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:
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:
For more information see www.itsourfuture.org.nz