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NZ joins growing international opposition to GATS

New Zealand joins growing international opposition to GATS

“Today, New Zealand joined teachers, professional people, trade unions and community organizations in South Africa, Australia, the US, Mexico, Norway, Kenya and many other countries in demanding that all governments abandon the 31st March deadline to trade off more essential services to GATS (General Agreement on Trade in Services)," Director Leigh Cookson of ARENA said.

"They are asking their governments consult with their citizens and work to ensure that the control of community services are in community hands not in the hands of powerful transnational corporations, whose only interest is profit.”

March 13 is the recognised International Day of Action opposing the takeover of national and community services. ARENA (Action, Research, Education Network of Aotearoa) has been involved for more than a decade in exposing the often hidden threat posed by aspects of globalisation.

Cookson noted during the past week, how the Green Party officially asked every Minister in Cabinet whether he or she assessed the implications of existing GATS commitments for services that fall within his or her portfolio.

The answer was a resounding no.

"So why," Cookson asks, "when ARENA, together with the Council for Trade Unions, the Association of University Staff, education unions, and numerous community groups ask the government to delay the March 31st deadline that proper consultation and assessment can be done, would any Cabinet Minister say no?"

Cookson says that this is the question that is being asked of governments around the world as unions, community organizations, academics and citizens join together in today's international day of action to stop the further privatisation of basic services and to demand that governments carry out independent assessment of existing and future commitments before trading away further control over education, health, tourism environment, transport and other services vital to public wellbeing.

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