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Paying in blood for a free trade pipe-dream

Paying in blood for a free trade pipe-dream

New Zealand defence personnel and innocent civilians could pay in blood for the Government's obsession with a trade deal, Greens Co-leader Rod Donald said today.

"More than six thousand innocent Afghan civilians have died as a result of America's adventure in Afghanistan," said Rod Donald. "Some of that blood is unavoidably on the hands of our Government, which wanted to 'prove' its commitment to the US in order to secure a free-trade agreement.

"The deployment of SAS troops opened the White House door a crack. Now, we've actually got a foot over the threshold, at the cost of a frigate, an Orion and our self respect.

"How much more of our sovereignty will this Government now trade, in order to sit down at the table? Even Helen Clark admits that her eagerness to back America's war aims has been rewarded with 'some revision of the thinking about New Zealand.'

"There is no doubt at all that active New Zealand support for and participation in America's planned invasion of Iraq will win us more favours in Washington. But what would the lives several thousand Iraqi civilians buy us?

"That is the real tragedy of this whole silly, single-minded trade crusade: there is no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Our experience of so-called 'free trade' deals have been lost jobs, falling exports and duplicity from our 'partners.'

"Australian union and industry leaders are now pointing out that a US trade deal with their country will put thousands of people out of work," said Rod Donald. "There is no reason to suggest a deal with the United States would be any more advantageous to us.

"In fact, we will merely surrender more of our sovereignty by giving American corporations the right to buy-up whatever they fancy of New Zealand, without any scrutiny by the Overseas Investment Commission."


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