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No more 'symbolic' votes if Green bill passes

A Green Party bill drawn from the member's ballot today will put the heat on the government to put more international treaties to a parliamentary vote.

In about a month's time the government will be allowing the House to vote on the Singapore Free Trade Agreement.

Keith Locke's International Treaties Bill would require a parliamentary vote on all such treaties.

"My bill will have its first reading in the House before the 'symbolic'
vote on the Singapore Free-Trade Agreement takes place," said Mr Locke.

"It's very timely that my bill has been drawn because it highlights the need for all international treaties to put through a democratic approval process, as occurs in America, Germany and several continental countries. New Zealand certainly needs this now MMP has brought to New Zealand an era of minority Governments.

"The 'symbolic' vote offered on the Singapore Free Trade Agreement can't hide the fact that parties outside the Government don't have a say on international treaties signed by the Government."

Mr Locke said we now have the odd situation where insignificant domestic legislation has to be voted on by Parliament, but international treaties with massive ramifications for New Zealand can be signed off by the Government without a Parliamentary majority.

The Law Commission and the Clerk of the House, David McGee, are also on record for a change to our legislation on international treaties to require Parliamentary approval.


Keith Locke MP: (04) 470 6710 or 025 528 353

Gina Dempster, press secretary: (04) 470 6723 or 021 1265 289


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