Don’t Vote for Wolfowitz
17 March 2005
Don’t Vote for Wolfowitz
Jubilee Aotearoa calls on Dr Michael Cullen to oppose the nomination of Paul Wolfowitz as the next head of the World Bank.
“Wolfowitz is not the man for the job,” says Gillian Southey, spokesperson for Jubilee Aotearoa. “He was one of the architects of the US invasion of Iraq and is seen throughout much of the world as a person who is determined to impose the US government’s will on the rest of us. There is no obvious reason why the government should support his nomination. As a coalition long concerned about the damaging effects of World Bank policies on the world’s poorest people we ask the New Zealand government to say no.”
This announcement highlights the lack of democracy in the World Bank. By tradition the World Bank president is a US appointment endorsed by the Board. It is not an open process and fails to meet the criteria of “good governance”, a condition increasingly placed on many of the poorest countries seeking debt relief or new loans.
“If this appointment goes ahead the World Bank will clearly be seen for what it is often accused of being, an instrument of US foreign policy and economic policy,” says Gillian Southey. “Perhaps this nomination will finally focus debate on the World Bank and how unjust many of its policies are, she adds.
Although the World Bank’s stated mission is to fight poverty many of its critics, including members of the international Jubilee movement, have documented how its policies have led to increasing poverty amongst the world’s poorest peoples.
New Zealand has a voting share of 0.46% and shares a constituency vote with 12 other countries in East Asia and the Pacific. Currently New Zealander John Austin sits on the Board as Executive Director.
Jubilee Aotearoa is made up of the Anglican Social Justice Office, Arena, Caritas, Christian World Service, Council for International Development, Development Resource Centre, Latin America Committee, Oxfam New Zealand, Student Christian Movement, Tear Fund, Trade Aid, and World Vision and many concerned individuals. Its website is: www.debtaction.org.nz
To mark the millennium 24 million people (63, 847 of whom were from New Zealand) signed the international Jubilee 2000 petition calling for total debt cancellation for 52 indebted countries and an end to harmful economic conditions like privatization and trade liberalisation. They owe a total of $US 375 billion but will never be able to repay it. The poorest people in these countries are facing increasing poverty, little or no healthcare and limited or no access to education.