Take the Con out of Consultation

Published: Tue 14 Jun 2016 10:17 AM
Take the Con out of Consultation
The government is pretending to consult members of the public in this afternoon’s negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP). It’s Our Future is calling on the government to stop the spin and start a real dialogue.
Barry Coates, spokesperson for It’s Our Future, the campaign against the TPPA and predatory trade agreements, commented, “It’s all spin and no substance. If the government was serious about consulting, they would hold a real dialogue, not just a parade of speakers limited to one or two minutes.”
“We have seen the sham of consultations in the government’s roadshows, in which they gave no sign of having listened. Thousands of submissions were also made into the Select Committee process, and then ignored in the Committee’s report. This so-called ‘Stakeholder Dialogue’ today is another pretence, going through the motions so they can say they have consulted.”
“We would welcome a real dialogue. This needs to start with making the draft negotiations document public. The draft agreement is already shared with other negotiators, so it’s not a secret. Draft documents are shared in other trade negotiations, including under the World Trade Organisation.”
“Transparency would enable members of the public to hold the New Zealand government is accountable for the proposals that they make in the negotiations. Perhaps that’s the reason for the secrecy.”
“Real consultation would also require objective research and analysis, not the self-justification that was used by MFAT in the TPPA as a ‘National Interest Analysis’. We are ready and willing to engage with the government in a real dialogue.”

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