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NZ Green action in Australia on free trade

Sept. 13, 2000

NZ Green action in Australia on free trade continues

The Green Party is moving from the streets to the select committee rooms in Australia in its opposition to free trade.

Green MPs Sue Bradford and Nandor Tanczos are back from protesting against the World Economic Forum in Melbourne, but transtasman Green Party co-operation on trade issues continues.

The Green Party's next step is to present a submission to the Australian Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Treaties, which is conducting an inquiry into Australia's relationship with the WTO.

New Zealand Green Party Co-Leader and Trade Spokesperson Rod Donald hopes to appear before the committee in person to support the critique of the WTO made by the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET), a coalition of fair trade and investment NGOs.

The Green Party's submission also focuses on what the WTO means for transtasman trade, and strongly advises that Australia and New Zealand should not allow WTO rules to dictate what their economic relationship should be.

"The WTO is a non-elected, unrepresentative, unaccountable global bureaucracy," Mr Donald says in the Green Party submission. "The WTO is a bigger threat to national sovereignty and self-determination in this part of the world than the former Soviet Union ever was."

The Greens support Australia's - and New Zealand's - right to set high environmental and labour standards that are not provided for under free trade rules, even if this reduces overall trade.

"The aim of trade is to make us better off - not to lower wages, increase unemployment, and destroy the environment, as we have seen happen under WTO rules," says Mr Donald.

Rod Donald MP x6660, 025 507183

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