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


Bombshell leak of documents blows GATS secrecy

Bombshell leak of documents blows GATS secrecy

Leaked copies of the European Commission’s (EC) aggressive requests to more than 100 countries involved in the GATS negotiations were posted on the website of Canadian NGO, Polaris Institute in Ottawa today.

“These leaks are as significant as those that spelled the ‘beginning of the end’ for the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI),” says Professor Jane Kelsey on behalf of ARENA (Action, Research and Education Network of Aotearoa).

“No one should under-estimate the panic it will create at the WTO, as people learn what their governments have been asked to give away to Europe’s transnationals.

“We believe that the ‘Dracula principle’ (the killing of obnoxious agreements by exposing them to the light of day), could bring the GATS negotiations to a standstill.

“The message to the WTO and to the New Zealand government is crystal clear. People everywhere, even within the ranks of government and the WTO, recognise these secret negotiations are anti-democratic. They are increasingly prepared to put their jobs on the line to let the world know what is really happening.

“It must be obvious by now" Kelsey says, "that despite obsessive WTO secrecy, these leaks will continue. Surely it is better to concede the public’s right to know than to continue the cloak and dagger style of negotiations that show utter contempt for democracy and national sovereignty?”

Given that the EC’s requests are fully public, suggests Kelsey, other countries including New Zealand should also release their secret requests.

“We already know from another leaked document that New Zealand has demanded the EC remove its protection for public services and public utilities. Somehow the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade forgot to tell us this in its summarized GATS ‘consultation’ document.

“We should know what else the New Zealand Government is asking other governments to do – especially poorer countries – and how these measure up to the reassurances the Government has been giving." Kelsey says other countries' actual demands to New Zealand to remove protection for national services should also be opened for public examination.

“Releasing the full text of the requests would be just the first step. It’s time that democracy took precedence over secret negotiations that promote the right of transnational companies to profit from other countries’ basic services,” Professor Jane Kelsey says.

It was the Ottawa-based Polaris Institute who secured and released the leaked draft of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment in 1997, which forced open and eventually sunk the MAI. The leaked EC demands can be seen at www.polarisinstitute.org

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Werewolf: What Does Winston Peters Want His Legacy To Be?

A lot of people in New Zealand seem to resent Winston Peters and the power that he appears to have. “Appears” being the operative word. In reality, Peters will have power only up to the point that he uses it.

By next week, he’ll have become just another junior player in an MMP governing arrangement, battling to hold onto the gains he was promised. More>>


Rising Toll: Road Safety Needs To Be A Higher Priority

Official advice released to the Green Party under the Official Information Act shows that the previous National Government dismissed an option to make road safety its most important transport priority after being told the road toll was rising. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Arrests At Blockade Of "Weapons Expo"

“We encourage people in Wellington to get down to the Westpac Stadium now for a day of awesome peace action. There will be plenty of food, music and activities to keep us sustained through the day.” More>>


Rorschach Restructuring: PSA Taking Inland Revenue To Court Over Psychometrics

The Public Service Association will be seeing Inland Revenue in Employment Court over its intention to psychometrically test employees reapplying for their roles at the department as part of its controversial Business Transformation restructuring plan. More>>


Nuclear Disarmament: Nobel Peace Prize 2017 Awarded To ICAN

Congratulations from iCAN Aotearoa New Zealand to international iCAN, the other iCAN national campaigns and partner organisations, and the countless organisations and individuals who have worked so hard for a nuclear weapons-free world since 1945. More>>


Expenses: Waikato DHB CEO Resigns

An independent inquiry has identified that Dr Murray had spent more than the agreed $25K allocated for relocation costs, and other unauthorized expenses involving potential financial breaches of the chief executive’s obligations. More>>


Wellington.Scoop: Sad About The Trolley Buses?

The Regional Council’s MetLink is today spending money to tell us that it really loves Wellington’s trolley buses, even though they’re all being taken off our roads by the end of this month. More>>


Post-Election: Preliminary Coalition Talks Begin

New Zealand First will hold post-election preliminary discussions in Wellington with the National Party tomorrow morning and the Labour Party tomorrow afternoon. More>>




Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election