24 Oct 2005

Oxfam NZ says Pacific not ready for more trade liberalisation

12:20 pm on 24 October 2005

Oxfam New Zealand says Pacific countries should not be forced through a further round of trade liberalisation as contained in the Forum's Pacific Plan.

The Plan is to be discussed by regional leaders who meet this week for the Pacific Island Fourm summit in Port Moresby.

The theme of the meeting is "Towards a Prosperous Future" and the PNG Prime Minister, Sir Michael Somare, says Australia and New Zealand need to open their markets more to goods and services such as labour from the islands.

The two bigger economies are understood to want a comprehensive move made towards establishing a single market.

The executive director of Oxfam NZ, Barry Coates, says its good there is discussion over how to grow economies, but it does not need to be achieved through the opening up of the fragile island markets:

"Instead of actually saying, what is it that will stimulate local level economic development in these countries and provide the basis for better incomes for all people not just a few amongst the elite."