Parliament

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

 

Labour endangers services in trade negotiations


Labour endangers services in trade negotiations

The Green Party has accused Labour of risking local control of key social and public services with its negotiating stance at the P3 (New Zealand, Chile and Singapore) meeting being held in Wellington today.

In an unprecedented move for the Labour Government, its negotiators have put a ‘negative list’ on the table.

“A negative list requires the government to specify every single aspect of every service that it wants protected - anything not on that list is up for grabs,” said Green Party Co-leader, Rod Donald.

“It’s inevitable that key aspects of our public and private services will be locked open to foreign firms because it is impossible to reserve every conceivable sub-sector of a service, in each mode of supply.”

The P3 is supposedly based on the Singapore New Zealand Closer Economic Partnership Agreement, which takes a ‘positive list’ approach, specifying those services that are expressly open to competition.

“Submitting a negative list is a major policy change which the Government has slipped through with minimum analysis of the consequences or consultation with affected parties or public disclosure.

“It is extraordinary that the Labour Government is prepared to expose our basic services to even greater control by foreign corporates, despite having to step in to clean up the mess profiteers have caused in railways, electricity and banking,” said Rod Donald.

“It is also totally undemocratic because such agreements bind future governments, as Labour discovered when it tried to honour its election pledge to introduce a local content quota for broadcasting. Local government will also have its hands tied, despite having no say in what central government is up to.

“Government officials are going into these negotiations wearing blindfolds. It is an incredibly risky, grossly irresponsible and downright stupid strategy. How can these negotiators predict technological developments that do not exist at the time the schedule is drafted?

“Even if trade officials were armed with fool-proof crystal balls we would still oppose them setting a precedent that will inevitably influence negotiations with Thailand and China,” said Mr Donald. “The irony is that neither of those countries seem inclined to put its own services at risk through a negative list approach.”

“The Green Party opposes the inclusion of services in any trade agreement, but at the very least the Government must ensure that the risks are minimised by using a positive list.”


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Charlotte Graham: Empowering Communities To Act In A Disaster

The year of record-breaking natural disasters means that in the US, as in New Zealand, there’s a conversation happening about how best to run the emergency management sector and what philosophies best engage and protect communities in the event of a crisis.

How much of the responsibility for a community’s safety in a natural disaster is the Government’s, and how much can be left up to the community themselves? And how do we ensure none of our most vulnerable residents are left behind? More>>

 

CPAG Report: The Further Fraying Of The Welfare Safety Net

New Zealand’s welfare system has undergone a major transformation during the past three decades. This process has seriously thwarted the original intent of the system, which was to provide a decent standard of living for all New Zealanders in times of need... More>>

ALSO:

Signage, Rumble Strips, Barriers: Boost For State Highway Road Safety

Boost for road safety this summer Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter today announced a short term boost in road safety funding this summer and signalled a renewed focus from the Government on introducing safer speed limits. More>>

ALSO:

Risks & Adaptation: Cheaper To Cut Emissions Than Deal With Climate Change

The cost of climate change to New Zealand is still unknown, but a group of experts tasked with plugging the country's information gaps says it will likely be significant and it would be cheaper to cut greenhouse emissions than simply adapting to those changes. More>>

ALSO:

BPS HYEFU WYSIWYG: Labour's Budget Plans, Families Package

“Today we are announcing the full details of the Government’s Families Package. This is paid for by rejecting National’s tax cuts and instead targeting spending at those who need it most. It will lift 88,000 children out of poverty by 2021." More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages