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WTO Negotiations Impact on Services: CTU

Unions Concerned At Long List of Services Impacted By WTO Negotiations

“Unions are worried by the long list of requests made of New Zealand in the current GATS services negotiations,” said Council of Trade Unions secretary Paul Goulter today.

“There are requests impacting on almost all services including transport, postal and courier, water, waste disposal, customs, ACC, film, telecommunications and education.”

In addition there are requests to remove limits on overseas investment.

“The Government has only released these details a couple of months before the deadline of 31st March,” said Paul Goulter.

“That deadline needs to be extended to allow for proper consultation.”

Paul Goulter said that a new development was that the Government had set out ten guiding principles, such as a requirement that no initial offer would be made that would limit the government right to provide, fund or regulate public services, such as health and education.

He said unions would need to clarify the impact of these guidelines in terms of their precise effect on the Government’s initial offer, as many of the requests appear to be ruled out by the principles.

The CTU is involved in an active union campaign on the services negotiations.

“This involves pressing Government to push out the 31 March date for the initial offer, seeking more precise information on the actual requests, and raising issues of concern for particular sectors that could be disadvantaged,” said Paul Goulter.

“Unions will approach Ministers in their sectors and educational material will be produced for union members, explaining the issues for their sectors.”

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