International Trade Blocs – New Zealand and Australia: Beyond CER

12 Pages Posted: 27 Feb 2013 Last revised: 23 Feb 2015

See all articles by Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC

Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law

Date Written: 1990


New Zealand and Australia’s natural and mutual trust sets their efforts for a closer relationship apart from many other countries. The idea of a common Europe was seen as a solution to bitter conflict which has divided people and nations over several centuries. In North America, the Canadian Federation was created in the aftermath of the American Revolution to make the remaining British colonies strong in the face of American power. Because we have had none of this legacy in our part of the world, perhaps our perspective of development of our relations with Australia is too narrow. We have achieved closer economic relations. But have we fully recognised the potential of our relationship, or does CER represent a high-water mark? We can and we must go further.

This paper traces the history of New Zealand’s relationship with Australia, looking back at two earlier models before considering NAFTA (New Zealand Australia Free Trade Agreement) and CER. Australia and New Zealand share the same legal history, tradition, reliance on the common law, and common legal institutions. There is potential in CER for closer juridical relations to be developed between the two countries. What we aim to have at the end of the CER process is not a single Australasia, or the ANZAC peoples living separate existences side by side, but a vibrant, challenging and outward-looking community of two nations.

Keywords: CER, Closer Economic Relations, Australia, New Zealand, NAFTA

JEL Classification: K33

Suggested Citation

Palmer QC, Sir Geoffrey, International Trade Blocs – New Zealand and Australia: Beyond CER (1990). 1 Public Law Review 203, 1990; Victoria University of Wellington Legal Research Paper Series Palmer Paper No. 31. Available at SSRN:

Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC (Contact Author)

Victoria University of Wellington - Faculty of Law ( email )

PO Box 600
Wellington, 6140
New Zealand

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