Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

FTA Select Committee Hearings A Show Trial

GATT Watchdog

P O Box 1905, Christchurch Tel: 3 366 2803 Fax: 3 366 8035

Media Release 21 October 2000

Show trials in totalitarian regimes can have only one outcome, but go through the charade just for show. The Select Committee hearing submissions into the Singapore free trade agreement has just completed a similar sham. Its political masters would allow it no other outcome than approval of the agreement. Even its report admitted as much.

“By the time a treaty is presented to the House, it will normally have already been adopted by the States Parties and will often have been signed by the New Zealand Government as well”, it said. “‘Two way’ consultation is not possible”. It admits that consultation was insufficient and that its submission timeline was too short.

Even though the Deputy Prime Minister has told us he asked MFAT to consult with opponents of the Agreement, Gatt Watchdog and a number of other interested parties were not invited to briefings.

The process the Committee followed was so hasty that even its report is full of errors. It attributes comments to Gatt Watchdog even though we never made a submission. We did however, send a letter to the committee outlining why we would not participate in such a sham.

It claims to have advertised for submissions on 9 September, before the Agreement was even presented to Parliament on 11 September. In fact it didn’t advertise until 16 September in Wellington and 18 September elsewhere, giving those few who heard about it only a week to get hold of a copy of the complex 192 page text and make a submission.

It misquotes submissions and glosses over major issues.

Concerns at the favourable position Singapore retains through its extensive government-linked companies and regulations are barely covered.

Worries that Singapore involvement in New Zealand tertiary education and research could undermine academic freedom are dismissed with an inaccurate reference to the law.

The use of Singapore as a back door to New Zealand by multinational corporations is barely analysed.

It dismisses significant local government concerns in less than a paragraph. Yet those concerns came from major Councils including Christchurch, Manukau, and Horowhenua, and Local Government New Zealand. Dunedin City Council was not allowed to make a late submission despite its mayor’s attendance at the hearings.

It does not refute arguments that the tariff removals are in opposition to Government policy to freeze tariffs, nor that those tariffs are beneficial.

Even on the issue of process, where the Select Committee could have made a stand to ensure there is proper, informed consultation with the New Zealand public, with early release of drafts of the text, it makes only general statements of support for a longer time frame and more consultation. But it says that its future part in the process will again be a charade of inquiring into agreements that have already been committed to.

And then there is the inevitable conclusion: the majority of the Committee supports the Agreement. The grand coalition of National and Labour overrode all concerns.

Nothing that anyone could say - and did say at great personal cost - could have changed that. The hearing and submissions were just for show. New Zealand has lost another piece of its independence after another stifled debate.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Epic Fails Of Kris Faafoi


Ever since Winston Peters first breathed life into this government in 2018, its own branding has been all about social justice and how we all need to be “kind” to each other. Somehow, Kris Faafoi must have missed the memo. His performance in the immigration portfolio (in particular) has neither been kind nor just, especially to the migrants whose skills New Zealand will need to get us through Covid, and grow the economy into the future... More>>

Covid-19 & Government: Government Green Lights Rapid Antigen Testing


Some of the country’s largest businesses have put in an order for 300,000 approved rapid antigen tests for their workforce, after working at pace with the Government on a new scheme unveiled by Associate Minister of Health and Research, Science and Innovation Ayesha Verrall... More>>


ALSO:




 
 


Government: Opportunity To Shape NZ’s First Emissions Reduction Plan
The Government is inviting New Zealanders to inform the country’s first Emissions Reduction Plan with the release of a consultation document containing a range of policy ideas to decrease the country’s emissions, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Climate Change Minister James Shaw announced today... More>>

ALSO:


Government: Books Show Resilient And Strong Economy
The end of year audited Crown accounts released today show the Government’s health led approach to the COVID-19 pandemic has protected New Zealand’s economy. “On almost every indicator the accounts show that the New Zealand economy has performed better than forecast... More>>


Healthcare: Health System Is Ready For Assisted-dying Law
The health system is ready for the implementation of the End of Life Choice Act when it takes effect next month, making assisted dying legal in New Zealand, Health Minister Andrew Little said today... More>>

ALSO:



Government: Mandatory Vaccination For Two Workforces

Large parts of two workforces critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19 will be required to be vaccinated, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Our education and health and disability workforces have done an incredible job throughout this pandemic to keep themselves and people safe,” Chris Hipkins said.... More>>


Green Party: Deeply Concerned Space Launches May Be Breaching Nuclear-free Laws

The Green Party is deeply concerned that space launches by Rocket Lab may be breaching nuclear-free laws, given our long-standing position as a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty... More>>



Children's Commissioner: Call For Mandatory Vaccination Of Children’s Workforce
The Children’s Commissioner and Assistant Māori Commissioner are calling for a plan for the mandatory vaccination of teachers and the entire children’s workforce in New Zealand... More>>


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels