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Greens: You said it, Helen

You said it, Helen

Green Party Co-leader Rod Donald is accusing the Prime Minister of selling-out the human rights’ principles she used to champion, in order to sell more milk to China.

“The announcement at APEC that New Zealand and China will open talks on a so-called ‘free trade’ agreement completes the transformation of Helen Clark from a campaigner against oppression in China into a marketing agent for Fonterra,” said Rod Donald.

Here’s what Helen Clark had to say as Leader of the Opposition:

“I am very concerned that the National Government has chosen a path of ingratiation with those in Asia whose human rights record is poor”. (Speech to Auckland University Centre for Peace Studies, Oct. 1994.)

“Perhaps some of the players in the debate are driven more by self interest than by genuine concern for the rights of workers in developing countries, but that is not an argument for ignoring the real issue.” (Speech to Auckland University Centre for Peace Studies, Oct 1994.)

“Uncomfortable as it is, New Zealanders do expect their governments to represent our views on human rights breaches - whether they occur in Indonesia, China or anywhere else.” (Speech to NZ Institute of International Affairs, May 1995.)

“Currying favour by downplaying oppression won’t help.” (Speech to Labour Party Conference, Nov.1998.)

“That is why Mrs Shipley is simply absurd to claim that APEC is unrelated to issues of human rights and democracy. Neglect those issues and your economy will not reach its full potential. Like Sir Robert Muldoon before her, she prefers to build links to oppression while democratic voices are silenced in gaol. She has brought shame on our country.” (Speech to Labour Party Conference, Nov. 1998.

“That Helen Clark understood that New Zealanders would rather pay a little more for their shirts, rather than exploit children in sweatshops and political prisoners whose only crime has been to call for democracy in their own country, ” Rod Donald said.

“Even on purely economic grounds, a deal with China makes no sense. New Zealand’s trade balance with China flipped from a surplus to a deficit when the then-Labour government stared cutting tariffs in the late 1980s. It is currently running at over $1.5 billion and it will only grow worse if remaining tariffs are axed.

“What the Government euphemistically describes as an ‘adjustment challenge’ will actually mean the sacrifice of thousands of jobs and numerous businesses. Among them will be high profile companies in the elaborately-transformed manufacturing sector that the government has trumpeted as the way of the future.

“The transformation Helen Clark has made in the last decade will be costly for the thousands of New Zealanders and millions of Chinese who will struggle to cope with her ‘adjustment challenge’.”

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