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Alternatives take centre stage

13 September 1999: For immediate release

Alternatives take centre stage

“The APEC monitoring group’s Alternatives to the APEC Agenda Conference has laid down a genuinely global challenge to the APEC charade”, spokesperson Aziz Choudry said today.

“Over 400 people attended our public meeting at the Methodist Mission on Friday night. The weekend conference of 160 delegates from Aotearoa and throughout the Asia Pacific region built on the meetings and education work which the monitoring group has run throughout the country this year”, said Mr Choudry.

“Under the dark shadow of the continuing massacre in East Timor delegates from throughout the Asia Pacific region described the APEC agenda of trade and investment liberalisation as the new imperialism. Delegates heard how poverty and deprivation has been created over and over again throughout the region, as the pain of New Zealand-style experiments is inflicted on groups tragically unprepared for its consequences.”

“At its heart, the APEC agenda means the theft of land, resources and power. Throughout the conference, people have been inspired by stories of the fight back, from Chiapas to South Korea, from Bougainville to the Philippines, from Maori and Tauiwi in Aotearoa”, Mr Choudry said.

“The free traders have discovered that the tide is turning against them. This understanding is starting to grow in Aotearoa too. People are losing their fear of APEC”, he said.

“That is our ray of hope for the future. This conference has devised numerous strategies to strengthen that hope, based firmly in the full recognition of Tino Rangatiratanga. The momentum which has developed here will only grow as we oppose the proposal for a millenium round at the World Trade Organisation”.

“When APEC came to town there were a lot of cars and a lot of suits. The people, however, were with us,” Mr Choudry concluded

For further information, please contact: Aziz Choudry O21 217 3039

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