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Alliance commits to regional Pacific cooperation

Alliance commits to regional cooperation in the Pacific

Matt Robson MP Thu Sep 23 1999

Matt Robson
MPThe Asia pacific region must build itself into a strong and co-operative community of nations if it is to hold its own in the world and guarantee that an East Timor never happens again, Alliance spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Matt Robson said today.

He was talking at a public meeting in Dunedin today, where he released elements of the Alliance international affairs policy.

Matt Robson was one of five MPs who went to East Timor in a parliamentary delegation as part of the UN supervision of the referendum.

'Events in East Timor make us look at our responsibility as New Zealanders to the Asia Pacific region. That is why I am so proud to see our soldiers part of a force bringing peace to those war-torn streets.

'We must also look beyond the immediacy of what needs to be done in East Timor, and take a leadership role to build the whole region so that this never happens again.

'I believe we can be a vibrant group of nations who play an active but independent role in world affairs. We must work together to build our economic strength, while safe-guarding our sovereignty as different nations.

'Economic development across the region would see the growth of new industries and businesses that would directly benefit this part of the world.

'The APEC agenda has become a straight-jacket for economic and social development in many of the APEC countries. Its only goal is to lift restrictions for foreigners to buy more and more pieces of countries like New Zealand.

'Real regional co-operation, on the other hand, would allow us all to build industries, create jobs, and introduce workplace standards across the region. Regional agreements on standards like minimum wage across the region and the eradication of child labour would have significant effects on economic development in New Zealand.

'The Alliance is committed to working with the South Pacific Forum and its specialist agencies to advance co-operation in trade, information exchange, transport, fisheries protection and environmental protection.

'The Alliance is committed to developing a greater leadership role for New Zealand in the Asia Pacific region. We must ensure that never again does a New Zealand government show decades of support for the Indonesian invaders, and fail until now to protect the people of East Timor,' said Matt Robson.

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