Alliance hammers National/Labour free trade addiction

Press Release – New Zealand Alliance Party

The Alliance is warning that free trade deals continue to pose a threat to New Zealand’s economic independence and democracy itself.Alliance hammers National/Labour “free trade addiction”

Alliance Party media release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Friday 11 November 2011

The Alliance is warning that free trade deals continue to pose a threat to New Zealand’s economic independence and democracy itself.

Alliance Wigram candidate for the 2011 general election Kevin Campbell says National and Labour are “addicted to the failed global free market model.” National had “sold out” New Zealand, and Labour has taken a “gutless, bob each way” approach to free trade that was harming Kiwi jobs in areas such as rail manufacturing.

Mr Campbell says New Zealand could find itself being threatened by global corporates who will push for the complete takeover of New Zealand assets. “Under the so-called mixed ownership model, will overseas investors be able sue the New Zealand taxpayer if they can’t grab majority shareholding of our power companies and other assets?”

“What most people don’t realize is that today’s deal is never a one off, it is just another step down the path that leads New Zealand towards the loss of its assets and our ability to control our own economic interests. Mixed ownership means creeping privatization.”

A former MP in the Labour-Alliance coalition Government, Mr Campbell drew a comparison with the 1990s fight against the MAI, a previous free trade deal that failed.

The proponents of the MAI (Multi Lateral Agreement on Investment) have not gone away, they’re just trying the same tricks in a new form.

“Isn’t it interesting that the TPPA, the current Pacific free trade deal, is being kept under wraps for four years? This is just enough time at the next election for any touch up adjustments to Nationals asset sales and privatization programme.”

Mr Campbell campaigned as Alliance Candidate in the 1998 Taranaki King Country by election with the slogan “Our country is not for Sale” where he won the two main towns Te Kuiti (a National stronghold) and Stratford.

He says the Alliance was the only party then in the House, and he the only candidate in the by-election, standing against the MAI free trade deal.

“At the time National (with Lockwood Smith as Trade Minister) was poised to sign us up to the MAI. The global corporate Nestle just happened to be looking to increase its world wide dairy acquisitions but couldn’t buy into New Zealand’s co-operative structure.”

“Under the MAI, Nestle could have sued the New Zealand taxpayer for compensation because the NZ government allowed a domestic law or structure to prevent overseas buy-ins.”

Once local people were aware of the implications, they were extremely concerned. Mr Campbell says at the time, both Labour and National were happy to sign up to the MAI.

“The Alliance demanded a debate and vote in the House before National locked us into the MAI. A debate was allowed but no vote. Thankfully, the MAI collapsed because France and Canada pulled out after concerns multi-national corporations would sue states for “loss of profit” compensation.”

The Alliance will not support any free trade deals.

The Alliance supports the growing global movement for regulated, sustainable and fair international trade, which brings decisions back to the community and maintains democratic, labour and environmental standards, rather than handing over control behind closed doors to powerful and unaccountable corporates and their political allies.

ENDS

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