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Labour Is Stuck In A Free-Trade Time Warp

For immediate release: 27 Oct 02

Labour Is Stuck In A Free-Trade Time Warp

"Today’s announcement of negotiations on a trilateral trade agreement between Chile, Singapore and New Zealand to be completed by 2004 shows our government’s reckless determination to continue down the free trade path," says Auckland Professor Jane Kelsey from the APEC meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico, speaking on behalf of the Action, Research and Education Network of Aotearoa (ARENA).

"The Labour government remains locked in a 1990's time warp, when a National government stripped New Zealand naked in the belief that massive benefits would flow. Instead, New Zealand became the playground for international investors who now control our major assets and removed important supports for New Zealand businesses, workers and communities."

Kelsey says "this is another step in the so-called Trojan Horse strategy to revitalize APEC's flagging agenda of free trade and investment across the region. Again, the solution is wrong. APEC is flagging precisely because other member countries are promoting a more pragmatic approach that seeks to defend their domestic interests and limit their international exposure."

Kelsey says the joint communiqué talks about opening up goods, services, investment and research collaboration. "Do New Zealanders really want even more foreign control of these sectors of our economy?" she asks.

"It's time this government put a halt to the ideologically-driven pursuit of globalization and held a genuine and open debate about the costs, as well as the supposed benefits, of the course down which Labour continues to take our country," Professor Kelsey says.

Ends: 236 text words

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