Human rights left out of Nat’s foreign policy

National’s foreign policy, announced yesterday, fails to properly address the needs of the most oppressed people in the world, the Green Party says.

“Human rights don’t get a mention anywhere in the policy, despite grave violations in many countries,” Green Party Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Keith Locke says.

“Most Kiwis would be embarrassed by a Government that doesn’t speak out for those suffering in Asia and Pacific nations like Burma or Fiji.

“National’s motto seems to be: ‘Who cares about human rights, as long as we can get a trade agreement,” Mr Locke says.

“National also dodges any commitment for New Zealand to reach the international aid target of 0.7 percent of the Gross National Income scheduled for 2015. This is a betrayal of the billions of people still living in poverty in developing nations.

“The Green Party want cross-party agreement on a timetable to increase our aid level from 0.35 percent of GNI scheduled for 2010 to 0.7 percent by 2015.

“National’s trade policy, also announced yesterday, only addresses the interests of the more established exporters. There is no mention of the plight of domestic manufacturers faced with cut-throat competition from low-wage economies under free trade agreements, or the danger of more foreign takeovers under their investment provisions.

“National seems willing to let more Kiwi manufacturers go to the wall. It says it will give ‘less emphasis’ to ‘on-shore’ work with firms trying to develop export capacity.

“However, the Green Party are pleased that National acknowledges the threats posed to Pacific nations by climate change. We will happily work with National to assist island nations develop alternative energy sources, as their policy proposes.”