Tuesday, 26 February 2008

New Zealand secures infamous first FTA with bastards of Beijing

I just can't get my head around the idea that people who instinctively knew that opposing the Springbok tour in the 80s was the right thing to do, who supported further sanctions against South Africa during Apartheid, and who, as recently as 2005, were willing to make gestures (1) of opposition to the sick regime in Zimbabwe, would not only agree to a free trade deal with one of the most hateful regimes on the planet, but would make a blind dash to be first (2).

I can understand why a party of unscrupulous money grubbers the National Party would pursue a FTA with the bastards of Beijing. But Phil Goff smugly smirking (3) that the deal "does not cover any issues other than the removal of tariff and trade barriers and issues of market access." Dollars over human rights. That's the National way. It disgusts me that these words were spoken by a Labour minister.

Which puts me in a quandry. I've always assumed that Labour could be confident of my vote, if not directly, at least by proxy through the Greens. But I'm so bitter about the deal with Beijing that I'm not sure I could vote for Labour, or for a party that will help them cling onto power. Up unti now, my reasoning has been that Labour is the lesser of two evils - a Labour government will mean less damage to the country than a National government. I've always found this phlegmatic-pragmatism very useful, and never entertained the slightest doubt about who to vote for, either here or in Britain. Always, the least right party that most likely to win. Recently, I was scratching my head at Maia's decision (4) to squander her vote. Didn't she realise that letting National wouldn't be worth the little squirt of satisfaction of voting against Labour? Labour bad, maybe, but National worse. End of story.

But now it isn't the end, because Labour are going to pursue goals so antipathetic to my values that I'm not sure I can support them, even indirectly. The logic of voting for the least bad doesn't hold when the least bad is going to sign a FTA with communist China. Perhaps, in the longer view, a National victory in 2008 would be better for Labour, because it will allow them to sort out whether they want to be Right-lite and Goffite, or a proper party that I could vote for. As it is, I'm not sure I can bring myself to do that. But I don't imagine a party that will cosy up to the bastard junta in Beijing cares particularly what I think. And therein lies the problem.
1 - 'Kiwis ignore tour pull-out motion,' unattributed BBC article, 26th of July, 2005. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/cricket/4713507.stm)
2 -'NZ to Sign China Free Trade Deal April,' by Ray Lilley, AP article, 26th of February, 2008. (http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hRUoNpG_YSviOtALdd7rRxl9VgWgD8V1R9VO0)
3 - 'NZ pushes free trade with China forward,' by Sarah Matheson in the Epoch Times, 17th of September, 2007. (http://en.epochtimes.com/news/7-9-17/59871.html)
4 - 'Friday Electoral Politics - Winston Peters Hatred Edition,' postedf by Maia on Capitalism bad; tree pretty, 14th of February, 2008. (http://capitalismbad.blogspot.com/2008/02/friday-electoral-politics-winston.html)

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