Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Has Peter Cresswell gone completely mad? (updated)

This is the question I asked myself when I read this on the Not PC blog:
Crikey! Jim Anderton and the head of the United Nations -- the head of the godamned UN! -- are both on the correct side of the economic argument on food production!
But it turns out he has not. This story, on soaring world food prices (see my comments here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here) from the New Zealand Herald, states that
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is urging world leaders to immediately suspend or eliminate many price controls and other agricultural trade restrictions to bring down soaring food prices.

Mr Ban pressed nations at a summit of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation in Rome overnight to ease a wide range of farming taxes, export bans and import tariffs to help millions of the world's poor cope with the highest food prices in 30 years.

He wants the United States and other nations to phase out subsidies for food-based biofuels, including ethanol, that have encouraged farmers to grow crops for energy use rather than eating.
This story on the Green Party's demand for Fonterra to drop the price of milk in New Zealand (see my comments here), also from the New Zealand Herald, has Jim Anderton getting the economics right. Anderton is quoted as saying
"It might make the handwringing Greens feel good to say this sort of banal statement but what are they really asking for?" he said yesterday.

"The only sustainable way to price goods is by international markets. Anything less and you are on a slippery and unsustainable slope."
Update: Kiwiblog comments on the fact that the UN Sec Gen calls for end to food tariffs and biofuel subsidies

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