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Europeans 'request' we scrap kiwishare

Europeans 'request' we scrap kiwishare

The European Commission has asked New Zealand to scrap kiwishare provisions and allow unrestricted overseas access to our land, energy resources and businesses, Green Co-leader Rod Donald said today.

The top-secret EC requests to New Zealand under the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) has been revealed on a Canadian website: www.polarisinstitute.org

"No wonder the Government has wanted to keep the lid on the so-called 'requests' that are being made of New Zealand," Rod Donald said. "This document confirms that our sovereignty is just another poker chip in the high-stakes GATS game being played out behind closed doors."

The specific EC requests to New Zealand would:

* Allow foreign firms and individuals unrestricted access to New Zealand property and businesses by scrapping by the Overseas Investment Commission; * Remove the Kiwishare ownership and directorship restrictions on Telecom; * Allow overseas firms unrestricted access to wholesale energy supply; * Open up ownership and control of our water supplies and environmental services such as refuse disposal to international firms.

"Take one example," said Rod Donald. "The EC asks us to allow full 'market access' to our refuse disposal services, effectively dooming Canterbury's single landfill.

"The joint venture between local government and two private companies would be GATS-illegal under the market access rules as it restricts the size of the market. Potentially, Canterbury could be covered by dozens of foreign owned-and-operated landfills.

"And this is just the request from the European Commission. We can only guess at what 'requests' the United States has made - and guessing about such important issues is something the public should not have to do.

"It is an outrage that the people of New Zealand have to find out this information from a Canadian website and that they find it out just three days before public submissions on GATS requests are closed," said Rod Donald. "We call on the Government to finally come clean on exactly what other countries want us to give up, so that the long-overdue public debate can finally begin."

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