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

 

Pacific Plan unfair to Pacific island nations

Friday 28 October, 2005

Oxfam: Pacific Plan unfair to Pacific island nations

The announcement today that the Pacific Forum leaders have signed the Pacific Plan is another step towards locking Pacific island nations into unfair, inappropriate and damaging trade deals. This is likely to lead to even more hardship, particularly for vulnerable people in the poorest countries of Melanesia who are already suffering from a lack of job opportunities, basic services and escalating violence.

While Oxfam New Zealand welcomes some of the initiatives in the Pacific Plan to promote closer cooperation amongst Pacific nations, such as improved cooperation in fisheries management, combating HIV/AIDS and governance, Oxfam New Zealand, along with other civil society organisations, rejects the strong push for trade liberalisation. The Pacific Island countries are faced with a huge range of trade liberalisation agreements, including wide ranging Economic Partnership Agreements with the EU, ongoing negotiations in the World Trade Organisation and WTO accession negotiations involving Tonga, Samoa and Vanuatu.

The Pacific Plan not only calls for these negotiations to continue but also provides for negotiations with Australia and New Zealand in services under the Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations (PACER). The Plan also makes reference to its further extension to an undefined comprehensive framework for economic cooperation.

Barry Coates, Oxfam New Zealand’s Executive Director, attended the Civil Society Forum that preceded the Leaders Forum, and made a presentation on the economic growth initiatives in the Pacific Plan. The civil society representatives from across the Pacific expressed deep concern over the push for trade liberalisation, and called for a freeze until there had been full and independent assessments of the likely economic, social and environmental impacts of these agreements, wider and deeper consultation and public understanding of the commitments that governments were making.

Coates commented: “The Pacific Islands leaders have signed up to sweeping commitments to trade agreements without informing or involving the people who will be most affected. All of the rhetoric about good governance in the Pacific Plan and the need for evidence in policy making is forgotten when it comes to secretive trade deals negotiated behind closed doors.

“The Pacific nations face huge obstacles in exporting their products and need the ability to use tariffs and business regulations to raise government revenue, build a base of local businesses, diversify their economies and control fly-by-night foreign investors. The development prospects for Pacific countries will be undermined by these trade deals.”

Oxfam is also critical of the way in which expectations of temporary labour mobility have been used as an inducement to persuade Pacific Island countries to agree to PACER negotiations and its extension to include services.

Coates: “If New Zealand and Australia were really interested in being supportive neighbours, they would go ahead and offer more opportunities for seasonal work and temporary migration, rather than using it as a cheap bargaining chip to get Pacific nations to agree a trade deal that would be mainly in their own economic interests.”

Oxfam is calling for new approaches to development and trade policy in the Pacific, based on building the local economy through support for small business and micro-enterprises, investment in transport and other forms of economic infrastructure, strengthened vocational training and diversification through higher value activities, such as processing raw materials.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: on the inquiry into the abuse of children in care

Apparently, PM Jacinda Ardern has chosen to exclude faith-based institutions from the government’s promised inquiry into the abuse of children in state care.

Any role for religious institutions – eg the Catholic Church – would be only to observe and to learn from any revelations that arise from the inquiry’s self-limiting focus on state-run institutions… More

 

Gordon Campbell: On Jim Anderton
For anyone born after 1975, it is hard to grasp just how important a figure Jim Anderton was, for an entire generation.
During the mid to late 1980s, Anderton was the only significant public figure of resistance to the Labour government’s headlong embrace of Thatcherism...More>>

ALSO:


Gong Time: New Year's Honours List

Jacinda Ardern today congratulated the 179 New Zealanders named on the 2018 New Year’s Honours List.

“Although this list was compiled and completed by the last government, it is a pleasure to welcome in the New Year by recognising exceptional New Zealanders,” Jacinda Ardern said.

“As an Aunty, I love reading books to my nieces, so it’s lovely to congratulate Joy Cowley, who is made a member of the Order of New Zealand today....More
Full list


Roads: National launches bid to save highway projects

The National Party has launched a series of petitions aimed at saving regional highway projects at risk because of the Government’s obsession with Auckland trams…More>>

ALSO:


Medical Cannabis: Bill Introduced to “ease suffering”

Health Minister Dr David Clark says making medicinal cannabis more readily available will help relieve the suffering of people who are dying in pain More>>

ALSO:

Campbell: On The Quest For Zero Net Carbon Emissions
Some would querulously ask, zero net carbon emissions by 2050 – while others would say, why not?
More>>

ALSO:

CPAG Report: The Further Fraying Of The Welfare Safety Net

New Zealand’s welfare system has undergone a major transformation during the past three decades. This process has seriously thwarted the original intent of the system, which was to provide a decent standard of living for all New Zealanders in times of need... More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages