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NZ left in the dark in free trade swindle

Alliance Party media release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday 6 April 2006

Alliance says New Zealanders have been left in the dark in free trade swindle

The Alliance Party says the free trade deal with China announced today will go down in history as a con-job of monumental proportions, and a cynical victory of cash over principles.

Alliance Party co-leader Len Richards says the Labour Government announcement that free trade with China is going ahead shows a stunning disregard for democracy.

Mr Richards says behind the photo opportunities and PR spin, lies some ugly realities that will soon hit home for the New Zealand public.

"Free trade with China means being integrated economically with a police state where labour exploitation and environmental degradation are the norm."

Mr Richards says the basis of free trade agreements are totally undemocratic, had not been explained to the public, and served to lock in the worst features of global capitalism.

"Since the Prime Minister admits we cannot compete with Chinese wage rates, we will have to do something other than what they are doing. But what? China is rapidly becoming the world's leading manufacturer of all manner of consumer goods. What is left for New Zealand to do?"

He says the economic system driving free trade will end in social chaos, inequality, exploitation and the irreversible destruction of the global environment.

"The people of New Zealand are not being told the truth."

He says the whole free trade process has taken place behind closed doors.

"It is fascinating how the free-market establishment and business media in New Zealand, who were previously outraged by actions such as the Tianamen Square massacre, have transformed into cheerleaders of the Chinese State."

Mr Richards called on the New Zealand trade union movement to speak out about the free trade deal, since independent unions in China were illegal and workers were unable to organize to defend their interests.

"New Zealand workers face further attacks on their jobs, wages and conditions under a free trade agreement with China."

He says the Alliance supports international trade as part of a fair trade system that promoted human rights, environmental sustainability and social equality.

ENDS

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