Desperate to make a deal
The Prime Minister's latest plea for the United States to include us in an ANZUS free trade zone does little to boost this country's reputation on the world stage, Green Co-leader Rod Donald said today.
"The incessant pleading by Helen Clark and her ministers for inclusion in a free trade deal has been bad enough, but her speech in New York overnight is a new level in desperation.
"The simple fact of the matter is that the US will not cut us into its deal with Australia until we prove ourselves to be as sycophantic and pliant as the Howard government.
"While the PM is packaging this as being about selling butter to the US, the real issue is the sacrifice of our independence and self respect.
"If we are prepared to allow US nuclear-powered warships into our harbours, if we are willing to give unconditional support for George W. Bush's aggression in the Middle East, if we are ready to gift America our proxy vote at the UN, then this government's dearest wish will come true.
"But in return for giving up those very things that make us a nation, what do we get from a free trade deal?
"We get an unrestricted land-grab by American billionaires, GATS-imposed loss of our public-services, no mention of GE on the labels of imported American food and - if our experience of other free trade deals is anything to go by - trade deficits rather than trade surpluses.
"The PM is claiming the deal will increase our US imports by 25 per cent, but doesn't explain who will pay for it. Will it be our manufacturing workers, undercut by cheap NAFTA goods coming from Mexican sweatshops? Or will it be the environment, with land and waterways degraded to lift agricultural production?
"This Government's search for the pot of gold at the end of the free trade rainbow is getting desperate," said Rod Donald. "We urge it to instead focus on genuine wealth-creation by making our economy self-reliant and sustainable."