21 Oct 2006

NGO calls for re-orientation on Pacific Plan's approach to economic growth

8:24 am on 21 October 2006

Oxfam New Zealand is calling for a re-orientation in the Pacific Plan's approach to economic growth.

Civil society groups are meeting in Nadi ahead of next week's forum leaders summit where the first year of the Pacific Plan will be assessed.

Barry Coates of Oxfam New Zealand has told the meeting the Pacific has a long history of its resources being exploited by foreign investors.

One of the aims of the Pacific Plan is to encourage development but Mr Coates says there needs to be a comprehensive impact assessment of planned trade deals..

He says the European Union should drop its demand for a reciprocal free trade agreement and honour its stated aim to support a development framework.

Oxfam also wants a new initiative from Australia and New Zealand on short term labour mobility.

It says this could deliver mutual benefits and should be treated as a partnership arrangement rather than as a bargaining chip in trade deals.