Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


“Symbolic” Vote Raises More Questions Than Answers

“Symbolic” Vote Raises More Questions Than It Answers

“The statement by the Prime Minister, Helen Clark, that there will be a ‘symbolic’ vote by Parliament over the proposed Singapore Free Trade agreement before it is ratified by Cabinet raises more questions than it answers”, Trade Union Federation Secretary, Michael Gilchrist, said today.

“Is the Prime Minister afraid that Parliament will vote down this agreement? If it does vote against the agreement, will the executive go ahead and impose it on us anyway? What will the vote symbolise then? That the global free market comes to us direct from the global corporate elite, without having to go through our parliamentary democracy?

“And what is the symbolism of any debate in Parliament by our elected representatives when none of their constituents is allowed to know what is in the agreement? The Government refuses to disclose the agreement and its background papers. The little we do know is that this agreement is more radical than its equivalent with Australia because it requires a smaller proportion of local content (40% as opposed to 50%) for goods to qualify for duty free status.

“But we are also extremely concerned at its possible investment provisions. If these resemble the investment provisions of the rejected Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) or the provisions contained in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) then they will be totally unacceptable to a wide range of New Zealanders. Investment provisions of this kind allow foreign corporations to sue national and local governments for any actions that interfere with their commercial interests. Provisions of this kind would severely hinder the Government’s economic development and “Buy New Zealand Made” programmes, for example.

“Statements by New Zealand negotiators that the Singapore agreement is a ‘Trojan horse’ for further agreements of the same kind in Asia and elsewhere only add to our concern.

“This agreement is too important to the future of our country for an ill-informed and impotent debate in parliament. The symbolism of such a process is all too clear. Let us know what is in this agreement and let our elected representatives have a decisive vote on its merits”, Mr Gilchrist concluded.

Further information: Michael Gilchrist 04 384 8963 or 04 237 7566

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Scoop 3.0: How You Can Help Scoop’s Evolution

Entering into its third decade of operation, the Scoop news ecosystem is set to undergo another phase of transformation and evolution.

We have big plans for 2018 as we look to expand our public interest journalism coverage, upgrade our publishing infrastructure and offer even more valuable business tools to commercial users of Scoop. More>>


Speaking Of Transport: Public Engagement On Wellington Scenarios

“Our work on possible solutions for Wellington’s transport future is ongoing, but has progressed to the stage where we’re ready to share our ideas with the public and seek their feedback to help guide our next steps...” More>>


Parental Leave: National's Time-Sharing Change Fails

National has proposed a change to the Parental Leave and Employment Protection Amendment Bill that would allow both parents to take paid parental leave at the same time, if that is what suits them best. More>>


Train Free Thursday: Workers Strike To Defend Terms Of Employment

"They signed up to these conditions a year ago when they got the contract for Wellington's rail services. Now they're trying to increase profits by squeezing frontline workers." More>>


Seclusion: Ombudsman Emphasises Importance Of Monitoring

Disability Rights Commissioner Paula Tesoriero says that while there have been changes to the Education (Update) Amendment Act 2017 to prohibit the use of seclusion, the report is an important reminder of the importance of regular monitoring of schools. More>>


United Future History: "All Good Things Must End"

'We’re extremely proud of what we’ve achieved over the past 15 years, working alongside the government of the day, both National and Labour.' Mr Light told members on Monday. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The TPP Outcome, And The Hobbit Law

Somehow the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal has come lurching back from the dead – and as predicted in this column last week, the member countries gathered in Vietnam have announced a deal in broad principle, shunted aside until a later date the stuff on which they don’t agree, and declared victory. More>>

Agreeing To Differ: Greens Maintain Opposition To TPPA
“The Green Party has long opposed the TPPA. The new proposed deal, which came out of the weekend’s talks, still contains key ISDS concessions to corporations that put our democracy at risk, so our position remains the same,” said Green Party trade spokesperson Golriz Ghahraman. More>>


Monitoring Report: A New Chapter For Children’s Rights In New Zealand?

The Children’s Commissioner is calling on the country to embrace children’s rights to ensure their overall well-being. More>>





Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election