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More Than One Legal Dishonest In Singapore Treaty

Singapore Treaty Has More Than One Legal Dishonesty

Parliament must not stick slogans into law without knowing precisely what is intended and what they will mean in the Courts, said ACT Commerce spokesman Stephen Franks.

“The Singapore Free Trade Treaty has more than one dangerous slogan. As well as the racial privilege clause it also uses the term “partnership” to refer to the relationship it sets up with Singapore.

“On both counts the Singapore Free Trade Treaty is shameful.

“To lawyers partnership is not just a fuzzy feelgood term. Partnership implies a capacity to speak on behalf of the other, and to bind the other legally. Partners become individually liable for joint debts. No one can tell us what it means in a free trade agreement.

“This Free Trade Treaty follows no sensible principle by pioneering the dangerous language of partnership. The word has seriously damaged our constitution since a judge called the Treaty of Waitangi a partnership agreement.

“Parliament should ensure that an incompetent, inexperienced and naïve Government cannot do the same in international relations.

“Business people will back the principle of clear law even if they did not object to entrenching racial privilege.

“New Zealanders can trust neither National nor Labour in this area. Labour because it has a clearly racist and anti-democratic philosophy, National because it simply won’t stick to principle.

“New Zealanders will remember that Sir Douglas Graham agreed to the Treaty “settlements” that expressly left the door open for further claims on a spurious partnership analogy. The property basis of settlement should have been enough. Attorney General Margaret Wilson is behind the current attempt to make the Treaty a “living document” (perpetual grievances and legal fees) but the grounds were laid by National.

“On the Singapore Free Trade deal National had a chance to state simply that events had shown that they were wrong to legislate in the past on race, and that it would return to principle. Deteriorating race relations and ever more fanciful claims based on historical grievance leave no other conclusion. We have seen that National would now rather do political deals.

“The Singapore Treaty is bad in execution not in intent. It must not proceed with either of the two dangerous slogans,” said Stephen Franks.

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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