web analytics
The Standard

Obama’s TPPA bid to over-ride democracy

Written By: - Date published: 6:47 pm, January 10th, 2014 - 16 comments
Categories: accountability, activism, capitalism, democratic participation, exports, privatisation, same old national, us politics - Tags:

This article on today’s NZ Herald reinforces some of the Jane Kelsey’s statements indicating a bit of a tussle between Congress and Obama’s push to get the TPPA though as soon as possible.

In November, Kelsey stated there was a conflict between the US House of Representatives and Obama’s desire for them to the President ‘fast track authority’.  Some documents released by Wikileaks resulted in a response from Democrats in the House of Representatives.

In a second, stunning blow to the TPPA negotiations, 151 of the 201 Democrat members of the US House of Representatives today released a letter to the President that formally declared their opposition to giving him “fast track authority’. Others may follow.

The letter states ‘we will oppose “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority or any other mechanism delegating Congress’ constitutional authority over trade policy that continues to exclude us from having a meaningful role in the formative states of trade agreements and throughout negotiating and approval processes.’

Fast track, otherwise known as Trade Promotion Authority, would require Congress to accept the final TPPA deal or reject it, in toto, and not to cherry pick the parts they want and block what they do not like. No major deal has gone through Congress in recent decades without fast track.

On 11 December, Kelsey reported on the continuing tussle as Obama aimed to push through the TPPA negotiations while many people were still in December-January holiday mode.

‘The US behaviour is not surprising’, Kelsey said. ‘What is shocking is that other countries would make major concessions without a firm US market access offer and knowing that Obama cannot guarantee to deliver any deal through the Congress’.

‘Some ministers at the press conference said the deal is contingent on acceptable market access. But they have already put their cards on the table’.

A final piece of hypocrisy in the statement is the promise to ‘further our consultation with stakeholders and engage in our respective political processes’.

The ministers have simply ignored groundswell of condemnation from legislators in the US, Peru, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Japan about the secrecy of negotiations and their calls for release of the draft text.

Stakeholders, pro and con the TPPA, have had no formal opportunity to interact with negotiators for the past three negotiating rounds, although most governments have engaged actively with commercial lobbyists.

Today the NZ Herald reports that Obama’s preference for the “fast track” option is still getting opposition in Congress, while talking up the possibility of Obama getting his way.

Legislation key to President Barack Obama’s trade agenda to boost exports to the Asia-Pacific is being welcomed by business, but faces some stiff opposition from Obama’s fellow Democrats.

A bill to grant the president “fast track” authority for negotiating trade deals was introduced Thursday, co-sponsored by a senior Democrat and two key Republicans.

Fast track, which was last approved in 2002 and expired in 2007, assures that the administration can negotiate trade deals that Congress can accept or reject but cannot change.

But while the US members of Congress complaint about the limited amount of say they will have on the TPPA deals, they will have more say than NZ MPs. The NZ PM will only show all MPs the deal once it has been signed.

Five House members from the New Democrat Coalition said the bill made key improvements to the 2002 fast track, and would help in efforts eliminate unfair barriers for American companies.

As if many US companies are at a disadvantage compared with NZ ones, inside and outside NZ.

This important issue should not be allowed to slip under the radar over the summer period.

It’s about democracy and sovereignty: particularly it’s about Kiwis being able to ensure a reasonable life for all New Zealanders.

16 comments on “Obama’s TPPA bid to over-ride democracy”

  1. Pasupial 1

    Karol

    Thanks so much for this post, I’ve been so wrapped up in gloom inducing facts today that it’s good to get some good news. Even if it is only through the byzantine maze incompetence that is the USAmerican government. If we can change government this year, then there is a chance that we may actually get to see that pig poked in a sack for which we’re prepared to swap our sovereignity.

  2. Chooky 2

    @ Pasupial..is it good news though?…if Obama gets his way it is a blow against democracy and NZer’s interests

    Why is Obama trying to push this through like this?…surely such action goes against everything he is supposed to stand for? ie democracy and fair trading?….and if he succeeds can a Labour Govt rescind the agreement?

    • Macro 2.1

      Why is Obama trying to push this through like this?

      because although a democrat he is only slightly to the left of genghis khan.

  3. Philj 3

    Xox
    Lol, I like the reference ‘Key improvements’. Haha

  4. greywarbler 4

    No way do we want to hitch ourselves to this holey ship that is the USA. We have problems but TPPA would add to them. Australia, an ally of the USA, and apparently with no commitment to maintain friendly relationships with us, may try and suck us dry. To have the USA take charge of our nation and our decision-making and control our actions at will, would finish us. That would not improve our economy, our way of life, and we would become saturated by USA culture which has become toxic for their own people, as well as whomever they touch.

    There are some good things, great things, to admire in certain states of the USA but what the federal government does outside the country does not inspire admiration. Will we be a new Okinawa? A permanent base for military. It is possible they might envisage this, as they try to maintain dominance in the world, especially China, with whom we are trying to build important trading relationships. The joint military international exercise recently in Timaru was very uncomfortable to view.

    • SpaceMonkey 4.1

      Could be the US (read US corporates) see NZ as a stepping stone to Antarctica and all that unlocked oil, natural gas, and minerals…

  5. infused 5

    It will never pass. No need to worry about it. Look at wiki leak files, nz pushed back hard on it, same as most other countries

  6. Foreign Waka 6

    An Imperialistic approach disguised as a trade agreement covered with movie images and propagated with a hint a a Big Mac. Yeah, they have read the Kiwis like an open book……

  7. joe90 7

    The dunghammer.

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a million-ton dunghammer aimed at what’s left of the American middle-class, the dwindling numbers of which ought to be able by now to recognize the taste of “free-trade” snake oil when it’s fed to them. This bill is the worst kind of Beltway Potemkin transparency. It seeks to guarantee that the debate is carefully circumscribed within the parameters in which the Serious People feel most comfortable — one in which a goody-bag for corporate interest supported by Orrin Hatch and Max Baucus is considered to be a “bipartisan” triumph — and making sure that the debate doesn’t disturb the horses or interrupt cocktails on the veranda.

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/trade-bill-in-congress-010914

  8. joe90 8

    This too.

    Could there be a connection between the growth of violent, undemocratically imposed, unjust and unfair economic policies and the growth of crimes against women?

    I believe there is.

    Contributions of women

    Firstly, the economic model focusing myopically on “growth” begins with violence against women by discounting their contribution to the economy.

    The more the government talks ad nauseam about “inclusive growth” and “financial inclusion”, the more it excludes the contributions of women to the economy and society. According to patriarchal economic models, production for sustenance is counted as “non-production”. The transformation of value into disvalue, labour into non-labour, knowledge into non-knowledge, is achieved by the most powerful number that rules our lives, the patriarchal construct of GDP, Gross Domestic Product, which commentators have started to call the Gross Domestic Problem.

    http://2013.onebillionrising.org/blog/entry/introducing-the-obr-article-series-dr.-vandana-shiva-1

    • QoT 8.1

      Dr Vandana Shiva is a fucking rock star.

      • Chooky 8.1.1

        joe 90 and QoT…+100 on Dr Vandara Shiva

        ….”the economic model shaped by capitalist patriarchy is based on the commodification of everything, including women.”

        ……”a model of capitalist patriarchy which excludes women’s work and wealth creation in the mind deepens the violence by displacing women from their livelihoods and alienating them from the natural resources on which their livelihoods depend – their land, their forests, their water, their seeds and biodiversity. Economic reforms based on the idea of limitless growth in a limited world can only be maintained by the powerful grabbing the resources of the vulnerable. The resource grab that is essential for “growth” creates a culture of rape – the rape of the earth, of local self-reliant economies, the rape of women. The only way in which this “growth” is “inclusive” is by its inclusion of ever larger numbers in its circle of violence”

        …..”all women who produce for their families, children, community and society are treated as “non-productive” and “economically” inactive. When economies are confined to the market place, economic self-sufficiency is perceived as economic deficiency”

        – See more at: http://2013.onebillionrising.org/blog/entry/introducing-the-obr-article-series-dr.-vandana-shiva-1#sthash.XQ6L9Cbq.dpuf

        • karol 8.1.1.1

          Oh most excellent link – I have been researching a similar topic. Thank-you, Chooky & joe.

          • Chooky 8.1.1.1.1

            karol …you may also be interested in the writings of

            *Susan Griffin ( ‘Women and Nature….’ and ‘Pornography and Silence – Culture’s Revenge Against Nature’)
            * Mary Daly (Gyn/Ecology)
            * Carolyn Merchant ( ‘The Death of Nature -Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution’) * Loretta Napoleoni (‘Rogue Economics – Capitalism’s New Reality’)

        • RedBaronCV 8.1.1.2

          Commodification of women. I can see myself using that phrase, its good. Thanks

  9. adam 9

    Why is Russian TV the only one giving this the coverage it deserves.

    A wee bit from Abby Martin RT has a lot of others at RT good coverage of this issue.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Hospital food plan hits another snag
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    3 hours ago
  • Hospital food plan hits another sang
    The Government has been left with egg on its face with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board today giving a plan to outsource hospital food services the thumbs down, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Doing away with local kitchens by… ...
    4 hours ago
  • Wilkinson appointment wrong in principle
    The appointment of former Conservation Minister Hon Kate Wilkinson as an Environment Commissioner is wrong in principle, says Labour’s Shadow Attorney-General David Parker. “The doctrine of separation of powers requires judicial processes to remain separate and independent from the legislature… ...
    5 hours ago
  • McCully doesn’t deny bribe in Saudi sheep scandal
    “In Parliament today I asked Murray McCully directly: Why is he the first Minister in history to back a multi-million dollar facilitation arrangement which in other jurisdictions is called a bribe? says Labour’s Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker.… ...
    5 hours ago
  • National must back our future doctors
    National must support our future doctors and agree to the calls from the Medical Students’ Association and the Young Nats to lift the arbitrary 7 year cap on student loans for medical and dental students, Labour’s Tertiary Education Spokesperson David… ...
    5 hours ago
  • Taxpayer the loser after Government folds
    Steven Joyce today admitted the main exhibition hall at the New Zealand International Convention Centre is 19 per cent smaller than what was described at the time other bidders were edged out of the process, Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David… ...
    6 hours ago
  • Govt’s lack of ambition for women
    Yesterday, the Government put out a media release entitled “Number of women leaders continues to grow”. It was to inform us that the percentage of women on state-appointed boards has increased to 41.7%, up from 41.1% in 2013. Well, woo-hoo… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    8 hours ago
  • Auditor-General exposes Key’s scapegoating of Council
    The National Government's blaming of Auckland Council for the city’s housing crisis has been exposed as scapegoating in the Office of the Auditor-General’s latest report, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “The Auditor-General says Auckland Council’s part in fixing the… ...
    10 hours ago
  • Reform – not money – needed for meat sector
    The National Government continues to throw good money after bad at the meat industry instead of addressing the fundamental problem of its dysfunctional structure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “The latest Primary Growth Partnership grant to the venison… ...
    10 hours ago
  • Government cuts corners on school bus funding
    The safety of children – not cost cutting – should be the main objective behind the Government’s funding of school buses, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Buried in the detail of this year’s Budget are $19 million of funding… ...
    10 hours ago
  • Women the losers under National’s cuts
    National’s poor performance in appointing women to state sector boards is set to get worse with funding cuts to the nomination service provided by the Ministry for Women, Labour’s Woman’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney says. “Minister for Women Louise Upston… ...
    10 hours ago
  • Help sought by agencies now asked to help
    The organisation Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has tasked with setting up an emergency hotline for stranded Relationships Aotearoa clients has just lost a bid for a government contract to launch a new national helpline, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson… ...
    10 hours ago
  • Wellington got loud again on climate
    On Monday night, in Wellington, I attended the last of the Government’s climate target consultation meetings. It was quite well attended with maybe 150 people, not bad for a second meeting with very little notice and, as far as I… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    13 hours ago
  • Final nail in coffin for Solid Energy workers
    Today’s confirmation of job losses at Solid Energy’s Stockton and Spring Creek mines shows the urgent need for new economic opportunities on the West Coast, Labour’s MP for West Coast-Tasman Damien O’Connor says. “Our economy can no longer rely on… ...
    1 day ago
  • Ramadi proves Iraq deployment high risk, low benefit
    The fall of Ramadi and the collapse of the Iraqi Army proves Labour was right to be concerned about the deployment of our troops to Iraq, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says. “The fall of Ramadi brings IS fighters within… ...
    1 day ago
  • English admits new taxes on the cards
    Eight months after pledging “no new taxes” at the election Bill English today admitted he would bring in more sneaky taxes along the lines of the border tax, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Not only did National bring in… ...
    1 day ago
  • What the Dickens is going on at SDHB?
    Problems at the financially-strapped Southern District Health Board appear to stretch to its HR department with information obtained by Labour showing it still records staff leave entitlements using manual book-keeping methods. “The Board’s draft 10-year plan document forecasts a cumulative… ...
    1 day ago
  • Teachers turn backs on new professional body
      The fact that just 56 per cent of nominations for the Education Council came from registered teachers shows the profession has turned its back on Hekia Parata’s new professional body, Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins says. “Answers to written… ...
    1 day ago
  • No spade work done on big building plan
      Only a quarter of the 500 hectares of Crown land the Government wants to use for new homes is understood to be suitable for building on, Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford says. “This was National’s bold new idea to… ...
    1 day ago
  • National: Seven KiwiSaver cuts in seven years
    National’s campaign of KiwiSaver cuts has reached seven in seven years as it dismantles KiwiSaver block by block, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “KiwiSaver is critical to establishing a savings culture in New Zealand but National has taken a jenga-style… ...
    1 day ago
  • Tolley’s actions contradict reassurances
    Social Development Minister Anne Tolley has serious questions to answer following the forced closure of Relationships Aotearoa just days after her reassurances she was looking at ways to keep the service operating, Labour’s Acting Social Development spokesperson Annette King says.… ...
    1 day ago
  • SkyCity downsize another broken promise
    The downsized SkyCity Convention Centre does not deliver on the promised iconic world-class centre and shows the true extent of Steven Joyce’s incompetence, Labour Leader Andrew Little said today. “New Zealanders were promised an iconic world-class convention centre that would… ...
    1 day ago
  • Te Arawa partnership model a step closer
    Councils around New Zealand have an opportunity to improve their consultation with Iwi Māori by following Rotorua District Council’s Te Arawa Partnership Model, Labour’s Māori Development spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says. “The Rotorua District Council will today decide whether to adopt… ...
    1 day ago
  • Labour mourns Dame Dorothy Fraser
    Labour Leader Andrew Little said the party is today mourning the loss of the youngest person to join the Labour Party, Dame Dorothy Fraser, who went on to be a stalwart of the Dunedin community and tireless worker for others.… ...
    2 days ago
  • The ultimate scapegoat: PM blames fruit fly for new tax
    The Prime Minister has found the ultimate scapegoat for breaking his promise not to introduce a new tax – the Queensland fruit fly, Labour’s Biosecurity spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “John Key’s first policy upon taking office and assigning himself the… ...
    2 days ago
  • How many victims missing out on protection?
    Hundreds of domestic abuse victims could be missing out on getting protection orders because they are unable to get legal aid, Labour’s Justice spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says.“In the last two years some 351 people who applied for legal aid for… ...
    4 days ago
  • Government kicks hardworking whanau
    A major incentive to help young Kiwis and people on low incomes to start saving has been kicked out from under them with the National-led Government ramming through short-sighted legislation under Urgency today, Labour’s Maori Development Spokesperson Nanaia Mahuta says.… ...
    4 days ago
  • Speculator tax political stunt gone wrong
    Bill English’s admission he doesn’t know whether National’s new speculator tax will have any effect shows last weekend’s announcement by the Prime Minister was a desperate political stunt, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “This Government is so desperate to… ...
    4 days ago
  • The value of parenting
    This week, as part of the Budget, the government introduced a bill to address child poverty. This bill will require parents receiving income support to look for part-time work once their youngest child is three years of age rather than… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    4 days ago
  • Another new tax, another broken promise
    National has unveiled yet another new tax in this budget – a rural broadband levy that will almost certainly result in an immediate price hike for internet and telephone connections across New Zealand, Labour’s ICT spokesperson Clare Curran said “The… ...
    5 days ago
  • Anniversary of Sri Lankan Tamil Massacre
    This is not going to be a happy story but if the Green Party of Aotearoa doesn’t want to know who else will? May 18th marks the anniversary of what is known as the ‘Mullivaikal massacre’ of Tamils in 2009 at… ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty MP
    5 days ago
  • Labour MPs join youth to take part in 40 hour famine
    A team of Labour MPs took part in the 2015 World Vision 40 hour famine and we were told by World Vision and the young people, that it was the first time MPs had joined them and how appreciative they… ...
    5 days ago
  • Rodeo: ‘Family entertainment’ or animal abuse?
    Recently  TVNZ ran a story with confronting footage showing rodeo animals being punched, repeatedly shocked with electronic prods and having their tails violently twisted over their backs. It was clear that significant force was being used behind the scenes to make… ...
    GreensBy Mojo Mathers MP
    5 days ago
  • Budget puts the squeeze on police
    The Government has cut funding to the New Zealand police force in the latest Budget, says Labour’s Police spokesperson Kelvin Davis. “The reduction is a whopping $15.3 million that could put front line officers at risk. ...
    5 days ago
  • Crucial social services take another hit
    The Government looks set to slash half a million dollars of funding for critical social services, including Women’s Refuge and Barnados, says Labour’s Social Development spokesperson Carmel Sepuloni “Taking $500,000 from organisations aimed at improving the lives of vulnerable families… ...
    5 days ago
  • Saying it Loud on Climate in Christchurch
    The Government’s Christchurch consultation meeting on New Zealand’s emission targets was inspiring – not for what was in the Ministry for the Environment’s (MFE’s) defeatist video about the obstacles to changing to a low carbon future, but for what the… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    5 days ago
  • Budget silent on small business
    The Government has completely ignored one of the most important sectors of the economy – small and medium-sized enterprises – in Budget 2015, Labour’s Small Business spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. "A stunning 41 per cent of jobs were created by… ...
    5 days ago
  • Thank you John, it’s been bloody marvellous
    The departure of John Campbell is a blow to current affairs investigative journalism, Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran says. “Campbell Live stood out in its field. Its axing comes as local broadcasting in New Zealand remains in a state of… ...
    5 days ago
  • KiwiSaver cut shows no long-term plan
    National’s cutting of the KiwiSaver kickstart is incredibly short-term thinking, typical of a Budget that is woefully short on ideas to generate wealth and opportunity, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “New Zealand’s savings rate is far too low. KiwiSaver… ...
    5 days ago
  • National hits the panic button for its 7th Budget
    National has hit the panic button for its 7th Budget in a desperate attempt to look like they’re taking action to reduce our shameful child poverty rates, but they are giving with one hand and taking with the other, Opposition… ...
    6 days ago
  • Panic and back-flips can’t hide twin deficits
    National’s token measures to fight fires they have left burning for seven long years can’t hide a Budget that is long on broken promises, short on vision and fails to reach surplus, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “After being… ...
    6 days ago
  • Auckland land measure seven years too late
    National are so desperate to look like they are doing something about the Auckland housing crisis they have dusted off Labour’s 2008 inventory of government land available for housing and re-announced it, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “Despite National… ...
    7 days ago
  • Access to gender reassignment surgery essential
    I was frankly disgusted to hear the Minister for Health say that funding gender reassignment surgeries is a “nutty idea”. A recent study found that in New Zealand 1% of young people identified themselves as transgender, and 3% were unsure… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Global milk prices now lowest in 6 years
    The latest fall in the global dairy price has brought it to the lowest level in six years and shows there must be meaningful action in tomorrow’s Budget to diversify the economy, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Dairy prices… ...
    1 week ago
  • Big risks as CYF checks stopped
    Revelations that Child, Youth and Family is no longer assisting home-based early childhood educators by vetting potential employees should set alarm bells ringing, Labour Children’s spokesperson Jacinda Ardern says. “Doing away with an extra mechanism for checking potential new employees… ...
    1 week ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    1 week ago
  • Housing crisis about real people not numbers
    The Government’s continued failure to tackle the housing crisis is seeing thousands of vulnerable Kiwis being kept off social housing waiting lists, while others, who are on the list, are being forced to live in cars and garages, says Labour’s… ...
    1 week ago
  • State of origin
    Kiwis are increasingly concerned about the food they give their families. New Zealand consumers have the right to know where their food has come from, particularly when it involves animals, and should be able to expect our Government to label… ...
    GreensBy Steffan Browning MP
    1 week ago
  • Relationships Aotearoa
    It is disturbing that Relationships Aotearoa, a voluntary organisation set up in 1949 to help couples struggling with their relationships following the upheavals of World War II, may be forced to close, says Acting Spokesperson for the Voluntary and Community… ...
    1 week ago
  • An economy that is just working for some is an economy that is not working
    The National Party presents itself as a great manager of the economy, but if the economy is only working for some we really need to question that assertion. Alongside the perpetually elusive surplus, the levels of risk in our economy are… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere