Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Government urged to open the GATS


Government urged to open the GATS

North Shore City Council is keeping the pressure on Government to be more open about its negotiations on the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) and plans to raise the issue at the local government sector's annual conference in July.

The council had previously expressed concerns about the secretive way the Government was negotiating with others in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and its far-reaching implications for local government in New Zealand.

Tony Holman, who chairs North Shore City's strategy and finance committee, says his council is seeking to put forward a remit on the issue to the annual conference of Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ), the lobby group representing the interests of the country's local authorities.

"We want LGNZ to reaffirm to the Government the request that, at all times, it fully informs the local government sector on negotiations relating to GATS.

"This remit (copy attached) addresses the concerns set out in our recent letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Phil Goff," Councillor Holman says.

"By proposing this remit, we're seeking support from our fellow councils to send a strong message to Government that we want to be involved in decisions affecting the future of our communities."

GATS was signed in 1994 under the WTO which administers the agreement designed to encourage freedom of international trade and removal of regulations deemed obstructive or anti-competitive. GATS applies to 160 service sectors, many of which are the responsibility, directly or indirectly, of either central or local government. They include water services, transport, planning and building controls, community services including libraries and waste disposal.

Tony Holman says it is essential that GATS places no restrictions on local authorities such as North Shore City to pursue social and environmental goals, or to enable foreign companies to take over such services.

"It is inappropriate that local authorities be constrained by an agreement to which we're not a party and which puts into question our mandate to carry out policies and programmes for which we were elected by the community.

"We welcome the Government's recent, thought belated, decision to make public its initial offer in the latest round of GATS negotiations. This approach must be maintained to ensure full transparency and consultation on GATS with local government," he says.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Ruataniwha: DOC, Hawke's Bay Council Developer Take Supreme Court Appeal

The Department of Conservation and Hawke's Bay Regional Investment Company (HBRIC) are appealing to the Supreme Court over a conservation land swap which the Court of Appeal halted. More>>

ALSO:

With NZ's Marama Davidson: Women’s Flotilla Leaves Sicily – Heading For Gaza

Women representing 13 countries spanning five continents began their journey yesterday on Zaytouna-Oliva to the shores of Gaza, which has been under blockade since 2007. On board are a Nobel Peace Laureate, three parliamentarians, a decorated US diplomat, journalists, an Olympic athlete, and a physician. A list of the women with their background can be found here. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Key Style Of Crisis Management

At Monday’s post Cabinet press conference Key was in his finest wide- eyed “Problem? What problem?” mode. No, there wasn’t really a problem that top MPI officials had been at odds with each other over the meaning of the fisheries policy and how that policy should be pursued... More>>

ALSO:

Mt Roskill: Greens Will Not Stand In Likely Post-Goff By-Election

“The Green Party’s priority is changing the Government in 2017, and as part of that we’ve decided that we won’t stand a candidate in the probable Mt Roskill by-election... This decision shows the Memorandum of Understanding between Labour and the Green Party is working." More>>

ALSO:

Wellington: Predator Free Capital Plan

Wellington City Council (WCC), the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) and NEXT Foundation, today announced a joint collaboration to make Wellington the first Predator Free capital city in the world. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Judith Collins’ Efforts At Self Correction

Thousands of prisoners currently in prison may be entitled to an earlier release than expected – and compensation – because Corrections has incorrectly calculated their term of imprisonment. Unless of course, the government buries its mistakes by changing the law and retro-actively getting itself off the hook… More>>

ALSO:

More Justice & Corrections

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news