240 Minute from Templeton to Ministerial Colleagues

Wellington, 7 May 1982

CER

Grateful if you would consider this memorandum to officials and letter to Mr Moore1 MP and clear with Cabinet and Caucus.

You would need to consider whether the letter to Mr Moore could be released after Cabinet or only after it has been to Caucus. I feel Mr Allen should keep Mr Douglas informed and might well show him this memorandum.

Attachment [1]

SECRETARY OF TRADE AND INDUSTRY COMPTROLLER OF CUSTOMS
7 May 1982

CER: Parliamentary Procedures

As discussed, it seems important to decide on the Parliamentary procedures for CER.

Timing

Mr Anthony has indicated that he hopes to take the agreement to the Australian Cabinet early in June. This would be helpful in relation to the Prime Minister's visit to Sydney on 10 June. Following that, as Mr Anthony is away for three weeks, it could not be done until the beginning of July.

Opposition

The Labour Opposition is seeking some indication of the way the matter will be handled. Attached is a copy of a letter. I think it is important to be ready to act as soon as Cabinets have reached agreement, hopefully early in June. Labour will want the matters referred to Select Committee. As you know, I have been discussing this with the Leader of the House.

White Paper and Exposure Draft

As you are aware we are committed to the publication of an Exposure Draft so that the public and interested groups can see the basis for the CER agreement. Given the degree of Parliamentary interest I believe we should consider embodying that Exposure Draft in a White Paper. I understand you feel the Prime Minister has indicated this at his Press Conference. I should be grateful if you would confirm this with the Rt Hon David Thomson.2

Would you please consider what form the White Paper might take. I would like to see a reasonable historical, political and economic analysis that would set the background and rationale for the Agreement. The Exposure Draft might then be embodied in the White Paper.

You should also consider the extent to which explanatory notes were needed for articles in that Exposure Draft.

We might of course simply publish the Exposure Draft on its own. But I believe it might require so much explanation that we should consider fuller exposition at this stage.

Foreign Affairs Committee

My discussions with Mr Speaker suggest that the interest in CER will require reference to a Select Committee. A reasonably detailed White Paper would certainly provide a good basis for this and could be done immediately in the Parliamentary session resumed. This would head off complaints about lack of information.

The Foreign Affairs Committee has the advantage of set procedures. It would enable Members of Parliament to be fully briefed in confidence; and controlled decisions on calling submissions or witnesses. This might be necessary for example, for the Manufacturers Federation, Federated Farmers and the Federation of Labour.

Action

Would you please consider these possibilities. Would you please consider when the Customs (tariff) legislation should be ready and introduced. (I still think it desirable to draft such legislation as soon as possible.)

I should be grateful if the officials team could proceed with drafting. The matter should go to Cabinet on my return or soon after. In the meantime the Acting Minister and Leader of the House will clear my thinking with Cabinet and Caucus.

H C TEMPLETON Minister of Trade and Industry

Attachment [2]

DRAFT LETTER TO MR M MOORE, MP
Wellington, 7 May 1982

Thank you for your letter of 6 May 1982 about CER and the procedures we might follow in the next Parliamentary session.

As you know, I am committed to the development of an exposure draft so that all those interested can be given a clear view of what is involved. My aim was to make this public as soon as the two Cabinets had agreed on the bases for CER.

Such an exposure draft would of course be available to Members of Parliament. Given the degree of complexity and the importance of the issue, I am considering embodying that draft in a white paper so that Members of Parliament in particular can be fully briefed. This would certainly provide the basis for debate as at the moment we can see the need for relatively minor legislative change.

I hope to consider the matter in more detail on my return and firm up on the procedures to follow.

[ABHS 950/Box 1228, 40/4/2 Part 4 Archives New Zealand/Te Whare Tohu Tuhituhinga 0 Aotearoa, Head Office, Wellington]