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Shipley dubbed “Miss-Leader of NZ Economy" at APEC

The APEC Monitoring Group has responded to Jenny Shipley’s claim that APEC has a moral dimension and that trade and investment liberalisation will benefit the poor of the region.

“Mrs Shipley may go to church but she is not the one bearing the cross of the tried tested and failed market policies which APEC – and her own government in particular– promotes. Even the Public Questions Committee of Mrs Shipley’s own Presbyterian Church warns us of the lack of morality of the APEC Agenda,” says Aziz Choudry of the APEC Monitoring Group.

“To suggest that APEC somehow has a moral dimension is obscene and insulting to the hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders whose lives and communities have been decimated by the extreme free market approach which successive New Zealand governments have inflicted on them. It fails to acknowledge that although global trade has increased sixteenfold since 1950 and consumption has increased sixfold, the gap between rich and poor has widened throughout the world.”

“To suggest that critics of APEC do not base their opposition to APEC on sound reflection and analysis is equally absurd. The only reason that there is now even any informed debate about APEC and economic liberalisation is because of organisations like APEC Monitoring Group, GATT Watchdog, the Trade Union Federation and many among Maori – not because of anything that Jenny Shipley’s government has done.”

“We saw this with GATT, with the MAI, with the WTO and now with APEC. The Government does not want critical, informed debate on the issues, just grumbling acquiescence and resignation ”

“To suggest that through APEC, New Zealand is exercising a moral obligation towards “less wealthy economies” by promoting a narrow economic vision that has made us all even more vulnerable to the whims of business is outrageous”.

“Her recent statement reflects the government’s growing desperation and a tacit acknowledgement that the cynical government PR campaign to build support for APEC has failed. They have failed to co-opt credible critics of APEC into supporting the APEC agenda. They are locked into the same tired free market feelgood rhetoric which fewer and fewer New Zealanders believe”.

“The only morality that APEC knows is that of the market. Because APEC claims to be a community of ‘economies’ not countries or governments it excludes from consideration any non-economic, social, or political issues like human rights, poverty, and the environment, unless they are redefined in trade related “market-friendly” terms.“

“The “new opportunities” which Mrs Shipley claims will flow from the APEC process are for business, not for ordinary people in either rich or poor countries. The privatisation, deregulation, trade and investment liberalisation agenda which APEC promotes treats people and natural resources as commodities to be bought and sold in the marketplace. There is nothing moral about that,” said Mr Choudry.

ENDS

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