The Alliance has launched an email campaign to say no to the free trade deal with China.
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In the next few weeks, Helen Clark will travel to Beijing to sign a free trade agreement between New Zealand and China. The Alliance Party has grave concerns about what this will mean for New Zealand and New Zealand workers. China’s standards with regard to labour conditions and pay rates, protection of the environment and human rights fall far short of what most New Zealanders would consider to be acceptable. The use of cross border labour with inferior conditions, contracting out, aggressive corporates, and a hands off approach by government will push down wages and conditions for workers and put even more pressure on our fragile environment.
We have already seen the use of cross-border labour to attack wages and conditions within the European Union in recent years. This will be nothing compared to the potential dangers with a secret deal being signed behind closed doors with China, the first in the world. New Zealand is once again the experiment for free market policies.
The recent debacle with Air New Zealand and the underpayment of its Chinese cabin crew should sound as a warning of what is to come. A company that is majority owned by the people of New Zealand is already paying its Chinese workers less than the New Zealand minimum wage. What will happen once privately owned Chinese corporations and their New Zealand partners get going under free trade agreements?
We think that it is important that Helen Clark knows that there are New Zealanders who don’t want a free trade deal with China signed on our behalf.