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APEC School Holiday A Cynical Ploy

PO Box 106 233 AUCKLAND
2 July 1999

APEC School Holiday A Cynical Ploy

The announcement that schools between Manukau and North Shore will close for September 13th when the APEC Leaders Summit hits Auckland has been met with scepticism by the APEC Monitoring Group.

"Why are the lives of Aucklanders being turned upside down for the benefit of 20 overseas heads of state and their entourages, and to conform with a carefully-managed false image of Auckland which the Shipley government wants to portray?" asks Radha D'Souza of the APEC Monitoring Group.

"Already 40,000 tertiary students have had their schedules changed for APEC, in the hope that they will not be in the city during the Leaders Summit.

Now the government will be putting pressure on families by declaring a holiday for schoolchildren.

Parents in paid work will find it difficult to rearrange their day to cater for what are essentially the whims of security planners for an overblown forum of ageing politicians enjoying cocktails.

" "Perhaps the day off for the children is supposed to prepare them for a bleak future of high unemployment as yet more local industries are decimated by New Zealand's lemming-like insistence on unilateral trade and investment liberalisation !" she said.

Even supporters of the free market, free trade and investment agenda which APEC promotes were becoming more and more sceptical of the forum, said Ms D'souza.

"After this week's debacle where APEC Trade Ministers merely shunted off yet more of the forum's work programme to the World Trade Organisation, it's really time to be asking some hard questions about APEC and the New Zealand government's determination to turn our lives upside down for an extremist market ideology which few, if any of our major trading partners adhere to.

And let's not forget - this is costing us $50 million."

For further comment, contact: Radha D'Souza (09) 846 3227

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