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NZ to Sign Free Trade Agreement with the Butchers of Burma


NZ Trade Minister, Phil Goff, announced yesterday that New Zealand and Australia had completed free trade negotiations with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). The agreement, which covers goods, services, intellectual property, will be signed later this year. [NZPA Article]

ASEAN includes Myanmar's (Burma) brutal military junta, one of the World's most repressive regimes. The Maritime Union of New Zealand strongly criticised the agreement. Maritime Union General Secretary Trevor Hanson says a free trade deal including Myanmar will boost the violently anti-worker regime in Myanmar and threaten workers rights. [More]

The Alliance Party also condemned the deal. Party spokesman, Victor Billot said: "Have the people of New Zealand ever been told the full implications of free trade? How it means essentially joining our economy and our destiny to nations under the grip of dictatorship, placing labour conditions, secure jobs and national sovereignty in jeopardy? No, just an ongoing propaganda campaign that unites the Labour-National Party into one happy relationship with the worst thugs and crooks on the world stage." [More]


Re: NZ to Sign Free Trade Agreement with the Butchers of Burma

As a butcher, I must object strenuously to this betrayal by labour.
Opening our doors via this FTA to a flood of cheap meat cut by the butchers of Burma, who we know nothing about, is putting not only the health of our people at risk, but putting to sword a traditional blue collar occupation that is universally regarded with pride and respect.
For a Samoan son of immigrants like me, a butchers' apprenticeship opened doors for me that let me drag y family out of dire poverty. I have three young children and my wife and I go to the church, we pay the taxes and we obey the law. We have done what we should for our community and country.
Now, we hear that this FTA will basically destroy our jobs and our industry. I am not against Burmese butchers at Burmese butcheries preparing meat for Burmese people. What I am against is watching this so called labour government sell out NZ butchers in this way.

Re: NZ to Sign Free Trade Agreement with the Butchers of Burma

New Zealand- ASEAN free-trade, 'slow motion disaster' for workers: Left Party
Friday, 29 August 2008 20:11

New Delhi - A left-wing political party of New Zealand on Friday said the country's free trade deal with ASEAN, which has military-ruled Burma as a member, is a 'disgrace' and a 'slow motion disaster' for workers in New Zealand and in Burma.

The Alliance Party, which has maintained a stand against free trade deals, said entering into free trade with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which has Burma as its member, is particularly worse as the agreement would mean economically integrating New Zealand with the Burmese military regime.

Victor Billot, spokesperson of the Alliance Party, said the free trade deal is not going to benefit the people of New Zealand and Burma, but it will only further strengthen military dictatorship in Burma.

"We are already against free trade… but in this particular case we think it is even more serious because we are talking about economically integrating our country with a dictatorship such as Burma," Billot told Mizzima over telephone.

The statement by The Alliance Party came after New Zealand on Thursday announced its successful free-trade negotiation with the 10-member ASEAN, which will allow elimination of tariffs on New Zealand's meat and dairy exports to ASEAN nations.

ASEAN economies - Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Burma and Cambodia – which represent a market of more than 575 million people, is the third largest trading partner of New Zealand.

However, Billot said free-trade will only benefit the Burmese military junta while its citizens continue to suffer under their rule. Besides, free-trade will threaten the job security of the people in New Zealand.

"Free trade here will mean choice New Zealand products being served on the tables of the fascist junta of Myanmar, while we get cheap products produced by slave labour in Myanmar [Burma] destroying jobs in New Zealand. This is what Labour and National regard as a win-win situation under free trade," the Alliance Party said in a statement.

Billot said New Zealand traditionally fosters strong support for movements against dictatorships and had strongly supported the South African movement against the apartheid government.

"While we make a huge noise about Zimbabwe and the Mugabe regime, on the other hand we are moving further down the path of integrating our economy with dictatorships closer home like Myanmar [Burma]," Billot said.