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Greens launch Fair Trade Policy

Greens launch 'Fair Trade: It Works For Everyone' policy

The Greens are launching their fair trade policy this morning, promising to oppose all free-trade deals with countries that don't respect and uphold human rights, and strongly promote a Buy New Zealand-made campaign.

"The Green Party recognises the importance of trade to our economy and wants New Zealand to continue to prosper," Green Co-Leader Rod Donald says. "However, we believe we can trade with the world without trading away human rights, jobs and the environment."

Mr Donald is launching the policy outside the Swanndri factory in Timaru. Swanndri announced last month that it was moving its manufacturing to China, in part because of unfair competition.

The fair trade policy includes:

- Opposing any measures, including free-trade agreements, that give preferential trade access to the New Zealand market to countries which do not observe fundamental human rights;

- Mounting a concerted 'Buy New Zealand-made' campaign;

- Retaining tariffs on goods produced in countries which:

a) Have not ratified or implemented core international labour and environmental standards.

b) Do not pay workers decent wages;

- Stopping goods made by slave and prison labour from being imported;

- Requiring country-of-origin labelling on all imports and exports;

- Ensuring stricter biosecurity standards and enforcement;

"The Greens believe in fair, safe and sustainable trade," Mr Donald says. "New Zealand should be supporting our local farmers and manufacturers, not opening up our economy to goods made in sweatshop conditions in countries whose governments don't respect either their people or their environment.

"We should be supporting fair-trade initiatives with developing countries, not free-trade agreements with regimes that have appalling human rights records. These agreements benefit multinational corporations rather than impoverished third world workers."

Mr Donald says New Zealand should be stepping up its work with the International Labour Organisation so pressure can be brought to bear on all countries to improve their labour standards.

"Our current trade practices are environmentally, economically, and morally unsustainable. Just three weeks ago Statistics New Zealand announced a record trade deficit of $5.2 billion for the year to June. We need to kick our free-trade habit and reduce our dependence on oil, concentrating on fair trade that makes economic and moral sense.

"Labour and National's trade liberalisation agenda has allowed a flood of cheap imports into the country, hammering our manufacturing base and causing our trade deficit to career out of control. It's time for a major re-think on trade policy, and the Greens, with our concentration on fair, safe, sustainable trade, have the answers."


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