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Geddis on TPP11

Written By: - Date published: 9:46 am, May 23rd, 2017 - 10 comments
Categories: capitalism, International, law - Tags: , , ,

The indispensable Professor Andrew Geddis (via Pundit) writes on the process required to ratify TPP11:

Why the TPP11 will have to go back before Parliament
by Andrew Geddis

We might expect that if and when the TPP11 parties come to an agreement, our elected representatives will be able to sit down and collectively discuss these sorts of matters before binding us to the deal. After all, that’s what they got to do with the TPP itself, when the grand prize of US involvement was on the table. Surely without that benefit on offer, they’ll need to regroup and think whether the remaining benefits justify any domestic costs that we might incur.

Or … maybe not. For during an interview with Suzie Ferguson on RNZ’s Morning Report, Bill English had this to say:

SF: “[The TPP 11 is] a different beast now, so are you going to have to go back to Parliament?”

BE: ” Look, that would depend on whether the content of the agreement had changed significantly … ah, that’s the advice I have … ”

SF: “Is it not a big enough change in itself with the US, the biggest individual partner, pulling out?”

BE: “My advice is that’s not necessarily the case, it would only involve some technical changes in accession to the agreement.”


Bill English seems to be saying he’s received advice that because the original TPP has undergone this scrutiny and been reported on, there’s no need for a new TPP11 to go through the process again. That strikes me as formalistic nonsense.

Yes, the aim appears to be for the TPP11 to contain all the same substantive provisions as the original TPP. But these provisions were examined against the background expectation that the agreement would deliver us a long sought after free trade deal with the US. All the cost-benefit analysis in the Select Committee’s report proceeded on this basic assumption.

So to now say “oh – Parliament already has looked at this deal and decided it is OK, so there’s no need to go back again” when the very basis of the deal on offer has fundamentally changed is flat out constitutionally wrong. It would fundamentally undermine the already limited role that Parliament plays in holding to account the executive government’s use of its foreign relations prerogative.

I’ve just been sent a memorandum that the Crown filed with the Waitangi Tribunal on 11 May of this year. (The Tribunal currently is hearing a claim that the original TPP represents a breach of the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi.) Here’s what that memo says:

Ratification does not apply to any future alternative to the TPP

  1. The Crown has previously advised the Tribunal that the remaining TPP partners, including New Zealand, are currently discussing possible next steps.
  2. Should an alternative agreement be proposed, it would constitute a new treaty and would be required to pass through the legal processes required for New Zealand to enter into an international Treaty. Consultation with Maori about how their interests could be affected or advanced will be required. The process conducted for the TPP to date cannot act as a substitute for the process that would be required for any alternative agreement.

So either Bill English was lying to Susie Ferguson on the radio, or his advisors lied to him about what TPP11 will require, or the Crown’s lawyers are lying to the Waitangi Tribunal. I report, you decide.

Much much more on Pundit, go read the whole piece there.

10 comments on “Geddis on TPP11 ”

  1. michelle 1

    I’d go with bill is lying as him and his party have a bad the track record of lying , omitting information, telling half truths and lack of recall.

  2. saveNZ 2

    The government seem desperate to sign anything. They are complete losers, desperate to give away water, rights, increase costs of medicine, make NZ more of a polluted banana republic than they have turned it into already.

    Time the MSM called them out as should the opposition.

    • tc 2.1

      No they and their backers are massive winners over the last 9 years.

      shares, property, sinecures, gilt edged dividend streams from power generators, juicy no responsibility contracts dished out, dodgy outsourcing deals etc etc.

      • michelle 2.1.1

        yes tc they are having there brighter future maybe that is what john meant its all about them not us

  3. adam 3

    And the other liberal parties in parliament has said? Not a lot I see…

    As for the main liberal party pushing this, well that is what the radical center does – why are you surprised?

    As for english, well he just so use to lying, it seems he can’t tell the truth from fiction anymore. What sort of PM do we have that has such a lose grip on reality? Time for drug testing of MP’s?

  4. Yeah, liar. He knows and for some reason is in love with this tppa zombie. Their offsping will be hideous.

  5. Bill 5

    The small ‘good thing’ is that with the US not being a signatory, the TPP will likely not be quite as disastrous for NZ.

    All free trade deals are and have been pushed by the economically most powerful nations. There’s a reason for that. They benefit the most. And their benefit comes at the direct expense of those other, weaker economies.

    But hey! Do we still get to have all of our food regulation nose dived to the lowest common denominator? Do we still get to have all our health and safety regulations whittled away in the interests of “leveling up” the playing field? Do we still get to have animal welfare regulations slaughtered under those same business pressures?

    Hell, yes.

    • The Chairman 5.1

      Unfortunately, despite the US not being a signatory, If the TPP was to go ahead in its current form, the United States will reap many of the benefits New Zealand conceded too.

      • Bill 5.1.1

        Aye. I know that.

        But at least they can’t (I think) export their “dumped in chlorine and processed by nappy wearing workers” broilers to NZ now.

  6. greywarshark 6

    Picky picky. My old relatives who are National Party supporters have complete confidence in everything they do.

    But as with many people past their Best Before date, they won’t be around to watch the mirthquake when so many of us will die, definitely not, laughing.

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