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ARENA challenges Mike Moore's WTO credentials

For Immediate Release: 13 October 2002

ARENA challenges Mike Moore's WTO credentials

Another valedictory to honour Mike Moore tonight, led this time by the Prime Minister, shows the continued lack of honesty and objectivity about his disastrous time as Director-General of the WTO, say GATT Watchdog and ARENA – (the Action, Research and Education Network of Aotearoa)

Arena Director Leigh Cookson say the relentless valedictories to Mike Moore are both misleading and biased.

“Mike Moore was never a popular choice to head the WTO. He was the U.S. proxy in a dirty campaign that deepened the rift between richer and poorer countries at the WTO and the New Zealand government was deeply complicit in this campaign,” she says.

Ms Cookson says far from becoming the champion of poorer countries Mike Moore should be held responsible for three years of bullying manipulation and backroom deals that ensured the WTO was run by major powers.

“As recently as April this year 15 poorer countries demanded a process that was transparent, open-ended and played by the rules – ten richer countries, including New Zealand, insisted on ‘flexibility’ to break the WTO’s own rules and get their own way,” she says.

“The ultimatum to poorer countries after the attacks in the US on September 11 that ‘to oppose the US-led agenda was to support terrorism’ saved the Doha ministerial meeting from imminent collapse. Mike Moore presided over this, as he did the debacle at Seattle in 1999,” she said.

“A recent article in The Guardian on September 4 says: ‘Mr Moore leaves his successor .. with a demoralised and unhappy organization and an enormous task: steering the WTO’s 145 members to a successful conclusion of the new round of global trade talks by the deadline of 2005.”

Ms Cookson says the “puffery” created around Mike Moore creates the impression that “the whole world except a handful of nutters believes the WTO will deliver global prosperity.”

“Cheerleaders for globalisation in New Zealand need this charade so people won’t question the realities. It is time to stop the WTO-spin and begin informing New Zealanders of what was really happening,” she says.

Ends: Text 344 words

For more information contact:
Leigh Cookson Ph 03 339 6341 or 03 3662803 (h)

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