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Singapore Free Trade Agreement – ACT Letter

Tuesday 12th Sep 2000

Richard Prebble
Media Release -- Economy
12 September 2000

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister
PARLIAMENT HOUSE

Dear Prime Minister

SINGAPORE FREE TRADE AGREEMENT

The ACT Caucus has today considered our position on the Singapore free trade agreement. ACT strongly supports free trade as being in the best interests of a trading nation in a global economy.

ACT is strongly opposed to Article 74 that includes the Treaty of Waitangi into the free trade agreement in order to provide “more favourable treatment for Maori”.

The ACT Party believes in one law for all. Laws favouring one race over another are apartheid and repugnant.

The ACT Caucus will not vote for the Waitangi clause. From the briefing ACT received from officials, we understand the Singapore government is itself uneasy about the Waitangi clause. Singapore will not object to dropping the Waitangi clause.

National is also opposed to the Waitangi clause and in favour of free trade.

ACT has a solution. If the government were to allow a free vote on the Singapore agreement and on Clause 74, it is clear there is a Parliamentary majority in favour of the agreement and most MPs are opposed to including the Waitangi clause.

ACT’s informal count indicates that 74 MPs will vote for the free trade agreement without the Waitangi clause. So this letter is to propose that in the best interests of the country the democratic MMP course of action is to hold a free vote on the free trade agreement and the Waitangi clause.

I hope you can put the country ahead of your Party.

Yours sincerely

Hon Richard Prebble, CBE
LEADER, ACT NEW ZEALAND

c.c. Rt Hon Jenny Shipley, Leader, National Party
Rt Hon Winston Peters, Leader, New Zealand First Party
Hon Jim Anderton, Leader, Alliance Party
Hon Peter Dunne, Leader, United New Zealand Party


For more information visit ACT online at http://www.act.org.nz or contact the ACT Parliamentary Office at act@parliament.govt.nz.


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