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It’s Our Future: Complete U-Turn by Labour and NZ First on TPP

Written By: - Date published: 11:37 am, February 21st, 2018 - 131 comments
Categories: capitalism, democracy under attack, Economy, labour, nz first - Tags: , , , ,

Press release via Scoop:


Monday, 19 February 2018, 9:50 am

The government are planning to sign the re-branded Trans Pacific Partnership in Chile on March 8th. Then they will begin the ratification process.

The TPP might have been re-branded as the CPTPP but it’s still the same bad deal says Professor Jane Kelsey, New Zealand’s expert on international economic regulation.

“Calling it “Comprehensive and Progressive” doesn’t make it any better.
It still contains the discredited ISDS provisions which allow foreign investors to challenge the laws and policies of a New Zealand government in off-shore investor-state dispute settlement tribunals,” she says.

It actually contains the entire old agreement, simply suspending a few
clauses pending the day when the US will want to re-join. Local activists remain firmly opposed to the CPTPP. Our Children’s Future Christchurch spokesperson gen de spa says that the concerns about Treaty rights, environmental protection and affordable healthcare remain urgent issues for all New Zealanders.

“CPTPP is an old-fashioned agreement that privileges multinational
corporations over small, local businesses in exactly the same way as the old TPP”, she says, “And it is no substitute for a sustainable agreement that focusses on the future.”

Professor Kelsey will speak on the current situation with the TPP in Christchurch at a public meeting on Wednesday 21st February at 7pm in the Knox Church corner Bealey Ave & Victoria St.

Gen says everyone is welcome to come and hear Professor Kelsey clarify this complex issue and there will be an opportunity for questions afterwards.

Labour/NZ 1st U-Turns:

Claim 1: Meaningful market access gains for exporters

Those market access gains were disappointing in the original deal, and don’t reflect the overall economic impact of the TPPA. MFAT predicted gains of 0.9% of GDP by 2030, less than exchange rate fluctuations, if you believed the modelling. Labour didn’t, saying it ‘is not sufficient for us to be confident benefits proposed in the National Interest Analysis will eventuate. … Questions about whether the deal might secure just an additional nine jobs for the industry went without compelling answer from Government officials. … Labour joins calls made by submitters calling for further modelling of the TPPA’s impacts on employment and wage distribution. We also join submitters calling for a related public health analysis of the TPPA impact.’ Since the US has exited the deal the market access gains are even less – tariff reductions in the supply chain of $222m per year by 2034, of which overseas processors, importers and retailers will grab a significant share. But the government has ignored its own and others’ calls for a robust economic assessment of the net impacts, including for employment and distribution, before any deal is signed.

Claim 2: Preserving the right to regulate

The whole purpose of these agreements is to restrict the right of sovereign governments to regulate in the national interest as they see fit, on matters as diverse as banking, foreign investment, government procurement and platform operators like Uber and Amazon. The government relies on a side letter with Australia that promises not to apply investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) between the two countries. But that was in the original TPPA, and in previous agreements. The Minister says some other countries will sign similar letters, but won’t say who or release them until the TPPA-11 is signed. Foreign investors from the remaining TPPA-11 countries can still claim their rights have been breached and bring an investment dispute if, for example, the NZ government revokes licenses to bottle free water for export or imposes user charges, tightens licensing conditions for ISPs, or significantly strengthens environmental regulation on mining. A TPPA-11 with ISDS makes the government’s commitment to reject it in all new trade deals futile.

Claim 3: Allow restrictions on foreign purchases of residential property

Nothing has changed in the agreement on that. So Labour is rushing through an Overseas Investment Act amendment to allow it to ban foreign purchases of residential property, before the TPPA comes into force. Another law will redefine cutting rights to forestry as ‘sensitive land’ before the deadline. Once in force, a NZ government won’t be able to tighten restrictions on foreign ownership of other resources, such as water rights, farms and rural land, fishing quotas or tradeable carbon credits.

Claim 4: Protecting the Treaty of Waitangi

The Waitangi Tribunal in the TPPA claim advised the Crown to consult the claimants and other Maori on a stronger protection. It hasn’t and claims the Treaty exception does the job. The rushed consultations with Maori to redefine forestry cutting rights in the Overseas Investment Act suggest otherwise. The TPPA-11 still requires NZ to adopt the UPOV 1991 convention on plant varieties, which Cabinet and the Wai-262 claim on indigenous knowledge previously saw as non-compliant with the Treaty. It must adopt UPOV91 or pass an equivalent domestic law that is consistent with the Treaty within 3 years of TPPA’s entry into force. But MBIE predicts the consultations on reviewing the Act will take 5 years!

Claim 5: Protecting the Pharmac model

It turns out this meant that Pharmac continues to operate. The weapons the TPPA gave to Big Pharma to interfere in its processes and to get stronger monopoly rights on expensive new medicines have been mostly been suspended, but not removed, and they are still vulnerable to ISDS. The US will insist on even stronger rights if it re-engages with the TPPA.


131 comments on “It’s Our Future: Complete U-Turn by Labour and NZ First on TPP”

  1. AsleepWhileWalking 1

    Petition link – please sign!


  2. weka 2

    No change to Green position on TPP

    James Shaw MP on Wednesday, January 24, 2018 – 11:06

    The Green Party’s position on the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) is unchanged, Co-leader James Shaw said today.

    “We recognise Trade Minister David Parker has made significant progress on some controversial provisions in the TPP, including investor-state dispute settlement, and we support those changes. However, we still don’t believe there are sufficient safeguards for people and the environment that would enable us to support the deal,” Mr Shaw said

    “Our position on trade and the TPP in particular has been well canvassed with Labour and there are no surprises here.

    “It is a sign of the strength of our relationship with Labour that we can respectfully disagree on an issue like the TPPA and still be able to get on with the business of government together.

    “New Zealand and the world need to move away from old fashioned trade deals like the TPP and develop new types of agreements that better support global action on things like climate change and inequality.

    “The EU has scrapped its version of the TPP, the TTIP, and is modernising its approach to trade agreements. New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region should too.

    “Kiwi exporters will benefit more from the new government’s commitments to add value to our exports and strengthen our international clean, green brand, than they will from the TPP,” Mr Shaw said.


  3. adam 3

    So do I get an apology from the commentators here who had a go at me for saying economically the labour party are not left? I’m guessing when the labour party sign this so called trade deal – my point is proven in full.

    Just jokes, I’m not expecting any apologies, I get that muddy liberals don’t understand economics, especially economics which will improve working people’s lives.

    • Puckish Rogue 3.1

      You sounded right on the money to me

    • weka 3.2

      I think you are wrong adam. It’s not that they don’t understand economics, I think the centre left people here are actually ok with what Labour are doing and are also ok with Labour’s economic policies.

      The ones that interest me are the people that are against the TPPA but voted for Labour. What I don’t understand is how they reconcile those two things. Maybe they don’t think the TPPA is that big a deal? Or maybe they thought Labour would get a better deal.

      • BM 3.2.1

        They voted Ardern, not Labour.

      • savenz 3.2.2

        No offence Weka, but it’s that sort of thinking that kept Labour out of office for 9 years and has the Greens on 5%.

        Non Natz parties seem to have ZERO idea of what their voters want and are ‘surprised’ when they don’t win every election and actually seem to be going down.

        Surely everyone wants a capital gains tax?
        Surely everyone wants TPPA?
        Surely everyone wants immigration?

        Funny enough when they tentatively spoke aloud against those policies they actually limped into parliament. Instead of capitalising on that, nope they go back on their word while pretending they are not!

        Who ever their ‘experts’ advising them, seem to be working more for the Natz than the left parties interests!

        I’m sure they will be getting a lot of smooth talking pep talks to continue with TPPA but it’s their party warrant they are signing.

        Jacinda will be recorded into history as being the PM who signed this agreement and like Tony Blair and his ideological push to the Iraq war it will not go well, long term.

        Labour are signing their long term death warrant by signing this agreement.

        • savenz

          It must be a massive group think out there is political land, if somehow Labour campaign on NOT signing TPPA, then somehow becomes centre voters with no evidence to back up the claims, are ok with them signing????

        • weka

          “No offence Weka, but it’s that sort of thinking that kept Labour out of office for 9 years and has the Greens on 5%.”

          What sort of thinking? That if we had more Green MPs in parliament, we might have had a chance at stopping the TPPA?

          • savenz

            The bit where you say, “I think the centre left people here are actually ok with what Labour are doing and are also ok with Labour’s economic policies.”

            Centre left people might be ok with what Labour campaigned on, but signing TPPA ain’t part of what they campaigned on .

        • Loop

          Agree savenz. I was under the impression labour was against the tppa. Sad.

          • weka

            I’m curious why you had that impression?

            • KJT

              Labour MP’s, in demonstrations against the TPPA, probably had a bit to do with it.

              Along with the contradictory public positioning from Labour.

              Of course if you never want to enact any laws favouring local communities against foreign corporatism, TPPA makes sense. With those who believe in “the market” and “minimal regulation” of profit making (The freedom to find ever more creative ways of ripping off their fellows). Obviously Parliamentary Labour is still among them.

        • KJT

          80% did support a capital gains tax. I suspect the 80% that are not making money on houses.

          80% did NOT support the TPPA. Because of our experiences with job loses and other effects of TPPA.

          I suspect more than 80% do not support immigration at the levels of 70k new immigrants and 150k new temporary visa’s a year.

          Time for Democracy. Swiss style binding referenda.

          Politicians have not Governed in the best interests of most New Zealanders for decades, now!

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 3.2.3

        “The ones that interest me are the people that are against the TPPA but voted for Labour. What I don’t understand is how they reconcile those two things.”

        It isn’t complicated – not everyone voted on a single issue. For example, I despise the TPPA and am distressed by Labour’s betrayal of NZ sovereignty in this regard, but still think things overall will be better under Labour than NAct. Labour remains wedded to the lie that “growing the economy” will solve poverty and raise living standards etc – when poverty has little to do with economic growth (which accrues mostly to the already wealthy), and everything to do with inequality.

        Labour’s economic policies are just more TINA neoliberalism. Hopefully they will learn.

        • savenz


          Signing TPPA ain’t part of what Labour campaigned on. Didn’t they describe it as a Dog???

        • weka

          I wasn’t suggesting a choice between Labour and National, but Labour and the Greens. It’s a given that we are better off with Labour than National.

          What I don’t understand, given how important the TPPA is, why someone who was against the TPPA would vote Labour instead of Green. So it’s not a single issue, it’s that the TPPA will undermine so much that the progressive left values, including the good things Labour want to do like fix the housing crisis.

          Likewise climate change, which I also consider not a single issue, but something that underpins everything else we want.

          I suppose one way to understand it is that some people don’t think the TPPA or CC are going to be that bad.

          • KJT

            The information available to the public, from the pro TPPA camp, has been deliberately vague and misleading.

            One of the supporters of this type of agreement has even said. “They have to be secret, or the public will never agree to them”.
            Similar to Douglas. Probably paraphrasing a bit. “Hit them with change quickly before they have time to react”.

            The contempt for the public, and Democracy, is obvious.

            • weka


              They know best.

            • One Anonymous Bloke

              One of the supporters of this type of agreement has even said. “They have to be secret, or the public will never agree to them”.

              Then they’re an idiot. The reason for secrecy is to prevent other countries knowing your bottom lines, in much the same way as you keep your cards hidden in poker.

              It’s a direct consequence of the negotiation model.

              • KJT

                Bollocks. The negotiation has finished.

                It is still secret.

                • red-blooded

                  Actually, the text has now been released. It had to be translated into other languages so that it could be released in all countries at the same time. Here it is:


                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Care to revise that opinion in light of R-B’s rebuttal?

                  • weka

                    I took “They have to be secret, or the public will never agree to them” to mean that if Labour had been more transparent, they probably would have lost some votes to the Greens. i.e. if people had (a) known what was in the agreement, and (b) Labour has been up front about it, then there would be even more opposition to what they are doing.

                    Which doesn’t mean that the negotiation process isn’t driving secrecy.

                  • KJT

                    Oh, cmon. Much of the negotiating documents are going to be embargoed for years.

                    And. Other Governments, such as Canada, gave the public much more information.

                    As usual, we learn about our own Governments actions from information released overseas, but not here.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      …the negotiating documents are going to be embargoed for years.

                      Which ones? I can see ample reason to keep NZ’s bottom lines under wraps well after the negotiations are concluded..

                      Don’t take this as support for the agreement, by the way. Nor is it support for the negotiating model.

              • That’s called policy laundering, and it’s not okay because it means that they can’t be held accountable for their parts of the deal. Whether it protects their trade interests in other deals is irrelevant: it is a corrupt practice.

                • One Anonymous Bloke

                  Policy laundering is a fine-sounding term. The negotiation model (based, as it is, on mistrust) still provides incentives for negotiating parties to keep their bottom lines to themselves.

                  • KJT

                    If it is beneficial to ALL countries, and their people, involved, why does it need to be kept secret?

                    Short answer, there will be winners and losers.

                    The winners will be multinationals playing one country off against another. The losers will be Democracy, and the livelihood of millions. As usual.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      If it is beneficial to ALL countries

                      That isn’t the premise of the negotiating model.

                      From Wikipedia:

                      Distributive negotiation is also sometimes called positional or hard-bargaining negotiation and attempts to distribute a “fixed pie” of benefits. Distributive negotiation operates under zero-sum conditions and implies that any gain one party makes is at the expense of the other and vice versa.

                      Like I said, I’m not a fan of this negotiating model. I just understand how it ‘works’.

                    • KJT

                      It is, however, the claim of supporters of, “Free trade”!

                      They seem unable to see the logical contradictions.

            • Draco T Bastard

              One of the supporters of this type of agreement has even said. “They have to be secret, or the public will never agree to them”.

              That’s what John Banks said about his policies and getting elected and yet people still voted for him.

              Out right lies from politicians seems to work fine in NZ and yet people still think that our political system is not corrupt.

          • Pat

            “…including the good things Labour want to do like fix the housing crisis.”

            That may be a little hopeful. It is increasingly looking too difficult for the Minister.

            “Minister of Housing Phil Twyford says the event will be going ahead “within the next couple of months”, but details are limited at this stage.”


            Failure to make significant progress here will completely overshadow the TTP contortions…and likely cost them the next election.

            • weka


              And what happens when we need to control land prices and have rent caps?

              • Pat

                what does happen?

                • weka

                  I have no idea, but Labour have only (partially) protected their five things, so I think it’s reasonable to assume we’ve lost some sovereignty in other areas. The land one is very interesting, because what they said was house sales only. Their position on rural land and the TPPA is unclear to me.

                  • Pat

                    As I understand it the problems arise when offshore investors are treated differently from resident investors…no differentiation, no grounds for dispute.

                    As to controlling land prices, that problem already exists and Twyford has ruled out rent controls…. those two specific issues would be considerably lessened if the promised state and affordable housing programmes were successfully implemented….and that is looking more like an inverted duck everyday that passes.

                    • weka

                      “As I understand it the problems arise when offshore investors are treated differently from resident investors…no differentiation, no grounds for dispute.”

                      For instance if the NZ govt wanted to restrict land sales to NZ residents.

                    • KJT

                      Or. Government provision of State housing reduced the rent that a foreign company could get on their houses.

                      Or. A local council decides to use a local company, to keep the money in the community, instead of Armour-guard, for dog control and parking.

                      Or. A right to mine gold is removed because it is polluting the local water supply.

                      Or. A State bank undercuts foreign banks with Government subsidised loans.

                      Or. The minimum wage is raised. Cutting an offshore companies profits.

                      Or. We decided to re-nationalise private prison.

                      Or. We start a non-profit co-operative power company.

                      All of these are similar to ISDS cases already taken overseas.

                    • Pat

                      land sales are part of the legislation that is to be passed prior to ratifying TPP11 for that very reason…however im not attempting to defend the latest iteration of TPPA, there are many concerns with it, though less than the original ….the point being made was that a back down on solving the housing crisis will make the backdown over TPP pale into insignificance….Labour can survive its actions re TPP but I doubt it will survive not delivering on housing

                    • Pat

                      @ KJT
                      You are aware we already have ISDS clauses in existing trade agreements?…and we are yet to see what other side letters we have.

                    • KJT

                      Yes. I know.

                      Stupid idea in them also.

                      Only reason we havn’t had any cases, is that our government has done little to affect corporates taking money from the community.

          • UncookedSelachimorpha

            I agree – personally I can’t see why anyone would vote Labour instead of Green on almost every issue. I voted Green myself, while hoping for a Labour-Green government, because that was the best realistic outcome. In my ideal world it would be a Green government!!

      • Korero Pono 3.2.4

        “It’s not that they don’t understand economics, I think the centre left people here are actually ok with what Labour are doing and are also ok with Labour’s economic policies”

        I think it is an oxymoron that anyone on the left, whether that is centre left, left left or any kind of left thinking person would think they can call themselves left and still support any form of neoliberalism, it doesn’t make any sense.

    • KJT 3.3

      Some of us agreed with you.

      We were just hoping the pre election rhetoric meant something.

      The TPPA, now gives the neo -liberals in Labour an excuse for BAU.

      That PR is in support of the TPPA, shows it is still a crock of shit.

      • Puckish Rogue 3.3.1

        I have to admit that not even I thought Labour would pull something like this. I mean this is as big a FU to it’s supporters as I can remember, all the protests with labour MPs in attendance.

        • Colonial Viper

          David Cunliffe did a lot of work in that caucus to try and reconcile the pro and anti-TPP factions. The pro-MPs won, the anti-MPs lost, and Cunliffe got the shaft for his efforts.

          • Draco T Bastard

            I was at one of Little’s speaking events. There was a TPPA protest outside demanding that Labour themselves clear upon the TPPA. Cunliffe actually asked what about Labour’s position wasn’t clear.

            Well, now he knows – Labour weren’t clear about their total support for the TPPA.

        • KJT

          Why I voted for the Greens.

          Given up expecting much from Labour years ago.

          Mind you expect even less from the bunch of corporate stooges in National.

          Gentleman Jack will be turning in his grave, to see what they have stooped to.

        • adam

          I’m not a supporter of labour, and your line of argument stinks of ideological hogwash you usually spout.

        • red-blooded

          I’m a Labour supporter and don’t feel shafted. Labour were open about what they opposed in the TPPA – they identified 5 key issues and said they’d need to be able to change these before they could sign. They’ve managed to address these with a combination of some changes and some work-arounds like changes to the overseas investment rules.

          Anyone who’s saying Labour has somehow mislead them wasn’t paying attention to what was actually being said during and before the election campaign.

          • weka

            I disagree. The detail about those five issues was vague, and various activists and TPP experts are saying that despite what Labour are claiming, they haven’t renegotiated what they said they would. So either Labour are signing away a bunch of stuff they always intended to, or they haven’t done what they said they would. Either way, it’s a mess, and it’s a problem for NZ.

            One of the issues here is that Labour were unclear over quite a long period of time. Their early framing was very much “we won’t sign unless”, and then it changed to silence, and then once Ardern was on board it became “we’re confident we will be able to renegotiate”. That people are now confused about what Labour said makes sense to me having followed enough to have seen both the changes and the confusion. Most people don’t follow politics that closely.

          • Korero Pono

            “’m a Labour supporter and don’t feel shafted. Labour were open about what they opposed in the TPPA – they identified 5 key issues and said they’d need to be able to change these before they could sign. They’ve managed to address these with a combination of some changes and some work-arounds like changes to the overseas investment rules.

            Anyone who’s saying Labour has somehow mislead them wasn’t paying attention to what was actually being said during and before the election campaign”

            What utter rubbish Labour were duplicitous pre-election and now they’re running a spin campaign to sell their BS…much prefer the opinion of Prof. Jane Kelsey and it is clear that the so called bottom lines have not been met http://wellington.scoop.co.nz/?p=107061, so stop propagating Labour’s lies!

        • Richard Christie

          I have to admit that not even I thought Labour would pull something like this.

          well, more the fool you (smile).

          It was f*ing obvious this was going to happen, all the clues were there pre-election, torrent of weasel words every time Labour addressed the issue.

          It’s not as if it wasn’t overtly predicted, pre election, by plenty of readers (icluding me) both here and on Bradbury’s site.

          Sadly, wishful thinking blinded those in the tribal left to labour’s intent.

    • Colonial Viper 3.4

      adam, you were spot on and did the right thing by speaking your mind. Once more, doing good is its own reward.

      (And many can see that NZ Labour will not rock the very same neoliberal boat that they first help cast off!)

    • Ed 3.5

      Like you I describe the Labour neoliberal.
      The traitors Douglas and Prebble came from its ranks. And

    • mikes 3.6

      Trade deals and free trade (so called) don’t belong to the right wing, they are part of the globalist agenda. This TPP deal is simply the first step towards a Trans Pacific Union, just as how the European Union started out in life. In the not too distant future it will ‘make sense’ for the TPP countries to have a single currency to make ‘trade easier’ and then will come laws which supersede sovereign countries laws and so on and so on…

      • Colonial Viper 3.6.1


        Globalists have decade long perspectives and they have been doing this for the last several decades.

      • Ed 3.6.2

        Completely agree.
        This is not left vs right.
        It’s transnational corporations vs states and their citizens.

        Brexit ( right wing ) was a rebellion against globalisation.

  4. Puckish Rogue 4

    I’m feeling a lot more confident about this government, nice to see they’re doing the right thing 🤣

  5. The Chairman 5

    The full text of the new-look TPP will be released today.

  6. Puckish Rogue 6

    TPP – Lets do this! Sorry I shouldn’t be so mean but you’ll have to admit it’s pretty funny, like considering all the protests and everything but I guess it’s ok because…babies!

  7. The Chairman 7

    CPTPP gains downgraded


    David Parker made the point that New Zealand had estimated lower tariff gains before signing its Free Trade Agreement with China, which ended up producing much more economic uplift.

    Can we take Parker’s comment to mean Labour thinks it’s all good?

    • KJT 7.1

      Which China has also provided to the rest of the world. Including many countries they do not have “free trade” agreements with.

    • KJT 7.2

      It must stick in the craw of “capitalists” in the “free world” that the “Communists”, have saved them from their economic idiocy.

      A victory for “re-distributive policies”. Though killing all the rich was probably a bit drastic, it worked for China!

    • cleangreen 7.3

      Yes Chairman

      I heard this morning on RNZ that a trade negotiator said the deal will net very little if anything at all without USA. ‘Insignificant’ was how we explained the rewards for NZ. .

  8. Ad 8

    Sure, parrot Professor Kelsey as usual.

    Failing that, read the text yourself and make your own mind up:

    Click to access Comprehensive-and-Progressive-Agreement-for-Trans-Pacific-Partnership-CPTPP-English.pdf

    ANd here’s the full National Interest Analysis for youall to read, rather that having verses pulled out by one activist:


    Here’s the NZHerald covering the release of the text itself:


    The deal itself won’t solve that much of real core benefit to New Zealand. It’s got some good stuff, as I’ve posted about before. But then, neither did signing up for the UN in 1945.

    We remain a small boat on a very big sea.
    We just got pulled onto a raft big enough to stabilise the sea somewhat.
    It’s not as good as a full and binding world trade regime.
    It’s far better than a string of bilateral deals in which we are perpetually the tiniest and weakest player, who gets played.
    It’s far, far better than being alone.

    I could easily see Australia “reframing” CER like Britain “reframed” our relationship in the 1960s; they could do a massive deal with China, or Indonesia, and actively sideline us.

    The people I would be kicking about the the lack of clear trade advantages is not this or the previous government, but Fonterra for failing to crack open either Canada or the US.

  9. Sanctuary 9

    There is an elite consensus on the CPTPP. Labour got enough concessions to draw the teeth of mainstream opposition. Since the establishment media is part of the elite consensus, the political cost to Labour will be zero. Remember, Labour has no electoral mandate to upset the elite consensus on anything, let alone such a cornerstone of establishment principle like the CPTPP. Time to pick another fight, I am afraid.

    • Tiger Mountain 9.1

      it was vital to find a circuit breaker that would retire National from govt., and the new govt.’s reforms in various areas will be justly welcomed, but, there has never been any illusions that Labour were into breaking the “neo liberal consensus” with National on the Reserve Bank Act, SOEs, free in and outflow of capital and other long standing structural elements of Rogernomics and Ruthanasia–let alone the TPP

      though ditching “Tomorrows Schools” could provide some opportunities, TS being originally intended to be implemented in a more ACT manner, kick it out indeed after 30 years that have produced a divided education landscape of haves and have not schools and kids

      to me the political priority of the next few years, is developing support for breaking that rotten consensus, so Labour can go to the public with a credible Corbyn type programme backed up with a populist left movement again–the renters, the precariat etc.

  10. Ken 11

    I’m no fan, but I wouldn’t call it a complete U-turn.
    Labour did initiate the TPPA after all.

    • weka 11.1

      True, but they did say they wouldn’t sign unless certain conditions were met. If those conditions haven’t been met and they sign, that’s going back on what they said.

      There was a lot of discussion last year about what their intentions were and what they actually met, so technically one could argue that because they were so vague they had no clear direction from which to do a U turn. On the other hand, their messaging was about protecting NZ, and they appear to be failing to do that.

      So either they’ve mislead voters or they’ve done a U-turn. Either way it sucks.

      • red-blooded 11.1.1

        Their messaging was certainly not vague – they identified 5 bottom lines. Here’s what’s on the website, and first appeared there in 2015: Labour supports free trade. However, we will not support the TPP if it undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty.

        We have five key principles which will be non-negotiable bottom lines to protect New Zealand’s interests when the agreement finally makes it to Parliament.

        – Pharmac must be protected
        – Corporations cannot successfully sue the Government for regulating in the public interest
        – New Zealand maintains the right to restrict sales of farm land and housing to non-resident foreign buyers
        – The Treaty of Waitangi must be upheld
        – Meaningful gains are made for our farmers in tariff reductions and market access.

        Pharmac – tick.
        ISDS – not fully achieved, but agreement with Australia mutually exempting each other from this clause and more coming up
        Restricting land and housing sales – tick (work around via overseas investment office)
        Te Tiriti – tick
        Tariff gains – improved

        Parker (a policy wonk and a straight shooter) gives them a 4 1/2 out of 5. I’m not wildly in love with the deal, but neither am I wildly opposed to it. My biggest concerns were always Pharmac and Te Tiriti. I don’t like ISDS and wish they were totally out of the picture, but given that there was so little opportunity to make changes (and that we have these provisions in other treaties) I understand why they’re having to limit this in other ways rather than being able to completely opt out of it.

        • weka

          What happens when the US wants back in?

          You think the gains around those five things are satisfactory. Others don’t. /shrug.

          • weka

            Also, from your link,

            “and we will not support the TPP unless it protects New Zealand’s sovereignty and is in the best interests of New Zealanders.”

            That’s what’s up for debate at present. Labour obviously feel ok about what they’re doing. Others don’t and those criticisms warrant consideration.

            • red-blooded

              Fine – no-one’s saying that the concerns don’t warrant consideration. Plenty have been saying things that showed that they didn’t listen to what Labour actually said about the TPPA, though, and it doesn’t hurt a discussion to have a counter view put forward.

              As for the “what happens when…” discussion re the USA, the fact is that the agreement is not the same as it was when negotiated with the US. If they decide to opt back in, there’ll have to be negotiations. When the original deal was struck, the US was the big kid in the room and got to make plenty of demands. If they opted back in, they’d be negotiating with a block, not with individual countries, each of which with their own priorities, which was the situation last time.

        • Carolyn_Nth

          Pharmac has not been protected that much. It can continue to operate, but the model can be undermined.

          ISDS will be back on the table once the US re-joins…. and big pharma’s demand, etc.

          Treaty provisions are very poor within the TPP – according to Kelsey and others.


          Parker is a neo-liberal. I wouldn’t trust his judgment.

          However, I always did think Labour were leaving themselves some loopholes or wriggle room and any opposition they expressed to the TPPA was a bit weak.

          I do think they managed to convince lot of anti-TPPA protesters that they were on board with their opposition to the TPPA.

          Robertson and Parker will never lead a break with the neoliberal consensus – just soften it’s impacts a bit.

  11. mosa 12

    If ever there was a powerful reason why we should not sign up to this cruddy deal it is this.

    As a country we cannot enforce a charge on those who are taking water out of the ground to sell overseas at a profit because it contravenes a free trade deal we signed some time ago.

    Anything that takes away a countries right to legislate in its own interests and that of its citizens is paramount to subversion.

    Of course Labour was going to support free trade and anyone thinking otherwise is an idiot.

    It is the Key effect except the messenger is more attractive.

    If only the Greens had more influence but Shaw will take the hit on the chin and stay silent.

  12. Stuart Munro 13

    Faux technocracy.

    This is Labour’s way of saying “We’re just like Theo Spierings really – big time international hotel dwellers.” It means they don’t have a clue wtf they are doing, but they’re going to do it anyway to demonstrate their contempt for public opinion and their responsibilities as elected representatives.

    We’ve seen plenty of this over the years. As Sun Tzu says, we just need a proper system of punishments and rewards. They can get away with this as things stand, and because they can, they mean to.

  13. Tanz 14

    oh, dear, how sad. More backtracking and backflips. Gotta love this govt tho..

    • KJT 14.1

      Like Keys “no more asset sales” you mean.

    • cleangreen 14.2


      Just ask why Canada is the most sued country today?

      Because they got into every ‘free trade deal’ they could find, so that is where we are headed to now.

      Being bankrupted by expensive court chananges all the time, just wait and see this happen.

  14. Whispering Kate 15

    Since the 1980’s I have never trusted Labour, wouldn’t at the last election either. There is very little difference between them and National – if there is a difference. Two-faced hypocrites. Our Jacinda is just another glossy people-orientated charmer – no real guts to make a stand on what matters. Too many reports, meetings, watering down of their promises – no action. And where is Shane with his thousands of trees he is meant to be planting. This planet is suffering right in front of our eyes and its a terrible thing to contemplate, she will kill us all off and do it with no qualms whatsoever and reinvent herself as only a good woman can and will carry on with other life forms. We have deserved this punishment and make no mistake its going to happen. Not in my lifetime but soon.

    All the babies being born this year will have to suffer from our stupidity. This is serious stuff that is going down on this home we call Earth – we have exploited our host’s generosity and are unwanted visitors and have outworn our stay.

    I voted for the Greens but they are impotent as Labour doesn’t care about them and Winnie doesn’t care for them – they are a lone voice and the only party which has the vision to see what is ahead. No wonder there are so many people on anti-depressants – who wouldn’t want to be on them.

    • weka 15.1

      I find the fact that so many LW people voted Labour and not the Greens to be a huge concern. But then I’ve spend years arguing with far left wing people who wouldn’t vote Green either, so the problem runs deep.

      The saving grace is that while the Greens don’t have a lot of overt power, they have put themselves into positions of effecting change. Anyone who is disappointed with Labour could start supporting the Greens now and encouraging them to keep on with doing the right things.

      • red-blooded 15.1.1

        Let’s remember that the Greens only have any influence because Labour got enough support to put together a coalition. Labour is only able to do this because they are what people on this site disparage as “soft left” – leaning to the left but also able to garner votes from the centre, swing voters. If NZers wanted a hard left government, we’d see a much higher percentage of them voting Green. We don’t.

        Labour has been pretty damn fair about giving significant positions to the Greens (and to NZF). In particular, the Climate and Transport folios are great positions for the ministers that hold them, really playing to their strengths and allowing them to action big shifts in policy and practice. Plus, Shaw has an associate Finance portfolio. I’d certainly call that overt power.

        • weka

          I’m not making a partisan argument there. Had the election given more Green MPs and less Labour ones, we’d still have a Labour-led government. But with more Green influence we’d be getting different outcomes.

          “If NZers wanted a hard left government, we’d see a much higher percentage of them voting Green. We don’t.”

          Quite. NZ is getting the government it deserves. Which is why we will probably end up with a loss of sovereignty via a shitty pseudo-trade deal, and it’s why we won’t move as fast and as far as we need to on other critical issues like climate, water, land use.

          I haven’t criticised Labour in its divvying up portfolios, so I’m not sure what your second paragraph is about. I said the Greens have some overt power, not a lot.

        • KJT

          Labour, and National, both pretended to be more left wing than they are, before the election. Both got more votes when they did so.

          So the idea that being “far left” is a vote loser, is an obvious falsity!

          Though, The idea that Greens, who are somewhat towards the market side of Muldoon, are “far left” is actually, laughable. And shows how much NACTIOD’s have swung the centre in Parliament.

          It gives the Neo-liberals in Labour their justification.

          There are many reasons why people do not vote Green, but Labour and National being less than honest, pre election, about their “welfare and child poverty” policies, is one of them.

          ACT, who are at least honest about their right wing agenda, only get enough real ACT voters to fill a telephone booth.

      • mikes 15.1.2

        “I find the fact that so many LW people voted Labour and not the Greens to be a huge concern. But then I’ve spend years arguing with far left wing people who wouldn’t vote Green either, so the problem runs deep. ”

        It’s not a “problem” as you’ve called it. Well not to everyone I guess. The fact is that the working class, who were essentially what the Labour party was created for, are pretty conservative, both in economic and cultural values. Hence the working class don’t support the greens. They only really have Labour on the ‘left’ to vote for.

        • KJT

          I agree it is lack of choice rather than any commitment to Labour, these days.

        • weka

          Lots of working class people vote National and NZF, so I’m not sure that follows. Of the ones that vote Labour, sure, they vote how they want. That’s the problem. Left wing NZers still think Labour is a viable option.

  15. Carolyn_Nth 16

    James Shaw was on checkpoint tonight. He made the point that is reported in this RNZ article.

    “There is the continued existence of the Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanisms for some countries and that allows large multi-national companies to what we call ‘jursidiction shop’ and simply locate where they still have that possibility.”

    Mr Shaw also said if the United States wanted to return to the agreement, some of the suspended provisions which worried the Greens would be activated again.

    • weka 16.1

      which countries? NZ?

      • Carolyn_Nth 16.1.1

        No. That would refer to countries in the TPP who still allow ISDS. NZ has a side letter barring them with Australia, and is looking to get such side letters with other countries. But it is not fully known what is in the d=side letters.

        Stuff article on this.

        New Zealand and Australia have signed a “side letter” which will stop investors from both countries suing under ISDS.

        New Zealand negotiators have also secured exceptions to allow them to freely regulate medicines and tobacco.

        “The CPTPP’s safeguards, reservations and exception ensure New Zealand retains the ability to regulate for public health, the environment, and other regulatory objectives,” the analysts write.

        New Zealand has included ISDS provisions in other agreements but a claim has never been made against the country.

        Parker said New Zealand was negotiating more “side letters” to remove ISDS clauses with other nations but these could not be revealed before the agreement was signed.

        Kelsey said details of these side letters were needed before signing.

        ‘Without that information, claims that New Zealand is effectively protected from ISDS disputes are nonsense. Are Japan…and Canada… prepared to exclude ISDS, or are we only talking about countries like Vietnam, Brunei and Peru?”

        “Equally, the government needs to explain whether New Zealand could – and would – require a side-letter excluding ISDS as a precondition of other countries joining, such as the United Kingdom post-Brexit.”

        • Colonial Viper

          New Zealand and Australia have signed a “side letter” which will stop investors from both countries suing under ISDS.

          This looks like worthless flim-flam to me. Written to reassure the gullible.

          Almost every Australian corporation of note has major Wall St shareholders which will not be covered by this provision.

          Take the example of Westpac in the link below.

          Remember, the corporate lawyers who constructed the highly complex, multi-layered TPP document know exactly what they are doing.


          • Pat

            that was also the case before TPP….we are already at risk of jurisdiction movement via other agreements.

            • Colonial Viper


              Kiwi bureaucrats and political leaders have been determined to let the wolves in the door.

              I also note that a major point of the TPP has not changed: it remains an economic weapon to exclude and isolate China.

        • KJT

          “but a claim has never been made against the country”.

          Well. Companies haven’t made claims, because since ISDS has been in agreements we have not seen any new Government legislation which cuts corporate profits. Funny that.

  16. CHCOff 17

    It’s because society lacks trading/business guilds of old & those approaches to reciprocal business standards.

    Downward spiral competition, black markets, political red tape, crime syndicates etc only benefits an exclusive few increasingly, and the more that grows, the more the current positions of privilege and influence will disappear away in society.

    That’s the trend that i see the TPP as being about if not with careful oversight.

    The alternative coalition govt was formed, particularly compared to the prior one, in the interests of it’s voting public support blocks, but it didn’t form the environment which it is to govern in.

  17. Incognito 18

    What’s worse is that they need to rely on National to get it over the line. I believe they will create a Trojan WMD and wheel it in themselves. National will play as dirty as possible (i.e. BAU), particularly after the inevitable shake-up of the party once the leadership contest is over. They are not masochists, they are unbelievably stubborn that they think they can somehow triangulate this. They will regret this for a long time; it’s 1984 all over again.

  18. Jackel 19

    So to be clear, would you give the captains of two rugby teams the rights to red or yellow card the ref. Trade is a good thing. It ceases to be so when big corporates can meddle politically.

  19. thechangeling 20

    It just does my head in that Labour are signing up to this insane agreement. Questions is: who are they beholden to (who has lobbied them the most?) that causes them to sign it? I think i can guess.
    The silence from within the Party is deafening. The LEC’s were screaming blue murder when Willie Jackson? spat something out on radio last year but when a serious issue comes out like this we hear nothing at all (so far).

  20. Sparky 21

    Yes its just a re branding exercise on the original ugly deal. I think a better question to be asked at this time is why is Labour who condemned the whole thing in opposition so keen to sign now they are in government? If there are any investigative journalists left I would have thought this would be a good story to sink their teeth into?

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