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Proposed ANZFA Changes - Kedgley Calls For Debate

6 July 2001

Kedgley Calls For Parliamentary Debate On Proposed Changes To ANZFA

Green Party MP and Safe Food Spokesperson Sue Kedgley today called on the Government to ensure that the New Zealand Parliament is able to debate and vote on proposed changes to ANZFA legislation before it agrees to them and renegotiates the ANZFA Treaty.

"The Australian Parliament has passed legislation making changes to the Australian New Zealand Food Authority," said Ms Kedgley. "New Zealanders must have the same right as Australians to debate the proposed changes to ANZFA and to consider the impact of the new changes on New Zealanders."

"We should have the right to vote against any changes we do not believe are in the best interests of New Zealanders, and to make amendments to the legislation," said Ms Kedgley.

"Simply allowing the Australian changes to be considered in the Foreign Affairs Select Committee does not go far enough."

Ms Kedgley said she had a number of concerns about the proposed changes and also about the fact that New Zealand had only three members out of 12 on the ANZFA Board and one out of ten members on the Council of Ministers.

"If this was a treaty between equal sovereign nations we would have half the membership on both bodies," said Ms Kedgley. "Basically, ANZFA is an Australian organisation, set up under Australian legislation, reporting to the Australian Parliament, housed in Australia and staffed by Australians. New Zealand membership has been added on as an afterthought and we have not been accorded the status of an equal sovereign partner."

Ms Kedgley said she had other concerns. The new legislation allows representatives of biotechnology, the food industry, international trade and veterinary science to be appointed to the ANZFA Board. It would also allow Trade and Agriculture Ministers, rather than Health Ministers, to be on the Council of Ministers.

Green Party MP Keith Locke has proposed a bill which would require all treaties and their changes to receive parliamentary approval, rather than simply approval from executives and Government. Mr Locke's private members bill is now before the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee.

Ends

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