Parliament has been blessed with the presence of political leaders from all around the Pacific for the last few days. We had some great debates and discussions.
I just want to gloat about one – the motion to liberalise trade was voted down in favour of an amended motion in support of sustainable development.
The Forum heard some very passionate pleas relating to land, identity, and culture along with some strong critiques of unlimited growth, greed, and the importing of social harms in the form of food products that have contributed to the significant increase in non-communicable diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease.
New Zealand is a part of this. We earn more from the trade of food products in the Pacific connected to non-communicable diseases than we provide in ‘aid’ for health projects.
We also promote free-trade agreements. The representative from PNG said in response, “They’re trying to pull the wool over our eyes; and Australia and New Zealand make the best wool.”
The meeting affirmed again for me the need for New Zealand to catch up with these global movements towards a new model of development that commits to protecting all people and the planet rather than allowing a few people to become ridiculously rich while everyone else is left scrambling for the crumbs. (This video gives a good explanation of global inequality.)