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Jim Sutton Invited To Read Pacific Trade Report

5 April 2004

Jim Sutton invited to read Pacific trade report

Trade Minister Jim Sutton should have read the report that criticizes the Australian and New Zealand governments for bullying the Pacific Islands into the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER) before he launched into an intemperate attack on its author, Professor Jane Kelsey.

Mr Sutton claims that the report was based on talks with anti-globalisation activists from the region.

When he reads the report, he will see that it is based primarily on interviews with politicians, diplomats, trade negotiators and consultants, and a review of documents in his Ministry's files.

"I was astonished at how raw their feelings were about that experience and how eager they were to share their stories, provided the information was not personally attributed", said Professor Kelsey.

"Mr Sutton insists that Australia and New Zealand acted impeccably.

"I invite him to reflect on the observation in the report from one consultant to the Secretariat that ŒThere were times that I felt ashamed to be a New Zealander; I was just pleased that I was not an Australian'.

"Maybe it depends on how you define 'impeccable'.

"Mr Sutton might also note that the report is not opposed to 'trade'; it challenges the application to the Pacific Islands of the "free trade model" that New Zealand and Australia uncritically promote, and which is increasingly facing challenges within the World Trade Organisation and elsewhere," said Professor Kelsey


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