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Anarchists oppose China trade deal

Press release May the 21st 2008 For immediate release

Anarchists oppose China trade deal

The Wildcat Anarchist Group will present its submission on the China-NZ free trade agreement to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee today (Thursday).

The group believes the FTA with China threatens to undermine local manufacturers and workers and leave New Zealanders uninformed about the products they buy, says spokesperson Sam Buchanan.

“While a mechanism for capping the growth of New Zealand dairy exports to China under Annex 2 (Special Agricultural Safeguard Measures) has been included in order to protect China’s dairy industry from competition. There are no similar safeguards for New Zealand workers.

“It is ridiculous that the government is encouraging the import of cheap manufactured goods while at the same time running a ‘Buy NZ’ campaign. The latter campaign implicitly suggests that the government perceives the purchase of local products to be in the interests of New Zealanders generally.”

“We are also concerned that this agreement means Chinese workers can be brought into New Zealand as service or installation workers as “contractual service suppliers” under Annex 10 of the agreement and work without the protections and wage rates which apply to local workers.

“Where international trade results in groups of workers from two or more countries coming into potential competition, trade unions and other worker’s organisations must be free to meet, discuss and collectively organise together on an international basis. Chinese government restrictions currently make this impossible and no agreement should be entered into until this is rectified.

“Without freedom of information, New Zealanders are losing the power to make informed choices about the products they are buying. Encouraging trade with a country that censors its own media and does not allow foreign journalists access is irresponsible and prevents consumers being fully informed.

“China’s labour and environmental standards are far below that of New Zealand. If New Zealand consumers wish to avoid buying goods made by polluting industries or by workers in sweat shops, areas under military occupation or political prisoners in ‘Re-education Through Labour’ camps, there is nothing in this agreement which allows them to become informed of the conditions under which goods are produced.

“Hence, this agreement reduces the accountability of businesses to the community they are supposed to serve”, says Sam Buchanan.

The Wildcat Anarchist Group is a small Wellington-based collective formed in 2004 with a reputation for its high-quality commentaries on international and local political and social affairs.


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