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US FTA shows lessons of Fonterra not learned

Alliance says US free trade talks shows lessons of Fonterra not learned

The Alliance Party says a proposed new free trade deal with the USA is a race to the bottom that will be great for big business and terrible for workers.

Alliance Party trade spokesperson Victor Billot says any free trade deal is coming at a strange time as the global financial system teeters on the edge of collapse and Fonterra's venture into China has ended in disaster.

"Why is New Zealand trying to get more entangled in a system that is falling to pieces?"

"The global free trade system is about boosting profits for unaccountable global corporations, keeping down wages and attacking public services. Free trade is undemocratic, anti-worker and anti-environment."

He says the Labour Government have put at risk the ownership of New Zealand assets and our ability to have a democratic say over economic decisions by the Government.

"The people of New Zealand have not been told how free trade deals are undermining our rights to control our own country."

He says free trade is a process which has no end point, and the deal with the USA was just a piece in the jigsaw puzzle

"These decisions are made behind closed doors by bureaucrats and are driven by big business interests. Yet there is no serious discussion or debate with the people of New Zealand, just invite-only lunches for the select elite like the Government has already been hosting."

Mr Billot says free trade deals could mean global corporations could take New Zealand to court over their right to do what they wanted, which had already happened in North America.

He says free trade deals could limit the ability of New Zealand to ensure the public provision of services and local ownership.

Mr Billot says New Zealand assets are under threat, for example ports could be sold off to global corporations.

"Labour have been accusing John Key of a secret agenda to sell off public assets, which is probably true, but by signing up to free trade deals Labour show that they have the same secret agenda."

He called on citizens groups and trade unions to oppose the free trade process.

Mr Billot says the recent Fonterra disaster in China shows how free trade globalization could end in bad results.

"There is a real downside to free trade and open slather investment which the Labour and National Parties have downplayed and ignored, even when in the case of Fonterra it has led to a disaster."

He says one major issue under free trade is the use of cross-border labour, where employers could import short-term casual workers to drive down wages and conditions, which has occurred overseas.

The Alliance has criticized free trade deals with nations such as China and Burma which tie New Zealand into economic integration with low wage, anti-democratic regimes.

The Alliance stands for an international system based on fair trade, social justice and environmental responsibility between independent nations.


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