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NZ Protest Against WTO Ministerial Round Tues

New Zealand Protest Against WTO Ministerial Round in Hong Kong

A New Zealand protest against the World Trade Organisation’s Ministerial Meeting in Hong Kong this week will take place tomorrow.

The protest is timed to coincide with the opening day of the meeting and will be held outside the Fonterra building, Princes Street, Auckland (just along from the University) from 12noon to 2pm tomorrow – Tuesday 13th December.

New Zealand’s aims at the meeting are to free up agricultural trade because at the moment we enjoy a “competitive advantage” in agricultural products. However this strategy will not only lead to serious problems for our agricultural sector but will have dreadful effects across our middle and low income communities and throughout the developing world.

Some of these effects involve:

Global warming and changing climate patterns meaning our agricultural future is uncertain at best. It’s plain stupid to put all our eggs in the agricultural basket.

Further damage to our environment through increased intensification of farming practices.

Further destruction of our manufacturing sector as even more cheap imports flood the country.

Well paid, skilled and semi-skilled jobs will be replaced with low paid, part time jobs which will drive more of our families into poverty.

Already the opening up of our economy in the 1980’s has meant that tens of thousands of quality jobs have been lost in this way

Many families now work several jobs just to keep their heads above water. One third of our children live below the poverty line and 15% of our families borrow just to get by paying the electricity and grocery bills. All this will worsen under the WTO proposals.

The WTO proposals would have a devastating effect on fledgling industries, agriculture and the service sector in developing countries with the beneficiaries being the large TNC’s (Trans-national corporations)

Around the world millions of peasants have already lost their land to large agri-businesses and been forced into urban ghettos. This will accelerate dramatically if trade in agricultural products is opened up.

Family farming will disappear.

Further intensification of farm practices and a focus on food crops for export will dominate farming worldwide. This will drive down prices and put millions out of work.

It will mean loss of income for many farmers in rich countries but loss of their land and hopes for the future for many tens of millions of the world’s poorest citizens.

When the WTO was established in 1994 its purpose was to raise standards of living, ensure full employment and a growing real income for all the world’s people. Precisely the opposite has happened under their policies.

In New Zealand’s case we are one of the best negative examples. We are already well down the WTO designed path with foreign investors welcomed in to pick over our prime companies and prime real estate for the private benefit of their shareholders.

The drivers and the beneficiaries of WTO policies are the large TNC’s. They celebrate big increases in profits while poverty deepens in New Zealand and around the world.

For the sake of New Zealand farms, our families and our communities the WTO Ministerial meeting in Hong Kong must end in failure.

Fonterra has been chosen as the protest venue because they are driving hard the WTO agenda for New Zealand.

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