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Alliance Opposed To Gats Negotiations

Alliance Opposed To Gats Negotiations

The Alliance Party has joined the growing number of local and international organisations opposed to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) negotiations currently being undertaken at the World Trade Organisation. March 13th is an international day of opposition to GATS.

Alliance Economic Development and Trade spokesperson, Robert Reid, describes the GATS as nothing more than a "manifesto for the further privatisation and deregulation of our public services.

"Alliance has consistently opposed the ideology of free trade, privatisation and a reduction of the role of Government in economic affairs," he said. We believe that trade policy should be consistent with pro-people economic, social and environmental policies.

"Alliance 2002 election policy was to "advocate for withdrawal of all New Zealand's commitments to the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) relating to education, water, health, the environment and any other areas which impact on our ability to provide essential public services"," said Robert Reid. "We stand by that position."

"Today we see the Labour Government, egged on by the parties of the Right, preparing to make new offers and requests in the current round of GATS negotiations. Yet at the same time Labour tries to tell us that it has turned its backs on the failed Rogernomic policies of the 1980's and 90's.

"The Alliance does not cop the argument that of the Labour Government that it is protecting New Zealand's public services in the current GATS negotiations," Robert Reid said. "The whole thrust and reason of GATS is to open up the public sector for privatisation and foreign investment. A reservation expressed today is only an interim reservation under GATS. GATS rules require countries to make further commitments to liberalisation at each renegotiation."

The Alliance is also appalled by the hypocrisy of Government in expressing reservations to "protect" public services in this country, yet requesting other countries to open up their public services to privatisation and foreign investment.

"Two weeks before all countries are required to make their "offers" for the next GATS round the Alliance Party calls on the Government to withdraw from the current GATS negotiation round and to commit itself to a trade policy that supports the economic and social development of New Zealand rather than one which will destroy it," Robert Reid said.

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