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Free trade including Myanmar dictatorship is a slow motion disaster for workers and democracy in both nations

New Zealand Alliance Party | Friday, 29 August 2008

Free trade including Myanmar dictatorship is a slow motion disaster for workers and democracy in both nations

The Alliance Party says the news that New Zealand has negotiated a free trade deal with ASEAN nations that include the fascist dictatorship of Myanmar is a disgrace of historical proportions and is a slow motion disaster for workers in New Zealand and in Myanmar.

"Free trade here will mean choice New Zealand products will be served at the tables of the fascist junta of Myanmar, while we get cheap products produced by slave labour in Myanmar destroying jobs in New Zealand. This is what Labour and National regard as a win win situation under free trade."

Alliance Party national spokesperson Victor Billot says decisions on free trade have a massive influence on the future of our society, but were decided behind closed doors by state and corporate elites.

"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."

He says eventually goods, services and human beings may flow freely between New Zealand and Myanmar, regardless of how brutal and callous the Myanmar Government acts.

"Free trade is an ongoing process," says Mr Billot. "There is no place where it must end. The trend of importing short-term, casualized workers between countries is increasing and how long will it be before employers are working with Myanmar as a new source of cut price workers?"

He says that Myanmar enjoys a "competitive advantage" with New Zealand.

"If you disagree with the Government in Myanmar, you get shot. That must assist employment relations with the Myanmar working class no end. No negotiations, no strikes, and the ultimate flexible labour force. It is indeed a model of how free trade and free markets can operate more successfully without democracy, trade unions or basic humanity."

He says the hypocrisy of the Government was staggering and says New Zealand trade unions needed to stand up and be counted.

"They have an obligation to the international workers movement to represent the interests of the workers of Myanmar to our Labour 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 to home like Myanmar. The difference seems to be its OK when there is money in it for us. The generals of Myanmar will be laughing all the way to the bank."

Mr Billot says that Labour Party has traditionally stood up on moral principle such as its stand against apartheid and nuclear weapons, but was tripping over itself in its haste to join our economy to free trade agreements with corrupt and evil regimes.

"This must be what Mr Goff means when he talks about New Zealand longer term strategic engagement with the Asia Pacific region."

 source: Scoop