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Stop the Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement

20 April 2001

Media Release: Aotearoa Educators [AE!]

Send Helen the Message: Don't Destroy the Country

Tino Rangatiratanga group Aotearoa Educators [AE!] says that despite the government's claims that they will start consultations regarding a trade and investment deal with Hong Kong the answer will still be 'no' to deals which sell off the country, its assets and dispossesses everyone.

We encourage everyone to send Helen Clark a clear message, don't destroy the country! Says [AE!] spokesperson Waiariki Grace. Helen Clark yesterday released details that government bureaucrats have already decided upon an Understanding with Hong Kong bureaucrats.

The Agreement is nothing new says Mr Grace, "we have seen it all before, from the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) to the Singapore Deal which was deviously passed last year. Helen Clark has already set her agenda, any 'consultation' at this stage is merely to make this scam of a process appear legitimate".

In his speech to welcome Helen Clark to Hong Kong, Chief Executive of the Hong Kong SAR made some alarming statements. He describes Hong Kong as the "gateway" to Mainland China. He says, many multinational corporations have already positioned themselves in Hong Kong for entering the Mainland's markets".

Multinational corporations can be extremely powerful, and with a deal, like the one Helen Clark intends to pursue, Aotearoa is wide open for swamping by companies with the money, basically, to take over and put out of business much of our private sector" says Mr Grace.

Mr Tung says he hopes that more New Zealand companies would come to Hong Kong or use Hong Kong as a springboard into the Mainland of China". While this may be true the menacing point about these statements is that the reverse is no also true. Hong Kong and Chinese companies, with Hong Kong and Chinese labour standards, which have barely changed over the past 10 years, can use Hong Kong as a "springboard" to enter Aotearoa New Zealand.

"We stand for protecting Aotearoa from corporate exploitation" says Mr Grace, " and we will be protesting this latest affront to all of those living in Aotearoa. We encourage everyone to make clear statements to Helen Clark that we all believe in this country and do not want it destroyed".

Aotearoa Educators [AE!] will be protesting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade with other like minded people on May 1 at 4:45pm. We encourage all those who can attend to come along and make yourself be heard.

Stop the Hong Kong "Free" Trade Agreement May 1 2001
40 The Terrace

END For further comment contact: Aotearoa Educators [AE!] Waiariki Grace tel (04) 384 5009

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