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Claytons vote on free trade deal

21 August 2000

Claytons vote on free trade deal

The Green Party today strongly criticised the Government for refusing to be bound by a parliamentary vote on the Singapore free trade agreement.

"Helen Clark's admission today that the Government will not be bound by a vote on the Singapore Free Trade deal is undermining the credibility of parliament," said Green Party co-leader Rod Donald.

"The Government's decision to hold a Clayton's vote on the Singapore deal after a perfunctionary select committee process is an insult to parliamentary democracy and will make New Zealand an international laughing stock," he said.

Mr Donald said that while he was pleased there would at least be a parliamentary debate on the topic to enable parties to place their perspectives on the record, either the vote should be binding or there should be none.

"The proposed half way house is a farce to provide the Alliance with an out," said Mr Donald.

"If the Alliance do not support this deal, which would be consistent with their previous position on free trade, then one party of the minority government, Labour, will in effect be imposing their wishes on to the rest of the country.

"The irony will not be lost that only last week the Government relied on the Green Party to pass a bill promoting good faith bargaining for industrial relations," said Mr Donald.

"Now that same government is determined to force through a trade deal which will inevitably undermine the lot of working New Zealanders."

Ends

Rod Donald MP: 025 507 183

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