web analytics
The Standard

TPP protests – Day 1

Written By: - Date published: 11:59 am, December 3rd, 2012 - 8 comments
Categories: activism, assets, class war, Economy, International, jobs, Privatisation, sustainability, telecommunications, trade, us politics, workers' rights - Tags:

Today a small group of protesters have been outside the entrance to Sky City Convention Centre, where a round of secret international TPP negotiations started to day. The big concerns about the TPP are the secrecy with which it is being developed, the potential to undermine NZ’s independence, the ability to make and enforce our won laws, and the amount of control being given over to powerful (US-based) multinational corporations.

On today’s protests, Stuff reports:

Around 20 placard-carrying protesters are outside the centre with police watching on.

A protest march through the city is scheduled for later today.

It’s a pity the march through the city wasn’t publicised more widely in advance.  (I have a prior unbreakable commitment this afternoon).

Others try to put the case for TPP.  The above Stuff article reports on the government’s (unconvincing) reassurances that they won’t negotiate anything that is not in NZ’s interest.

Two of the contentious areas are intellectual property and pharmaceuticals. Commentators have expressed concerns that New Zealand might have to sacrifice freedoms such as the right to parallel import trademarked goods, and make concessions over Pharmac’s bulk purchases of drugs and medical supplies.

But it is understood New Zealand does not expect to go into bat alone on these and other controversial aspects of the discussions.

Amongst the very unconvinced are Jane Kelsey, who writes:

However, the TPP is not simply, or even principally, about trade. There is a well-documented push from the US to secure extensive new rules that will serve the interests of their corporations and empower them to enforce those rules.

But it is increasingly clear that US politicians see the TPP as a vehicle to re-establish America’s ascendancy in the Asia-Pacific region to counter China’s emergence as a superpower.

Kelsey states that Key is seeking to talk down possibilities of NZ being caught between the TPP and the China-driven RCEP trade negotiations.  Kelsey concludes:

Whether or not you think that is desirable, it ignores both geopolitical realities and the divergent paradigms on which China and the US operate.

A serious risk is that governments participating in the TPP will sign up for strategic reasons to a text designed by and for the US to serve its commercial and foreign-policy interests. As a result, New Zealand and Australia, alongside Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam, who are members of Asean, will become caught up in a new Cold War, conducted through the proxy vehicle of economic integration agreements.

Large numbers of Kiwis are also unhappy with the secrecy of the TPP. This makes it impossible for ordinary people to judge how good it will be for the country. A Consumerlink, mid-November poll shows,

65% of New Zealanders think the Government should make the contents of the agreement public before the negotiations are completed and the agreement is signed, 14% do not mind if this does not happen, and 21% have no opinion.

[h/t: Draco T Dastard]

Today Canada will be joining the negotiations for the first time. Canadian consultant Peter Clark is arriving to attend tomorrow, and is underwhelmed by what has been achieved so far, and what may be achieved in the future.

The TPP negotiations are based on a shaky foundation. Congress has not granted Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) for the TPP.19 Without TPA, trade agreement negotiations are fraught with risk and uncertainty. It is folly.

Without TPA, the TPP negotiations are a crapshoot for other countries. Without TPA, all Trans-Pacific partners are exposed to the virtual certainty of having to re-negotiate with Congress a hard fought, done deal.

The TPP is nowhere near finished. On several important issues, it appears to be stuck in neutral. It will, like all other free trade negotiations, be about hard fought exclusions. In Asia, there are alternatives to the TPP for ASEAN members. The RCEP will be much more user friendly and flexible. This will feed dissent and objections to U.S. demands.

More information about the protests this week on the GPJA  blog, including [edited to save space – check blog for full version]:

3 Dec Auckland: Street theatre and rally at opening of negotiation round, 8.00 am, Entrance to Skycity casino, Federal St….

Public meeting hosted by the Fabian Society. Speakers: Lori Wallach (from US watchdog Public Citizen) and Jane Kelsey. 6.30 pm, Old Government House lecture theatre, University of Auckland, Auckland

4 Dec Wellington midday. 12noon, Midland Park, Lambton Quay.

1-8 Dec Auckland. ‘Having fun with TPP’ Cartoon exhibition, BizDojo.Co.Space, Karangahape Road, Auckland….

NB a mobile billboard featuring one of the winning cartoons and advertising the Dec 8 rally will be driving around Auckland from 4-12 December. … Details tba, contact Stephen Parry 021 039 0284.

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

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

TPPA? No way! Awareness raising concert at St Kevin’s arcade, 6-9pm.

10 Dec Auckland “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/

8 comments on “TPP protests – Day 1”

  1. Wayne 1

    Karol,

    The fact that President Obama made TPP such a priority at EAS shows the level of effort the US is putting into it. Clearly the US will have to accommodate other nations concerns, but obviously everyone has to get something out of the negotiations that they can value, or else the deal won’t succeed.

    I think the US has put too much into TPP to see it fail. Congress would think very carefully about rejecting a sucessfully concluded TPP. The Republicans in the lower House support free trade. The Democrats in the Senate support their President.

    NZ as the depository of TPP and as host of these talks also has a lot vested in their success. And that would apply for both National and Labour. A NZ Govt that rejected a deal for which they were depository would destroy our credibility among the Asia Pacific for many years to come. We simply would not be trusted.

    The ASEAN nations with their parallel project of RCEP also do not want to see China excluded. But most of them are also in TPP. Same for NZ. So ASEAN sees that both deals need to succeed, to keep the balance between China and the US.

    Both China and the US are Asia Pacific nations; they aint going anywhere. And none of the other nations in the region are going to go out of their way to unnecessairly antagonise them. In fact the ASEAN nations see themselves as the bridge. They have many initiatives designed to bring China and the US into regional dialogue. EAS, ARF and ADMM+ are just three.

    Logically when both TPP and RCEP are complete, they are likely to merge as the much vaunted APEC free trade pact. But TPP is at least 3 to 5 years ahead of RCEP.

    So while the Left (but not Labour) might rail against TPP, I do not think Jane Kelsey et al will have much influence on Tim Groser and the Govt (or on David Shearer).

    • thatguynz 1.1

      Except for the minor problem that TPPA is a trade agreement second, not first.  I do of course agree that neither Groser and National nor Labour have any interest whatsoever in listening to any opposition to it.  And make no mistake, based on what has been leaked so far this is one of the biggest present threats to NZ.

    • lprent 1.2

      Problem is that from the little that is known about TPPA positions it looks like it could take a decade or more for any benefits to flow through from the US in the terms of opening of access for farm produce. And that assumes that the US legislature is cooperative, which hasn’t exactly been noticeable over the trade agreements in the last few decades.

      Whereas the likely lousy effects on our burgeoning export tech industry will probably be a whole lot faster, and enforced by unaccountable kangaroo courts with unfathomable appointment procedures and no appeal.

      So remind me – why exactly is this a “trade” treaty that we are engaged in, compared to something like a political treaty of economic conquest – which is more what it seems to resemble? So far there appears to be little or no trade rationale for NZ to be engaged in this in a world where we don’t appear to have much of a problem selling our wares, just a problem in getting further up the processing value chain.

      If I had to guess this looks more like a opportunity to open up more international boards for ex-politicians and diplomats to ease into retirement with. So far that seems to be the only likely benefit for actual exporting NZ businesses.

      BTW: I replied to your yesterday sideline comment on this – http://thestandard.org.nz/tpp-negotiations-auckland-next-week/comment-page-1/#comment-557747

    • Draco T Bastard 1.3

      Just because a lot of self-important twits have put a lot into it doesn’t mean that we should sign it. Especially considering that the only people who have had a say in it are actually the corporations and not the people.

  2. PlanetOrphan 2

    Great post Karol, we should ditch the TPP completely until we are sure of our needs when it comes to regulation of the local economy.

    We Just need to follow the USA’s example, protect the local economy otherwise all the money bleeds out into the wilderness.

  3. karol 3

    Jane Kelsey on the unprecedented lock-out of stakeholders from Sky City TPP negotiating venue today.  It basically means that those with criticisms of TPP don’t get any opportunity to interact with the international negotiators.

    “We turned up this morning and found we are locked out of the entire Sky City Convention Centre for all 10 days except the so-called stakeholder day on Friday,” according to Professor Jane Kelsey, who has attended six previous rounds.  …

    “It is patently obvious that our government is actively attempting to block us from having private interactions with negotiators who have their own concerns or want more information in areas they lack expertise, or are simply polite enough to respond to requests for meetings.”
     
    “The previous round held in New Zealand in December 2010 was widely criticised for its secrecy – including by journalists trying to find out what is happening. It looks positively transparent when compared to what we are now confronting, which is hugely depressing and totally unacceptable.” 

    So, the secretive negotiations are becoming even more secret 

  4. Murray Olsen 4

    As far as I can see, the TPPA formalises governments as the enforcement arm of the corporations. Key and co, as well as the likes of Mallard and Jones, might like the idea of cushy seats on various boards as a result of turning Aotearoa into a sweatshop/casino/private prison, but I can’t see anything in it for the rest of us. It’s so bad that I can only see signing or supporting it as acts of treason.

  5. Rosemarie 5

    Thankyou Karol for the info..very enlightening

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • At last – a common sense plan for Christchurch
    The Common Sense Plan for Christchurch released by The People’s Choice today is a welcome relief from the shallow debate about rates rises versus asset sales, Labour’s Christchurch MPs say. "Local residents – who have spent weeks trawling through the… ...
    2 hours ago
  • National must lead by example on climate change
    The National Government must meet its own climate change obligations before it preaches to the rest of the world, Labour's Climate Change spokesperson Megan Woods says. "Calls today by Climate Change Minister Tim Groser for an end to fossil fuel… ...
    24 hours ago
  • Biosecurity rethink a long time
    The Government has opened New Zealand’s borders to biosecurity risks and its rethinking of bag screening at airports is an admission of failure, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. Nathan Guy today announced a review of biosecurity systems in… ...
    2 days ago
  • Chinese rail workers must be paid minimum wage
    KiwiRail must immediately stop further Chinese engineers from working here until they can guarantee they are being paid the New Zealand minimum wage, Labour’s MP for Hutt South Trevor Mallard says. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment today released… ...
    2 days ago
  • Better consultation needed on Christchurch asset sales
    The Christchurch City Council (CCC) should be promoting wide and genuine public consultation on its draft ten year budget and plan given the serious implications for the city’s future of its proposed asset sales, outlined in the plan. Instead, it… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 days ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    2 days ago
  • ‘Healthy Families’ a good start but not enough to tackle obesity relate...
    Today the Government is making a the meal out of the launch of its ‘Healthy Families’ package to promote ‘healthier decisions’ and ‘changing mindsets’ over nutrition, physical activity and obesity. Great! The programme is based on a successful model from… ...
    GreensBy Kevin Hague MP
    2 days ago
  • No more sweet talk on obesity
    The Government should be looking at broader measures to combat obesity rather than re-hashing pre-announced initiatives, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says.  “While it is encouraging to see the Government finally waking from its slumber and restoring a focus on… ...
    2 days ago
  • Government two-faced on zero-hour contracts
    The Government should look to ban zero-hour contracts in its own back yard before getting too high and mighty about other employers using them, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. “Information collated by Labour shows at least three district health… ...
    2 days ago
  • Scrutiny of battlefield deaths should continue
    As New Zealand troops head to Iraq under a shroud of secrecy, the Government is pushing ahead with legislation to remove independent scrutiny of incidents where Kiwi soldiers are killed in hostile action overseas, Labour’s Defence spokesperson Phil Goff says.… ...
    2 days ago
  • Damp-free homes a right for tenants
    Labour is urging tenants to use a little known rule which gives them the right to live in damp-free rental homes. Otago University researchers have today highlighted the Housing Improvement Regulations 1947 as a way tenants can force landlords to… ...
    3 days ago
  • National must take action on speculators
    The Government must take action on property speculators who are damaging the housing market and shutting families and young people out of the home ownership dream, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “There are a number of options the Government could… ...
    3 days ago
  • Milk price halves: A $7b economic black hole
    Global milk prices have halved since the peak last year, creating an economic black hole of almost $7 billion that will suck in regions reliant on dairy, crucial industries and the Government’s books, says Labour’s Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson. “The… ...
    3 days ago
  • Kitchen plan set to swallow up health boards’ funds
    The financial impacts of implementing a proposal to outsource hospital food, forced on them by a crown-owned company which is now facing an auditor-general’s inquiry, are being felt by district health boards across the country, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King… ...
    4 days ago
  • Reserve Bank scathing of Government
    The Reserve Bank’s most scathing critique to date of National’s inability to handle the housing crisis shows the Bank is sick of having to pick up the pieces, Labour Leader Andrew Little says.  “John Key continues to deny there is… ...
    4 days ago
  • Time for McDonald’s to upsize work hours
    Labour is calling on McDonald’s to have more respect for their workers and offer them more guaranteed work hours. McDonald’s is proposing to guarantee its workers 80 per cent of their rostered hours, Labour’s spokesperson for Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway… ...
    4 days ago
  • Brownlee misses the boat on asbestos
    Gerry Brownlee has once again missed an opportunity to improve the lives of Cantabrians post-earthquakes, Labour’s Canterbury Earthquake Recovery spokesperson Ruth Dyson says. A new report from the Royal Society of New Zealand and the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Adviser,… ...
    4 days ago
  • Government must come clean on troop deployment and protections
    New Zealanders deserve more than to hear about their troops’ deployment overseas from Australian media, Opposition Leader Andrew Little says. “News from Australia that Kiwi troops are on their way to Iraq this week is another example of the culture… ...
    4 days ago
  • Cancer prevention calls gain momentum
    Research showing bowel cancer treatment sucks up more public health dollars than other cancers once again highlights the need for a national screening programme, Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King says. A study by Otago University, which found colon cancer is… ...
    4 days ago
  • Burger King shows zero-hour contracts not needed
    The abandonment of zero-hour contracts by Burger King is further evidence good employers do not need to use them, Labour’s spokesperson on Labour Issues Iain Lees-Galloway says. "Congratulations to the Unite Union and Burger King for settling an employment agreement… ...
    5 days ago
  • Kiwis deserve more than reheats
    The Government looks set to rely on regurgitated announcements for this year’s Budget if today’s speech is anything to go by, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “National has been building up to this Budget for seven long years, promising a… ...
    5 days ago
  • Landlords not cashing in on insulation schemes
    The fact so few landlords have taken up the generous taxpayer subsidy for retrofitting shows it is time to legislate minimum standards, says Labour’s Associate Housing spokesperson Poto Williams. “Many landlords aren’t using Government insulation schemes because they don’t want… ...
    5 days ago
  • Zero excuses, end zero hour contracts now
    It’s time Workplace Relations Minister Michael Woodhouse cut the weasel words and banned zero hour contracts, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “Michael Woodhouse today acknowledged zero hour contracts are unfair. ...
    5 days ago
  • We’ve reached Peak Key with ‘artificial target’
    John Key’s attempt to redefine his cornerstone promise of two election campaigns as an artificial target suggests his other promises are works of fiction, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “For seven years and two election campaigns, John Key has… ...
    5 days ago
  • Top 10 need to know facts on climate change
    All the numbers and stats around climate change can be confusing, so we’ve put together a handy list of the top 10 numbers about climate change that we should all know- and then do something about. You can sign up here to… ...
    GreensBy Frog
    1 week ago
  • Campbell Live a bastion of investigative journalism
    The announcement that current affairs programme Campbell Live is under review and may be axed has sparked outrage from the New Zealand public, for good reason, says Labour’s Broadcasting Spokesperson Clare Curran. “Investigative journalism is a precious resource in today’s… ...
    1 week ago
  • Ground Zero for ‘disastrous’ contracts
    Yesterday the Green Party called on the Government to follow the leadership of Restaurant Brands and ditch zero-hour contracts. Currently it looks like the Government is a large part of the zero-hours problem. It allows these types of “non-jobs” to… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    1 week ago
  • Trust in National will disappear with deficit
    Bill English is set to break his promise to get the books back in the black this year and lose the trust of Kiwis who have had to do it too hard for too long, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant… ...
    1 week ago
  • Dorothy Jelicich passes away
    It is with sincere sadness that the Labour Party conveys its sympathies and condolences to the bereaved family of Dorothy Jelicich who passed away last night at the age of 87 years, says the MP for Mangere, Su’a William Sio.… ...
    1 week ago
  • Government leaves aquaculture industry at sea
    If the Government had acted in its first term, the Sanford mussel processing plant would not have to close, says Labour’s Fisheries spokesperson Rino Tirikatene. “Sanford is considering closure after a decline in the natural supply of spat. This is… ...
    1 week ago
  • Maggie –it’s time to roll your sleeves up
      It’s time for the Minister of Conservation Maggie Barry to listen to the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment  and start untangling the mess around  New Zealand’s stewardship land, says Labour’s Conservation spokesperson Ruth Dyson.  “The Commissioner has called for… ...
    1 week ago
  • Gutting of prison jobs a gift to private prison provider
    Today’s announcement that sections of three prisons are to be closed is the thin end of the wedge for the privatisation of the country’s prison service, says Labour’s  Corrections spokesperson Kelvin Davis.  It's estimated that 260 prison officers will lose… ...
    1 week ago
  • Joyce must rule out revising export target
    Steven Joyce must rule out a second revision of the Government’s export target in six months and stop trying to massage statistics when he fails to meet his goals, says Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark. “National set a target… ...
    1 week ago
  • Caregiver law passed in haste now a fail
    The Government’s response to supporting family caregivers is mean spirited and designed to fail, says Labour’s Disability Issues Spokesperson Ruth Dyson.  “Figures released by the Ministry of Health show that only a tiny percentage of the eligible families have applied… ...
    1 week ago
  • Clear message handed to nuclear states
    MPs Phil Goff, Shane Reti and Marama Fox are due to meet with diplomats from the United Kingdom, Russia, the United States, China and France tomorrow to hand deliver a letter calling for their countries to disarm their nuclear weapons.… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Parity is no party for export businesses
    The extent of the damage done by the high dollar to New Zealand businesses is larger than many think as shown by a dramatic decrease in exports to Australia as our dollar rises, Labour Leader Andrew Little says. “When the… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nats’ limited thinking stifling innovation
    Businesses trying to innovate and create better products are being let down by this Government with an industry expert saying Steven Joyce’s mini-tax credits will have almost no impact, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. “Andrew Dickeson, director of taxation… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Vanishing Nature: A must-read for all New Zealanders
    The Environmental Defence Society’s new book Vanishing Nature – facing New Zealand’s biodiversity crisis, should be read by every New Zealander concerned about our native plants and wildlife and striking natural landscapes; and particularly by Government Ministers before Budget Day… ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage MP
    2 weeks ago
  • The CYF review – an exercise in predetermination?
    Child Youth and Family (CYF) has a troublesome history of underperformance and botched care and protection cases, the most recent being its abject failure, along with the Police, to address the Roastbusters sexual abuse allegations with any semblance of professionalism.… ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei MP
    2 weeks ago
  • Time to act to protect Hector’s Dolphins
    The death of a Hector’s Dolphin in a set net must lead to action from the Minister of Conservation, Ruth Dyson, Labour’s Conservation Spokesperson said today. “Despite the fact that the Akaroa Harbour has been a Marine Mammal Sanctuary since… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Double-laning Darby and Joan disputed
    The Prime Minister’s by-election promise to double lane the road between Northland’s iconic Darby and Joan kauri trees has been contradicted by officials, Labour’s spokesperson Phil Twyford says. The NZ Transport Agency has told a media outlet that not all… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Parity: Cheaper trips but lower incomes
    The Kiwi dollar’s near-parity with the Australian means some tourists will have cheaper Gold Coast holidays but New Zealand incomes will stay lower for longer, making it harder for many to afford the trip, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • English’s state house flog off plans exposed
    Labour is calling on Bill English to confirm or deny a claim the Government is exploring a mass sell-off of state housing to tenants. Property magnate Bob Jones writes in a newspaper column published today that the Minister responsible for… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Extension of work scheme urged for disaster relief
    The Government is being urged to extend the Regional Seasonal Employment (RSE) scheme to help families in the most severely-damaged islands of Vanuatu, following Cyclone Pam. “Allowing a further 300 people to take up seasonal employment in New Zealand under… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Nuclear deal with Iran should be just the start
    A deal struck by Iran and major powers to ensure the Iranian facilities producing nuclear material are not used for the purpose of constructing nuclear weapons has been a long time coming, Labour’s Disarmament spokesperson Phil Goff says. “Undoubtedly Iran’s… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Green Aoraki Newsletter March 2015
    Attachmentsmarch2015_web.pdf - 1.4 MB ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister needs to do his homework
    Nathan Guy needs to do his homework, Labour’s Primary Industries spokesperson Damien O’Connor says. “Answering questions in Parliament today on the dairy sector, the Primary Industries Minister denied John Key wants to float Fonterra. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Minister needs to put the kibosh on dirty diesel
    State-Owned Enterprises Minister Todd McClay has to get a grip on the KiwiRail board and put the kibosh on its crazy plan for dirty diesel on the main trunk line, Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford says. It has been revealed… ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Louise Nicholas Day: Work still to do
    This is a summary of a speech I gave in honour of Louise Nicholas Day on March 31 The IPCA report showed us basic mistakes are still able to be made within a specialist unit. The Police Commissioner said there… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago
  • The meanness and pettiness of Nats in power
    Last night, Parliament debated NZ First MP Tracey Martin’s Bill to ensure children in the long term care of family members were able to access a clothing allowance currently only available to children in foster care. Many of these children… ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie MP
    2 weeks ago

Public service advertisements by The Standard

Current CO2 level in the atmosphere