.

She was moved to find ways to feed the homeless children she came across and now has the support of the Russian government providing basic needs and social support.


Wairarapa Times Age

November 18, 2011


Emerging markets trade ‘challenge’

John Maslin

TRADE TALKS: Alistair Polson, special agricultural trade envoy, makes a point during his keynote address to Friday’s Wanganui Federated Farmers forum.

Stuart Munro 1150711Wcsmpolson-1

Getting a foothold for New Zealand’s primary produce in countries with growing economies remained the challenge facing trade negotiators.

Mangamahu farmer Alistair Polson, one of New Zealand’s special agricultural trade envoys, explained the latest developments to a forum organised by Wanganui Federated Farmers on Friday.

Mr Polson said having a farmer as a trade envoy provided credibility at the negotiating table.

He said while farming provided 17 per cent of New Zealand’s gross domestic product, it was a not a “heavy hitter” in global terms, and it had to struggle with trade restrictions.

That sometimes meant facing tariffs of around 40 per cent, and last year that translated into beef exports paying a total of $203 million in tariffs and sheep meats about $43 million.

Mr Polson said despite the collapse of the Doha trade negotiations aimed at freeing up trade barriers around the world, New Zealand was now looking for trading partners with growing economies and which needed protein.

Those negotiations involved countries such as Korea, Russia, India and those in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

He saidNew Zealand’s drive for free trade agreements was always under pressure. While the country’s- kiwifruit paid tariffs of 45 per cent inKorea,Chilehad negotiated its tariffs on kiwifruit down to 23 per cent. The same issues existed for beef and dairy exports, where competition came from the US, Australia and the European Union.

“The US has almost signed off its trade agreement with Korea [in beef], and our market will suffer as a result. And Fonterra may lose up to 40 per cent of its cheese market to EU providers.”

“This is a life-and-death struggle in terms of trade, and I haven’t got good news in terms of the Korean market.”

But he said there were positives, and the potential market in India was among them.

“It’s a country showing strong economic growth and with 17 per cent of the world’s population, yet they only consume something like 91kg of raw milk per person each year, so there is huge scope to improve on that. And the prospects for beef and lamb are good if tariff barriers are addressed.”

He said other markets were being pursued with the Russia, Belorussia and Kazahkstan Customs Union, a grouping of nations that imports 40 per cent of its food.

“But, again, they tend to have high tariffs in place for beef [50 per cent], lamb [25 per cent] and milk powder [25 per cent],” he said.

The other big trading opportunity lay in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which included Australia, US, Chile, Malaysia and some other Pacific rim nations.

He said this would create a trading bloc bigger than the European Union, and New Zealand was right in the middle of it.

For New Zealand, it opened up the opportunity of getting dairy products into the US and later beef, dairy and horticultural product into Japan at much more agreeable terms of trade.

Mr Polson while New Zealand faced intense competition, it did have the chance to get some leverage into markets.

“We need access to those markets and simply have to make every post a winner,” he said.

Other speakers included Kirsten Bryant, the Western North Island director on the Beef+Lamb board, Cliff Heath, chairman of Wool Equities Ltd, and Bay de Lautour, chairman of Primary Wool Co-Operative.

Wanganui Chronicle

Monday, July 18, 2011


Funding blow hits Dargaville High School

Annette Lambly

Dargaville High School

Lack of government funding means Dargaville High School’s pilot international agricultural course will not be rolled out across the country.

Despite not qualifying for the Government’s recently announced $80 million package aimed at encouraging overseas students into New Zealand schools, the high school will continue with its own plans to allow adult Russian students to complete an agricultural training programme in Dargaville.

Tertiary Education Minister Steven Joyce, who visited Dargaville last week, disappointed school representatives by confirming the Government did not fund individual providers – whether public or private – for international educational ventures.

The three-month agriculture course is the outcome of visits between Dargaville and Leningrad by DHS community liaison officer and project co-ordinator Robina Needham, who believes the programme could be worth millions of dollars to New Zealand.

Russian officials are keen to makeRussiaself-sufficient in food, after decades of agricultural rundowns. Eyes are onNew Zealandbecause of a free trade agreement and our expertise in farming. With the Russians proposing extending the programme to polytechnics and institutions Russia-wide, the Dargaville school felt its agricultural courses could be franchised, to rural high schools throughout New Zealand.

Dargaville High School principal David Bargh said the school was disappointed but remained positive. He said the school had been keen to franchise the programme because that would allow them to keep control of the quality of the programmes offered.

“For now, the school will basically continue on with our own programme,” he said.

The Kaipara District Council has given its support.


The Northern Advocate

Wednesday, August 31, 2011 8:00


EU,Russiato discuss Russian euro zone help

Thu, 15 Dec 2011

The presidents of the European Union andRussiaare likely to discuss possible Russian contributions to stability in the euro zone when they meet for a summit inBrusselson Wednesday and Thursday, EU and Russian officials said.

Existing plans to help indebted euro zone countries involve money channelled via the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), the euro zone’s temporary bailout fund.

Russiahas said that it will consider requests to provide help via the IMF, but Prime Minister Vladimir Putin last month criticised the structure of the EFSF.Russiaindicated a few months ago that it might be willing to contribute up to 10 billion euros to euro zone stabilisation mechanisms, according to EU officials.

“Russiaholds approximately 40 percent of its reserves in euros and therefore it’s interested in the developments in the euro zone,” a senior EU official said. “I believe there will be further, more concrete, discussions tonight and tomorrow,” he said on Wednesday afternoon.

At a summit last week, EU leaders agreed on tighter fiscal rules under a pact that also includes new funds to and loans from the IMF. They said they would confirm the provision of funds to the IMF of up to 200 billion euros in the form of bilateral loans to help it deal with the crisis.

A Kremlin official confirmedRussia’s willingness to consider help for the euro zone.

“We have an interest in the joint efforts made by EU countries aimed at helping them overcome the complicated and ambiguous processes that threaten the stability of the eurozone and could potentially affect their cooperation withRussia,” he told reporters inMoscowon Tuesday.

“We see ourselves as a responsible partner of the European Union, and are ready to hear and study attentively everything that they are doing.”

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was scheduled to have dinner on Wednesday with the EU’s two presidents – Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso, who heads the executive, and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, who represents member state governments.

The three were scheduled to have more formal talks on Thursday. They were expected to announce steps towards wider visa-free travel and measures to combat illegal immigration and transnational organised crime.

Otago Daily Times


Russian anchor off air for finger gesture in Obama story

Fri, 25 Nov 2011

A famous Russian TV anchor has been taken off the air for making an obscene gesture after mentioning US President Barack Obama in a live newscast, the channel said today.

Tatiana Limanova, an award-winning journalist and host of a news show on the REN-TV private channel, waved her middle finger when presenting a story about the APEC summit in theUnited States, a moment after mentioning Obama.

The video went viral on the internet, with many viewers speculating the gesture had been meant to insult theU.S.president, who met his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev on the sidelines of the summit.

“The gesture was addressed to the members of the editing crew, there was no implication of any kind and it had no reference to the information delivered by Tatiana Limanova,” a spokesman for the TV station told Interfax.

Limanova thought she was reading the news offscreen by the time she raised a finger, the spokesman said. There were no details on how Limanova’s duties would change after the incident.

Relations betweenRussiaand theUnited Stateshave been strained recently overU.S.plans to deploy a missile defence shield inEurope.

REN-TV is broadcast acrossRussiaand the formerSoviet Union. It is owned by tycoon Yuri Kovalchuk, believed to be close toRussia’s paramount leader, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

But the channel is widely regarded as a relatively free and unbiased one in a country where the government has a tight grip on much of the media.

Otago Daily Times


Thousands line up to kiss ‘Virgin Mary’s belt’

Sun, 20 Nov 2011

Russia’s First Lady Svetlana Medvedeva crosses herself in front of a chest containing the Cincture of the Virgin Mary during a service at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour inMoscow. REUTERS/Mikhail klimentyev/RIA Novosti/Kremlin

Tens of thousands of Russians lined up outsideMoscow’s central cathedral today for a chance to kiss a relic of the Virgin Mary brought from a Greek monastery a few weeks before a parliamentary election.

The Cincture of the Virgin Mary, believed by the faithful to be the belt worn by the Madonna, is said to promote fertility and good health and was brought by Greek monks toRussialast month, greeted on arrival by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Putin, whose UnitedRussiaParty hopes to maintain domination of the lower house of parliament in the election on December 4, has long courted the Orthodox Church. A former KGB spy, he now portrays himself as a devout Christian.

“We have been married for nine years already, and we very much want to have a child, maybe this belt will help us,” 32-year-old Irina Khilchenko said as she stood in near-freezing temperatures in front of her husband, Valery.

The couple, fromBryansk, travelled six hours by bus and had been standing close to the front of the line outside the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour for about 13 hours to wait for the relic’s arrival.

More than 2 million Russians have seen the relic in the past few weeks in cities includingNorilsk,Vladivostokand Yekaterinburg, said the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation that arranged the tour.

The Foundation, chaired by the head ofRussia’s state railways and long-time Putin associate Vladimir Yakunin, said the relic’s arrival shortly before the parliamentary election was coincidental.

“It is absolutely not related. We wanted it to come in the summer, but the entire process, the discussions, took a long time,” spokesman Alexander Gatilin said.

He said the Cincture, which is usually stored at the Vatopedi Monastery on Mount Athos, had not leftGreecefor the past 200 years.

The arrival of the belt, with its reputed health benefits, coincides with government efforts to boostRussia’s population, which has declined to 142 million since theSoviet Unionbroke up, threatening a demographic crisis. The Russian Orthodox Church has backed the campaign.

Pilgrims polled in the line outside the cathedral, rebuilt in the 1990s after the Soviet leadership blew it up in 1931, unanimously backed the Church’s view.

“It is a great sin, for me the topic is closed,” 52-year-oldKursknative Valentina Myasnyankina said, as others murmured in agreement.

Most also voiced support for the United Russia party.

“In general I think Orthodox believers will vote for the party that is closest to the Orthodox Church,” said Nina Antonova, who arrived Saturday morning fromBryansk. “That party is United Russia.”

The 63-year-old grandmother flashed a gold-toothed smile, and shortly thereafter the church bells rang out above the din of weekend city traffic.

Otago Daily Times

Trade: Key Plans Moscow Trip As Russian FTA Takes Shape

November 24th, 2010

John Key is expected to visitMoscownext year with the ambitious aim of sealing a FTA withRussia,KazakhstanandBelarusby 2012. The PM has returned from a successful APEC conference inYokohamawith a commitment from Russian leaders negotiations will start early next year on another historic deal exporters say has huge economic potential.Russia, an emerging powerhouse along withBrazil,IndiaandChina, is the world’s 12th largest economy projected to become the sixth largest by 2050. NZ will be the first country to sign an FTA with it and Key thinks its Govt is followingChina’s example and using NZ as a blueprint for developing an FTA, proving to the world they’re ready to branch out and open up their economies. He says “Taking the initiative to have this FTA will position NZ well – it will further integrate us regionally and will complement our existing FTAs and those under negotiation such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.”

Exports to Russia grew 267% from $51m to $187m between 2000 and 2009 and Key says the country’s increasingly wealthy middle class is what NZ needs for food products and manufactured goods. Fonterra saysRussiais one of the world’s largest importers of butter and cheese and there’s already a strong foundation to build on. Fonterra’s group director Kelvin Wickham says “Russiahas the potential to become an even more important partner.” The Dairy Companies Association hailed Key’s announcement as “great news” and says new market opportunities will open up.

ExportNZ says the deal will be significant with opportunities for agri-tech and specialised manufacturing. Executive Director Catherine Beard says “having first mover advantage is an opportunity not to be squandered. I’d urge all Kiwi companies to investigate the potential – FTAs are only worth something if they’re used.” Key is also enthusiastic about developments in the nine-nation TPP negotiations andAucklandwill host the next round in December.Japan’s unexpected announcement it is taking the first steps towards opening its economy to free trade was a talking point at APEC and Key says it may join the TPP.

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