"Once We Were Producers"

Tuesday 1 April 2008, 10:01PM

By Judith Bell


On 7th April 2033 I very much doubt there will be a celebration in New Zealand to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the signing of the FTA with China. On the contrary - and if he has seen the connection between the loss of well paid productive jobs in New Zealand with the degeneration of a once productive and cohesive society - with any luck Alan Duff will have completed the final draft of his book "Once We Were Producers".

Gloomy predictions aside, the reality is that Prime Minister Helen Clarks lack of foresight and close ties to a few New Zealand business leaders with narrow vested interests, will mean that the free trade agreement with China will be signed next week on April 7th 2008, prior to any public scrutiny by the New Zealand public. Not only does this violate our democratic principles, it is cowardly of Clark - in light of the atrocities inflicted on the citizens of China and Tibet by the Chinese military - to not have the courage of her so-called convictions for human rights.

But all is not lost. Abraham Lincoln once said "To sin by silence makes cowards out of consumers."

While our politicians may be cowards, we are not compelled to follow their lead. We have the power to make a difference - it's in our voice, our vote and our wallet.

Judith Bell

Author of “I See Red” (Published by Awa Press) and available at all good bookstores and online at for only $29.99