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Greens statement on China trade treaty incorrect

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Trade

3 March 2008
Media statement

Greens statement on China trade treaty incorrect and misleading

Comments by Greens co-leader Russel Norman that: “Parliament has no say over this (China Trade) agreement”, is absolutely incorrect, says Trade Minister Phil Goff.

“The China trade agreement cannot come into effect without parliamentary scrutiny and support. Dr Norman should acquaint himself better with New Zealand’s parliamentary system,” Mr Goff said.

“The full agreement and a National Impact Analysis will be tabled in Parliament at the time the Agreement is signed, and will be posted on the Web.

“This process will allow parliamentary and public scrutiny of the agreement, with the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Defence Committee likely to call for public submissions on it.

“Legislation then has to be introduced for the agreement to be given effect in domestic law, and must be passed by Parliament for that to happen.

“It is likely that this legislation will receive overwhelming support in the House, though of course this remains to be tested.

“Over the last three years, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also consulted closely with New Zealand stakeholders at each stage, as the agreement has been negotiated,” Mr Goff said.

“While I cannot comment on the detail of the agreement while it is still going through final technical discussions and has yet to be submitted to Cabinet for final approval, I can say that the sort of suggestions made by Dr Norman are nonsense.

“Free movement of Labour, for example, has never been considered by anyone as part of the negotiation. To even make that suggestion is absurd.

“The Greens appear to have already made up their minds to oppose a trade agreement with China, New Zealand’s third largest trading partner and fastest growing export market.

“However, it would be more sensible for them to first examine what the agreement actually involved, which all parties in parliament will soon have the opportunity to do,” Mr Goff said.


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