Parliament

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

 

Free-trade fears confirmed after Batam visit

13 November 2000

PM should visit Batam before signing Singapore FTA

Green Party co-leader Rod Donald is urging Prime Minister Helen Clark to take a first hand look at what free trade means in Singapore before she signs a closer economic partnership agreement there on Tuesday.

Rod Donald has just returned from a fact-finding trip to Singapore. He visited a joint Singapore-Indonesian industrial park on the Indonesian island of Batam just off the coast of Singapore, where 95 corporations including Sanyo, Sony and Phillips make a wide range of electronic, mechanical and electrical products.

"While the working conditions I saw were better than I expected my fears about the impact of free trade were confirmed," Rod Donald said. "Young workers are treated as labour units, discarded when the company has extracted what it can get from them, rather than full citizens who want to live with their families in the community."

Mr Donald said Ms Clark, who has in the past championed fair trade, should see for herself both the destruction of the environment and the way workers are treated by corporations in their pursuit of profits during her visit to Singapore."

"It is of major disappointment to the Green Party that the government was so keen to stitch up a free trade Agreement with Singapore it gave away the commitment made in the Speech from the Throne to ensure that core labour and environmental standards would be incorporated in these agreements.

"While the factory I visited was neat and tidy, the working conditions were pleasant and the skilled factory workers were probably paid more than where they came from in Indonesia, this doesn't disguise the harsh reality that thousands of young women are exploited in these factories.

"They are required to work a five and a half day week for less than NZ$1 an hour, there is no job security with two to four year contracts rarely renewed, and the on-site company supplied accommodation consists of two tier bunks in 16 bed dormitories.

On the other hand Singaporean management staff live on the other side of the island in company paid homes on an executive estate complete with golf course and they are paid a "hardship allowance" on top of their Singaporean salaries.

Rod Donald MP: 025 507 183


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Zimbabwe: New Democracy, Or A False Dawn?

Gordon Campbell: Robert Mugabe = Hosni Mubarak. The current jubilation on the streets of Harare at the fall of Zimbabwe’s dictator Robert Mugabe is genuine, and one hates to be negative about the country’s future. Yet the situation is eerily similar to the scenes in Cairo in early 2011, when a popular uprising swept Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt. More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On The New Pike River Agency (And The Air Strike Wing)

Much of the sympathy the public still feels for the families of the Pike River miners has been sustained by the sense that the previous government – let alone the mining company and the processes of receivership and litigation – has never dealt honestly, or fairly, with them. More>>

ALSO:

Not Going Swimmingly: Contractor Cut, New Dates For Christchurch Sports Centre

“As an incoming Minister, I have been conducting a thorough review of progress on the Anchor projects and to learn of a $75 million budget blowout on this project was very disappointing..." More>>

ALSO:

Tertiary: Allowances, Loan Living Costs To Get Boost

“From 1 January, student allowance base rates and the maximum amount students can borrow for living costs will rise by a net $50 a week,” says Education Minister Chris Hipkins... further adjusted from 1 April 2018 in line with any increase in the CPI. More>>

ALSO:

Foreign Affairs: Patrick Gower Interviews Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says discussions have already begun on how to bring climate change refugees into New Zealand under a Pacific seasonal employment plan... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Centre Right’s Love Of ‘Nanny State’

You’d almost think it was 2005 again. That was a time when the rugged individualists of the centre-right were being beset by government regulations on the nature of light-bulbs, the size of shower heads, the junk food available at school tuck shops and other such essentials... More>>

Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election