Alternative Trade Strategy hui

Written By: - Date published: 5:10 pm, October 11th, 2018 - 7 comments
Categories: Economy, health and safety, trade, Unions, workers' rights - Tags:

The debates around the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement alerted many New Zealanders to the far-reaching scope of contemporary free trade and investment agreements, their potentially negative impacts and fetters on national regulation, the inadequate protection for te Tiriti o Waitangi, and the lack of participation of diverse communities and Parliament in launching negotiations, setting mandates, making compromises and adopting the final treaty.

This has generated a large amount of critique, but only broad ideas of what an alternative and progressive trade strategy should look like. These discussions are more advanced in some other countries, including the EU and Canada.

The NZ Council of Trade Unions, It’s Our Future, Doctors for Healthy Trade, Oxfam, Greenpeace, the NZ Nurses Organisation, First Union, PPTA, NZEI, TEU, among others, have decided it is time for concerned communities to convene a hui to set out what an alternative and progressive trade strategy should look like.

The focus of this two-day hui will be forward looking, rather than further critiques of the status quo. The aim is to present positive and constructive approaches to achieving a new paradigm, not simply adjustments to current texts. The troubling question of what to do with existing incompatible agreements is not part of this discussion.

The hui aims to achieve several goals:

  1. frame the agenda for future debates to enable us to move beyond the current ad hoc interventions on specific negotiations and agreements;
  2. shift current proposals to address gender, workers, indigenous rights, small business, consumer rights, human rights and environment from cosmetic adjustments, such as rhetorical exceptions and annexes to substantive and effective initiatives;
  3. provide a basis for dialogue and collaboration across sectors and across parties, as part of broader thinking about ways to address the challenges confronting the country; and
  4. locate these localised arguments in the broader geopolitics and political economy of trade and investment negotiations.

The format mainly involves one-hour panel discussions centred broadly on four questions, facilitated by a chair, including questions from the audience and twitter. The questions are:

  • What main challenges do you foresee that need to be addressed now, in 10 and 30 years?
  • What is the international dimension of these challenges that needs to be addressed in an economic agreement with other countries?
  • What principles should underpin how those challenges are addressed?
  • Are there specific rules you think should be in an international economic agreement?
  • The hui will be live streamed and uploaded.

For more information see

7 comments on “Alternative Trade Strategy hui”

  1. CHCOff 1

    Businesses that agree to conforming to self-regulating via ratings standards as a whole body (with parliament providing arbitration for inter-industry disputes) for the various elements that make up their specific product and services chains, help make up a proportion of the 33% automatic representation allocated to such in parliament, which is divided up in correlation to their relative demand and supply that is local/New Zealand.

    As a start.

    Then that can filter out to how international standards of trade & values are done NZ’s way.


  2. corodale 2

    yeah kjnow, am I re3aly off-track to cut in that:
    good folk, pr:ogressive alternative, well grounded, as one swings to detail, beneath the politic. This is not rear, that networked into community is ready-to-go, even on the big issues, relatively well solved.

    Orthodox cuts into UN limit-tech and solve-low. True that no worries, as ya could say the tech savvy are complex to settle trust with on easy terms.

    NZ as an equal-friendly is more the message, get behind a brand ah, but ya start on a competitive field, so so or so.

  3. RedLogix 3

    I like the look of the agenda; especially the emphasis on solutions than mere rehashings of the status quo.

    Somewhat at a tangent I was impressed by this read:

    The potential to inflame divisions in the wider community grows as people turn away from the centre and towards the fringes — left or right.

    Dr Charlton said political polarisation such as this typically occurred when economies suffered and inequality was growing.

    “Australia has had 26 years of uninterrupted growth and is one of the wealthiest countries in the world,” he said. “By global standards, inequality is relatively low. Things aren’t perfect but the reason for our division is not economics — it’s much deeper than that.”

    What is the cause of our worsening division?

  4. SaveNZ 4

    Great idea, but how about a pyre for the old trade agreements and a match.

    They need to start afresh!

    For a start the big drivers of trade are the biggest polluters so just ignoring them is not going to go away with climate change.

  5. Ad 5

    Did any of them have anything to export?

  6. greywarshark 6

    Does anyone have a plan for a two tier economy, one that aims to produce things for nzs who commit to buying at reasonable prices, not the lowest, and in return get jobs for their children and themselves.

    And the other, playing the overseas market, bearing their own costs and suffering seizure of property when they fail, not just taking the money and running, leaving debt behind for investors in NZ.

  7. greywarshark 7

    Sounds like the hui should include which myths and wishes NZs want to define themselves by. Not just the basic one of being able to work for reasonable hours, in reasonable conditions, have a fulfilled life as much as possible, and have the right to campaign for better. Instead it seems weighted down by a whole lot of 20th century wish-fulfilment; this while we try and prepare for Armageddon. Yikes. Sux.

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