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Give TPP the ‘Dracula Treatment’

Written By: - Date published: 7:54 pm, December 4th, 2012 - 39 comments
Categories: trade - Tags: ,

So last night I went to the Fabian’s lecture on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (currently having a negotiation round in Auckland) with Prof Jane Kelsey and Lori Walloch. It was enlightening to say the least.

I was already very concerned about the secrecy of the text – if we’re going to have over-arching law that compromises our domestic law then surely as a democracy let’s all have a chance to scrutinise it.

I was already concerned about the effect on Pharmac and copyright law.

But I wasn’t aware just how much this agreement (based on the leaked Investment chapter, and the likes of NAFTA and CAFTA a lot of the provisions are based upon) will skew rights towards foreign corporations over local citizens.  Neo-liberalism?  Cemented in.

I already thought the ability of foreign firms to sue the State was a bad thing – but having had cases such as Occidental Petroleum vs Ecuador, Railroad Development Corp vs Guatemala and Pacific Rim vs El Salvador presented… I now think it horrendous.

It’s so horrendous that Australia has ruled out so-called ‘Investor-State’ – at least while Labor are in power.  While these countries are not in the TPP, but so Brazil has also ruled out ‘Investor-State’ ever; and South Africa and almost certainly India won’t have it in any future agreements.  We should follow suit.

Putting our rights over to a panel of 3 unaccountable foreign trade lawyers (who we get to pay by the hour, encouraging them to stretch things out…) with no right of appeal just seems foolish.  These tribunals have made up law so that in the Ecuador case above when Occidental expressly broke their contract, when Ecuador declared it null and void the tribunal decided that was “disproportionate” (despite that never being in any treaty or law or the contract), and fined Ecuador $2.3 billion.

The rules favour foreign corporates so much that domestic corporates have – under NAFTA and CAFTA – re-domiciled so that they can then sue as a foreign investment.  And big governments crack – Canada has when Ethyl Corp sued over the ban imposed on MMT, as a gasoline additive, which was toxic and harmful to public health.  MMT is banned in the US (where Ethyl is based), but Canada withdrew, reversed the ban, paid damages, and put out public apologies to Ethyl.

The academic literature also shows that inequality increases as a result of this sort of ‘free-trade’ agreement – it’s just a debate of how much it causes.  This is a movement of money from the many to the few.

But don’t get me wrong – I’m not anti-trade.  Free and fair trade would be great.  If this was a free-trade agreement and just a free-trade agreement that would be fabulous.  It also wouldn’t harm Pharmac, ban Parallel Importing, cause Copyright problems, or restrict our rights to choose how we govern our environment, health, extractive industries, banking sector etc.

So the answer is simple: release the text – show us what this agreement is about (or maybe somebody could leak it – crowd-sourced bounty is here).

Give it the Dracula treatment – bring it out into the sunshine of Public Opinion.  If it ain’t evil, it won’t die.


39 comments on “Give TPP the ‘Dracula Treatment’”

  1. thatguynz 1

    I agree entirely Ben.

    Doesn’t hurt either to look at the macro global picture 50 years down the track if TPPA is put in place – admittedly it is but one piece of the puzzle. The “sovereign nation” will be a quaint memory that everyone looks back on fondly. Instead there will be global governance, a few global conglomerates, global courts, and global currency. Think “this” sounds like a conspiracy theory? Have a dig into what the true intent behind the EU/EC was and why, what the current and future intentions are re: NAFTA etc. the desired use of IMF SDR’s or whatever name is next applied to it, and the dots are almost joined for you..

    That may sounds attractive to some people but it certainly isn’t the legacy I desire for my kids.

  2. PlanetOrphan 2

    Well said Ben, but how do we make the Gnat’s listen/not sign ?
    As always DunnoKeyo will come up with some meaningless one liner and continue being evil M8!

    • karol 2.1

      Yep.  Meaningless one (or two) liner here.

      • mike 2.1.1

        “People should ignore them [protesters] and rely on the history, which is the history of New Zealand signing FTAs has been in New Zealand’s interest and it’s been successful,” he said.

        “The people who are opposed sometimes are just opposed to free trade and live in a world that doesn’t want to see New Zealand intersecting globally with the rest of the world.

        “That’s fair enough, they’re entitled to their view but in my view they’re wrong.”

        The advice his government had received was that the partnership would add $2.9 billion to New Zealand’s economy, and that translated into jobs.

        Translation: Trust me. I’m right, they’re wrong. They think crazy things, I don’t. Don’t even listen to what they are saying. Meaningless $$$ number = jobs. I win.

    • Dr Terry 2.2

      Oh, I expect the Nat’s “listen” alright, but they HEAR NOTHING!

  3. Pascal's bookie 3

    You’re going to love what Groser has been saying in US trade mags:


    if you were a fan of his ‘internal enemies’ crack that is.

    [Bunji: fixed link]

    • felix 3.1

      Oh dear. It seems we have a traitor in our midst.

      That is the correct term, isn’t it? What’s the penalty?

  4. higherstandard 4

    “Presentation to the House: The parliamentary treaty examination process, introduced in 1997 and made permanent in 2000, requires all multilateral treaties and major bilateral treaties of particular significance to be presented to the House before binding treaty action is taken. In accordance with the process, once Cabinet has approved the proposed treaty action, the Legal Division of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for presenting the treaty and the National Interest Analysis to the House of Representatives.”


    • Bunji 4.1

      Yes it will be presented before it formally comes law.

      But it will also be too late. If a government has signed it (and it will only be made public after it has been signed) and then present it for ratification in the House, do you really think they’re going to fail to muster their MPs to vote for it straight after presentation?

      The US Congress will probably change it after it’s signed, but that will a) not help us and b) not improve the treaty for us.

      • higherstandard 4.1.1

        Alarmist nonsense, not only will it have to be fully scrutinised and go through select committee wherein it’ll be available to the general public to be pulled to pieces by all accounts and treaty will have an opt out clause upon 6 months notice from either party.

        That being said as agriculture/horticulture will never be opened up by the US, I can’t see the point of signing an agreement with them.

        • thatguynz

          I sincerely wish you were right HS.

          Alarmist is reasonable however – let’s be honest, if there was nothing to hide it wouldn’t be being discussed entirely behind closed doors.

        • lprent

          Alarmist nonsense, not only will it have to be fully scrutinised and go through select committee wherein it’ll be available to the general public to be pulled to pieces by all accounts and treaty will have an opt out clause upon 6 months notice from either party.

          You are quite mistaken. After it has been approved by cabinet, there is a mandatory maximum of 15 sitting days for parliament to go through it. The Thailand free trade agreement was signed whilst it was still in select committee. It includes all of the select committee and anything in the house – and that was a simple treaty. This one is anything but. And somehow I don’t think that leave will be granted for anything apart from the minimums.

          This includes distributing the solid foot or so of the actual document. The natural route to bypassing that is to release the documents only a day or two prior to select committee sitting for a few days to take submissions as has happened previously.

          And of course, parliament is really limited to just those things that require legislation. Most treaties only require a few tweaks because most of it is passed by regulation through orders in council. By the sound of this one they are deliberately wording it so that most of it can be done that way specifically to avoid parliament’s ineffectual ‘scrutiny’.

          The briefing papers for ministers (ie what they used to make the decisions) will not be released for a minimum of 4 years afterwards. Without those, then the actual treaty will usually make no sense. They will not be released to parliament so basically our rather limited bretheren there won’t be able to make head nor tail of what they are reading.

          Yes, you can technically get out in 6 months. In previous treaties this seldom happens because too many companies get embedded. And of course in this one it sounds like they are looking at having 10 years of carry overs where the conditions agreed to in the origional treaty carry on for organisations that are reliant on them especially to make it extra expensive to leave.

          So far I haven’t heard anything except some VAGUE hypotheticals about benefits to NZ – and most of those requires that we sign (without and easy option to get out) and THEN the US congress murders their constituent agricultural lobbies for our benefit. Are you completely nuts or what? When was the last time you ever saw the US congress doing ANYTHING about the agricultural subsidies and proetction except to increase it. The best estimates I have heard so far is that there MIGHT be some freeing up of the US agricultural market as a result of this in a decade or so – and this is from

          And in just the provisions that have leaked I can see enormous costs to NZ – just in the stifling of my own tech industries. It is going to be far safer to dump this epile of crap and start again on a TRADE treaty – which is not what this one is.

          In short, you really should first look at the fine print. Someone is trying to sell you a bridge in brooklyn, and you appear to stupidly be accepting their assurances rather than looking at what actually happens.

          FFS: It’d be nice if some people did some frigging research rather than acting like a sheeple.

          • thatguynz

            Thank you Lynn, you are truly a scholar and a gentleman and you summed that up a lot more knowledgeably and succinctly than I could have hoped to do.

          • higherstandard

            Lynn do you actually read what people post before you start frothing or is that one of the modus operandi they teach MBAs who are earth science graduates and self proclaimed world’s greatest SYSOPs ?

            I specifically commented on the likely agricultural/horticultural non event that this would likely be from an NZ perspective.

            In relation to the timelines this treaty if it ever comes to be will go through a similar process in NZ as that signed with China and others of similar status with several select committees looking at it from a variety of different perspectives that most important (IMO) being from an economic viewpoint as well as potential impacts on domestic law. I prepared to wager you that it will not be present as a fait d’accompli with a couple of weeks with parliament rubber stamping it after a cursory read through.

            As part of this MFAT/MED will have to prepare a very comprehensive National Interest analysis which will need to stack up and should be read against a similar NIA which was completed for the China FTA.

            Before people get on the doomsayer bandwagon they should perhaps look at whether other such treaties have been positive or negative in relation to local business/environment/employment.

    • lprent 4.2

      Ah look at the paragraph in there that says

      Select committee consideration: Once a treaty has been presented, it stands referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee of the House. This committee may inquire into the treaty, or may refer the treaty to another more appropriate committee. Except in very rare and urgent circumstances, the government refrains from taking any binding treaty action in relation to a treaty that has been presented to the House until the relevant committee has reported, or 15 sitting days have elapsed from the date of the presentation, whichever is sooner. The select committee may indicate to the government that it needs more time to consider the treaty, in which case the government may consider deferring taking binding treaty action. The select committee may seek public submissions. In addition, the House itself may sometimes wish to have a further opportunity for discussion of the proposed treaty action, for example by way of a debate in the House.

      In short 3 and a bit weeks max (unless cabinet feels generous). Typically select committees at best will meet for 3-5 days during that period.

  5. karol 5

    Excellent post, Ben.  I was just about to publish a post with an update on news items I’d found – the TPP negotiations are not getting the front page media attention that they should.  There’s some very useful information in your post and the links.  Thank-you.  

    The multinationals’ being willing and prepared to sue is very worrying.

    I’ll park my post, and wait and see if it is appropriate to publish it another day.

    But I just wanted to point out the Wellington street theatre protest seems to have gone ahead successfully. 

  6. Wayne 6

    Ben, however your brother will vote for TPP, as would you if you succeed in becoming a Labour member of parliament.

    • Ben Clark 6.1

      If they remove all the bad stuff, then I’ll be happy to vote for it – but not in its apparent current state. But then that’s the main problem: the secrecy.

      I refer you to Labour Policy remit over the TPP (thanks Robert).

      If it can agree with all that, including “negotiated with full public consultation including regular public releases of drafts of the text of the agreement, and ratification being conditional on a full social, environmental and economic impact assessment including public submissions.” then no problems…

      • Wayne 6.1.1

        But a conference remit is not the same as govt policy. For instance if your fellow negotiating states will only agree to release less material in public than you consider ideal, you kind of have to go along with it.

        NZ can’t use the withdrawal option from international negotiations just because you don’t get everything you want. It is after all a negotiation with give and take. We want something, specifically full access to agricultral markets in the US, and Japan (if they fully join). And we know the US wants something in return, especially around IP. So a deal has to be cut.

        Groser (who really does know his stuff on this) has said NZ will only accept a high quality agreement. It seems to me that TPP is likely to be comprehensive, covering all sectors. However, while the Right generally accepts in principle this approach, it is a struggle for the Left (Greens and left Labour) and the Populists (NZF).

        But a Shearer led Govt would not be dominated by left Labour. However there will be a real dilemma for such a govt. Shearer, Goff, Jones and Parker will want TPP to succeed (and we are talking about the top level of Govt here). But 1/2 of the Govt (the Greens and Left Labour) will not. The only other votes in spport in such a Parliament will be National.

        But this was more or less the position of the China FTA. Labour had to have National support to get it through.

        • lprent

          We want something, specifically full access to agricultral markets in the US, and Japan (if they fully join). And we know the US wants something in return, especially around IP. So a deal has to be cut.

          If there was any hope of getting a specific time for delivery of an opening up of agricultural markets, then that view might have some validity. The bottom line for that should be a binding schedule specifically because congress will fail to deliver it it possibly can. Good luck getting that from US negotiators for anything less than about a decade and getting congress to agree.

          However I somehow think that this gutless government (remember Warners) won’t hold out the IP changes for the same period of time. So effectively we wind up sacrificing a set of industries now for what will almost certainly not be a guaranteed reciprocation later.

          Effectively this government winds up not only in the process of trying to pick winners, but also sacrificing employment now for the benefit of agriculture (maybe) in the future.

          Of course our farmers don’t exactly have a problem now selling the same products on the world market that we’ll be trying to sell into the US. So why are we sacrificing our IP industries for the greater good again?

          The position is quite different to the Chinese FTA inside Labour, because people like myself or Ben who were and are enthusiastic trade agreement supports usually, certainly are not on this fiasco.

          And I doubt that I’ll get an answer and the type of “free-trade” you espouse seems to have more to do with religious idiotlogy than pragmatism…

          • Wayne

            The issue of the phase in is obviously quite critical. Lets say the ultimate deal is full access (no quotas, no tariffs), which is the NZ ambition. That would be very profitable for NZ. A phase in of a decade would be very quick, more likely 15 to 20 years. That would still be worth it, if you can get full access. The first gains are the best gains. It is the top tariffs that keep products out, not the last 10 or 20 %. No one would seriously suggest that the small tariffs left on clothing and footwear actually protect NZ manufacturers.

            I also consider that US will be a more valuable market for diary than China, the US being a higher value market. Yes, it will boost more demand for diary production in NZ – Southland, Canterbury, West Coast, Nortland, central North Island, will all see dairy expand, leading to perhaps a 50% or even 100% increase in the industry. Much of the Kiangaroa forest will become dairy. That is the reason for the forestry offset in the Kyoto negotiations – clear the forest on the plateau and convert to dairy, grow the forest on the hills instead.

            This really will require more vigilance on best environmental practise as these dairy conversions take place. But more pressure can be put on Fonterra in this regard. If they (Fonterra) want more dairy, they will have to do more on the environment, and have higher expectations of their farmer suppliers.

            • lprent

              Problem is that while China may give a lower value now, and the US a higher value later, then China is likely to be worth more to NZ anyway over the next 20 years than we’d get out of the US in agriculture alone.

              Just apply a discount rate and say 3-5% and do some discounted cash flow analysis. At that point you’ll see the projected “profits” disappear rapidly.

              Besides I get this horrible sinking feeling that the negotiators (who generally appear to be business idiots as far as I can see) aren’t reducing the “profits” by the costs for penetrating and maintaining the US market. The US is easily the most expensive market to penetrate into out of any that I’ve dealt with over the last few decades (and in various businesses I’ve dealt directly and indirectly with a lot of countries).

              That is because it is a market already saturated with alternative products. It takes enormous investment and quite long periods of time to develop a market there, which invariably means that the profit takes a frigging long time to come in compared to markets where you don’t have such crazy competition.

              And since much of the agricultural produce we export is currently mostly as “me-too” commodity rather than the type of value-added consumer goods that the US market requires – they’d most likely value-add in the US rather than here. So I suspect that we’d only get much the same prices as we do selling to somewhere like Malaysia.

              Not to mention the cost of killing up large chunks of our existing IP industries here, or at least massively constraining their growth with the really stupid legal structures the US has (have you ever looked at the patent and copyright laws?). Our ‘tech’ sector these days is about our third biggest sector, and probably employs damn near as many people as the diary sector directly and indirectly. And this is despite the idiot ministers in this government trying to kill it in 2009 and 2010 with their idiot R&D and incentive cuts in pursuit of silly unproductive tax cuts.

              Basically, it is all very well attempting to spread farms everywhere, and it has been tried before. I can remember a previous National government and their SMP incentives. But in the end you’re still trying to sell a low value-add commodity to a world that can and will eventually develop alternatives in Brazil, Argentina, China or where-ever. Our climate and geology aren’t unique, and our land area and natural resources are distinctly finite.

              But there isn’t any real limits on what we can do with our IP. FFS kiwi’s are completely crazy at what they manage to achieve with even the minute slithers of capital we get in our current regime. It’d be nice if National could stop looking so frigging boldly into the past and started to think forward for a change…

              • Draco T Bastard

                It’d be nice if National could stop looking so frigging boldly into the past and started to think forward for a change…

                1.) From what I can make out, they quite literally can’t. They seem to think that if something worked in the past then it must in the future and so they cling on to the past with both hands.
                2.) Actually developing IP and other stuff costs money which will lower profits and that can’t be allowed to happen.

            • Draco T Bastard

              I also consider that US will be a more valuable market for diary than China, the US being a higher value market.

              You do realise that the US produces far more farm products than we do don’t you?

              es, it will boost more demand for diary production in NZ – Southland, Canterbury, West Coast, Nortland, central North Island, will all see dairy expand, leading to perhaps a 50% or even 100% increase in the industry.

              Problem with that is that we don’t have anywhere to put any more dairy production.

              That is the reason for the forestry offset in the Kyoto negotiations – clear the forest on the plateau and convert to dairy, grow the forest on the hills instead.

              No it’s not. The reason why we fought for the forestry offset to be put in was because we were, at the time, increasing the amount of forestry we had. This is no longer true and we’ve not signed up to the new Kyoto Protocol anyway.

              This really will require more vigilance on best environmental practise as these dairy conversions take place. But more pressure can be put on Fonterra in this regard.

              I suggest a simple law saying that the water leaving their property can’t be any more polluted than when it entered. That should close down most dairy farms and probably quite a few others as well.

              Oh, that wasn’t what you were after? Thing is, that’s what it actually needs to be.

  7. arants 7

    It’s not just Groser & Key, Goff & Cosgrove (channeling Mike Moore) are probably the most effective collaborators because they have effectively neutralised (quisled?) opposition for years.

  8. Balu 8

    Do you know if that Fabian Lecture is going to be available online at any point Ben?

    • Ben Clark 8.1

      I’m sure a summary will be online at some point. I think it usually takes a few days – it’s all volunteers, so it’s when they get a chance…

  9. On ya Ben.  But I think that Phil Goff will have to be persuaded …

  10. Johan 10

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement appears to be another method of dumbing down the democratic rights that ordinary, hard working people have fought for during many generations. The Billionaire investors around the world would be very happy to see such an agreement in place. The tobacco companies having been fighting governments around the world accusing them of restricting their trade. Companies such as Starbucks, Google and Amazon are only a few of the many corporates that screw countries out of tax money. One of the main reasons for a country like Greece going to the wall economically is the tax avoidance of the wealthy who funnel their wealth through Swiss bank accounts. Thus, money to run the country, effectively, is not there and the burden to pay for govt services falls on the ordinary citizen.

  11. Drakula 11

    Even I Drakula am willing to bite TPPA in the arse let’s face it it’s Multi-Lateral Agreement On Investments (MAI) all over again!!!!

  12. George D 12

    If this thing is so bad, then why did Labour politicians put New Zealand in it?

    And much more importantly, will they withdraw NZ from it when they eventually form a government? I’ve emailed Shearer and Cosgrove to find out.

    • thatguynz 12.1

      I’ve asked the same of the Green Party. I am more than happy to present the response that I received but of course only with their permission to provide verbatim. Otherwise I’ll need to paraphrase 🙂

      And on your main point George, in years gone by I’ve been a supporter of free trade agreements (these days I wish that it was very distant like my voting record), then I moved to being a supporter of FAIR trade agreements, and the TPPA is neither of those – in fact, from what has been leaked it has little to do with trade.

      I don’t apologise for my bluntness here because it fairly epitomises my view of the TPPA as neither a free trade agreement nor a fair trade agreement. This agreement (as it has been leaked) has a simple focus – anyone that thinks that this will open the pathways for our farming and wine sector to sell into the US are simply delusional. This has a miniscule amount to do with trade and a tremendous amount to do with centralised control and subservience.

      To answer your initial question George – I don’t particularly care who initially stitched us up for this, nor do I care who perpetuates this madness. What I categorically DO care about is who is going to extricate us from it.

      I’ll say again – I can accept stupid decisions in any realm that are only going to affect me and my generation. If however they are going to affect my children and grandchildren then that is nonsensical and I will protest with the last breath in my body..

    • karol 12.2

      If this thing is so bad, then why did Labour politicians put New Zealand in it?

      I may be wrong, but I’m not sure the TPP was the same when the Labour Government joined it.  Initially it didn’t include the US.  I’m not sure when the US joined, but it looks like 2009 from this web page:

      President Obama announced in November 2009 the United States’ intention to participate in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations to conclude an ambitious, next-generation, Asia-Pacific trade agreement that reflects U.S. priorities and values.

      • muzza 12.2.1

        It makes no difference what the state of play was when Labour signed into it, the road map for which countries would be joining in, and when, will have been planned well in advance.
        Don’t think for a moment that it mattered if Obama or Key were at the helm.

        Would be helpful for people to realise that the road maps were already in place. Canada joining, the US joining etc were not variables, there were known!

        Continuity of agenda, with the same parties controlling bothi sides.

        No kidding, this will be the end of NZ, should the historical trend of the country being souled (deliberate) out buy political puppets, continue!

      • Draco T Bastard 12.2.2

        I may be wrong, but I’m not sure the TPP was the same when the Labour Government joined it.

        It wasn’t, it was just four countries and then the US decided they wanted in and suddenly we’ve got 11 and the US is doing the driving.

  13. Seen this folks?


    This banner has been opposite Sky City – outside TVNZ both Monday and Tuesday ….

    Will be again tomorrow (Wednesday 5 December) from 2 – 5.30pm. 

    Penny Bright
    ‘Anti-corruption campaigner’

  14. Signed this yet folks?


    Have YOU signed the Avaaz petition to help sink  the TPPA?

     “Sign the Avaaz petition and get us to the 1 million mark before 8 December 2012 – the National Day of Action for the Auckland round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Currently it stands at 722,000. Presenting the petition will be the centrepiece for the Auckland action on Saturday 8 December.”
    “We are after a final push to at least get to 3/4 million when we present this petition on Saturday. Please send it around your networks and urge them to add it. Just that extra few thousand will make a big rhetorical difference. Thanks, Jane Kelsey (NZ campaign)
    What can you do to help sink the TPPA? Sign the Avaaz petition and get us to the 1 million mark before 8 December 2012 – the National Day of Action for the Auckland round of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Currently it stands at 722,000. Presenting the petition will be the centrepiece for the Auckland action on Saturday 8 December. 
    Sign One Million to Stop the Corporate Death Star
     at :http://www.avaaz.org/en/stop_the_corporate_death_star/?vc
    The petition reads: 
    To all the governments negotiating the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement:

    As concerned global citizens, we call on you to make the TPP process transparent and accountable to all, and to reject any plans that limit our governments’ power to regulate in the public interest. The TPP is a threat to democracy, undermining national sovereignty, workers’ rights, environmental protections and Internet freedom. We urge you to reject this corporate takeover.

    Professor Jane Kelsey
    Associate Dean (Research)
    School of Law
    University of Auckland

  15. karol 15

    The Pirate Party takes issue with the infringement of intellectual copyright by a new pro-TPP website:

    The use of a masted sailing ship is the most glaring example of the satirical nature of this website and one of our main grounds for offence. The Pirate Ship and all its related depictions are clearly intellectual property of the Pirate Party or at least if not the Party then The Pirate Bay which the Party shares a mutual affinity with for a free and open internet. In these heady days of lawsuits over patents for rounded corners we can not stand by on the decks of the internet and allow these cannon shots to go unanswered! 

    Furthermore as a political party, it is up to us and other political parties to make blusterous calls about ‘more jobs’. These are well known trademark statements from politicians. Were the statements supplied displayed with the factual basis for their existence we would be happy to let this pass, unfortunately with no solid evidence, the ‘more jobs’ claim can only legally be made by politicians.  


  16. Lloyd 16

    Isn’t it interesting that the logical outcome of all the trade treaties pushed for by the US will be a world economy where logically justice can only be sorted out by a world court; and that the US has tried as hard as possible to avoid any world court justice for its military and its leaders?

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    An Ombudsman’s interim decision released about the existence or otherwise of legal advice on the multimillion dollar Saudi sheep deal shows MFAT has failed to back up the Prime Minister’s claims on the matter, says Labour MP David Parker. “The ...
    5 days ago
  • Barry Coates on his first weeks in Parliament
    Week one in Parliament has been quite an occasion. I would like to share the experience. I had given up on the prospect of getting into Parliament before the election and had been enjoying the diverse work I was doing ...
    GreensBy Barry Coates
    5 days ago
  • Nats still planning to take Housing NZ dividend
    Housing New Zealand’s Statement of Performance Expectations shows that the National Government intends to pocket $237m from Housing New Zealand this year including a $54m “surplus distribution”, despite promises that dividends would stop, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “After ...
    6 days ago
  • Parliament must restore democracy for Ecan
    Parliament has a chance to return full democracy to Canterbury with the drawing of a member’s bill that would replace the Government’s appointed commissioners with democratically elected councillors, says Labour’s Canterbury Spokesperson Megan Woods. “In 2010, the Government stripped Cantabrians ...
    6 days ago
  • Police struggle to hold the line in Northland
    Labour’s promise of a thousand extra police will go a long way to calming the fears of people in the North, says the MP for Te Tai Tokerau Kelvin Davis.  “Police are talking about the Northland towns of Kaitaia and ...
    7 days ago
  • Vote Sooty Shearwater/Tītī for Bird of the Year
    Sooty shearwater (Puffinus griseus) are amazing and deserve your vote in Forest and Bird’s Bird of the Year competition.  They make one of the longest known bird migrations, flying an annual round trip of 64,000 kms across the entire Pacific ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    7 days ago
  • Urgent action on agriculture emissions needed
    Immediate action is required to curb agricultural emissions is the loud and clear message from Climate change & agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases report released today by the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, says Labour’s Climate Change spokesperson Megan ...
    1 week ago
  • Super Fund climate change approach a good start
    Labour Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson and Climate Change Spokesperson Dr Megan Woods have welcomed the adoption of a climate change investment strategy by the New Zealand Super Fund. “This is a good start. It is a welcome development that the Super ...
    1 week ago
  • Energy use going in the wrong direction
    New data out this week from Statistics NZ paints a concerning picture of energy use across the economy under this National Government. You won’t be surprised to hear that there is some seriously worrying information here about how dirty our ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    1 week ago
  • Raising the age the right thing to do
    The announcement today that the Government will leave the door open for young people leaving state care still means there is a lot of work to do, says Labour's Spokesperson for Children, Jacinda Ardern "The Government indicated some time ago ...
    1 week ago
  • Junior Doctors go on Strike
    Thousands of junior doctors took strike action for 24 hours this week for better working conditions and safer working hours.  The Green Party supports their cause, and particularly their claims to reduce the number of days worked from up to ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    1 week ago
  • Coleman plays down the plight of junior doctors
    Junior doctors are crucial to our health services and the industrial action that continues tomorrow shows how desperately the Government has underfunded health, says Labour’s Health spokesperson Annette King.  “Jonathan Coleman’s claim that he has not seen objective evidence of ...
    1 week ago
  • Inflation piles pressure on National and Reserve Bank
    While many households will welcome the low inflation figures announced today, they highlight serious questions for both the National government and the Reserve Bank, Labour’s  Finance Spokesperson Grant Robertson said.  "While low inflation will be welcomed by many, the ...
    1 week ago
  • Officials warned Nat’s $1b infrastructure fund ineffective and rushed
    Treasury papers show the Government rushed out an infrastructure announcement officials told them risked making no significant difference to housing supply, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “Like so much of National’s housing policy, this was another poll-driven PR initiative ...
    1 week ago
  • More cops needed to tackle P
    New Police statistics obtained in Written Questions show John Key is losing his War on P, highlighting the need for more Police, says Opposition Leader Andrew Little.  “New Zealanders expect serious action on P but today’s hodgepodge of half-measures won’t ...
    1 week ago
  • Strengthening our relationship with the Rātana movement
    It was a privilege to visit Rātana Pā last week with fellow Greens’ Co-leader James Shaw, our Māori Caucus and senior staff to meet with the leaders of te iwi mōrehu, to strengthen the ties between the Green Party and ...
    GreensBy Metiria Turei
    1 week ago
  • MBIE docs show country needs KiwiBuild, not Key’s pretend “building boom”
    John Key’s spin that New Zealand is in a building boom does not change the massive shortfall in building construction as new MBIE papers reveal, says Labour Party housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  “We can fix the housing crisis, by the ...
    1 week ago
  • 1 in 7 Akl houses now going to big property speculators
    Speculators are running riot in the Auckland housing market making life tougher for first home buyers, says Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford.  Newly released data from Core Logic shows a 40 per cent increase in the share of house sales ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Disconnected thinking dirties the water
    Iain Rabbitts’ belief that drinking water quality, charging for water use and the land use that leads to water quality degradation should be treated separately is part of the problem we have right now in this country. The connection is ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Report back from Hands Off Our Tamariki hui
    This week I attended a hui in Otaki organised by Hands Off Our Tamariki about the proposed reforms to the Child Young Persons and their Families Act. Moana Jackson and Paora Moyle spoke.  They expressed deep, profound concern about the proposed ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour mourns passing of Helen Kelly
    Helen Kelly was a passionate advocate for working New Zealanders and for a safe and decent working life, Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little says.  “Helen Kelly spent her adult life fighting for the right of every working person to ...
    2 weeks ago
  • National’s visionless immigration policy
    National’s recent immigration announcement is a continuation of the visionless approach to government that it has displayed in the last three terms. Rather than using the levers of government to implement a sustainable immigration policy that benefits new and current ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    2 weeks ago
  • Andrew Little: Speech to the Police Association Conference 2016
    Police Association delegates, Association life members and staff, representatives from overseas jurisdictions. Thank you for inviting me here today. The Police Association has become a strong and respected voice for Police officers and for policing in New Zealand. There is ...
    2 weeks ago
  • 1,000 more police for safer communities
    Labour will fund an extra 1,000 Police in its first term to tackle the rising rate of crime, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “Labour will put more cops on the beat to keep our communities safe. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Call for all-party round table on homelessness
    Labour is calling on the Government to take part in a roundtable meeting to hammer out a cross-party agreement on ending homelessness.  Labour’s housing spokesperson Phil Twyford said the country wanted positive solutions to homelessness, and wanted the political parties ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Seclusion rooms in schools
    Schools are undoubtedly stretched and underfunded to cope with students with high learning support needs. But this cannot justify the use of rooms (or cupboards) as spaces to forcibly isolate children. It has emerged via media that this practice continues ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Public should get a say on new Waikato power station
    I had an opinion piece published in the Waikato Times about a controversial proposal to build a new gas-fired power station. It’s not on their website yet, so here it is: If you think the public would get a say ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago
  • MSD and their investment approach
    The Government talks about investment but there is no investment. It is not investment if it isn’t over the whole of life and if there is no new money  — Shamubeel Eaqub   Investment sounds like adequate resourcing but this ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Certainty needed for community services
    A couple of months ago I was at a seminar where three community organisations were presenting. Two of the three presenters were waiting to find out if their organisation would get a contract renewed with MSD. Not knowing if their ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Domestic Violence – some advice for the media
    For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to use Domestic Violence (DV) as a proxy for intimate partner violence. DV is not isolated to physical abuse in a relationship between people with the same power. DV is a pattern of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Leroy’s New Paw Prints
    Leroy, an Auckland great dane recently received a new 3D printed bionic leg after cancer was discovered. I think this is a fantastic story and highlights the real potential of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing Leroy’s prosthetic was printed in titanium and was ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    2 weeks ago