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


More important than Singapore Free Trade Agreement

17 October 2000

The Green Party has criticised the Government for failing to live up to its commitment to partnership with local government over the Singapore free trade agreement.

At this year's Local Government Conference Prime Minister Helen Clark said, "keeping our word on working closely with local government has taken a high priority, because our partnership with you is one of our top priorities".

However Foreign Affairs Minister Phil Goff, acting on behalf of Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton, conceded in a written answer to Green MP Rod Donald that neither Local Government New Zealand nor individual councils were part of the "extensive process of public consultation throughout the negotiations on the Singapore FTA". It is understood that Local Government New Zealand had to seek a briefing on the agreement from the minister.

"In his haste to embrace free trade Jim Sutton has failed to carry out Prime Minister Helen Clark's public commitment to the local government sector" said Green Party Co-Leader Rod Donald. "This begs the question: which partnership is more important, free trade with Singapore or a close working relationship with local government?

"Helen Clark said at the conference that her Government sees local government as complementary to central government and it would seek to work closely with local government on the many issues which require joint input.

"Clearly this commitment is hollow when Local Government New Zealand had to state in its submission on the Singapore free trade agreement that it was concerned more time had not been made available to comment on the draft proposal and as a result it had not been able to fully consult with its members nor alert them to the possible implications so that they can make their own submissions.

"After the nine day submission period closed several local bodies did make submissions on the treaty but the Foreign Affairs Select Committee was not prepared to hear them.

"If the Labour Alliance Government is serious about its partnership with local Government it should put the Singapore Free Trade Agreement on hold until it has undertaken a proper consultation process with Local government and addressed the major concerns they have about this proposed agreement," he said.

Note: Copies of LGNZ, and individual council submissions and reports available.

Rod Donald MP 4706660, 025 507183.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The RWC, And The Op Burnham Inquiry

Testimony was given that damning evidence had been culpably ignored, lost or (deliberately?) mislaid. The systems for handling secret material from our allies were – to be charitable – only loosely observed.

Moreover… vital evidence was only belatedly made available to the inquiry, and former NZDF officers later found to be central to the events under scrutiny were strangely missing from the original witness list offered by NZDF. In short, last week’s cross-examination of the military’s former top brass demonstrated in detail that the NZDF had consistently misled its Ministers (and the wider public) for years, over the impact of our military activities in Afghanistan. More>>


Guns, Lobbying: National Has Wish List For Arms Bill

National has today outlined the 13 changes we want to see in the second tranche of gun reforms before considering our support, National’s Police spokesperson Brett Hudson says. More>>


Call For Action On Expert Panel Report: Welfare System Needs Urgent Change

If we want New Zealand to be the best place in the world to be a child, the Government needs to increase benefits, remove sanctions, individualise benefits, and fix abatement rates now, says Child Poverty Action Group and ActionStation . More>>


First Data Releases: Mixed External Report On Census Fail Mitigation

The panel endorses the statistical approaches used to mitigate non-response... However, the unprecedented use of alternative government datasets to augment census data raises questions around ethics, social licence, cultural licence, and Māori data sovereignty. More>>


Aitches: Manawatū-Whanganui Region Spelling Corrected

The Manawatu-Wanganui Region will in future be correctly spelt Manawatū-Whanganui Region. The change also means the regional council will be known as the Manawatū-Whanganui Regional Council. Horizons Regional Council is the trading name for the council. More>>

PM In Japan: Jacinda Ardern’s Remarks Following Abe Summit

Today we discussed a wide range of topics. Broadly the themes were: a deeper, high-value trade and investment relationship, greater cooperation in the Pacific; and strengthening our security partnership. More>>


Replacing All But Chair: Twyford Appoints Five NZTA Board Members

Transport Minister Phil Twyford today announced the appointment of five new members to the NZ Transport Agency Board... There remain two vacancies on the NZTA Board which will be filled in due course. More>>


Climate Change: Adaptation And Risk Assessment Framework Released

“We are already experiencing the effects of a changing climate such as coastal inundation and increasingly frequent and severe droughts, floods, fires and storms. This framework is an acknowledgement that we must start adapting”, James Shaw said today. More>>


Ihumātao: Mana Whenua Reach Decision On Land

Māori King Tūheitia says mana whenua have finally reached consensus over what to do with Ihumātao - they want it back. More>>





InfoPages News Channels