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Auckland Council debates the TPPA

Written By: - Date published: 1:34 pm, October 9th, 2015 - 26 comments
Categories: auckland supercity, supercity - Tags: , , ,

auckland-city-skytower-from-air

The Regional Strategy and Policy Committee of Auckland Council debated the TPPA yesterday.  The debate was somewhat long and fractious with a great deal of discussion about such strange things as whether or not the minor changing of the words of the resolution was appropriate.  Conservative Councillors such as Denise Krum and Linda Cooper all spoke and then complained about how much time had been wasted!

The resolution proposed by Wayne Walker and seconded by John Watson essentially asked the Government to release the text of the TPPA so that Council could understand its implications, and asked the government to clarify how the recommendations in a previous Auckland Council resolution  had been addressed.

But the right wing Councillors did not like it.  Linda Cooper claimed that the Council spent far too much time dealing with issues that do not relate to Auckland.  How TPPA cannot relate to Auckland was not explained.  And if time was so scarce then she could have chosen not to speak.

Denise Krum also spoke. She said that Auckland Council needed to know what was in the TPPA but we needed to wait for the treaty to go through the parliamentary process.  She also thought that Auckland needed to know the details of the TPPA to leverage benefit from the treaty. How we can do that without knowing what is actually in the treaty was not explained.

The substance of the resolution was passed by twelve votes to ten. It was another close run debate where the vote of the members of the Maori Statutory Board carried the day.

The Herald chose to add to the confusion by posting an article that repeated the right’s criticism without actually noting what had been resolved.  The article included this passage:

Auckland councillors have today spent two and a half hours debating the Trans Pacific Partnership at a reported cost of $50,000 to ratepayers.

Albany councillor Wayne Walker put forward a notice of motion, including clarification from Trade Minister Tim Groser on how the recommendations from eight Local Boards were being addressed in current negotiations.

After a long discussion on the trade agreement, several councillors vented their frustration on social media.

Councillor Denise Krum said: ” A very long morning! Best use of our time? I think not.”

Councillor Linda Cooper said at a cost for council committee meetings of $20,000 an hour, the debate had cost $50,000.

The article noted that the resolution “was partially voted down”.  But nowhere did it say what had actually been supported, that is the publication of the terms of the TPPA and seeking a response from Government about how previously expressed concerns had been handled by the Government.

Yes the discussion took some time, but primarily because of the actions of the right wing councillors in opposing something that was hardly contentious.  In fact most of the time taken was by people talking about what a waste of time it was.  Local Board member Graeme Easte who spoke in support of the resolution estimates that the debate was one hour 23 minutes long and most of the time was taken up by right wingers speaking.

And of course Auckland Council should stick to its core business but facing the prospect of being sued because it takes regulatory action which is in the interests of the public I would have thought was clearly core business.

26 comments on “Auckland Council debates the TPPA”

  1. AmaKiwi 1

    Great! The battle lines are clear. Many are awakening to the profound impact TPPA will have if ever implemented.

    If we can rouse enough opposition, I will fight to add TPPA to the flag referendum (as binding). If/When the Nats block that the next step is a citizen initiated non-binding referendum. If the people vote “No TPPA”, the opposition puts the other signatories on notice that the government acted against the will of its own citizens.

    That would provide a powerful basis for withdrawing after the next general election and rejecting any claims for damages.

  2. Pat 2

    “Councillor Linda Cooper said at a cost for council committee meetings of $20,000 an hour, the debate had cost $50,000.”

    I assume had the debate had not occurred the sum of $50,000 would have been able to be removed from the council operating costs?

  3. tc 3

    Denise Krum is a classic actiod puppet.

  4. tracey 4

    The Right find Democracy such a watse of time when they are not using it to further the interests they agree with.

    The TPP is relevant to Auckland because it could be that regulations or by-laws introduced by it could be sued upon by businesses not happy with the consequences. Until the full text is released to other than this Government and its friends we just won’t know.

    Strange that other nations, such as Japan, are happy to release a chapter by chapter account which is more detailed than Tim Grosers manipulated fact Shets and runs to 36 pages, – See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2015/10/07/must-read-sober-reflections-on-the-tppa-deal-and-why-we-need-to-keep-fighting/#sthash.l6pdyve9.dpuf

    Just seems odd that given how convinced the Government is that it is a great deal for NZ they just don’t seem to want us to see the proof in the pudding.

  5. Sacha 5

    Link to Herald article no longer working, but can we guess it was fashioned by Orsman?

    • mickysavage 5.1

      Yes it was and I note the link on kiwiblog also does not work and that the text shows up if you do a google search. Looks like the Herald have taken the page down. Wonder why?

    • Murray Simmonds 5.2

      No. The link worked fine this morning, 10 Oct 6 am.

      Actually its a very interesting article – thanks for the link, Ross. Seems to me to suggest that the habitual lying has become pretty much a reflex action on the part of JK whenever he finds himself cornered by a question. Not a good habit for a prime minister to adopt IMO.

      • Sacha 5.2.1

        Link in the main post to quoted Herald article still redirects to Herald front page. Maybe someone from Council had a word with the editor about printing something actionably distorted?

  6. tracey 6

    Cameron Brewer was silent????

  7. Matthew Hooton 7

    You understand the TPP text is going to be released on schedule, as soon as the lawyers have checked it, regardless of what some Labour-aligned muppets on Auckland Council have to say?

    • dv 7.1

      Mathew do mean that it has been signed with out lawyers approval!!!

      • Matthew Hooton 7.1.1

        It hasn’t been “signed”. The deal has been agreed, as described here: https://ustr.gov/about-us/policy-offices/press-office/press-releases/2015/october/summary-trans-pacific-partnership

        • vto 7.1.1.1

          Matthew, do you consider the 1% economic gain in 15 years time that the TPP will bring to be a good business deal?

          Do you know of ANY other business people who would consider that worthy, and not an absolute laughing stock?

          • vto 7.1.1.1.1

            I just love how all the righties are ignoring this question…

            You would think it would be pretty crucial…

            being business people and all that

            bizarre

            • Matthew Hooton 7.1.1.1.1.1

              Usual rule is fund all projects with an NPV greater than 0, subject to capital availability. This passes.

        • dv 7.1.1.2

          So Matthew, there are about 4000 lawyers going over the details as we speak.
          So when is the text being released?

          This century?

          • Matthew Hooton 7.1.1.2.1

            Within 26 says I think

            • vto 7.1.1.2.1.1

              What is the difference between “signing” something and “agreeing” to something?

              Very curious.

              • Matthew Hooton

                Like in business. The business people agree the deal and then they get the lawyers to tidy it up before signing it. I expect the text will be released by this time next week. I bet it will allow a future Labour/Green govt to impose a 100% punitive tax on foreigners buying houses, farms or other land in New Zealand. I know it will allow any country to withdraw anytime in the future for any reason with just six month’s notice.

    • mickysavage 7.2

      Matthew:

      1. If you check Walker and Watson’s backgrounds you may find they are more of a green tinge than a red tinge, not that I have anything against that.

      2. Surely the text can be released now. This Kafkaesque situation where something so major has been agreed to but we are not allowed to know what it says is really disturbing.

      BTW am I a marxist twitter addict, a extreme left blogger or both?

    • Ross 7.3

      Matthew

      I didn’t realise there was a “schedule” for release of the text. I presume it’ll be how you used to handle OIA requests. Delay, delay, delay. 🙂

  8. Penny Bright 8

    FYI – I attended yesterday’s Auckland Council’s Regional Strategy and Policy Committee, in support of Barry Coates, who addressed the Committee on behalf of ‘It’s Our Future’ coalition, and Graeme Easte.

    Both spoke very well.

    Here is the Press Release:

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1510/S00154/council-calls-for-transparency-and-consultation-on-tppa.htm

    Thursday, 8 October 2015, 3:16 pm
    Press Release: It’s Our Future
    Auckland Council calls for transparency and consultation on TPPA

    Today the Auckland Council’s Regional Strategy and Policy Committee passed a resolution on the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

    The resolution calls on the government to release the final agreed text of the agreement and consult before further decisions are taken.

    Barry Coates, a spokesperson for the It’s our Future campaign, presented at the Council meeting. He welcomed the Council’s decision:

    “There has been too much ill-informed debate about the TPPA and too much misleading government spin. The Council has called for the facts to be put on the table.”

    The Council passed a previous resolution on the TPPA in December 2012 which called for assurances that the negotiations would not undermine local government’s role in providing public services and supporting local economic development, or prevent the Council from requiring high standards for environmental protection, employment rights and community participation.

    The Council called for New Zealand businesses not to be disadvantaged compared to foreign investor or suppliers.

    These assurances were not given.

    Eight Auckland Local Boards recently passed resolutions calling for follow up, joining 14 Councils across New Zealand, representing over 60% of New Zealand’s people. During a heated debate on the motion, Councillor John Watson said that local government should not be one of the dead rats that needed to be swallowed in order to get a TPPA deal.

    Barry Coates commented: “Councils have raised valid concerns about the TPPA which have been ignored.

    Their concerns have been confirmed by leaks of draft texts which have revealed that a wide range of local government decisions on zoning, permits, licences, contracts, environmental protection and procurement are likely to be covered by the TPPA.

    Councils have been signed up to potentially costly and restrictive rules by the Minister of Trade without being consulted.”

    “Councils are also at risk from their decisions being overturned by foreign corporations bringing cases in an international tribunal under the Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanism, and demanding compensation.

    Over 600 cases have so far been taken against governments, including the local government cases, under similar agreements to the TPPA.”

    Councillors were informed that a recent Canadian case (Bilcon v Canada) awarded US$300 million to a US mining company that was refused a licence by Nova Scotia on the grounds that it was incompatible with community values.

    Barry Coates concluded: “The government’s public relations spin on the TPPA agreement has deliberately misled the media into reporting a rosy picture of economic success.

    The market access benefits have been over-hyped and the potential costs from the TPPA have been downplayed or hidden.

    The text of the final agreement is still secret and it is too early to conclude whether or not New Zealand will benefit economically.

    The non-economic risks are far more serious.”

    “The TPPA is a Trojan Horse agreement.

    The loss of government powers to protect the public interest are hidden in the shape of a free trade agreement.

    This deal will benefit multinationals but undermine democracy and the ability of local and central government to protect people and the environment.

    The government must immediately release the final text and negotiating documents.”

    __________________________________________________________________________

    Penny Bright

  9. millsy 9

    TPPA will probably force the council to sell the port and Watercare so this is right and proper.

    Good job Vector is tucked into the consumer trust so the lawyers cant touch it.

  10. savenz 10

    +100 – at least Auckland Councillors wasted their money on something more useful than cutting down and stealing Auckland’s heritage.

    Of course the Auckland Council (and everyone else needs to see the TPPA txt)- or is it the ‘new Nat democracy’ in which the public have extremely short times to put in submissions which are not read anyway by the government puppets on the committees.

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