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Alliance says free trade dismantles democracy

Alliance says free trade is already dismantling democracy in NZ

The Labour Government is selling out workers through its secretive free trade deals, says the Alliance.

Alliance co-leader Paul Piesse says the attempt to shut down protests at trade talks between the New Zealand and Chinese Governments is a sign of degenerate and cynical politicians who have long ago abandoned their principles.

"The Chinese Government want to import short-term labour into New Zealand, so the question is: will these workers have the same rights and conditions as New Zealand workers, or not?"

He says that casualization and exploitation is rife in areas such as the fishing industry, that employs overseas workers in New Zealand waters, and free trade will bring the same problems ashore.

Mr Piesse says Mr Goff's claim he was trying to protect the dignity of Chinese officials was the "crawler mentality."

"What about the dignity of sweatshop workers in China, or the right to free speech and public debate in New Zealand?"

Mr Piesse says Mr Goff is using the same argument that Prime Minister Jenny Shipley used in the 1990s to cuddle up to totalitarian regimes.

"Once this free trade deal is set up, the process of undermining wages and conditions will begin, with workers set up against each other."

He says the benefits of the free trade deals will accrue to the new elite of capitalists in China and the same social group in New Zealand, not working people.

"I suggest New Zealanders who are concerned raise their voice now – while they are still allowed to."

Mr Piesse says the weak response from New Zealand trade unions is very disappointing considering the implications of free trade and lack of independent trade unions in China, and indicates they are being muzzled by the Government.

Ends

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