Deary me.

Written By: - Date published: 4:26 pm, October 30th, 2017 - 87 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, Economy, jacinda ardern, labour, trade, useless - Tags: , ,

Back in January 2016, the NZ Labour Party had this to say about its position on the TPP-

In Government, we’ll go back to the TPPA partners and renegotiate the deal to make sure New Zealand’s sovereignty is protected. 

As I argued at the time, that position wasn’t tenable because every partner to the agreement has a veto over any change any other government or governments might want to make to any provision of the TPP.  

Fast forward to today, and it appears NZ Labour has stepped away from claims it could renegotiate clauses in the TPP.

Jacinda Ardern was interviewed by Guyon Espinar on Morning Report. Much of the interview focussed on Labour’s approach to the TPP in light of their desire to shut foreigners out of NZs housing market.

So Jacinda reiterated that NZ Labour is a party that “believes in free trade and has championed it.” In other words, and not surprisingly, NZ Labour has no ideological opposition to the TPP.

She said, on announcing an option on foreign investment on housing before APEC (in November?) and before any further TPP talks –

“’I’m going to make sure I look at all the options available to us. I will be announcing when we settle on a resolution – which option is going to work best for us.”

So what are the options that NZ Labour is looking at in the lead-up to this resolution on which option is going to work best for us”?

Well, there’s this kind of circular …

“If we find the right mechanism which can deliver what we’ve always sought, which is the effect of being able to ban foreign buyers – if that is in place before TPP11 is ratified – our understanding is that it would achieve the outcome that we’re looking for.

No shit Sherlock!

But anyway, I kept listening out for any mention of any potentially appropriate mechanism.

We have to use the right mechanism as well, because there are implications for the different tools that you’ll use, so we’re looking at making sure that we’ll get that right so that we’re not acting in a way that’s counter to other agreements in the mechanism that we use. But yes, my understanding is that there is the possibility if we find the right mechanism – to be able to get this in place before ratification – then it would be able to take effect” (my emphasis)

So let’s nut this down.

NZ Labour have stepped away from their previous untenable position on re-negotiation. They do want to sign up to TPP 11. However, they want to shut down the housing market to foreigners. But they have no idea how to square that circle and so are reduced to waffling about “right mechanisms” when they haven’t identified ‘jack shit’ by way of a “right mechanism”; when in reality, they’re hopelessly casting around for a magician with a rabbit and a magic hat.

I do hope some-one’s taking tea and sannies down to the poor souls consigned to the dusty vaults and basements who, in all probability are this very minute frantically scouring legal tomes for any possibility of a “work a round”.

What will be of real interest though, beyond all waffle and wank, is whether NZ Labour withdraws New Zealand from the TPP if and when the magician, the rabbit and the hat can’t be found. Or whether they’ll plead they did their best, that free trade is good, and though the housing market thing is unfortunate, that’s all the fault of the previous government. And now is the time for all Kiwi’s to pull together and free trade is good. Yes, yes – the housing. But free trade is good!

Bryan Gould has done a couple of excellent pieces covering that latter governing mind set that seeks to conform rather than confront. I’m not going to quote from them because they’re absolutely worth reading in full with everything in context.

Why does the Left so Often Disappoint? and Remember Who Voted You In.

Just as an afterthought, can anyone give me a heads-up on whether among all the talk of ‘caring’ and ‘being better’, there was much talk of listening? Because from across much of the political  spectrum, I’m pretty damned sure the call went up, and very loud and clear, that the TPP wasn’t wanted. Or was I suffering some form of auditory hallucination?

87 comments on “Deary me.”

  1. Matthew Whitehead 1

    Yeah, I was a little jarred by the change in positioning.

    I’m thinking this is the first mistake of the incoming administration. It would be better to insist on renegotiation and risk scuttling the deal than to sign it as-is. The intellectual property provisions and the current IS/DS mechanism settings seem pretty dangerous to pass into law, and would be nearly impossible to walk back once they were signed.

    And National will definitely vote for it if it’s not renegotiated and we need to adjust the enabling law for TPP11. (still not clear on whether that’s the case or not?)

    • Carolyn_Nth 1.1

      And what about Peters’ statement when announcing he was a Labour-NZF government, affirming NZF position on ISDS?

      • Bill 1.1.1

        Can you remind what that was Carolyn?

        I mean, I know Peter’s and NZF are against free trade deals, but I can’t remember what he’s said that’s specifically related to the TPP and ISDS.

        • Carolyn_Nth 1.1.1.1

          This was reported on oct 20, the day after Peters announced going into coalition with Labour:

          Ardern told reporters Thursday that her coalition government would seek to renegotiate the TPP.

          Her party was critical of the TPP during the campaign, arguing that the deal as it stands would not give the government sufficient power to limit foreign ownership of housing and land. Ardern reiterated Labour’s position on the trade pact during Thursday’s news conference.

          New Zealand First leader Winston Peters, who played the role of kingmaker in forming the new government, declared that his party will support Labour’s stance on the TPP.

          Peters also revealed his desire to work with Labour to seek a review of the investor-state dispute settlement provision, the last sticking point in the original TPP negotiations, which included the U.S.

      • Matthew Whitehead 1.1.2

        Yes, I’m aware NZF opposes the IS/DS mechanism as-is, however that may not matter.

        Labour may not even need NZF or the Greens to confirm the deal. If the existing enabling legislation counts for TPP11, then it can do it alone, (as once enabling legislation is in place, it’s a cabinet decision, and IIRC NZF won’t be able to prevent cabinet from deciding to sign it) and if National’s onboard with updating it for TPP11, then the only way to take it down is to threaten Labour’s other priorities, risking the new government.

        Labour holds a lot of the cards and needs to be convinced that playing these ones will cost them.

        • Ad 1.1.2.1

          Ardern could easily unify with English on this one as well with a parallel media release. Otherwise English will get boxed in fast.

          That would make all those Nats in MFAT smile, and outflank any parliamentary opposition.

          • Matthew Whitehead 1.1.2.1.1

            Yeah, this is why I’m not just outright saying “renegotiate a GOOD deal or trash the TPPA,” because I think if we oppose it too hard we’ll spook the Always Trade people and have them launch a counter-campaign to pass the deal with National. If the ISDS, at least as we know it, is axed from the deal, and the worst IP bits are stripped out or played down, then we can at least renegotiate the rest later.

            • tracey 1.1.2.1.1.1

              Am pretty sure the first few things Nats did in 08, 11 and 14 were not find a way to deliver a key Labour platform.

        • tracey 1.1.2.2

          Relationships succeeding need trust. UNLESS NZF already knows Labour are only going to pay lip service to “attempt” (whatever expedient definition may be used) to renegotiated tge investor dispute clause, then they will fill betrayed or hoodwinked. But Peters is a politician of tge old ( and sadly largely current ) school where plausible deniability is all tgat is required to save face on a promise you only made to get elected.

          In any event we have Wayne Mapps 100% assurance that no corporation will sue us for passing laws about pesky toxic chemicals like nicotene and the such. I hope he has a very hefty sum set aside. Somewhere.

          I see Nash is heading the new old stance on crime. Hopefully behind the scenes and away from the public eye he is demanding to know why we are not investing in evidence based reoffender reduction schemes rather than pissing hundreds of millions up against the wall of decade long ailed methods?

          • Jack P 1.1.2.2.1

            I believe the tobacco companies were excluded from the ISDS clauses. Perhaps that’s why he referred to nicotine.

    • Bill 1.2

      Thing is, it’s not so much “a change in position” as shifting from an impossible one to a non-existent one.

      Seriously.

      To repeatedly refer to ‘measures’ in an interview where you let slip you haven’t identified any ‘measures’ is … well, I dunno quite what I’d call that tbh.

      And all the time spent playing fucking charades when the bulk of the public who voted you in are against the damned thing and would welcome an announcement saying it’s been binned, and when, to boot, your two partners in government don’t want the damned thing either.

      It’s beyond me.

      • Matthew Whitehead 1.2.1

        Positioning, as in “how they’re trying to sell their stance on this issue.” First it was “we’ll renegotiate and make sure we get a housing carve out.” Now it’s rushing to pass a foreign speculation on housing ban before TPP11 so that it gets an implicit carve-out, implying that they don’t plan to renegotiate at all. Still no mention of ditching the intellectual property bits, either.

        I’m not impressed. Looks like Labour is gonna give away the key things corporate America wanted, without even getting the USA in the trade deal, not that it would have been worth it even with them in. It’s complete nuts.

        • Jan Rivers 1.2.1.1

          At the very least there should be an audit of the legislation that will suddenly be very difficult to pass when TPP-11 is in place. I’m pretty sure the bottled water royalty legislation allowing foreign corporates to be charged will also have to be passed before the TPPA-11 is ratified and comes into force otherwise that battle is lost as well.

          Bottled water is specifically excluded from the reserved legislation on water management (which we can retain – provided no changes are made to make it more highly regulated.)

          If it isn’t the companies involved with threaten as ISDS case to preclude legislation and if the legislation goes ahead they will be to take a case to claim compensation which they would likely win.

          As for zero net emissions by 2050. Imagine paying out the foreign owned fossil fuel companies for billions of lost revenue. A ban on fracking – same applies.

      • And all the time spent playing fucking charades when the bulk of the public who voted you in are against the damned thing and would welcome an announcement saying it’s been binned, and when, to boot, your two partners in government don’t want the damned thing either.

        Fairly large numbers of National voters don’t want it either.

      • swordfish 1.2.3

        William

        And all the time spent playing fucking charades when the bulk of the public who voted you in are against the damned thing and would welcome an announcement saying it’s been binned, and when, to boot, your two partners in government don’t want the damned thing either…

        Because from across much of the political spectrum, I’m pretty damned sure the call went up, and very loud and clear, that the TPP wasn’t wanted. Or was I suffering some form of auditory hallucination?

        My Poll analysis at the time (with breakdowns by Party support)

        https://sub-z-p.blogspot.co.nz/2016/01/tppa.html

        https://sub-z-p.blogspot.co.nz/2016/02/flagtppa-update-latest-colmar-brunton.html

    • greywarshark 1.3

      would be nearly impossible to walk back once they were signed.

      This is what gives me palpitations. It isn’t like we can just overturn it with a Bill and time in the House in emergency mode. It can’t be overturned like our little democracy and economy engineered by the the Gang of four or five or….

      Sign this and we give up everything that we were supposed to treasure in this country, and lose our room to maneouvre, back out, zip into a safety lane and cool down. Perhaps if it goes through we can buy the rights to the legal battle, and run it like Boston Legal, though it is supposed to be done in-house somewhere in a far-off galaxy I think. But the ISDS (Investor-State Dispute Settlement) allows everyone to have a punch at you and the odds are never equal. Why would we not wiggle our way out, and just concentrate on dealing with the European Union? Don’t go for next year’s hopeful gain, and a century of pain! https://itsourfuture.org.nz/iinvestor-state-dispute-settement-isds/

      I gave up a morning to walk through the streets of Christchurch protesting about TPPA, also in Nelson. and that is minor compared to the thought that others have put in and that’ not mentioning Jane Kelsey. The links to Bryan Gould in the post will be instructive too. The protests weren’t done for fun, or because it was a way to fill in the morning, or because lots of other people were doing it too. This is serious, it’s economic theft with a promise of some advantage if we sign, and a threat of being bullied and isolated if we don’t. But it’s a mistake, we are trusting our politicians who are trusting other countries, and no-one can afford to trust anybody that much these days. Even our dear friend Australia!

      These overpaid political elected reps must actually take notice of strong and thoughtful opinions of the people and show some intestinal fortitude.

      • Matthew Whitehead 1.3.1

        Well, you can walk out on an international treaty, but there are severe consequences you have to take. Personally, I think it would be worth it to do so, but if you can’t even sell Labour on renegotiating the damn thing so we don’t give away our legal sovereignty and intellectual property laws, then who exactly are you going to convince to walk away from it later? It would require a Green Party leading the government, and that’s probably decades away now at best.

        • cleangreen 1.3.1.1

          TPPA is an elitist rot not an ‘international treay”.

          Dont sign this Jacinda!@!!!!!!

          No one wanted this, and Winston is right here, Capitalism has failed us.

          This TPPA is not even really Capitalism! – this was put together by Corporate elitism as a rort and we will be left in ‘economic slavely’- forever after we join this rort.

          • Matthew Whitehead 1.3.1.1.1

            I think that’s also a fair take. There’s bad parts to the treaty that are unlikely to be renegotiated. (There are also some modest gains, but I’m ambivalent as to whether those and the mild GDP boost it might provide would really be worth it, even if we do successfully negotiate out some of the problematic areas)

  2. Et Tu Brute 2

    David Parker today said:

    “”We don’t want the ISD provisions applying to us and so we will be instructing our negotiators to use their best endeavours to fix that.””

    Now, besides he’s probably talking to the Labour voting base, making it appear their position hasn’t changed, despite saying they probably would have to accept the provisions, how does David Parker believe you can have an international agreement with no enforcement mechanism?

    • Matthew Whitehead 2.1

      You would have to renegotiate the enforcement mechanism. This is sounding a lot like trying to have your cake and eat it at the same time, and is making clear that the party hadn’t properly thought out its position on TPP11.

      • Andre 2.1.1

        Didn’t the ISDS become an obstacle for the TTIP between US and Europe? Anyone know how far they got with an alternative dispute resolution system? ISTR they were looking at having permanent tribunal members (instead of the revolving door of corporate lawyers), and some sort of right of appeal.

        • Matthew Whitehead 2.1.1.1

          Possibly? I didn’t follow TTIP too closely.

          IS/DS is just a name for having a dispute settlement regime where the investor can bring cases directly against a state they feel is engaging in protectionism or unreasonably targetting their product or service. It’s not inherently a bad idea, the problem was that there was no defense for laws that had a valid approach for social gain, or national economic interest, it was just all set up so that the investor was assumed to be in the right if they suffered any negative impact at all.

          In a multi-lateral agreement like TPP, you could set up an IS/DS so that it was heard by a judge from one of the other countries in the agreement, (ie. not the investor’s courts, nor the state’s courts) or you could have an independent tribunal. The issue with TPP’s approach is that it put free trade purist lawyers from the WTO in charge who wouldn’t be trustworthy to rule in favour of states when they were actually right, and the agreement didn’t put any of the principles as to when states might be right to pass new laws into the treaty, either, to constrain outcomes to the bounds of reason.

          I think you’d have to re-write the entire investor-state dispute mechanism chapter to get it right, personally, so I don’t think a reasonable deal is going to be on the table in APEC, and our default position better be renegotiation, or I’ll be furious. And that’s not even getting into how bull-headedly stupid the copyright and intellectual property stuff is.

          • Andre 2.1.1.1.1

            Yeah, the ISDS in the TPPA appears fairly similar to NAFTA’s, which has been … problematic. If the TTIP had fleshed out a reasonable looking alternative, then it might be an easier sell to get all the TPPA11 participants to agree.

            • Matthew Whitehead 2.1.1.1.1.1

              I think it’s worth simply walking away from the deal if we can’t sell an alternative ISDS mechanism to the one in place, which will be just as bad for NZ as it is for any other country in the agreement. Only winners under the current text are multinational businesses.

      • Jan Rivers 2.1.2

        Any trade agreement with the EU would not have ISDS. Stephen Jacobi confirmed this in Radio NZ this morning. The enforcement mechanism without ISDS is the national court where the aggrieved corporate is making the case it has lost out. Ultimately this is a little better if the rules are the same but still highly risky over the long term and successive losses.

    • Bill 2.2

      So, they’ll look for a man with a pokey hat to get them out of the land/house sales provisions.

      Then they’ll be looking to be exempt from the disputes process that will apply to everyone else.

      And what “negotiators” is he referring to anyway? Negotiations are done, are they not? All that remains is ratification…except hasn’t NZ already ratified back in May?

      All that remains is to bring it into force, given that the US has bailed.

      Senior trade officials (of the remaining nations) are now assessing options for bringing TPP into force quickly among themselves. They’re looking at the legal form of the agreement. They’re also talking about parts of the original TPP that might be suspended. If the United States returns to the agreement, any suspended parts would be reinstated. Officials will report to ministers when they meet in the margins of the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting on 10-11 November 2017 in Dan Nang, Viet Nam.

      https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/trade/free-trade-agreements/free-trade-agreements-concluded-but-not-in-force/trans-pacific-partnership-agreement-tpp/

      • One Anonymous Bloke 2.2.1

        Ms Ardern told Morning Report that would remove one of the government’s main stumbling blocks to signing the TPP, and that would then allow the government to focus on dispute settlement provisions in the trade deal.

        So, if legislating before ratifying is possible, it means they’d be taking the one issue of ISDS to the table, rather than the two issues of ISDS and housing.

        Ardern also pointed out/claimed that most of the other countries have expressed problems with ISDS. That being so, NZ’s position changing would strengthen their hands.

        So no, that doesn’t mean “they’ll be looking to be exempt from the disputes process that will apply to everyone else.” It sounds far more like they’re looking to change those sections of the agreement.

        MFAT wrote the passage you quoted while they were still following National Party orders. I wouldn’t take their statements as an indication of this government’s intentions.

        The relevant section starts at about the 4:50 mark in the video.

        • Matthew Whitehead 2.2.1.1

          I still think they should take both the ISDS mechanism and the intellectual property changes for renegotiation, and trade off the changes to the ISDS for more liberal copyright laws. (which will probably be wanted by most parties at the table anyway, so each of the 11 should like at least one of the two changes and therefore agree to them taken together)

    • We already have a viable enforcement mechanism open to all and sundry – the courts.

      Don’t need an unaccountable, business run, enforcement system on top of that.

    • cleangreen 2.4

      Smoke & mirrors?

  3. Ad 3

    I must be married to my free trade daughter
    Or else my diplomatic kingdom stands on brittle glass.
    Murder her brothers, and then marry her!
    Uncertain way of gain! But I am in
    So far in blood that sin will pluck on sin.
    Tear-falling pity dwells not in this eye.

    (With apologies to Shakespeare in Richard III)

    • greywarshark 3.1

      Blimey Ad that’s serious Shakespeare.
      I fear to think about the details in Titus Andronicus in case there are parallels in that. But going forward …is going back it seems.

      Coping with the present, it’s ludicrous if as Bill says we signed the TPPA in May. Say it ain’t done, that couldn’t have happened.

      • lprent 3.1.1

        We did, and we didn’t.

        National ratified it without the support of anyone apart from their puppet parties – which in itself was a break from tradition for such ‘trade’ treaties. However that was when the US was still in it (call that TPP 12).

        Having the US withdraw from it and say that they will not even take it to congress means that what we ratified won’t be ratified by all parties. Therefore it won’t become active.

        Consequently we are in a renegotiation time for a new agreement TPP 11.

        • JC 3.1.1.1

          Interesting piece on this from Gordon Campbell.

          “Next week in Chiba, many, many elements of the original text are up for grabs. Since Donald Trump took the US out of the TPP, Vietnam has been trying to change the original TPP provisions on labour rights and intellectual property – which it had traded off in order to gain access to North American markets that it will no longer achieve. Vietnam will be seeking to backtrack in Chiba. Malaysia has similar concerns, now that the TPP 11 (minus the US) offers it little in return for its prior concessions”

          (Sroll down to Change Partners)

          http://werewolf.co.nz/2017/10/across-the-generational-divide-in-politics/

        • weka 3.1.1.2

          what’s the rush on the TPP-11 then?

          • cleangreen 3.1.1.2.1

            Whats the rush?

            The authors are hoping we will not seek to change much if we are rushed, so they have to make a false ‘sense of urgency’ to speed things up and force us to rush.

            We should slow this down now & use jane Kelsey to addon other provisions as Jane Kelsey suggests.

            Thi smay set up whereby our ‘negociators’ need to return to NZ to place any possible proposals for changes before our caucus to be ratified and then send them before the Parlaiment also before a final areement can be signed.

        • greywarshark 3.1.1.3

          Thanks for that well explained lprent. Sigh, I’ll relax for now.

  4. Sparky 4

    Why don’t they just re-brand as National Lite and be done with it? They could do something similar to those beer ad’s you see:

    “Don’t want full strength capitalism. Try Nat Lite.”

    Suffice to say these characters might want to consider the only reason they are able to polish government office chairs is because they are in a coalition with parties whose voters want the TPP11 like a glass of rat poison (I suspect a lot of Labour voters assumed they would walk away from this too given their previous position).

    If voters walk away from Labour and especially if its alliance partners voters do like wise next election then Labour are FUBAR-ed.

    Sadly in my experience long term thinking has never been our political parties strong suit. Such is life.

  5. So Jacinda reiterated that NZ Labour is a party that “believes in free trade and has championed it.” In other words, and not surprisingly, NZ Labour has no ideological opposition to the TPP.

    And that’s because of a fundamental misunderstanding of free-trade. The TPPA and all other FTAs are not free-trade but forced trade. This is true of the WTO as well as shown when China decided to reduce the amount of rare earths that it was exporting and both Europe and the US initiated the process to force them to continue at the level that they wanted.

    The basis for free-trade, as made infamous by Peter Dunne, is the concept of Willing Buyer, Willing Seller.

    The TPPA and all other FTAs don’t do that – they force trade against the wishes of the populace.

    free-trade would mean that if we don’t want foreign owners of our land, housing and businesses (which the people of NZ don’t) then we’d be free to tell the rest of the world to fuck off.

    If Labour truly believed in free-trade they’d be dropping us out of all FTAs and the WTO and set standards that other countries need to meet before we’ll trade with them. Those standards would essentially be <your laws and enforcement of those laws must be equivalent to ours and you must show full support for human rights. We wouldn’t be trading with China any more.

    They do want to sign up to TPP 11.

    Proving, conclusively, that they don’t believe in free-trade.

    What will be of real interest though, beyond all waffle and wank, is whether NZ Labour withdraws New Zealand from the TPP if and when the magician, the rabbit and the hat can’t be found. Or whether they’ll plead they did their best, that free trade is good, and though the housing market thing is unfortunate, that’s all the fault of the previous government.

    Unfortunately, it’s likely to be the latter.

    Because from across much of the political spectrum, I’m pretty damned sure the call went up, and very loud and clear, that the TPP wasn’t wanted. Or was I suffering some form of auditory hallucination?

    No, you heard right but none of the politicians seem to be listening.

  6. Jimmy 6

    Meet your new Boss, same as your old Boss!

  7. weka 7

    Just as an afterthought, can anyone give me a heads-up on whether among all the talk of ‘caring’ and ‘being better’, there was much talk of listening? Because from across much of the political spectrum, I’m pretty damned sure the call went up, and very loud and clear, that the TPP wasn’t wanted. Or was I suffering some form of auditory hallucination?

    Labour currently look to me like they’re in solid authority/paternal mode. We voted them in so we have to trust them now to do what they think is best for NZ. Where Labour and our values and desires align, all good, but I don’t expect to be listened to where there is conflict. TPPA and welfare the glaring examples for me.

    I’m not even totally happy with the Greens on this tbh, but at least with them I know that there are some mechanisms in place and their core values mean that listening is a priority and what they will try and do where they can (e.g. they’re definitely listening to beneficiaries. How much they can keep doing that as part of govt I think we are about to find out).

    On the bright side, it does open up a conversation about what better democracy would mean, and I’d love to see discussion on how poorly our current models of ‘consultation’ work and what we could be doing instead.

  8. 3stepstotheright 8

    Bill

    You’ve covered this issue well. And there is a growing list of statements/policies that are shape shifting since this ‘accidental government’ came to power.

    • Ad 8.1

      Haven’t even had the Speech from the Throne and the attack lines and compromises are well under way.

      I infinitely prefer some whole-clay-mud filthy Labour compromises as early on as possible.

      Dispense with the honeymoon, burn the text of all the vows, and get straight to the hard work of married life. Which comes down to endurance and work.

  9. weka 9

    When I watched that interview with Ardern I got distracted again by how good she is at not answering questions.

    I thought the mechanism thing was about what kind of legislation etc they could use to protect NZ land, and if they did that before APEC all would be ok. I don’t really follow that, and I’m also concerned that they’re trying to find a hack to a piece of programming that will still cause problems. So sure, pass some legislation now, but what happens in a few years when we need more legislation? Have we signed away that sovereignty?

    I guess the point is that by the time you get to talking on RNZ about the TPP you should be able to explain these issues in terms that many people (i.e. voters) can understand.

    As a side note, she was reported as saying recently that if they didn’t get what they wanted Labour would walk away. I think that’s the first time I’ve heard Labour say that directly and definitively. I’ll see if I can find the link.

  10. Carolyn_Nth 10

    Jane Kelsey is also critical today. Posted on RNZ website at 5.34pm today:

    But the government was missing a crucial opportunity ahead of APEC next week, said Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey.

    “Internationally there is a groundswell turning against those investor state disputes,” she said.

    “Even the United States government is now turning around and seeking to withdraw them in its review of the NAFTA [North America Free Trade Agreement] negotiations.”

    It was disappointing that Labour stepped back from the criticism it had that the economics of the agreement did not stack up, Professor Kelsey said.

    “[The government] seems willing to proceed now with the agreement largely unchanged and indeed possibly unchanged at all if they can get through their ban on foreign investment in residential housing under the existing wording,” she said.

  11. Richard Christie 11

    Certitude;

    Signing up to TPP will be the beginning of the end for Ardern.

    That springtime didn’t last long.

    • Ad 11.1

      Oh please.

      Ideals are back there in campaign land, with all the fading music.

      This is where reality starts and gets good.

      • Richard Christie 11.1.1

        Depends on how sincerely one regards one’s ideals.

        Apparently your ideals are, shall we say, flexible, if they exist at all.

        • Ad 11.1.1.1

          Merely the fact of being in a coalition agreement under MMP.

          They sincerely regard their coalition agreement – which is a negotiation of the political ideals that they campaigned on.

          Unlike the previous administration, this government has as its basis a substantive compromise from all parties.

          • Richard Christie 11.1.1.1.1

            TPP is the epitome of neoliberalism.

            The agreement will almost inescapably lock this nation into the paradigm set up by 35 years of neoliberal dogma.

            For Labour to support it is an utter betrayal of its base. 1984-9 mark 2.

            • weka 11.1.1.1.1.1

              NZ just voted for neoliberalism. They want a nicer version, but they’re not voting it down per se.

              I have no idea what kind of betrayal it would be if Labour signed, and neither do you, because we don’t have the detail yet.

            • BM 11.1.1.1.1.2

              You guys are so naive, don’t you realise you’ve been played?

              It was all about gaining power and being in control, Labour just told you what you want to hear.

              • weka

                oh fuck off BM. The windups and repetitious memos from CT are boring. Get over your disappointment somewhere else.

                • BM

                  I’m not going to lie, the skyrocketing cost of living won’t be particularly pleasant, but we will easily survive.

                  It’s just a shame to see our economy getting trashed and the effect it’s going to have on some many hard-working New Zealanders through no fault of their own

                  • weka

                    You’re getting quite good at the spin there BM. A more subtle version of “Labour are going to ruin us!!!”, despite the evidence. Kind of an inverse wishful thinking. Tricky though, because if the country got ruined, your schadenfreude would have to be somewhat subdued.

                  • It was National that trashed our economy. It’s going to be Labour/NZ1st/Greens that fixes it yet again.

            • Sparky 11.1.1.1.1.3

              Dead right Richard. Its an appalling piece of neo liberal excrement.

    • Sparky 11.2

      With any luck a one term wonder. Makes me miss Bill…….never thought I’d say that!!!!

  12. Angel Fish 12

    Yup those words sound like they are weaseling off their previous stance on this issue.
    It’s still too early so I personally will grant them the benefit of the doubt,
    that they will find those “right mechanisms”…

  13. james 13

    Im guessing that Labour will sign the TPP – they might get some small changes, but nothing like what has been indicated / promised.

    Im also guessing that the “foreign buyer ban” will have hugh calve outs that will make it almost useless – ie China and South Korea will still be able to buy property.

    They promised one thing but are finding out (quickly) that it’s not quite as easy as they thought, or they deliberately misled. I believe its probably the former (although that is worrying in its own right).

    • Robert Guyton 13.1

      You also guessed that The All Blacks would beat The Lions, 3-0 and that Winston Peters would side with National town the election for the Right.
      Your “guesses” and “reckons” are … to be taken with a grain of salt.

  14. Zorb6 14

    It seems this Govts most vocal critics will be those that voted for it.Opposition may as well have a nap.Only a week or so in ,what hope have they got trying to please some!

  15. Wayne McDougall 15

    Up front let me say I’m opposed to the TPPA. I don’t think it will be of net benefit to New Zealand.

    But in terms of foreign house purchases I have heard people say that a punitive stamp duty on foreigners would be permissible and effective. Could someone knowledgeable come to or refute that?

    • Andre 15.1

      I have no idea about the permissible side of things. But recently Vancouver B.C. introduced a punitive tax on foreign home buyers to try to cool their overheated housing market. Last time I had a google it seemed to be working.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 15.2

      The government has pretty much ruled out a stamp duty. See the RNZ interview linked in the OP.

    • tracey 15.3

      Good question. Another is that for a few years Estate agents have been falling over themselves to tell us that foreign investment has little to do with rising Auckland house prices. Yet since the coalition result some high up in our biggest agency have told me they are planning big staff retrenchment cos their property management business will suffer…

  16. … ” What will be of real interest though, beyond all waffle and wank ” …

    I love it.

    No messing around , calling a spade a spade.

    Young Ones- Spade – YouTube
    spade is a spade you tube▶ 0:16

  17. Incognito 17

    It seems that the honeymoon with Arden/Labour might be short-lived and turning into another episode of MAFS.

    • Sparky 17.1

      This reminds me of the first Lange govt. Its “Some Other Country Part Two: The Death of NZ Sovereignty”.

      • Incognito 17.1.1

        And I’m going to give it to you if you hold your breath just for a moment … I can smell the stench of neoliberalism on it as you lean towards me!

    • cleangreen 17.2

      TPPA 11 is a poisonious chalice to labour right now.

      As Robert said correctly “TPPA 11 agreement will almost inescapably lock this nation into the paradigm set up by 35 years of neoliberal dogma. – For Labour to support it is an utter betrayal of its base. 1984-9 mark 2.”

      Very well said.

      Jacinda can still win if she places Jane Kelsey on her negociating team.

      • Incognito 17.2.1

        Kelsey is not a negotiator IMO but she’d be brilliant to do some much-needed analysis of aspects of TPP-11 that fall within her area of expertise. Kelsey wants transparency but Labour’s obfuscation begs the question whether they want this too …

      • Wayne 17.2.2

        TPPA is not a poisoned chalice for Labour. In fact the very opposite.

        If the PM and David Parker can get their carve out in respect of foreign purchasers, then she will be seen by the majority of New Zealanders as a great success.

        Labour won’t win a second term by being radical. In fact one of the things Jacinda had to do during the campaign was to rule out tax increases and a capital gains tax, to stop the slide that was occurring in the last two weeks.

        If Labour takes the radical path, they will be a one term government. By being sensible she can actually get votes from National. After all the combination of Labour and Green are still behind National. Presumably Labour will want to increase its vote, and that can really only come from National.

        So “no”, there is no mandate for a radical revolution as Standardnistas seem to think.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 17.2.2.1

          Just as there was no mandate for the National Party to double the malnutrition rate and make working families homeless. But you did it anyway.

          I don’t know about “Standardnistas” (or however you’re spelling it today), because we don’t have a hive mind.

          It’s the TPP that’s “radical”, by the way: a trade agreement that seeks to restrain free trade. If you follow your established pattern, you will ignore this substantive criticism and run away, or respond with some fatuous red herring.

          The government has indicated it will join the anti-ISDS group at the table, and will just have to get over your squealing.

          If they notice it at all, that is.

        • Incognito 17.2.2.2

          Words, Wayne, words.

          We got this Government because the majority wanted change and now is the time to renegotiate TPP-11.

          The next election is just under three years away and most voters’ memories don’t last that long when it comes to politics; the Master of Amnesia has proven this beyond doubt.

        • Bill 17.2.2.3

          Yeah Wayne. You and every other right leaning pundit will be playing that same record over and over.

          If NZ Labour dances to your tune, your preferred party will be back in power in no time. You know that. I know that. And anyone with half a brain cell they agitate some semblance of thought from knows that.

          A Labour party that’s contorted itself beyond all recognition in order to promote 19C Liberalism in the 20thC and in the 21stC might not.

          That has to be your hope. And sadly, I can’t say it’s a forlorn one.

        • solkta 17.2.2.4

          Gosh, i thought it was the TPPA that was the radical revolution bit. After all it sets to sign away the sovereign power of our parliament and courts and to give rights to foreign corporations that citizens will not have.

        • tracey 17.2.2.5

          It is not a win for the 35% party Wayne. It is a win for National. Nat voters wont suddenly vote Labour in 2020 cos of this.

          And some of those Greens who trotted back to Labour?

          I would guess the majority of people polled who opposed TPP were not Nat voters.

          Why do you think National didnt do the foreign buyer carveout, given Key didnt like to be world leading but more following cos we are small… it seems and odd thing to be an outlier on?

  18. Drowsy M. Kram 18

    Deary-me, indeed. Why are NZ and other governments persisting with this absolute dog of a deal that deliberately seeks to undermine national sovereignty? Key negotiators (and/or those they represent) must stand to collect a bit of coin – maybe they already have.

    NZ should run away from TPPA-11, but if we’re already partly locked in (thanks, National) then one bottom line must be NO ISDS clauses. Not modified, watered down or regulated ISDS provisions – NO ISDS elements AT ALL.

    “230 Law and Economics Professors urge President Trump to Remove Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) from NAFTA and Other Pacts” – 25 October, 2017.

    https://www.citizen.org/system/files/case_documents/isds-law-economics-professors-letter-oct-2017_2.pdf

    “ISDS thus undermines the important roles of our domestic and democratic institutions, threatens domestic sovereignty, and weakens the rule of law.”

  19. Korero Pono 19

    I’m just surprised that those opposed to TPP still voted for Labour. I’m also amused that those voters are now surprised at this supposed turn around on the ISDS and foreign ownership. Labour proved from the outset where they stand…on shifting sands. Labour were evasive and dishonest on the TPP all along, only coming up with some conciliatory babble when they realised they were pissing off would be Labour voters. Now that they have their sought after position of power, it is business as usual on the TPP…whilst they pretend that they couldn’t help it. Anyone who thought they’d get any different from Labour on the TPP obviously weren’t awake when TPP was under the spotlight pre-election.

    I hate to say this to die hard Labour supporters…well actually, no I don’t…I bloody well told you so.

    • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1

      supposed turn around on the ISDS and foreign ownership

      Given that Ardern says they’re putting ISDS back on the table, and hope to legislate on housing so as to avoid having to renegotiate it, your use of the word “supposed” is wise.

      Your position is that she’s lying through her teeth? Or that you didn’t know she’d said that? I voted Green, by the way.

      Source: RNZ interview linked in the OP, from about 4:50.

      • Bill 19.1.1

        A third option is that although she says she wants it back on the table, she’s reduced to merely hoping every other partner to the damned thing does too.

        Otherwise, nothing flies. (That’s the power of veto).

        • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1.1.1

          “Let me clear about this, we didn’t get everything we wanted, but we do feel this trade agreement is…”

          Yada yada. Be nice to be wrong.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 19.1.1.2

          Ok, so as of today, the residential property issue is off the table. cf: news reports: homes to be classified as “sensitive”.

          ISDS next. A bigger issue so far as I’m concerned. Sovereignty of parliament and all that antedeluvian nonsense.

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