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China-NZ FTA bill passes first reading in parliament
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The New Zealand parliament has passed the first reading of the New Zealand-China Free Trade Agreement.

The agreement was signed in Beijing last month but members of the parliament in New Zealand still have to vote it through the House for it to become law.

The deal passed through on Thursday night by 102 votes to 17 and will be sent to a select committee.

Wayne Mapp, a MP from the opposition National Party, said New Zealand is breaking ground on a global scale.

He said it is not often that the parliament has the opportunity to pass law that will add billions of dollars to the wealth of the community.

The Greens, New Zealand First and the Maori Party, voted against the agreement in its first reading.

(Xinhua News Agency May 16, 2008)

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