230 Telegram from New Zealand High Commission in Canberra to Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Canberra, 1 October 1981

No 2976. CONFIDENTIAL NZEO PRIORITY

ANZCER: Prime Ministers Discussion at CHOGM

Trade (Lind) has given us a report of the discussion between Mr Muldoon and Mr Fraser on CER matters at CHOGM. His version is based on contact with Anderson who was present at the meeting.

  1. Australian officials regard the contact between the two Prime Ministers on CER as very worthwhile. The discussion served to signal a degree of commitment to the exercise on Mr Fraser's part which so far Australian officials have been reluctant to assume. Lind noted that there was an excellent rapport on what needed to be done to bring the negotiations to a conclusion. Of particular significance to the Australians was Mr Fraser's ready acceptance (or suggestion?) that the two Prime Ministers should meet in March, or 'in April at the latest' to complete the negotiations. This acknowledgement by Mr Fraser of the preferred New Zealand timetable has led officials to rethink the procedures for public presentation of the CER package they had earlier proposed (our 2893).
  2. While interdepartmental consultation on this development is not complete Lind indicated that pressure was now on all departments to accept that consultations would need to be virtually completed before the Prime Ministers met. This would not rule out some final consultations on the agreed package but he said 'You can forget about the three months periods'. Lind also noted that the revised procedures would compress the period for negotiations before March. It would be necessary to resolve or advance all the matters currently in dispute and obtain a final Cabinet mandate before the Prime Ministerial negotiations.
  3. Lind understood that the Prime Ministers endorsed the idea of industry discussions on steel. A meeting was to be arranged within the month and officials would be involved.
  4. The Prime Ministers also noted that a further meeting was to be held to discuss wine. Lind thought that the Australian industry body might already have contacted the NZ Wine Institute proposing a meeting late in October.
  5. Finally Mr Anthony is being briefed on 'important issues' eg dairying for the further meeting with the Prime Minister on Monday or Tuesday that Mr Fraser suggested. Australians see this meeting as opportunity for the Ministers to review briefly progress since the May Ministerial meeting. Lind was not certain what matters Mr Anthony may wish to raise. However, we gathered that he could well be briefed to ask if consideration had been given to the latest Australian formulation for the elimination of import licensing in reasonable time and the significance of New Zealand's acceptance of the GATT subsidies code for the export incentives issue.
  6. You or CHOGM delegation will no doubt let us know if any briefing required from here and whether any assistance from mission required at the meeting.

[ABHS 950/Boxes1221-1226, 40/4/1 Part 39 Archives New Zea1and/Te Whare Tohu Tuhituhinga 0 Aotearoa, Head Office, Wellington]