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Campbell: The TPP dairy deal is done

Written By: - Date published: 2:50 pm, September 28th, 2015 - 63 comments
Categories: capitalism, International, spin, trade - Tags: , , ,

Gordon Campbell (one of the last known practitioners of the dying art of journalism) claims that the TPP dairy deal is already done.

Gordon Campbell on New Zealand’s TPP done deal on dairy, and on investor-state disputes

For five years, the public has been denied any meaningful information about the content and progress of the TPP – on the bogus excuse that for the government to do so would jeopardise its ability to conduct the negotiations. Yet in other countries, far more information is publicly available than is the case here. As a result, the public is being made vulnerable to political manipulation – as information is drip fed by the government primarily for its own political ends. We are not North Korea, but a five year blackout amounts to a near- totalitarian abuse of information on matters of crucial public interest.

Currently a classic example of this process is under way. For the past week, the government has been actively downplaying the likely deal on dairy access to overseas markets that New Zealand may achieve via the TPP … What’s going on here?

The likely explanation is that the dairy deal, has in fact, been done. Over the weekend, evidence has emerged that a new deal for NZ on dairy – and a solution to the previous impasse – has been reached, and is being reported on in North America. What our government has done is to talk down the likely outcome, so that it can maximise the gains of pulling the rabbit successfully out of the hat. Secrecy breeds the opportunities for this kind of spin.

The evidence about the New Zealand dairy deal is on the (expensively paywalled) Inside Trade publication. I can’t link you directly to it … the two articles to look for are (a) the article about the memo summarising the current state of TPP negotiations that has been written and circulated by the House Ways and Means Committee Ranking Democrat Sandor Levin, and (b) the separate article about the US deal on dairy with New Zealand, and the furious response by US dairy industry leaders.

Whether it is Canada that is conceding unilaterally or the US that is doing so, one thing is clear : New Zealand has won a specific carve-out for greater dairy access, and it knows exactly what it is because our dairy industry leaders have been heavily involved in formulating it. Groser’s coyness to RNZ on Friday about whether or not he will attend the ministerial meeting in Atlanta set for September 30- October 1st this week is – as mentioned – mere politicking. … [minor typos corrected]

Go read the whole article on Scoop for much more detail on the emerging evidence.

63 comments on “Campbell: The TPP dairy deal is done ”

  1. Matthew Hooton 1

    Well, some good news and a major and important govt achievement for a change.

    • NZSage 1.1

      What a foolish statement or can we assume from your euphoria you are “in the know” on the details of the TPPA?

      Nah, thought not….. just kowtowing to your coprorate maters I suspect.

    • If by “good news” you mean a wholesale destruction of our intellectual property protections, costing the government more on medicines and potentially opening the government to million- or billion-dollar lawsuits “judged” by trade lawyers, then you have an interesting definition of good news. Especially given the so-called good news is thought to be so controversial by its drafters that they’ve forbidden potential signatories from even talking about the details for the next few years.

      No amount of dairy access is worth the long-term costs of those consequences, and we wouldn’t need policy-laundering techniques if it were actually a deal to be proud of. Go back to your echo chamber, Hooton.

    • cogito 1.3

      Good news? Absolutely not when the government behaves like this:

      ” We are not North Korea, but a five year blackout amounts to a near- totalitarian abuse of information on matters of crucial public interest.”

  2. millsy 2

    So Hooten, you think its OK for corporations to sue the government if they want to keep water reticulation in public hands, or have employee protections.

    • Matthew Hooton 2.1

      No, that would be terrible and I would oppose it strongly.

      • Ronin Thorpe 2.1.1

        Well Mathew, if that happens you can oppose it all you want. Nothing that you can do or say will change it because JK, Grosser and the rest will have signed away our rights to have a say in anything.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.2

        I would oppose it strongly then get in line for the PR contracts with the rest of the professional liars.

        I have a question: when your peer-group (trash) learned that you conspired to murder Nicky Hager, were they appreciative or envious?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.1.3

        I have another question: is your manifest bias and corruption a liability or an asset in your chosen criminal enterprise?

    • Millsy- to be fair the trade lawyers can’t actually do that. Now, if we decided to say, nationalise the power industry, or even implement a policy like Kiwipower, foreign stakeholders could absolutely take us to a TTP-mandated disputes tribunal run by trade lawyers who are unlikely to give the government a fair shot, and we’ll most likely be ordered to pay them outrageous amounts in forgone profits for the privilege of changing our own damn laws.

      Of course, if National ever rolls back certain employee protections or public ownership of water, then trying to claw it back again would be subject to a similar dispute process, in which we would have to prove we have the right to legislate in the public interest.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1

        Or we could simply tear up the slave contract and instruct the GCSB to exact revenge against corporate trash.

      • crashcart 2.2.2

        Sort of makes you wonder if this is the point of the legislation that is currently going through that will lock in zero hour contracts and limits to employees abilities to take secondary work.

        Put in place this sort of abusive legislation before TPP is signed and that beomes the base line. If the next government then tries to introduce protections for workers the companies could legitimately argue that it will cut their ability to make profits either preventing action by government or getting large payouts via ISDT.

  3. Sabine 3

    Well, once WE the people now what was signed and for what, one can say it is a good achievement.
    So lets wait to hear what precisely was achieved for the NZ Dairy Farming comunity/businesses and at what cost to our environment.

    • They can’t tell you. Part of the deal is that they agree to keep it secret for several years, even after it’s signed. So we have to rely on leaks to even judge how terrible this agreement is for us, because nobody is willing to talk about the parts they’ve agreed on.

      • crashcart 3.1.1

        From what they were saying on the weekend what is secret is the negotiation documents not the actual final text. So we will know what we get out of it just not how they got there. Of course it does allow them to hide what the article is talking about i.e. we will not be able to prove that the dairy deal was in fact done a while ago and the government has been playing politics with the info they are releasing. This of course means they can’t be held accountable for that sort of deception until well after the fact and Key and his mates have probably retired.

    • savenz 3.2

      Well Sabine, it might achieve an increase in the 18% payrise the CEO of Fonterra has given himself, while overseeing declining turnover, huge lay offs and a record low payment to farmers.

      Yep I really want the Natz sell our soul and environment and jobs, for the never never of dairy, which has like many other industries in NZ become a cash cow, asset stripped, poorly governed, corporate welfare recipient of the government to individual managers in Fonterra.

      Like the Rebstocks they have a strategy and are well paid for implementing it.

      • Sabine 3.2.1

        mate, it was tongue in cheek. I don’t think anything good will come form a ‘trade agreement’ that is so toxic that it needs to be discussed secretly, that is so secret that only a handful of people have to approve it and that virtually no one wants other then a few temporarily appointed Dear Leaders of this world.

        we need sarcasm tabs.

  4. David 4

    The whole thing is a rather nasty mash up between big government and big corporations, there really is very little worthwhile in it for someone who supports actual free trade.

  5. maui 5

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-election-2015-trans-pacific-partnership-dairy-1.3242234

    The short strokes on dairy come down to how much of Canada’s domestic market would be opened up to American products to compensate U.S. dairy producers for opening up their market to TPP partners such as New Zealand, an aggressive and competitive dairy exporter.

    If that’s true how will this all wash up? We get some dairy access into the States while we stand to be screwed by large companies at any time and Pharmac loses it’s effectiveness.

    • Northshoredoc 5.1

      Oh for goodness sake if all that happens is data exclusivity is extended for a few years on biologics the effect on Pharmac will be minimal

  6. Richard@Down South 6

    We can have greater dairy access, but when milk solids are sold at $3.85 for a KG, I doubt farmers will be too happy (nor will it make Milk like gold to the economy, as promised)

  7. Robert Guyton 7

    Yes it is.
    More fool us.

  8. Pasupial 8

    There are some small points of hope in Campbell’s article:

    Canada is only weeks away from an election in which seats in the dairy-producing provinces will be crucial. If that wasn’t deterrence enough for Canada to cave in on dairy, it is also under similar Japan/US pressure within the TPP for it and Mexico to cave in on the auto parts issue. Moreover, the opposition Liberals (who are leading in the polls) are saying they wont ratify a TPP deal that disadvantages Canada… furious response by US dairy industry leaders [to dairy deal].

    NAct will sign anything put in front of it with lickspittle alacrity, trusting in the compliant NZ media to dismiss any protest. But the Canadian and USA election cycle may mean that concluding an agreement will not be possible until 2017. NZ Labour need to make their opposition at least as clear as the Canadian Liberals.

  9. Tautoko Mangō Mata 9

    Remember the Cabinet ratify TPPA, not the whole Parliament.

    • Detrie 9.1

      Actually I think it can be signed off just by the executive council, which can comprise as few as govt 3 ministers so doesn’t even need to be debated or approved by parliament or even cabinet. That would appeal to John Keys inflated ego and bravado…
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Executive_Council_of_New_Zealand

      • George Hendry 9.1.1

        So I understood, courtesy of LPrent.

        I went looking for a list of the members of the executive council, couldn’t find one yet. Will someone tell us who they are?

        When we know which of them actually signed the deal on our behalf, perhaps Mr Hooton will kindly provide the names of the streets they live in, though just to be safe, not the numbers as well.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1.1

          All ministers (including those outside Cabinet) must be sworn in as Executive Councillors before their appointment as ministers.

          • George Hendry 9.1.1.1.1

            Thanks OAB. 🙂

            Here’s an idea for a game. Ask ministers individually if they signed or not. Doesn’t matter how they answer, the whole thing could be like a twitter flag diversion where their names get associated with selling out the country.

            After enough chance to reply, bring out the wikileak (it will surely arrive) that gives the details, just the way it happened with all the others that were supposed to be so secret all these years.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 9.1.1.1.1.1

              I’m not so fussed about the secrecy: until we adopt distributive negotiation it’s a given.

              What I don’t like is restraint of trade. Corporations are people, apparently, but somehow I don’t get to sue the government when they do stupid shit that affects my bottom line.

        • George Hendry 9.1.1.3

          How symbolic of what we face, that so few have so much power over the wellbeing and livelihoods of all the rest of us.

          Such legislation, which presumably wasn’t passed just yesterday but has been a disaster waiting to happen for some time now, needed to be spotlit so we could start the process of dismantling it, as older, more experienced democracies have already done.

          Though it will probably cause much pain for the next several years, we may need it as a lesson in how low the henchmen will stoop before we remove both them and their legalised excuses for the wrong they do.

  10. Reddelusion 10

    Great news if true, Groser deserves a knighthood

    • One Anonymous Bloke 10.1

      When did you decide restraint of trade is a good thing?

    • half crown 10.2

      Are you aware of some details of the TPPA the rest of NZ isn’t to make that statement? or are you just mouthing off right wing crap as per usual without considering the long term consequences this could have for NZ, my and others grandchildren.

      This is the thing that gets me with you lot you never question why, if the fucking spiv shit on you from a great height you would try and convince yourself and us that it is gold, or at lest good quality shit.

    • crashcart 10.3

      Only a RWNJ could think that a member of government decieving the general public for their own political gain is deserving of a knighthood.

      Well played sir.

  11. Ovid 11

    Copied and pasted from Open Mike:

    TPP COUNTRIES HEAD TO ATLANTA WITHOUT DEAL IN SIGHT ON AUTO ROO

    Schewel, Matthew. Inside US Trade33.37 (Sep 25, 2015).

    But there have been no publicly announced meetings between TPP countries on dairy or biologics since the Maui meeting. New Zealand’s trade ministry indicated in a Sept. 24 press release that negotiators were still far from laying out acceptable options on dairy market access.

    It did so by implicitly threatening that Trade Minister Tim Groser would not attend the TPP ministerial scheduled for Sept. 30-Oct. 1 in Atlanta absent more progress on dairy market access. “Should negotiators make sufficient progress resolving outstanding issues, including dairy market access, to warrant ministerial engagement, Mr. Groser intends to travel to Atlanta to meet other trade ministers,” the ministry said.

    However, the ministry said its officials would definitely attend the Sept. 26-29 chief negotiators meeting in Atlanta.

    Both the Peruvian and New Zealand governments signaled this week in separate documents that the outstanding issues generally fall into the categories of intellectual property (IP), market access, rules of origin, textiles, and legal and institutional issues. New Zealand’s trade ministry said in a Sept. 22 letter responding to an official information request that it would send negotiators for these areas as well as state-owned enterprises to the Atlanta meetings.

  12. les 12

    well Wayne already foreshadowed NZ Dairy exports would rise by the phenomenal sum of $30 plus million if this deal is done…happy days!

    • lprent 12.1

      The peanuts that’d we’d expect from a National led agreement eh?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 12.1.1

        Not to mention the betrayal we’d expect from a law commissioner who collaborates in the degradation of human rights and the rule of law.

        • Wayne 12.1.1.1

          Not sure what you are getting at here.

          Are you suggesting that everyone who supports TPP is ipso fact against the rule of law and human rights?

          So that if TPP is completed, then Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore and the United States, among others, would suddenly become counties no longer interested in human rights and the rule of law?

          Surely it is a rather a long stretch to draw this inference from a trade and investment agreement.

  13. tracey 13

    Key is at the UN as a “leader” but mostly will use his time following Obama like a puppy (as he does Ritchie McCaw at dinners that Mccaw attends). I note Key says he takes the deportation (and death) of kiwis in Aussie seriously and will talk to Turnbill when get gets home…

    Rather begs the question why he isn’t talking to him at the United Nations, that bastion of Human Rights, treatment of people in custody rights and so on…? You know, cos he takes it so seriously.

    He must find a place like the UN quite bewildering, chokker with people focused on human rights, other than the politicians focused on economics, economics, economics.

    “He once quipped to me – with just the slightest tinge of envy – that one of the things he most admired about Clark was “she has the Rolodex from heaven” built from the international relationships she made as prime minister.” Fran O’Sullivan
    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11379425

  14. RedBaronCV 14

    Where’s Wayne? He’s usually here by now to convince us that ‘it’s a good thing”. His absence is a good indicator that we have agreed to sign already?

    • Wayne 14.1

      RedBaronCV,

      Just waiting to see what happens. If the deal is as close as we imagine, it would seem that the time for punditry on the deal is pretty much over.

      • Tautoko Mangō Mata 14.1.1

        The problem with the TPPA is the fact that the public has been excluded while part of their sovereignty rights are being traded away. The public has been given no opportunity to change what is being traded away. To use John Key’s analogy of a house sale, the vendor has no idea whether any of his chattels are being included in the sale being run by the salesmen, Key and Groser, and what is more, the vendor has not even been asked whether he wants his chattels to be sold. You expect us to trust the Government, Wayne. Given the track record of blunders, (Sky City, Saudi Sheep, Rio Tinto, Warner Bros) why would we?

        • Tautoko Mangō Mata 14.1.1.1

          @Wayne The major problem with the TPPA is that the public has no faith in a process which has been carried out with unprecedented secrecy and we have lost respect for those who are pushing this through with a complete disregard to the responsibility of following democratic principles and their arrogant dismissal of our objection to the flawed process. We do not respect the flawed process, Wayne.

          Here is a short excerpt on respect.
          “Discord contributes nothing positive to democratic culture. A healthy democracy is founded on respect – respect for democratic principles, democratic institutions and political office; respect for the ethos of a fair go; respect for gender equality; respect for the next person; robust and respectful debate; respect for truth in reporting; respect for sound policy and legislation and, above all, respect for the common good.

          Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/it-pro/suffering-a-sad-lack-of-respect-20120915-25z26.html#ixzz3n4BIKeHf

          • savenz 14.1.1.1.1

            And what is the Maori party doing about it – making cuppa’s for John Key to support his government.

            And as for Labour and Greens – pathetic on this issue! NZ First what are they doing?

            A petition is not really doing it. Get some guts and burn an effigy of John Key outside parliament – do something – walk the Streets, collaborate with Greenpeace of the like, anything to actually show that the opposition is actually and ACTIVELY with the people against TPPA, secret deals and the joke our country and it’s parliament has become.

            • cogito 14.1.1.1.1.1

              “Get some guts and burn an effigy of John Key outside parliament”

              Yes, you need guts and principles to do that. Hard to find either in NZ these days. People love to remember those who fought for freedom and democracy, but when it comes to standing up for it today, on the streets, and calling the Liar of NZ to account, they prefer to look the other way.

  15. Barbara 15

    Tuesday morning news – right on cue, a nice softener/feel good story from Nick Smith about the new marine reserve thats been named for NZ – getting in before the TPPA announcement which is due very soon if not already signed. Even Key has had a short chat with Obama about the TPPA at the UN – my partner said after the marine reserve news – the Govt is so predictable – why can’t people see through it, its either diversions or feel good stories like Pandas.

  16. Tiger Mountain 16

    Gordon Campbell deserves a medal and a huge cash payout for this article alone, being onto a publication not many if any even know about as one of his sources

    Mr Hooton was a prompt replier, maybe he did not know?

  17. Tautoko Mangō Mata 17

    Meanwhile Claire Trevett begins her article about Key with toilet paper, which, on reflection, is quite apt considering the content

  18. Lloyd 18

    There is nothing wrong with the ability of a foreign corporation suing a government in an open and fully reported court as long as there is a reciprocal ability for:
    – citizens of any country involved to sue corporations for excessive profits;
    – Citizens to sue to claw back payments to executives of corporations that are significantly greater than the average worker in that corporation;
    -citizens and governments to sue for the portion of global warming/sea level rise/ sea acidification that a corporation or government was responsible for, and any other environmental effect;
    -citizens of any country to sue corporations for low salaries and poor safety records in any country
    -citizens to sue foreign governments for actions that threaten health standards in any country.

    Any other deal is shonky as a three dollar note and should not be part of any deal that a representative of the New Zealand people agrees to.

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