Written By: - Date published: 10:33 am, October 8th, 2013 - 76 comments
Categories: australian politics, capitalism, climate change, crosby textor, democracy under attack, energy, john key, slippery, Unions, us politics - Tags:
It’s curious than John Key has stepped into the breach to chair the TPP discussions, in Obama’s absence from APEC Summit. Of course the anonymous NZ Herald Editorial claims it is something to cause kiwis to be proud.
I guess we won’t hear or read of Key being critical of the likes of Big Tobacco company Philip Morris, and the pressure it’s putting on the TPP negotiations to over-ride democratic legislation within (supposedly) sovereign states. Prior to the start of the APEC Summit, some concerned medical experts had urged Key not to bow to one of the APEC sponsor’s Philip Morris.
Philip Pattemore and George Laking on NZ Doctor site last Friday stated:
Dear Mr Key
We note you are a featured speaker at the APEC CEO summit in Bali on 5-7 October. This meeting has, as a major sponsor, Sampoerna, an Indonesian subsidiary of Philip Morris, the tobacco giant that manufactures and markets Marlboro cigarettes.
[...]We are concerned that you as Prime Minister by participating in an Industry-sponsored conference will thereby accept an Industry service. We do not see how it can be appropriate for the Prime Minister of New Zealand to speak at a tobacco company sponsored event.
We note that Philip Morris is engaged in an investor-state dispute with the Australian government over legislation for the plain packaging of cigarettes. The industry claims this measure will cause billions of dollars of lost investment earnings based on its intellectual property – its logo and branding. It is abundantly clear that the tobacco industry expects this legislation will decrease smoking. Yet they ignore the public health implications and persist in trying to over-ride the democratic action of the Australian government.
The APEC website does indeed show that Sampoerna/Philip Morris is a platinum sponsor, though not one of the main hosts. However, the main hosts are no less cause for concern, with them being mainly investment and/or BIG Energy type companies.
Nevertheless, I have been wondering how John Key got to be the Chair for the TPP discussions, given the networks of influence that link John Key and Philip Morris via Crosby-Textor, as I have already posted. These networks also incorporate Big Oil, with anti-climate change agenda, as I included in my post:
John Key -Crosby Textor- big tobacco- big oil & fracking-Crosby Textor-David Cameron.
As I reported in that post, David Cameron had received a lot of public criticism for his Crosby-Textor linked connections with both Philip Morris and the fracking industry.
And to that, I would add London Mayor, Boris Johnson, who Key recently cosied up to in some photo ops.
According to the Center for Public Integrity, Altria spent around $101 million on lobbying the United States government between 1998 and 2004, making it the second most active organization in the nation.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions, named Philip Morris as one of its concerns about the TPP discussions at APEC this week.
ACTU calls for leadership and restraint during the APEC leaders’ meeting in Bali amid fears the Coalition could sign away Australia’s right to protect itself against international lawsuits and enter patent deals that could see the cost of PBS medicines skyrocket by as much as 20 per cent.
ACTU president Ged Kearney said, “After almost four years of negotiations on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) Australia should expect immense pressure from the US to sign agreements that are not in our interests.”
“We could end up in a situation where foreign corporations are able to sue the Australian Government and vicariously tax payers for making laws that protect our best interest – for example, laws that protect farm land or our health. It’s outrageous.”
With the USA’s push to have certain clauses called “ISDS” foreign corporations could sue the Australian Government in response to developments like we are seeing in the area of coal seam gas exploration. Communities and farmers want appropriate analysis completed before exploration can begin. State governments have agreed to this but it could be overturned by foreign companies who would complain about lack of trading rights.”
“We are already seeing this issue with Phillip Morris suing the Australian government for introducing plain cigarette packaging. This is possibly due to an early 1990s investment treaty with Hong Kong.
“The ‘ISDS’ clause effectively gives corporations more rights than governments.
“It is important that the Prime Minister holds strong on these issues and not cave into pressure that would benefit the multinational corporations but handicap the Australian Government.
The ACTU statement goes on to express concern of issues like intellectual copyright and affordable medicine, which are also TPP concerns for many Kiwis.
So, John Key’s appearance as an Obama surrogate in Indonesia, is more cause for concern than celebration – just more of his crony capitalist, elitist, big corporate serving interactions that lack democratic transparency.