20 Feb 2013

Campaigner critical of NZ trade stance in Pacific

2:31 pm on 20 February 2013

A campaigner with the Pacific Network on Globalisation says New Zealand maintains a self-interested position at the World Trade Organisation when it comes to trade and the Pacific Islands.

This comes as New Zealand's Trade Minister, Tim Groser, seeks the backing of these nations to become the head of the WTO.

Adam Wolfenden says New Zealand often uses the WTO to push for greater concessions from Pacific nations that go against the best interests of those countries while benefiting New Zealand.

He says New Zealand often shows little regard for the needs of its neighbours.

"We've heard from past officials and academics in the region, some of these people engaged at a very high level at these talks. They've said very bluntly that New Zealand and Australia were some of the most aggressive and (were) setting very high benchmarks asking a lot from these countries. Particularly the countries that were their smaller island neighbours."

Adam Wolfenden says a structural change is needed at the WTO to help small Pacific Nations stand up for their interests.