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Joint Statement on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Written By: - Date published: 11:45 am, August 22nd, 2012 - 73 comments
Categories: capitalism, greens, International - Tags: , , ,

Sunday, 19 August 2012, 7:00 pm
Press Release: Green Party

Joint Statement on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, Australian Greens, Green Party of Canada)

As the Green parliamentary political parties of three nations whose governments are currently in the process of negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), we are issuing this joint statement to express our serious concern at the fundamentally undemocratic and non-transparent nature of the agreement. Following the leaking of the draft investment chapter of the TPPA the Greens are extremely concerned that the TPPA agreement has the potential to undermine the ability of our governments to perform effectively. More than just another trade agreement, the TPPA provisions could hinder access to safe, affordable medicines, weaken local content rules for media, stifle high-tech innovation, and even restrict the ability of future governments to legislate for the good of public health and the environment.

We believe that the process should be transparent. This agreement has been negotiated behind closed doors with a level of secrecy that is completely unacceptable in a democratic society.

The Right To Set Our Own Laws

The governments of Australia, Canada and New Zealand traditionally have the right to set down their own laws for the good of public health, consumers, workers and the environment.

Leaked details of the TPPA reveal that, foreign investors and firms could sue Canada or New Zealand in a private international tribunal if their parliaments or local councils pass laws that reduce their profits or adversely affect their businesses. This could include laws such as:
– a requirement for large graphic warnings or plain packaging of cigarettes and other tobacco products (such as in Canada and Australia, and forthcoming in NZ);
– laws requiring labelling of genetically-modified food and drink (NZ); and
– retention of agricultural regulations such as Canada’s supply management system for dairy, which aims to preserve farmers’ livelihoods.

The current Australian government has indicated it will not agree to these clauses intended to protect multinational businesses from the impact of policy decisions, but New Zealand and Canada’s leaders refuse to do the same (even after Canada was on the receiving end of costly lawsuits under NAFTA).

The End of a Free Internet

We believe the TPPA is being used to sneak in measures to bind its member countries to extensive and harsh laws on Internet use that wouldn’t be acceptable at the domestic level – including harsher criminal penalties for minor, non-commercial copyright infringements, a ‘take-down and ask questions later’ approach to pages and content alleged to breach copyright, and the possibility of Internet providers having to disclose personal information to authorities without safeguards for privacy. The European Parliament voted 478-39 against the international ACTA treaty, which was trying to create similar standards. Now, the same type of regulation is being attempted under the TPPA.

More IP rights for the big players

The Intellectual Property Rights chapter of the TPPA was leaked in draft form in February 2011. We anticipate that unless a more moderate and balanced version is adopted, NZ, Canada and Australia’s shoppers, schools and libraries would end up paying more for their books and DVD’s because it would let copyright holders veto parallel importing. Small and medium-sized software and IT businesses would have their innovative visions stifled by constraining patent laws. Finally, large pharmaceutical companies could use the legislation to deny state drug-buying agencies like those in Australia and NZ access to reliable, low cost medicines.

Behind Closed Doors

Almost everything we have learnt about the TPPA’s contents comes from leaked documents that the negotiators didn’t want the public to see. No agreement this important should be finalised without the informed input of the ordinary people it will affect.

Yet while representatives of AT&T, Verizon, Cisco, major pharmaceutical companies and the Motion Picture Association of America have access to the text, democratically elected members of parliament, advocacy organisations for healthcare and the environment and ordinary citizens are being left out in the cold.

Governments, including the US, have opened up to the public in the past by releasing the draft text of agreements. In 2001, all nine chapters of the Free Trade Area of the Americas Agreement were released. At the time, this was called an ‘important step’ that would make the trade negotiation process ‘more transparent and accessible’. If this was the standard for public accountability in 2001, it is disconcerting that similar standards are not in play in 2012.

Together, we Green Parties are declaring that we will only support a fair, genuinely progressive trade agreement that promotes sustainable development and the creation of new jobs alongside the protection of the environment and human rights (including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining). We call on our current governments to remove the veil of secrecy surrounding this agreement and to open these negotiations to public input and comment.

73 comments on “Joint Statement on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement”

  1. Matthew 1

    It is vital, IMO, for all political parties to show a united front against the TPPA. I believe a repeal order should be sent out, informing all & sundry that any agreement signed without the full notification & scrutiny of Parliament is null & void.
    This agreement is the biggest danger to sovereignty ever, & needs to be treated as such.

    • blue leopard 1.1

      +1
      Good stuff Green Parties!!
      Unbelievable that any NZ politician would consider an agreement like this. UNBELIEVABLE.
      Making arrangements with transnationals that lessen peoples sovereignty, democracy and rights? What are they thinking? Our political culture must be rotten to the core.

      • Polish Pride 1.1.1

        part of your evidence into the system being corrupt….?

        • blue leopard 1.1.1.1

          @ Polish Pride

          Take care of your words there PP, “Our political culture must be rotten to the core.”
          was what I said; not the system.

          This is a very serious issue, made more so by people’s natural thought pattern of

          “It won’t be THAT bad, they know what they are doing, they wouldn’t do something THAT bad….”

          Not that bad?
          Can we get some assurances please and could you put that in writing?

          • Polish Pride 1.1.1.1.1

            Sorry Blue Leopard it was in reference to other posts where I have stated that the system is corrupt and by its very design enables corruption. You had indicated that the jury was still out (not those words) on whether the system was corrupt. The intention of my post was to point out what is being allowed to happen with TPP as part of that and a significant flaw in the system. i.e. evidence for you to consider.. It was very clear in my head when I wrote it although I can see how you would have struggled to make such a connection on reading it. Apologies.

      • Mike 1.1.2

        I don’t find it unbelievable at all. In fact it is exactly what I would expect and doesn’t suprise me in the least. The European Union started off as a simple ‘free trade’ agreement and we are being led down the same path. Free trade agreements are never, that is NEVER, beneficial for ordinary citizens. They benefit corporations and their wealthy backers, central banks, and the politicians these organizations buy and own. Profit and control are the motives, real people aren’t considered other than that they are resources who produce, consume and pay taxes.

        European Union laws, created by non elected officials now come before the laws of individual countries and it creeps slowly along towards an eventual European government, probably unelected, which has full control over the ‘union’, with member ‘councils’ (former governments) that will ‘manage’ the member regions (formally sovereign nations). The sad thing is that the majority of the sheeple will still think they live in democracies because they get to vote for their ‘councils’.

        After the 4 major ‘unions’ are in operation it is only a small hop to one world government. If this sounds far fetched or like some crazy theory then simply do a bit of research and ask yourself where you think the world is heading. (in relation to FTA’s and economic unions). If you think we’re headed towards more independence and autonomy as a prosperous sovereign nation then you’re not taking in what you’re researching.

        European Union, North American Union, Asia Pacific Union, African Union. Oh, now we have all these unions, we need something to facilitate trade between the unions. Hmmm, how about a world union, with a world currency? Hmmmm, we’ll need a world government to manage the world union of course. Game over…

        Don’t let your grandchildren or great grandchildren look back and think “What were those stupid fucks doing at the turn of the century?? They allowed the Human Race to fully transition into a slave race”

        Surely it’s time we stopped devolving?

        Evolution = De-Centralization.

        • blue leopard 1.1.2.1

          @ Mike

          Good point. I guess its only unbelievable to those still holding onto a hope/delusion that our politicians are acting with the wellbeing of those they are there to represent, in mind. I believe there are still huge numbers, who do retain such beliefs, and I am afraid you have caught me out still clawing onto that belief myself.

          🙁

    • Matthew Hooton 1.2

      It already is the law of New Zealand that a trade deal is null and void unless it is notified to and scrutinised by parliament.

      • Matthew 1.2.1

        So when does the TPPA get to be seen by the NZ Parliament?

        • Colonial Viper 1.2.1.1

          It can be rubber stamped by Parliament after its been finalised in secret negotiatons.

          • lprent 1.2.1.1.1

            From what I understand the actual provisions of this treaty or at least some of the parts are *not* made public for a number of years after the government approves it.

            I don’t think that it even has to go through parliament. It is a treaty…

            • Matthew Hooton 1.2.1.1.1.1

              No, that’s nonsense. Everything becomes public on signing and prior to ratification and legislation.

              • blue leopard

                @ Matthew Hooton

                How about providing some proof to your statements?

                • Matthew Hooton

                  I don’t know why I should have to provide “proof” for making obvious points in contrast to the conspiracy theorists who make inplausible claims that secret deals are being made that will become law in New Zealand without even parliament knowing. But as a start, check out http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Treaties-and-International-Law/03-Treaty-making-process/index.php. And also try to understand the doctrine of parliamentary sovereignty. And that if a govt signed up to a treaty that the majority of parliament opposed then it would face a snap election. What could be more democratic?

                  • xtasy

                    Matthew: For transparency, accountability, reliability, honesty and trust reasons, every FTA and also the TPP should be publicised for the public knowledge, as it affects the wider public, the population of NZ (citizens and residents), as it is binding EVERYBODY living legally in NZ as a NZer by common knowledge, and anything else will only give rise to utter suspicion, mistrust and a continuing lack of reliability in due process, law, and democratic process.

                    Now, in all honesty, are you NOT going to review the comment you have just made!

                    Also please, disclose your interest in Bathurst Mining, in any shareholdings in leading US companies listed on any stock exchanges there, in any portfolio that includes any US companies and corporations, who may in one way or another, have an interest in the TPP to become a valid agreement, also binding the nation you were born and raised in, that being NZ Aoteaora!?

                    [lprent: Don’t be a dickhead. Unlike a parliamentarian, judge, or various other public servant – there is no requirement for a private person to disclose anything much. The best you could do is to look at the companies site and office for the public listed holdings of directorships, shares or whatever. But if you want to know, get off your butt and dig.

                    I dislike the tactic of claiming that a negative or refusal is a confirmation. It is a pwned level offense and causes the most obnoxious ‘debate’ I ever read because it is meaningless playground waffle. I usually ban repeat perpetrators. ]

                    • Matthew Hooton

                      Every FTA is publicised and scrutinised in the way you demand. I have no interests in any of the companies you describe. Do you? Or do you hold interests in their political or commercial competitors? What is your real name? Do you believe in transparency?

                      [lprent: I believe in transparency. I transparently kick people off this site when they try to violate our transparent policies. Badgering people to violate the privacy that we guarantee is one of those. Be warned that I have a very low toleration for the tactic of demanding a revelation of identity to shut down discussion. My usual response is warn once and to boot repeat perpetrators off the site. Usually I do it permanently as I dislike people too stupid to learn.

                      The only time it is permissible is if someone claims special knowledge and is asked to back it up. People can then read what they like into the lack of response. Cannot see where X has done so. ]

                    • Colonial Viper

                      Every FTA is publicised and scrutinised in the way you demand.

                      In that case, can we see the draft joint text of the TPPA somewhere please?

                      Or do we get to see it only after it has been rubber stamped and there is no opportunity to change any of the provisions?

                    • xtasy

                      lprent: I did only ask Mathew for sincerity’s sake to disclose. If he chooses not to, that is his choice, at least he should state he refuses to do so. Apart from that , of course the Company’s Office shows only NZ ownership, shareholding and registration, not overseas ones. So I was only asking for him to disclose, and it was not a “demand” or expectation of sorts to abide by any law, as of course that may not be required. Thank you.

                      [lprent: As I said, a tactic, one that I have seen many times in online discussions over the last 3 decades. One of the many variations of the pwned technique. It is unwelcome here because it starts tit-for-tat discussions that are boring as hell. ]

                  • xtasy

                    TRANSPARENCY AS A COMMENTER is not always recommendable. See Paula Benettito! Hence we are careful folk on here, but we still stand by what we say, believe and are integre about.

                    You are favoured by Bennett, Key and consorts, we are NOT.

                    So since she got away with shooting down critics and being non apologetic, we choose wisely to act as we are!

                  • xtasy

                    By the way you stated on National Radio not long ago, that you were working for, or representing Bathurst Mining, or a company of similar name, wanting to mine the sensitive area in dispute on the South Island (such and such “plateau”). Bizarre, sort of!

                  • blue leopard

                    Thank you Mr Hooton for providing some substantiation. There appears to be a major “if and but” built into the information you provided (as usual with legal requirements of our politicians):

                    “Binding treaty action can be taken on minor bilateral treaties once Cabinet approval is given. Only major bilateral treaties of particular significance are required to be presented to the House.Information on the criteria for tabling bilateral treaties in the house can be found at Bilateral Treaties: ”

                    [Criteria to determine submission to the parliamentary treaty examination process]:

                    “The bilateral treaty criteria to assist the Minister to exercise his discretion in deciding which bilateral treaties qualify as “major bilateral treaties of particular significance” are listed below for reference. A bilateral treaty may be deemed to be a “major bilateral treaties of particular significance” if:
                    [shortened]
                    …..These criteria are intended to help the Minister exercise his discretion. They do not replace that discretion.”

                    http://www.mfat.govt.nz/Treaties-and-International-Law/03-Treaty-making-process/Treaty-Criteria.php

                    I see room in this information for this agreement not to be presented to the house.

              • xtasy

                Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, Mr HOOT ON and OFF!

                Yes, technically and legally you are of course right, but “Parliament” in NZ is the instrument of a defacto dictatorship of the majority, so whosoever gets the majority vote, even with “tea cup arrangement” support voters, gets their way.

                Look at the MOM bill now turned law, where 99 plus submissions were ignored by the government during select committee hearings. NO consideration, stuff all, nada, my matey!

                There is NO second house in NZ, like in Australia, and in most other democratic countries, yes ALL I can think off.

                NO extra scrutiny, nothing binding, so if a government majority says, we will vote pro TPP, it goes, no matter what, made public, which hardly any media will report much about, which most people will NOT read or hear about, due to privat media inundation with commercial advertising crap, dumbing down programs about who is best chef, cook, DIY builder, singer, or who is excited about cop, customs, immigration staff shown off on certain real life, yet made up silly shows!

                We have NO real publicly appealing information and news or current affairs programs, except perhaps Native Affairs.

                So what becomes “public”? Key, English, Brownlee and Grosser used the various legal excuses to NOT publicly state and comment on details of various government actions and plans, “for national security” or “economically” or “contractually” SENSITIVE REASONS.

                Stop misleading the public, thanks, as you yourself work for enterprises that will largely benefit from such trade deals and other economic activities in NZ. YOU are NOT independent, my friend!

                • blue leopard

                  @ xtasy
                  +1 especially the bit about stop misleading the public

                  I don’t think Mr Hooter has done any research on the matter

                  http://tppdigest.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=245&Itemid=64

                • Matthew Hooton

                  Good to know I am technically and legally right. Sad that you don’t respect our parliament and decisions made by 75%+ majority (national + labour + act + united future ) as FTAs always have been in NZ. What greater democratic mandate are you looking for?

                  • xtasy

                    Integrity to the people who vote you in. E.G. National to listen to own voters to NOT sell state owned assets! Not happening though, is it? Labour still does not agree to that, so how dare you speak for them, aye?

                  • lprent

                    But the TTPA doesn’t look to me (and I as an exporter usually favour FTA’s) like a trade agreement. Quite simply at present I can’t see how any of the bits that are public favour us as a nation in either the short, medium, or even the long term. In fact I’m having a real problem seeing who in the hell will benefit from this apart from a few multinational corporates.

                    As far as I can see we get no better access for any exporter that is better than we currently have, we subject ourselves to what looks to be other peoples law in the form of judicial panel, and our dumbarse diplomats are too daft to even go for some of the specific exemptions that the Aussies are doing. Basically it looks like a MFAT wankfest to me.

                    Regardless of what Phil Goff thinks, I doubt that many in the Labour caucus thinks of this as a trade treaty any more.

                    It is going to be a really hard sell, especially as the exporters start looking at it more closely.

                  • Mike

                    Hey Einstein, while you’re patting yourself on the back for being “technically and legally right”, why don’t you go the whole hog and understand that “technically and legally right” doesn’t make something right, which thankfully is what the real ‘law’ states. (until we bend over and allow our wonderful elected representatives to take that away from us as well of course)

                    • xtasy

                      Fair application of law, in any circumstance, would imply that you are allowed to be “heard”, that you are allowed to be “informed”, and I will not even take this further. It is a very basic undertanding on natural justice, which applies always, besides of statute or common law, that those basic principles are applied. If they are not, they are INVALID!

                      Hidden agendas are thus INVALID!

                  • Draco T Bastard

                    Sad that you don’t respect our parliament and decisions made by 75%+ majority (national + labour + act + united future ) as FTAs always have been in NZ.

                    That doesn’t mean this one will though does it Mr Hooton? In fact, I believe Labour are against this agreement as well even though, IIRC, they’re the ones who it started under but that was before the US got in on it.

                  • Polish Pride

                    I for one Mr Hooton do not believe we have democracy in this country. A government can be voted in and go completely against the will of the people on any issue it so chooses. The only recource the people have is a vote once every 3 years to delude themselves that they live in a democratic country. If we really had democracy it would be Direct and based upon a constitution. We do not.
                    We do not even have binding referendums in this country. As has been mentioned earlier at best this is a system of elected dictatorship.
                    Do you consider it democracy when 80 to 90 people (your National, Act, United Future, and Labour) go against the will of over 2million or more people!?!
                    If you consider that democracy then then you do not understand its meaning or intention and it is that which is truly sad.

              • xtasy

                Parliament in NZ is a RUBBER STAMP, due to easy mercenary supporters like John Holy Banksey, and Peter Dunne to be Done next election.

                Key and National know this, they do all to keep it this way, the media are lackeys (largely), and hence it will all be “rubbero stampedo”, mi amigo con artistico.

              • xtasy

                Mathew: It should bloody well not be made public ‘ON SIGNING’, for true transparency and accountability under any legal provisions, certainly basic common law principles, fair justice and due process, it should all be MADE PUBLIC BEFORE SIGNING by the representatives of any government that dares to take and rely on the authority to make and finalise such deals.

                The fact that parts of negotiations have been kept “top secret” is not congusive of developing trust, my dear valued political advocate and commenter.

                • Matthew Hooton

                  You could be right but that would involve many government’s changing their disclosure policies. Just like UN declarations on human rights and decolonisation are kept private till governments announce them, so too are the details of trade deals (although detailed briefing notes etc are available all the way through – see MFAT or USTR websites). Then, once every last comma is public, each govt submits them to their domestic ratification processes.

                  • xtasy

                    As far as I know the UN declarations, they are public once decided and passed, not depending on individual government deciding to make them available publicly. By the way, how many resolutions and agreements does Mainland China have signed, and how many of them would they have published?

                    I witness an increasing “friendliness” with that dictatorship, and even ‘The Nation’ is running charm programs to get people warmend up that Mainland China is going to be not only our biggest trading partner, but also “valued friend” of sorts.

                    It seems to be rubbing off a bit on the odd government minister, that is my impression.

                    Re UN one only needs to look up their websites.

                    By the way, I am still waiting for NZ to clarify its stand on the declaration on the rights of disabled, which WINZ seems to be having a very dim view of, given known breaches of rights that I know of, but which of course are not raised by the biased media. I am talking about fair rights of sick and invalids, which are being infringed by a biased ”
                    designated doctor” scheme, that involves doctors that are hand-picked by MSD and even “trained” by them. Now how does that fit “natural justice”? Just heard about an interesting case down Southland by the way.

                  • blue leopard

                    @ Hooton
                    The concerns expressed in this thread are being represented by politicians in our parliament, Greens, NZ First and Mana and these parties contain people whom are well informed and intelligent, and yet still deem these concerns worthy of addressing.

                    There are groups forming that also contain switched on, well connected people and groups expressing similar concerns.

                    http://fairdeal.net.nz/#story-about-us

                    For these reasons it reflect poorly on you that you would bother to mention “conspiracy theory” in relation to the subject; this issue has gone beyond being able to effectively marginalize it with such memes.

                    http://fairdeal.net.nz/2012/07/iitp-time-to-walk-away-from-tppa

              • lprent

                I will dig out the reference in the morning when I get on a decent link (I have just moved). It was something I was reading after that interesting leak of draft docs. Specifically that parts of the eventual treaty would not be disclosed until a few years after the treaty was signed by the governments.

                Treaties of course do not need to be seen, ratified, or anything else by parliament. The only thing that the government has to do immediately is to pass legislation that changes laws that they consider conflict with the treaty at the time of signing. If there are parts that do not take effect immediately (like parts that are undisclosed or take effect a few years later), then these do not need immediate legislation. Consequently if the government signs up to a treaty or agreement that takes years to go into effect – like the National government on climate change for instance, the actual legislation like the ETS can take more than a decade before it is put before parliament.

                Also from history in the 20th with NZ treaties, diplomatic and trade, there have been some interesting undisclosed coedcils. The obvious one to point to are the still undisclosed (and seldom acknowledged) one that set us up as a participant in the echelon system.

      • Mike 1.2.2

        Yep and of course parliament will not agree to anything that the NZ public does not want, just like the history of politics shows. Politicians only ever do what the citizens want them to do. If the NZ public was to say “Nope. sorry, we don’t want to be part of this agreement”, then of course our politicians would immediately say “thanks but no thanks” and pull out of the FTA. Because after all, that is why politicians are there, to represent our wishes, manage our country to our benefit and do what we tell them to do. Which is just the way it should be in a democracy which literally means rule by the people, not by the corporations (given the legal status of people) and not by the politicians who are simply representatives of the people.

        “notified to and scrutinsed by parliament” means absolutely nothing in regards to whether or not the public has any say in the matter, as you well know.

      • lprent 1.2.3

        An interesting misconception. Perhaps you should read more closely. There is literally no legal authority to hang that off in NZ bearing in mind that parliaments may not bind their successors and the crown is a rubber stamp.

        I believe you are basing that on a convention, and one that requires the judgement of a minister about importance.

  2. Tracey 2

    Anyone who doubts that these issues need to be addressed just need to follow BAT’s pursuit of something now known as the “human right to marketing”.

    I just listened to BAT’s spokesman explaining that he knows tobacco causes damage but…”

    WTF??!!!???

  3. AmaKiwi 3

    This is very dangerous. Write now to John Key, National MP Tim Groser (our trade negotiator), and your local National MP demanding openness about the contents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

    Tim.Groser@national.org.nz

    john.key@national.org.nz

    [lprent: I have been nuking Email addresses left here to stop the spammer bots getting excited. However cloudflare does this interesting munging that wastes their time and off our servers. It will be back on in a few days. ]

  4. AmaKiwi 4

    Are any of you in a position to organize health workers and professionals against the potential destruction of Pharmac as a result of the TPTA (Trans-Pacific Trade Ageement)?

    If the multinational drug companies can destroy Pharmac vast amounts of health funding which would have gone to hospitals, GP’s, nursing care, prevention programs, etc., will have to be CUT to pay more for our medications.

    EVERYONE in the health field will lose (except foreign drug companies).

    Can you help organize opposition?

    Tell us how we can help.

  5. lprent 5

    If anyone is after the thread started by higherstandard that used to be the first comment on this post, I moved the whole thing to OpenMike because I considered that it was just an irritating threadjack – followed by mostly inane comments about an inane comment.

    Next person that I see doing that classic fast first threadjack comment is quite likely to get an extended vacation. Write a considered comment if you support/oppose it because if you don’t then I’m quite likely to consider that you’re just trying to annoy me.

    • blue leopard 5.1

      good job lprent 🙂

    • higherstandard 5.2

      The whole post is inane.

      [lprent: That may be the case – prove it. Amongst all of the comments that I saw of yours on the post I didn’t see you say why it was inane or anything else even once. Like others commenting I suspect you have no idea of anything about the subject of the post. As a moderator that gives me open season on how to treat you. I chose minimal and quite offensive – exactly as you did. ]

      • Matthew Hooton 5.2.1

        Not sure if it is inane but it is insane. The writer and the commentators have no basic understanding of how NZ negotiates and ratifies treaties and are also defending Canadian dairy subsidies which harm the environment and contribute to global poverty over the interests of New Zealand’s farmers, the cleanest and most efficient in the world. Canada’s dairy policies are as bad as the US’s cotton policies but the writers here are too ideological and myopic to even be able to sensibly discuss global trade policy.

        • blue leopard 5.2.1.1

          @ Hooton

          Have you done any research on this subject?
          Please substantiate your claims.

          http://tppdigest.org/

        • Colonial Viper 5.2.1.2

          but the writers here are too ideological and myopic to even be able to sensibly discuss global trade policy.

          Is this trade policy which builds up NZ industry, NZ technological capabilities, the NZ asset base and high paying NZ jobs? I was wondering where they’d all gone. Are the “sensible global trade policies” you are advocating to blame? You know, in terms of exporting all our financial capital overseas, as well as tens of thousands of NZers every year?

          • xtasy 5.2.1.2.1

            Tell you what CV – NZ may be better off signing a new bilateral agreement with some advance economy that actually cares and also wants to take NZers on board to advance science, development, sustainability, and economic development.

            I am sure that there are a number of countries very interested, and not only for the reason of some big corporates base there.

            There are a large number of people in some European countries, and I believe even in the odd East Asian country, that would love to progress economic, social and other matters here, for various advantages, without harming or endangering the environment or for social destruction.

            The truth is, the NZ government is NOT interested in this, as the “elite” here is afraid of surrendering control, so they rather keep NZ down and line it up more down bottom or arse below quality and achievement standards. All they want is to keep the cream on the cake for themselves, that is what it boils down to.

        • xtasy 5.2.1.3

          Hey HOOT ON!

          I admit to being “insane” at times, I have no issue with that. But that is what make a genius, even Einstein and others stated, that it takes a fine line between insanity and genius. I am flattered by your comment, it is highly encouraging, I will recommend it, you are really good, mate! That is apart from logical thinking in economics, social and other issues!

  6. vto 6

    Excellent work by the Mr and Mrs Greens.

    It should be borne in mind that the NZ Parliament does not have the ability to enter into the TPPA under our current constitutional arrangements due to its effect on our electoral system.

    The TPPA will be null and void and must be treated as such.

  7. Dr Terry 7

    vto is right to congratulate this powerful statement from the Greens of three nations (when last did Labour do as much?)

    But vto provides no concrete evidence to back the claim that “The TPPA will be null and void”, thus it is a specious statement, very likely referring to his/her own “Wish system”. Please cite current chapter and verse (or, law if you like), and be very specific about it. Should you do so, I shall be prepared to back down.

  8. Herodotus 8

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/article.cfm?c_id=2&objectid=10828202
    “All TPP signatory countries will lose sovereignty to the same extent”
    “There is nothing suspicious about a treaty negotiation being done privately. The negotiation of government to government treaties is a delicate process, done by diplomats in confidence. The give and take of negotiations would be seriously damaged if they were conducted in public”
    So we lose part of our sovereignty by an agreement negotiated in secret……. BUT don’t worry. When we are having our sovereignty diminished should not those within the country get a say. I have the same issues with many UN conventions and the likes of the China FTA- Funny how both nat and Lab can throw away this precious commodity.

    • lprent 8.1

      I don’t have a problem with some level of diplomatic card bending. However this one seems to be somewhat excessive. There is usually some degree of consultation with affected parties and a quite widespread awareness of what is in trade treaties long before the things get signed.

      What has been notable from every country involved that I have looked at so far is the degree of exclusion from the process by affected groups. There appears to have been considerable levels of selection of the “right sort” of people. According to some of the reports out of the US, this appears to exclude most of the members of congresses committees on trade and commerce.

      Furthermore what the selected people have been shown has been non-specific to the point that some of them in the US and elsewhere are describing it as a sham consultation done primarily for PR reasons. It has been an interesting process to observe. Sort of diplomacy by PR methods. Doesn’t inspire much trust from me.

  9. xtasy 9

    I kind of start liking Mathew Hooton, he is the kind of right wing wannabe “charm boy”, who thinks the only way to convince is by smooth- and at the same time smart chat people, with pseudo logical words of unconvincing drivel, supposed to be convincing.

    If types like him are the main challenge to the left, be they social democrats, socialists or whatever, then we should have a bloody easy game.

    Why can Shearer not get this worked out, even though he as of recent seems to be learning a bit more?

    NatACT should be dumb fodder for any astute, alert, informed and smart socially conscious and yet economically educated operator. Get the move on, to expose the light weights!

    • blue leopard 9.1

      @ xtasy

      Sadly I feel no such fondness for the type of approach Hooter takes. It appears to speak to peoples baser instincts and I find it disturbing how well it works. I suspect most people are simply too busy to take anything much more in than the banality that such an approach offers and I hate the direction this country is going in because of it.

      Its the type of approach which appears to successfully get people not only voting in, yet cheering too, at the arrival of their own personal hangman and noose.

      Totally Sux

      • xtasy 9.1.1

        Read between my lines, I think he is an ass, but better make an ass feel good and get sent to trod more straw never to be harvested is the best trick to get the donkey where we want him. He is good in talk, but obviously short on substance. So take that, serve it up and take it to the pieces, served sliced up crap on the platter. Ha, I never had such an amusing night like this one, to take Hooty apart!

      • xtasy 9.1.2

        Blue leopard: I can always try and “switch off” and listen to some good, partly also revolutionary, folk music (like Latin American) , so stuff all such negativity. I have had enough bad moments, I try to get the better of live, if I can, although it is a struggle at times.

    • Mike 9.2

      The left, the right. They are the same entity.

      As Mark Twain said:

      “If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it.”

  10. blue leopard 10

    …or

    “A politician is a fellow who will lay down your life for his country”. ~Texas Guinan

  11. Wayne 11

    Mathew is right. No trade deal can change existing New Zealand law unless legislation to implement it is passed by the Parliament. Public hearings are held on the legislation. But submissions to a select committee are not a substitute for an election result. If a particular policy has been electorally contested, no amount of submissions opposed will change the governments mind.

    It is of course true that National, UF and ACT support free trade. That is no secret. Voters know that.

    It is also true that the Green Party, Mana and Maori Party vote against all free trade agreements. Most commentators here support the Green Party line – no suprise there. Go and test it at the election since it TPPA is likely to be alive issue in 2014.

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      Let’s go through Wayne’s crafty lies one by one shall we.

      Mathew is right (1). No trade deal can change existing New Zealand law unless legislation to implement it is passed by the Parliament (2). Public hearings are held on the legislation.(3)

      1) Matthew is NOT right, just because he says it is.
      2) The TPAA doesn’t “change existing law”. It simply makes NZ law irrelevant, unenforceable, and in the event it is used, it subjects NZ to massive penalties
      3) These public hearings have no force and no effect – they are for show only – and it is completely at the Government’s discretion if they even happen at all.

      But submissions to a select committee are not a substitute for an election result.(4) If a particular policy has been electorally contested, no amount of submissions opposed will change the governments mind.(5)

      4) Neither the fact of a TPAA nor its detail was ever “electorally contested”. Wayne is lying when he suggests it has been.
      5) A Government which does not take the Select Committee/submissions process seriously is no more than a ballot box selected dictatorship.

      Most commentators here support the Green Party line – no suprise there. Go and test it at the election since it TPPA is likely to be alive issue in 2014. (6)

      6) The Government intends to sign the TPPA in 2013, and to deprive NZers of their rights without letting the detailed text become public in any circumstances before it commits the country to it. It is an unfair, undemocratic, underhanded, secret agreement which sells out NZ sovereignty to foreign corporates.

      In essence Wayne is FULL OF SHIT.

  12. Wayne 12

    Colonial Viper, a Trade Agreemnt cannot make New Zealand law “irrelevant, unenforceable, and in the event it is is used, it subjects NZ to massive penalties” unless it is actually made part of New Zealand law by way of legislation. For a FTA to be ratified by NZ and therefore enforceable against NZ it has to be legislated for.

    I would expect that the final text of the agreement will be public before it is signed. It is the negotiating phase that has at least some private elements.

    It will be quite a challenge to finish all the negotiating among all the countries in 2013 so that a final text is ready for signing in 2013, though I guess it could happen.

    But in any event you know already that National is in favour of free trade agreements – no suprise there. That is well understood and those interested in such things knew that Tim Groser has been hard at work on TPP prior to the election of 2011.

    Not every single thing a govt does is at the forefront of the election. The Greens have been oppossed to TPP for years, but it was not among their 3 main themes in the election, but I imagine many people who vote Green know their general stance on this.

    The more interesting issue is where Labour will ultimately stand on TPP.

  13. AmaKiwi 13

    Will the US Senate pass a TPTA treaty once it has been negotiated?

    One effect of a declining economy is trade protectionism. There will have to be a lot of one-sided “goodies” for US lobbying groups in order to get two-thirds of the Senate to approve it during a recession/depression. US industries that might be disadvantaged by the TPTA will fight like hell to kill it. It is safer for politicians to do nothing.

    Wikepedia: Article II, Section 2 of the United States Constitution grants power to the President to make treaties with the “advice and consent” of two-thirds of the Senate.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Hey AK

      Don’t you worry

      The corporate lobying groups in the US are expert at this now. They essentially drew the TPAA up, got the State Department to OK it, and so why wouldn’t their paid politicians pass it.

      • AmaKiwi 13.1.1

        Trade agreements happen during prosperous, “feel good” times. Like when people who had been routinely slaughtering each other for 500 years were so drunk with wealth and optimism they decided they could become one big happy family which they called the European Union.

        Things are getting really tough, economy wise. Of late the US Congress has displayed an extraordinary capacity to be irrationally dysfunctional. Tea Party anger could destroy anything.

        If I was a betting person I would not put money either way right now.

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    The Minister of Health was caught out telling porkies in Parliament today when he was asked about the number of people getting access to mental health and addiction services, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King. ...
    10 hours ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    11 hours ago
  • Budget 2016 and our LGBTQI communities
    LGBTI people make up about a tenth of our population, and our communities face a unique set of needs and challenges. These challenges are caused or exacerbated by discrimination, invisibility and barriers to appropriate support. We have a long way… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    11 hours ago
  • Scrambled announcement policy on the hoof
    Paula Bennett’s scrambled desperate announcement that she will pay homeless people to move to the regions is just the latest evidence of the disarray this Government’s housing policy is in, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. “This is policy… ...
    11 hours ago
  • Police Minister admits resolution rates fall short of expectation
    Police Minister Judith Collins has admitted in Parliament current burglary resolution rates are not meeting the expectations of our communities, says Labour’s Police spokesman Stuart Nash “Out of 284 police stations in New Zealand in 2015, 24 stations recorded zero… ...
    12 hours ago
  • Mojo Mathers: A better deal for animals in Budget 2016
    Currently we are failing animals in NZ. On the face of it farmed and domestic animals in this country have strong legal protection from abuse, cruelty and neglect. In reality it seems that only the very worst, most extreme cases… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    12 hours ago
  • Metiria Turei: What we need from Budget 2016
    Every family deserves a warm decent home.  Everyone believes that. This housing crisis is just the latest consequence of a Government who puts the interests of the few wealthy people above the needs of NZ families.  Families are doing it… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    14 hours ago
  • Dairy exports fall of 11%: Budget action on diversification needed
    Dairy exports have fallen 11 per cent compared to this time last year, a fall of almost $1.5b, showing the Government must take clear action on diversifying the economy in tomorrow’s Budget, says Labour’s Trade and Export Growth spokesperson David… ...
    14 hours ago
  • Investors driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland
    Investors cashing in on skyrocketing Auckland house prices are driving families out of homes in South and West Auckland and causing homeownership rates in some of our poorest suburbs to plummet, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “New analysis shows… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Budget must deliver on paid parental leave
    Budget 2016 must deliver 26 weeks paid parental leave by April 2018 – anything less will be short-changing families, says Labour MP Sue Moroney. “My Bill which is before Parliament this afternoon has majority support and does just that. I… ...
    17 hours ago
  • Key’s “brain fart” on tax cuts news to English
    John Key didn’t tell his own Finance Minister he was about to go on radio and announce he wanted $3b of tax cuts, just days after Bill English ruled them out, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “In Parliament today… ...
    1 day ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 – A better start for our tamariki
    Ensuring the best start for our tamariki is a priority for me in everything I do. And so in Budget 2016, my first budget as an MP, I looking for the Government to make a real investment in the wellbeing… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    2 days ago
  • Denise Roche: What I’m looking for in Budget 2016 Pt II
    Aotearoa’s new New Zealanders,  come to our country in vulnerable position: – often away from the culture, communities and families they know, sometimes in neighbourhoods without familiar faces and often encountering barriers to employment. With net migration at 50,000+ a… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • Equal Pay and Budget 2016
    The last few years we’ve seen equal pay for women flagged as an undefined risk in the budget. This year we should expect to see this, as well as budgeted money to deliver equal pay to caregivers and funding for,… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 days ago
  • A great Budget would
    A great Budget would embrace the challenge of our polluted rivers and move the money away from justifying the status quo water rules into cleaning up waterways. A great Budget would take the Ministry for the Environment freshwater budget and… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 days ago
  • Budget building materials policy backfires
    On the eve of this year’s Budget official figures show Nick Smith’s Budget 2014 centrepiece to reduce the cost of building materials has backfired, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment officials have spent the… ...
    2 days ago
  • Smarter, Better, Cleaner, Stronger
    This Thursday Bill English will deliver his eighth Budget. Will it continue the trend of previous National budgets, making tertiary education less affordable, putting only token funds into innovation, and subsidising polluters? Budgets aren’t what they used to be. Once… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 days ago
  • Govt must come clean on tax cuts in Budget
    National is making a mockery of the Budget process by dangling the promise of tax cuts but failing to include them in the Budget, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “National’s tax cut promises have turned into a farce. One… ...
    3 days ago
  • Grant Robertson Pre-Budget Speech
    Today I want to talk about success. As we know success can come in many different forms, from the fact you all made it here at such an early hour on a Monday, for which I am very grateful, to… ...
    3 days ago
  • Budget must deliver for middle New Zealand
    The Government must ensure next week’s Budget stops the squeeze on middle New Zealand and delivers shared prosperity for all New Zealanders, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says. The call follows new research commissioned by Labour that shows working… ...
    4 days ago
  • Our housing emergency – why we have to act
    Marama and Metiria at Homes Not Cars launch On Thursday, Metiria Turei announced the Green Party’s plan to start addressing the emergency housing crisis facing our country. Too many people are without homes right now – homeless. It is the… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    5 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Will funding boost for sexual violence services go to the right places?
    This week the Government announced $46million for sexual violence services. This announcement was a result of decades of work by advocates and everyone who submitted to the Select Committee inquiry into funding for sexual violence services that I initiated with… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    5 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Denise Roche – What I’m looking for in this year’s Budget
    Two of the things I’ll be looking for in the Budget next week are more funding for refugees and for our arts and culture sector. More funding for refugees I’m a strong supporter of the #DoubleTheQuota campaign and its goals… ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    6 days ago
  • Car rego victims must get a refund
    Motorists who have been overcharged for their car registration should get a refund, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Sue Moroney.  “Minister Nikki Kaye’s ‘faulty risk’ rating scheme has blown up in her face with over 170 different models of car having… ...
    6 days ago
  • Council statement shows they just don’t get it
    The Auckland Council’s statement today shows they don’t understand the problems created by the urban growth boundary, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “I have been the first to defend the Auckland City Council when Bill English has been blaming… ...
    6 days ago
  • Inspecting electronic devices a potential privacy threat
    Labour is expressing concern for New Zealanders’ privacy rights as the Government signals Customs will have the power to inspect electronic devices coming across the border, says Labour’s Customs Spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “We agree that customs officers should have the… ...
    6 days ago
  • The Price of Water
    This week I hosted a public meeting at EIT in Hawkes Bay to discuss how we might put a price on the commercial use of water, so that water may be valued and treated more sustainably. I invited a… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    6 days ago
  • Caption It NZ!
    Today I received a petition from the NZ Captioning Working Group urging the government to legislate for accessibility via closed captioning for deaf and hard of hearing New Zealanders. It was timely because today is the fifth Global Accessibility Awareness… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers
    6 days ago
  • Older Kiwis to miss out on electives
    The Government is not doing enough elective surgery to keep up with New Zealand’s ageing population, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “It’s damning that the targeted national intervention rate for cataract and knee and hip surgery is the same… ...
    7 days ago
  • Most principals say their college is underfunded
    The Government must substantially increase funding for secondary schools in next week’s Budget after a new survey found 86 per cent of principals consider their college under-resourced, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Just 14 per cent of secondary principals… ...
    7 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    7 days ago
  • Bill English and Nick Smith on different pages
    The Government’s support for Labour’s policy to remove the Auckland urban growth boundary is good news, but National needs to clarify its position, Labour’s Housing and Auckland Issues spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Acting Prime Minister has acknowledged our position… ...
    7 days ago
  • Labour calls for independent inquiry into illegal fish dumping
    The Labour Party is reiterating its call for an independent inquiry into New Zealand’s fishing industry after two reports revealed the Ministry for Primary Industries turned a blind eye to widespread fish dumping in New Zealand waters, says Labour’s Fisheries… ...
    7 days ago
  • Mt Karangahake and Newcrest Mining
    On Wednesday and Sunday of last week the local residents of the Karangahake mountain in the Karangahake gorge of Hauraki/Coromandel peacefully protested against a gold mining drill rig on private land adjacent to the DOC land. The drilling rig was… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    1 week ago
  • Robbing Aucklanders to pay Rio Tinto
    New Zealand’s national electricity grid stretches the length of the country and contains some 11,803 kilometres of high-voltage lines and 178 substations. It wouldn’t make sense for competing power companies to duplicate and build their own expensive electricity transmission system… ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Government should abolish Auckland urban growth boundary
    The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Over 25 years the urban growth boundary hasn’t… ...
    1 week ago
  • Kiwis don’t want iPads for Land deals
     It is outrageous that schools are relying on money and iPads from foreign land investors to meet the learning needs of their students, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins.  “Several OIO land applications by offshore investors have claimed that without… ...
    1 week ago
  • Homelessness – National has failed all of us
    A young South Auckland Māori woman recently tried to get hold of me around midnight. I missed her call. The woman wanted me to know the sharp reality facing too many families looking for a stable place to live. Things… ...
    GreensBy Marama Davidson
    1 week ago
  • Moko case should never have been manslaughter deal
    Confirmation again yesterday that the manslaughter charge in the Moko Rangitoheriri case was a deal done by the Crown Prosecution Service is justifiably the cause of outrage, says Labour’s Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern.“This should never have been a case where… ...
    1 week ago
  • Overseas investor funds school’s digital devices
    The Government must address the inequality laptops and tablets in classrooms are causing after a Queenstown school was forced to use a donation from an overseas investor to get their students digital devices, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “Documents obtained… ...
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Child Youth and Family Review and Domestic Violence
    This Government has consistently failed to recognise the links between Child Youth and Family Services (CYFS) and intimate partner violence. For me, the recent review of CYFS has highlighted this misunderstanding of the dynamics of domestic violence and its impacts… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Canterbury rebuild: How wood is a better choice for the new city
    It was interesting to attend the ForestWood Conference in Auckland recently and learn about the extent of innovation in the wood processing and manufacturing sector. The forestry sector may be New Zealand’s third largest export earner, but raw logs make… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    1 week ago
  • Key plucks $3b out of thin air – reckless and irresponsible
    John Key refuses to give up on his dream of tax cuts to the wealthy, despite being shot down by Bill English, and is resorting to plucking numbers out of thin air, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “On radio… ...
    1 week ago
  • John Key woefully out of touch on homelessness
    John Key is completely out of touch if he thinks desperate South Auckland families forced to live in cars can simply go to Work and Income for help, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “Many of these families are working and… ...
    1 week ago

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