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

 

New Zealand Attacks Europe’s Public Services

10 February 2003

New Zealand Attacks Europe’s Public Services

Secret documents viewed by Professor Jane Kelsey from ARENA reveal that the New Zealand Government wants Europe to abandon the protection of its public services and utilities from coverage by the free trade rules of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS).

“This exposes, yet again, the hypocrisy of our Government in the national and international arenas,” says Professor Kelsey in Geneva.

“At home it claims to have ended the market driven approach to public services pursued by previous governments. Yet it wants Europe to expose its public services and utilities to full competition and potentially to foreign control.

“If Europe was to agree to New Zealand’s demand, the GATS ‘most favoured nation’ rule would require it to remove that protection in relation to all countries, including the US and Japan.

“Only one other country – Brazil - seems to have made such an extreme demand. You have to wonder what game the New Zealand Government is playing.”

In 1994 the EC reserved the right in all its member states to maintain public monopolies or grant exclusive rights to private operators in areas like environmental and health services.* New Zealand’s GATS ‘request’ to the EC wants this protection removed.

“This demand to the Europeans also raises questions about what the New Zealand government really plans to do in relation to our own public services.” Kelsey says. "The Government’s recently released consultation document that claims to summarise the requests, fails to mention this extraordinary demand.

“The document is full of double speak," Professor Kelsey asserts. "It says that governments have the right to maintain publicly funded governmental services and not to liberalise them. But it fails to disclose that New Zealand is asking other governments to sign away that right. It claims that its initial offer to other WTO members will make no offer ‘that would limit the government’s right to provide, fund or regulate public services.’

"Does that mean it has one rule for itself and another for the rest of the world? How credible will that be when it has to defend public services against demands we know have been made by the U.S. and the EC, amongst others? Or does it intend to stick to its stated principles only in its initial offer?

“This proves that we simply can’t trust them,” said Professor Kelsey. “What are they trying to hide? Who else have they made such demands of and what else aren’t they telling us? Until we see the actual documentation, which is being kept secret from the New Zealand public, no one can really know what’s going on.”

Ends. Text 430 words 9 February 2003

* According to an explanatory note: “Public utilities exist in sectors such as related scientific and technical consulting services, R&D services on social sciences and humanities, technical testing and analysis services, environmental services, health services, transport services and services auxiliary to all modes of transport. Exclusive rights on such services are often granted to private operators, for instance operators with concessions from public authorities, subject to specific service obligations. Given that public utilities often also exist at the sub-central level, detailed and exhaustive sector-specific scheduling is not practical.”

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Ministerial Inquiry: Broad Look At Mental Health And Addiction Services

The Government has taken a major step towards improving mental health and addiction services with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announcing details of a ministerial inquiry.

The Inquiry into Mental Health and Addiction will be chaired by former Health and Disability Commissioner, Professor Ron Paterson, and will report back to the Government by the end of October. More>>

 

Wealth: Two NZers Own More Than Poorest 30%

A staggering 28 per cent of all wealth created in New Zealand in 2017 went to the richest 1 per cent of Kiwis, while the 1.4 million people who make up the poorest 30 per cent of the population got barely 1 per cent, according to new research released by Oxfam. More>>

ALSO:

Employment: Joint Working Group On Pay Equity Principles Reconvened

Minister for Workplace Relations and Safety, Iain Lees-Galloway, and Minister for Women, Julie Anne Genter, are reconvening the Joint Working Group on Pay Equity Principles as the next step in pay equity for New Zealand women. More>>

ALSO:

Hapū: Prime Minister And Clarke Gayford Expecting First Child

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner, Clarke Gayford, have announced that they are expecting their first child in June. “We’re both really happy. We wanted a family but weren’t sure it would happen for us, which has made this news unexpected but exciting." More>>

ALSO:


Gordon Campbell: on the inquiry into the abuse of children in care

Apparently, PM Jacinda Ardern has chosen to exclude faith-based institutions from the government’s promised inquiry into the abuse of children in state care. Any role for religious institutions – eg the Catholic Church – would be only to observe and to learn from any revelations that arise from the inquiry’s self-limiting focus on state-run institutions… More >>

Gordon Campbell: On Jim Anderton
For anyone born after 1975, it is hard to grasp just how important a figure Jim Anderton was, for an entire generation.
During the mid to late 1980s, Anderton was the only significant public figure of resistance to the Labour government’s headlong embrace of Thatcherism...More>>

ALSO:


Gong Time: New Year's Honours List

Jacinda Ardern today congratulated the 179 New Zealanders named on the 2018 New Year’s Honours List. “Although this list was compiled and completed by the last government, it is a pleasure to welcome in the New Year by recognising exceptional New Zealanders,” Jacinda Ardern said. More
Full list

Roads: National launches bid to save highway projects

The National Party has launched a series of petitions aimed at saving regional highway projects at risk because of the Government’s obsession with Auckland trams…More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages