INDEPENDENT NEWS

Kelsey Challenges Clark To Debate The WTO

Published: Tue 23 Sep 2003 08:12 AM
Kelsey Challenges Clark To Debate The WTO
“If the Prime Minister is so concerned about the meltdown of the World Trade Organisation, she should demand some decent advice about what really happened at Cancun. Then I challenge her to a public debate on the issues”, said Professor Jane Kelsey.
Professor Kelsey was commenting on transcripts of the Prime Minister’s speech in the snap Parliamentary debate that followed the collapse of the WTO ministerial meeting in Cancun.
“The Prime Minister divided the world into two camps. The good guys were led by Jim Sutton and the New Zealand delegation plus the US and EU. They showed good faith, flexibility and willingness to compromise for the benefit of all.
“Helen Clark knows the track record of the US and Europe in bullying of smaller powers, including New Zealand. And she knows how unscrupulously those powers and their corporations have strip-mined the economies of the Third World.
“Nothing changed at Cancun; it’s just that this time they didn’t get their way”, said Professor Kelsey. “The Prime Minister should feel deeply embarrassed about aligning New Zealand with that position.”
“She dismissed everyone who opposed the Doha agenda, including myself, as a ‘wrecker’ who was prepared to sacrifice the bounteous gains that will supposedly flow from global free trade”, observed Dr Kelsey.
“The patronising view, also expressed by Mike Moore, that governments from poorer countries don’t know what is good for them and have become the dupes of the malevolent non-government organizations, will simply add fuel to the fire that threatens to engulf the WTO”, said Professor Kelsey.
“It is sad and revealing that politicians and officials were apparently surprised by the events at Cancun and its outcome. The pent up frustration of Third World governments has been growing since the establishment of the WTO. That has been obvious to anyone observing the WTO with any objectivity. The organization has been accelerating towards this kind of crisis since Doha.”
“Rather than attacking messengers, the government should be reviewing its advice, policies and strategies. A badly informed trade policy - even if the information is what the government wants to hear - does New Zealand no good. There are opportunities here for a new path that forms coalitions with the poorer countries of the world, while at the same time advancing New Zealand's long term interests.”
“I challenge the Prime Minister to get to grips with the issues and debate me in a public forum with a neutral chair, before the next major WTO meeting in December.”

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