Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


Committee Scrutiny of Singapore FTA a shocker

14 September 2000

Select Committee Scrutiny of Singapore FTA a shocker

The Green Party says it shocked by today's decision by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee to give the public only nine days to make submissions on the Singapore Free Trade Agreement.

"The Select Committee has turned the Treaty scrutiny process into a farce and has made a mockery of Government commitments that the public would have the opportunity to comment on the Treaty," said Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald.

"Apparently the Cabinet has made a decision that it will guarantee to wait a maximum of 15 sitting days before it ratifies any treaty it has referred to parliament. Previously this was a minimum commitment.

"The Select Committee is meant to be the master of its own destiny. But the Labour and National members on the committee stitched up a deal which will in effect make it impossible for anyone to prepare a comprehensive submission giving the Treaty the scrutiny it warrants," said Mr Donald.

"The tight timetable is particularly inept as the Treaty will be reported back to parliament on 19 October, the last day before a two week recess. In other words, it will lie on the table for 19 days before parliament can debate it. I can't for the life of me understand why the Committee didn't allow the public and interested organisations those 19 days to prepare their submissions," he said.

"The free trade parties - National and Labour - want to avoid thorough examination of the Singapore Free Trade Agreement. This isn't surprising given the inflated, unsubstantiated claims of nirvana in the National Interest Assessment which accompanies the Treaty document.

"The National Party should be particularly embarrassed by their complicity in fast tracking the Select Committee process after their grandstanding over the Treaty of Waitangi clause in the agreement," he said.

"The Minister of Trade Negotiations also has a lot to answer for. When asked whether the Treaty would be circulated widely, in the same way that legislation is, to enable the public to comment on the Treaty he said it had been tabled in parliament and could be downloaded from the web.

"That's an insult to all those people who don't have access to the internet and who rely on their local library to participate in the democratic process," said Mr Donald.

Rod Donald MP 025 507183

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

CPAG Report: The Further Fraying Of The Welfare Safety Net

New Zealand’s welfare system has undergone a major transformation during the past three decades. This process has seriously thwarted the original intent of the system, which was to provide a decent standard of living for all New Zealanders in times of need...

In 2017 it is not unusual for families to be living in their cars, in garages, or in substandard boarding houses. Food banks are unable to meet the soaring demands from not only beneficiaries but, increasingly, the working poor. Private charities, such as KidsCan and Variety, are overwhelmed by the demand from poor families for basic necessities. More>>



Risks & Adaptation: Cheaper To Cut Emissions Than Deal With Climate Change

The cost of climate change to New Zealand is still unknown, but a group of experts tasked with plugging the country's information gaps says it will likely be significant and it would be cheaper to cut greenhouse emissions than simply adapting to those changes. More>>


BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>


Gordon Campbell: On Defence Spending, Alabama, And Dolly Parton

The spending lavished on Defence projects to meet the risks that could maybe, possibly, theoretically face New Zealand in future is breath-taking, given how successive governments have been reluctant to spend even a fraction of those amounts on the nation’s actual social needs. More>>


Members' Bills: End Of Life Choice Bill Passes First Reading

The End of Life Choice Bill in the name of David Seymour has been sent to a select committee for consideration by 76 votes to 44. It is the third time Parliament has voted on the issue in recent decades and the first time such a Bill has made it over the first hurdle. More>>


State Sector: MPI Survives Defrag Of Portfolios

The Ministry for Primary Industries will not be split under the new government, but will instead serve as an overarching body for four portfolio-based entities focused on fisheries, forestry, biosecurity and food safety. More>>





Featured InfoPages