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


Are Cabinet Ministers misleading the House?

"They're selling short the country…"

Are Cabinet Ministers misleading the House?

Claims by three Cabinet Ministers that they never received copies of the recent expose on what the GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services) means for New Zealand have been questioned by the group that produced the report.

In written questions from the Green Party, the Ministers were asked if they had received a copy of the report, Serving Whose Interests? and if so, what advice they had received about the concerns it raises for their portfolios. Judith Tizard, Rick Barker and Annette King said they had not received it.

"I personally addressed and posted copies to all ministers." Leigh Cookson, Director of the Action, Research and Education Network of Aotearoa (ARENA) said. “We even have a letter from the office of Associate Minister of Culture Judith Tizard, that says ‘I have placed your correspondence before the Minister for her information’ and ‘Thank you for keeping the Minister informed’,” Cookson says.

"Either the report hasn’t been passed on to Ministers or they haven’t take a blind bit of notice. This is especially galling for the country's culture community who have been pressing Judith Tizard and the Prime Minister to change the GATS commitments that currently prevent the introduction of compulsory local content quotas in broadcasting.

"One wonders whether mail that Ministers find challenging is simply consigned by staff to the nearest rubbish bin, or whether the Ministers are so frightened by questions about the GATS, that they don't bother checking the accuracy of what they're saying.

"This is not just short-changing Parliament. It is selling short the country," Cookson says. "The ARENA report was no flimsy pamphlet. It was an academically researched, high-quality document that ARENA produced at very considerable expense. Copies were distributed to all Members of Parliament."

Cookson says ARENA wanted to be sure that all MPs, "and especially every Minister", were aware of the implications for New Zealand of the GATS negotiations. Saying they had not received the report relieves them from reading it, as well as answering the questions it raises.

“This is hardly some peripheral issue," Cookson says. "The GATS negotiations will decide who controls New Zealand’s essential services such as education, health and the environment. Will it be New Zealand citizens through our Parliament, or will it be transnational corporations courtesy of the World Trade Organisation?”

“It’s time Cabinet took their responsibility more seriously and began demanding real answers to the real questions about the GATS which ARENA and others are raising," Leigh Cookson says.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Peters/Ardern Triumph

There are a lot of good reasons to feel joyful about this outcome. It is what so many young voters – the best hope for the country’s future – wanted.

Far more important than the implications for the Economy Gods ( is the dollar up or down? ) last night’s outcome will also mean many, many vulnerable New Zealanders will have a better life over the next three years at least.

Yet the desire for change was in the majority, across the country..>>>More


Labour on its agreement |Peters: Post-Election Announcement Speech | Greenpeace “cautiously hopeful” about new Government | ACT - Madman on the loose | E tū ecstatic | Chamber welcomes the outcome | Greens on their joining Govt | EDS welcomes new govt | Immigrant groups worry | Feds ready to engage new coalition government | Labour Ministers of the Crown announced


Climate: Increasing Greenhouse Emissions Hit NZ

New Zealand is seeing impacts of excess greenhouse gas emissions in our climate and oceans, according to the latest national report from the Ministry for the Environment and Stats NZ about the state of the atmosphere and climate…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