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Green Co-Leader To Visit France

Green Party co-leader Rod Donald will leave for France tonight on a study programme at the invitation and expense of the French Government.

Mr Donald will be in France between 22 October and 3 November. During his stay there he will meet with the French Minister for the Environment and her six fellow Green MPs and study a range of issues.

Mr Donald said the French Green Party was a formal part of the governing coalition and he hoped to discuss the finer points of coalition management and the roles of a green party as part of a coalition government as well as Green policy issues.

"I hope to study free trade and employment issues, the French Government's position on New Zealand's Waihopai spy base, the ever-present nuclear issue and look closely at France's very established hemp industry with the goal to bring back information to assist with the creation of our own industry," he said.

Mr Donald will visit the OECD in Paris and meet with officials to discuss free trade, sustainable development, superannuation and trade union issues.

On his way to France Mr Donald will spend three days in the United States where he will study the Green Party's presidential and senate campaigns. He will meet with California's Green Party candidate for the Senate and electoral reform advocates in Washington.

After spending close to two weeks in France Mr Donald will travel to London to meet Green Party members and to discuss electoral reform with both Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs.

He will then visit Brussels, where the Green Party is also in coalition government, to meet with the Green Party's Minister of Energy and Sustainable Development. He will also meet with the Green MPs in the European Parliament and discuss issues such as genetic engineering, the promotion of fair trade and New Zealand's role in the ECHELON spy network.

On his way home Mr Donald will spend a day in Singapore to further examine areas of the Green Party's concern over the Singapore Free Trade deal the Labour Government plans to sign. Specifically Mr Donald hopes to visit the export processing zone of Batam to look at working conditions, environmental standards and the ability of the Customs Department to police rules of origin.

Rod will be in the USA between October 18 - 21; France, October 22 - November 3; London, November 3 - 7; Brussels, November 7 - 9; Singapore, November 10 - 11. Full itinerary available on request.


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