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Trade Opponent Scare-mongering

The Government has a clear commitment to maintaining New Zealand's sovereignty, Trade Negotiations Minister Jim Sutton said today.

Anti-trade activists have alleged that because another World Trade Organisation member has asked New Zealand to change a variety of laws, including scrapping the Overseas Investment Commission, that this would allow unrestricted overseas access to our land, energy resources and businesses.

Mr Sutton said the Government was quite clear about its participation in the General Agreement on Trade in Services negotiations, and there were some areas where there would be no changes.

"On February 2, the Government announced the 10 guiding principles of our GATS negotiations. They are available on the Government's website (www.beehive.co.nz) and the Foreign Affairs and Trade Ministry's website ( www.mfat.govt.nz). Last week, I tabled these in the House to ensure that all MPs have a copy.

"Let us be quite clear: the Government has decided that our GATS commitments will fit our domestic regulatory regime. In particular, we will not make commitments that affect the Kiwishare, abolish the OIC, or in areas such as public education, public health, and water privatization. To suggest otherwise is scaremongering."

Mr Sutton said the requests received by New Zealand just that - requests.

"Just because someone asks for something in a negotiation does not mean they will get it."

He said that a summary of the requests New Zealand had made of other countries and those received by New Zealand from other countries had been made public. However, the identity of those making the requests had not.

"This is because it's the offers that matter, not the nations making them."




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