Stop the secrecy on NZ-China trade treaty

Scoop | Monday, 3 March 2008

Stop the secrecy on China trade treaty

Green Media Release March 3 2008

The Greens are calling on the Government to end the secrecy on the content of the trade deal with China that they plan to sign in only five weeks.

"This trade deal may have a bigger impact on New Zealand than most other government actions this year. Yet the public and parliament are still in the dark about its content only five weeks before it will be signed," says Trade Spokesperson and Green Co-leader Dr. Russel Norman.

The government has already announced that it intends to sign the deal during the April 6-9 visit to China.

"Until we see the content of the treaty we cannot answer key questions such as:

Will the trade deal allow the free movement of labour between New Zealand and China, and if so will New Zealand labour law apply to Chinese workers in New Zealand or not?

Will the environmental and human rights clauses of the agreement be simply greenwash, with nice sounding words but nothing binding on either side?

What provisions will the deal contain affecting the remaining jobs in the textile, clothing and footwear industries?

What is in the treaty about access for dairy, and hence what will be the impact of the agreement on our rivers and lakes, which are already under enormous pressure from dairy conversions?

"These questions and many others remain unanswered yet the Government is proposing to go to China in April to sign the deal.

"Currently it is Cabinet that has total control over the signing of international treaties. Parliament has no say over this agreement - it goes to a select committee which does a report.

"Parliament should have the final say on international treaties, as proposed in Keith Locke’s International Treaties Bill of 2002."

source: Scoop