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Opposing TPP

Written By: - Date published: 8:50 pm, December 6th, 2012 - 10 comments
Categories: assets, capitalism, copyright, jobs, Privatisation, trade, workers' rights - Tags: ,

The international TPP negotiations this week in Auckland are not getting sufficient front page attention in our news media.  Away from the front pages of the MSM, there is information about opposition to the negotiations. Aside from the secrecy, it is looking far too complex and all-ecompassing. There are some protest events coming up in the next few days.

In previous posts I presented some of the arguments against TPP,  as well as some of the planned protest activities.

Earlier this week, Jane Kelsey complained about the increased secrecy and restrictions that have been introduced for the Auckland TPP round, with unprecedented limits on access to the negotiators by stakeholders.  She got some support from Russel Norman.

Not unexpectedly, John Key is backing the secrecy, and takes the opportuntiy to take a swipe at anti-TPP protesters who he says the public should ignore because they are isolationist.

Gordon Campbell responded to a Tim Groser interview  that was reported in Inside US Trade.  In a complete reversal of the secrecy of the TPP negotiations, Groser seems to be negotiating with US entities in public.  Groser is reported to have said that the NZ government might be flexible on pharmaceutical pricing, and about protections around quality assurance of dairy products.

“I am confident we can find ways that advance U.S. interests [on these two issues] without causing projectile political vomiting in New Zealand, and many of the other countries of the TPP,” Groser said.  …

Yep, that seems like a sound negotiating tactic. Give away Pharmac, one of your key bargaining chips – publicly – just as the next round of the negotiations begin.

The whole article is well worth a read, adding depth to the signs of a Key government sell-out.

Meanwhile the protest activity planned for Wellington on Tuesday, seems to have gone well.

Activist group Aotearoa is Not for Sale Wellington staged a symbolic boxing match protesting the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement today.

The bout, between a scrawny Kiwi battler and an obnoxious Uncle Sam, took place at noon at Midland Park to an audience of about 50 spectators and organisers.

Playing Uncle Sam was Wellington man Shane Hayes, who told spectators that the Prime Minister was his and everyone should do as he said. Mr Hayes was pitted against another Wellingtonian, Geoffrey Robert Burns, who was dressed as Fred Dagg to represent a typical New Zealander and  blindfolded to symbolise the secret negotiations.

Despite coming close to defeat several times, Mr Burns took out Uncle Sam for the win in the third round.

The CTU website has a section on the TPP, showing the wide range of areas that the CTU are worried about.  This includes: less control of private education providers; more difficulty in restricting high risk new financial products, borrowing and investments. These are some of the areas of concern on the CTU linked powerpoint slideshows:

  • Trade and financial openness are not good for their own sake – contribute to inequality – may undermine, growth of GDP and productivity
  • Need balance – scope and balancing institutions
  • Labour rights – unions, employment protection – important balancing institution
  • Trade and financial openness increasingly out of balance with needs of both social and economic development
  • Raises question whether the TPPA model is sustainable socially and economically.

In other articles: It seems the TPP is not going down that well elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, with a survey showing nearly two thirds of the prospective Japanese electoral candidates being opposed to Japan signing up to it.  There are concerns within other parts of the Asean area about the possible conflicts between the US-dominated TPP with it’s wide reaching agenda, and the Asean rcEP which is more trade-focused. However, many also worry about being left out of such a big grouping.

Medecins Sans Frontieres, Green Peace, and Oxfam are opposed to some aspects of TPP, including the secrecy. And there’s a warning that TPP could put an end to tax-payer subsidies for films like The Hobbit.  Creative Freedom focuses on copyright issues called for the TPP text to be released.  The Pirate Party, (satirically) oppose all plagiarised use of “Pirate” images and terms by the TPP, as well as anyone other than political parties falsely claiming to be able to provide more jobs. Techdirt points out the hypocrisy of the US calls for openness on processes to do with internet governance, while protecting the secrecy of TPP negotiations.

Winners announced earlier this week, of the NZ anti-TPP cartoon competition.

Actions – in the next few days in NZ (mostly Auckland):

Fri 7 December Auckland 6.00pm . [Related, but not  a TTPA event:]… Aotearoa Is Not For Sale: The Big Push. March against Asset Sales, meeting 6pm at Britomart. …

Sat 8 Dec Nelson 12 Noon: March Millers Acre to the 1903 site.

Sat 8 Dec Auckland 2pm:   Major rally and presentation of Avaaz petition on TPP …, meeting at Aotea Square at 2pm, marching to entrance of Skycity casino, Federal St. ..

Sat 8 Dec Auckland 6-9pm. TPPA? No way! Awareness raising concert at St Kevin’s arcade, K’Road.

Sat 8 Dec Auckland 6-8pm: Creative Freedom: Protecting NZ’s copyright Act. Toto Restaurant, public event on the TPP, featuring a number of flash talks, performances & displays (see information at the link)

Mon 10 Dec Auckland 5.30pm: “Trading away our future: TPPA and the Environment”, … Refreshments provided. 5.30 at Green Party offices, 17 Mercury Lane, Newton. http://www.facebook.com/events/562836617066132/

 

10 comments on “Opposing TPP”

  1. fatty 1

    Thanks for this post Karol, still trying to get my head around this.
    Some other links here…the past two episodes of Citizen A have been worth a watch. Bomber has had Jane Kelsey on, as well as other new guests. The 29th Nov & the 6th Dec episodes have focused solely on the TPP – stream them here
    Also, the last issue of Werewolf focuses on the TPP…Gordon Campbell & Co doing their thing

    • karol 1.1

      Thanks, fatty.  Yes I linked to werewolf and Citizen A in a previous post.  But it’s always good to remind people.  There’s very good (and scary) stuff there and in the latest Citizen A.

      It is very frustrating that the MSM is largely ignoring the negotiations and related debates and protests. 

  2. mike 2

    That the MSM has failed to explain the importance of this event to the public says a lot about our 6pm infotainment, and about its dumbed-down audience.

    Key: “The people who are opposed sometimes are just opposed to free trade and live in a world that doesn’t want to see New Zealand intersecting globally with the rest of the world.”

    [time wasting rant]Firstly, spot the stating as fact that those opposed to the TPPA are also (sometimes) opposed to y and z when there’s no reason to assume that someone opposed to the TPPA would also be opposed to ‘free trade’ and ‘intersecting globally with the rest of the world’.

    Secondly, even a protester is also opposed to ‘free trade’ and/or ‘intersecting globally with the rest of the world’ what does that have to do with a discussion about the validity of their concerns about the TPPA? The protesters have issues regarding the TPPA more specific than simply being against ‘free trade’ itself. Even if (some) protesters are protesting simply because they don’t like the ‘free trade’ aspects of the TPPA, the criticism makes no sense. It’s like saying “Oh people who say they don’t like The X Factor are only saying that because they don’t like mindless TV shows.” Well… yeah…

    Thirdly, the implication that being opposed to free trade is obviously a dubious position that can be dealt with with a dismissive throwaway statement such as this. Anyone who bothers to look into ‘free trade’ learns quickly that ‘free trade’ does not mean ‘fair trade’.

    Fourthly, the use of the qualifier ‘sometimes’ renders the whole statement meaningless. How many is ‘some’? 50%? 1%? 1? It’s a weasel way of trying do dodge my first point. I can say people who x also sometimes y and no one can prove me wrong. Let’s try. For example I could say that I think, (note that Key didn’t even add an ‘in my opinion’, only a statement as if fact), TPPA protesters sometimes smoke pot, or watch porn, or like hurting small animals. I’d be entitled to my opinion, and you couldn’t prove me wrong. As such, it would a meaningless statement just like Key’s. Nevertheless, I’m going to go ahead and offer my opinion that NAct politicians sometimes willingly and happily allow the NZ population to be butt-fucked by US corporate interests in exchange for the advancement of their own personal ambitions.

    Fifthly, ‘ intersecting globally with the rest of the world’ is incoherent jibberish.

    This verbal diarrhea flows from our dear leader’s tongue like beer from the bottle on a daily basis. Does our fearless media scoop up the poo and rub it all over his smiley shiny face? No, they copy and paste his soothing authoritative words, press the send button, and make it home in time to watch The X Factor.[/time wasting rant]

    • karol 2.1

      Wrapped up in that muddle of words that you dissect very well, mike, is the subtext/dog whistle, that anti-TPP protesters are opposed to free trade because they are unrealistically isolationist.

      • mike 2.1.1

        Sure, if he had said ‘unrealistically isolationist’ instead of ‘intersecting globally with the rest of the world’ I would have spared him my ‘incoherent jibberish’ criticism.

        Indeed that’s the perception Key is trying to sell about the protesters. That they are backwards thinkers who can’t see the bigger picture about what’s best for NZ.

        In fact he uses this one a lot. “They just don’t get it.” Not that he bothers to actually answer any objections at all other than to say $$$ = jobs. He moans about how he hasn’t been able to make the public understand that the asset sales are good. It’s an “I’m the boss I don’t have time to explain all the details, I’m wearing the suit so just trust me and swallow what I say” angle. It’s an observed manipulation technique of corporate psychopaths in positions of power. It’s an obedience to authority thang a la Stanley Milgram. The subtext to the subtext is that he is the smartest guy in the room. I’ll try a simplistic equation of my own: arrogance + spin = John Key

        Well done trying to keep this in the spotlight Karol.

  3. Jim in Tokyo 3

    A few gems from today’s insidetrade.com TPP update (trial subscription required):

    Observers See Increasing Link Between Dairy And PHARMAC Disciplines
    Posted: December 6, 2012

    “If the U.S. were to demand patent protections such as patent term extensions, which New Zealand currently does not observe, it would require changes to the country’s patent laws. Sources here said this would face considerable opposition in parliament, especially from the minority Labor coalition, which does not want to see such protections lead to rising drug prices as cheaper generic drugs are being prevented from entering the market sooner.”

    (and a few paragraphs later…)

    “Making changes to PHARMAC has emerged as a hot-button issue in New Zealand, but such changes would most likely occur through regulation and would not require the government to undergo the politically hazardous process of forcing legislative changes to comply with the TPP, these sources said.”

  4. AmaKiwi 4

    When a government of any color imposes laws the majority oppose, it is a dictatorship.

    NZ is a parliamentary dictatorship.

    This crap won’t end until we get binding veto referendums.

    How would it work? When parliament passes a bill we have 3 months to collect 25,000 signatures to force a binding referendum. If we get the 25,000 signatures, a binding referendum is held.

    If the majority votes “yes” in the referendum, the bill becomes law. If they vote “no” in the referendum, the bill is dead.

    Say it loud: “We live in a dictatorship.”

  5. Neoleftie viper 5

    Well I knew a girl called Clare once.
    A kind nice shy type was she…once
    She said to me open government is the way.
    A new way a better way a good way.
    Where the people could vote on laws directly.
    But alas time passed like bad wine out your arse.
    Now poor Clare tired and blue ….not red more pink and anti green…
    Thinks no more.

  6. Jenny Kirk 6

    There’s a good article by Geoff Cumming in today’s Herald (8 Dec 2012) “Copyright Clampdown”
    about the possibility the TPPA will inhibit our use of the internet, and make access to music, books, films much more difficult. Worth reading.

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