Labour’s position on TPPA

Written By: - Date published: 11:01 am, October 18th, 2015 - 186 comments
Categories: Andrew Little, Annette King, Economy, labour, trade - Tags: , ,

TPPA

The last fortnight has not been a great time for Labour when it comes to the TPPA.  But I wonder if a couple of imprecisely worded comments have had far too much read into them.  And if the left and the media have fallen into a trap set by the right.

On October 9 Matthew Hooton had a great deal of fun by claiming that the recent Labour caucus meeting had been heated and that five members of the Labour Caucus were prepared to cross the floor.  There was no evidence that the Caucus meeting was heated, in fact this was emphatically denied.  And the policy difference is nothing new.  But Hooton’s statement neatly created an attack on Labour and instead of attention continuing on emerging deficiencies with the TPPA.

Annette King’s response was emphatic.

King accused Hooton of “absolute spin and downright deceit”, and challenged him to name one Labour MP who had spoken to him about crossing the floor.

“It actually makes me angry that anyone would give any credence to his crap…there isn’t a tissue paper between us on the way we’re handling it.”

King said Labour’s position on its bottom lines for the TPPA had been agreed by the entire caucus, and balanced the party’s support for fair trade with its concerns about secrecy around the deal.

“There is no doubt that we are a party in favour of free and fair trade…we’ve proven that. What we’re getting to is the fair part of the trade: how fair is it on New Zealanders, on our health, on our sovereignty?”

While the last Labour Government had signed a free trade agreement with China, the TPPA was “a deal like no other” and needed to be scrutinised before the party would give its position.

At the same time there was a clearly concerted attack by the right on Jane Kelsey for her principled opposition to the TPPA and her success at getting the Government’s handling of her OIA requests deemed in breach of the law.  There was a strong sense of an urgent need by the right to divert attention.

Labour has reserved its position on the treaty until the text was released.  This is appropriate.  While finalise a position before the actual terms of the treaty are known.  And yes there is a difference of opinion within caucus on how to respond to TPPA but clearly they are working towards a final position that can only be determined once the text of the treaty is publicly available.

But some of the language has been clumsyand some have interpreted this as a back down.  For instance Grant Robertson’s recent comments suggested that Labour was trying to have a bob each way.  My own view is that talk about flouting certain terms of the treaty while staying in the treaty was somewhat clumsy if not what was actually intended let alone said.  I get the impression that Robertson was hinting that this may be grounds for pulling out of the TPPA rather than justification for flouting the treaty if and when Labour becomes Government.

Andrea Vance wrote this perceptive post where she points out that debate on an issue is actually a good thing.

For eighteen minutes on Tuesday the Labour leader and the parliamentary press gallery batted back and forward on one issue: Is Labour for or against the Trans-Pacific Partnership?

Patiently, Little explained that the deal is done – and whether Labour “supports” it or not, is irrelevant at this point.

Moreover, with the ink barely dry and texts yet to be made public, no-one really knows what they’d be supporting.
Other commentators have railed against Little for trying to appease critics and opponents of the deal.
He supports reduced tariffs on exports. But he’s prepared to flout provisions that would prevent a ban on foreign buyers.
On both these points, the pundits make a fair point. Labour’s position is absurd  – if not down-right duplicitous.

But what is odd is criticism that centres on differing opinions within the caucus.

So what if Labour MPs are debating internally about the merits of the Pacific pact?

This is very different from Labour MPs squabbling over the leadership.

Internally debating policy is healthy. It’s normal. Heck, it’s maybe even democracy.

Hegemonic harmony within a caucus and subservient submittal  to your leader’s ideas is not realistic. It’s perhaps even a bit creepy.

That Labour is conflicted over TPP does not mean the end of the party or that another leadership spill is in the works.

Labour’s enemies may choose to frame it that way – but that says more about their interests than what it is going on within the party.

I would like to think that talk of Labour flouting the treaty rather than opposing it are premature.  We need to see the final form of the Treaty and then see what Labour’s position is before we can pass judgment.

 

186 comments on “Labour’s position on TPPA”

  1. dukeofurl 1

    ‘Hegemonic harmony within a caucus and subservient submittal to your leader’s ideas is not realistic. It’s perhaps even a bit creepy.”

    Reading comments this week you can see the hive mentality is alive and kicking,nay buzzing with a vocal portion of the readers.
    A very deliberate strategy from national to ‘go dark’ over the terms of the treaty has helped this. I thought Key would come back from ‘Camp Hell’ and go full frontal to whip up support and show how walnut growers and suffolk sheep breeders would be onto a gold mine.
    But cleverly they have mostly kept silent, except for Groser doing the usual rounds-
    (” What made you think I have any idea whats in the TPPA?)

    • BevanJS 1.1

      ‘Hegemonic harmony within a caucus and subservient submittal to your leader’s ideas is not realistic. It’s perhaps even a bit creepy.”

      Sums up Nats.

  2. Chooky 2

    Interesting…maybe there is hope for Labour yet…Little is either a very strong leader for waiting …or weak

    ….time will tell….and if Labour pulls out of the TPP…Little will be vindicated as a strong leader imo

    • dukeofurl 2.1

      The hive has started buzzing…..

      • Chooky 2.1.1

        its called democracy …or are you suggesting I am a bee? ( in any case “buzzing” is a more appropriate metaphor for MPs within the Beehive)

        yes I have noted jonkey nacts silence on the issue…absolutely deafening silence….almost like the invisible man

        1.) first he was overseas on something entirely unrelated when the signing was announced …(so unrelated and inconsequential I can’t even remember what it was …but I think he was handing out some concessions along the way and trying to appear liberal and nice)

        2.) ….and since he has got home there is this preoccupation with the ALL Blacks

        • dukeofurl 2.1.1.1

          Well what are YOUR specific problems with TPPA would be a good start. Is it the copyright, is the ISD agreements, is it because we dont have all the information yet- bet that last one is NOT your problem.

          • Chooky 2.1.1.1.1

            just read Professor Jane Kelsey and you will know what my problems are…I cant be bothered nor do I have the time to debate with you ….the issues are widely known!

            • dukeofurl 2.1.1.1.1.1

              The issues are widely known, and its all labours leaders fault.

              Why would Key, Groser, Joyce even have to speak up for TPPA when if they keep silent, then the work of kicking labour will be done for them.
              they can rely on those bees buzzing, but who never gather any honey themselves.

              • Colonial Viper

                This isn’t about “kicking Labour”; this is about finding an Opposition Party – any Opposition Party – willing and able to oppose the TPP.

                That’s clearly not Labour.

                • Chooky

                  thanks CV

                • dukeofurl

                  Is that a sign that you are beginning a lonely trek into the wilderness…….?, maybe the greens and NZ First will love to have you .

                  meanwhile, the unemployment rate is rising, more people are told they arent eligible for a hospital waiting list, houses owned by the state are unlivable and prices for first home buyers are rapidly rising.

                  I suppose its good to know you have found an issue, the TPPA , that effects you, and arent too bothered personally by all the rest ?

                  • Colonial Viper

                    Labour isnt going to do a thing about those issues. The Southern Health Board is being underfunded to the tune of $100M per year; It was being underfunded leading to patient deaths during the last Labour Government, and Labour back in Government is not going to correctly fund it either.

                    As for the “wilderness” look for Labour at 23% to 26% at the next election.

                    • dukeofurl

                      Im not saying you are wrong, but a link for the real figures for SDH ‘underfunding’ would be great.

                      For 2014/15 they received $759 mill which is calculated from the population and related factors ( deprivation etc,PBFF)

                      SDHB which is 297,000 population ( 2013)
                      Capital Coast is around 283,000 people and they get less than SDHB at $665 mill.

                      It certainly doesnt sound like $100 mill missing ? In fact they get $100 mill more than Wellington for their 15,000 extra population.

                      I suppose the claim labour “did it too” is a bit shaky ?

                    • Leftie

                      @CV

                      Serious question. Why are you a member of the Labour Party? It seems odd and strange that someone who clearly despises the Labour Party like you do is a member of it.

                      National have done worse. National was in the wilderness in 2002 with just 20.93%. Look where they are now. Just shows in politics, anything can happen.

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      How many hospitals and other facilities do the two health boards fund, duke?
                      Unless you account for the configuration and spread of services, funding comparisons like that are of limited value.
                      Southern funds and/or operates two base hospitals, six rural hospitals, and maternity centres in places like Lumsden and Winton.
                      You also need to factor in things like clinician/patient travel as being a significant cost in a DHB this size.

                    • dukeofurl

                      Ergo, first of all this isnt the place to discuss this, but running a hospital isnt the only things DHBs do, funding for GPs, elder care etc are amoung the many other things.
                      A major tertiary hospital is really really expensive, such as Wellington ( which in some specialties serves the wider Hutt, Wairarapa and Manawatu Whanganui regions) compared to little maternity hospitals you mention.
                      if you compare 3 other regions combined which have a similar population to SDHB, Wairarapa, Mid Central ( Manawatu) and Whanganui [263k population 2013] they get funding of $779 mill, so they have a bigger number of smaller hospitals

                      They are already $100 mill ahead of Wellington for a similar population which should allow for some of the things you mention.
                      I dont feel the current system is fair to SDHB but the $100 mill underfunding is just pie in the sky and Im interested in how they get there?

                    • Ergo Robertina

                      Seriously? You didn’t know Dunedin Hospital is a tertiary hospital with services like neurosurgery, cardiac surgery, plastic surgery, bariatric surgery?
                      It’s the sole national provider of at least one service (stereotactic), and at least one South Island service (bariatric).
                      I daresay that rather major oversight accounts for your failure to understand the problem.

                      Why are you talking about GP funding? It’s mostly non-discretionary – that’s why I’m highlighting aspects that differentiate Southern from other boards.
                      Unlike GP funding, rural hospitals (and earlier in the piece, maternity centres) were a target for cost savings.
                      I also point to facilities because bricks and mortar and distance do create cost, which is overlooked if you only consider raw population (like you did in your first comment).
                      Comparing the situation with the lower North Island is problematic for obvious reasons, but it would be a little fairer if you added Capital and Coast’s budget to the mix for comparison (now that you know Dunedin is also a tertiary centre).

                • mickysavage

                  Why are you so sure they will not oppose the TPPA? I am prepared to wait for the text to be released and to actively try and persuade MPs to oppose in the meantime.

                  • Leftie

                    @Mickeysavage.

                    Seems to me people are more interested in attacking and pulling Labour apart while the real culprits , the National government are being left untouched and let off the hook. Key and Groser’s dirty TPPA deal hasn’t been ratified yet, cannot understand why concerted efforts by all those opposed to the TPPA aren’t being brought to bear against the National Government, after all, it is National that is selling us out.

                    • b waghorn

                      Its far easier for the left to bite at its own stomach and squabble of who’s more left than to learn to be a team player which is odd considering collective is a lefties catchcry.

                    • Grindlebottom

                      The problem is the left is still struggling with how left or right of left is about the right left. Labour wants to be centre left, and everybody’s got a viewpoint on that.

                  • Heather Tanguay

                    I agree, Hooten is causing trouble and people are getting sucked into it.
                    Everyone needs to wait and see what is in it, that is what Labour said in the beginning, wait and see
                    It is easy to get upset and annoyed, but do not be upset and blame Labour, that is what Hooten wants and needs to continue making trouble
                    ANNETTE made the position clear and she has not said they have changed their stance
                    Wait and see, show you do not like or want the TPPA come to the protest on Saturday 14 November

                    • Tracey

                      yup. Ask yourselves why Hooton is needed to sow discontent toward Labour over the TPP IF the facts of the TPP speak for themselves (as a good deal for NZ, or even the great deal we were once promised)?

  3. Anne 3

    One good thing has come out of this “debate” thus far… Matthew Hooton has outed himself as a prominent and integral part of the Dirty Politics campaign.

    • Chooky 3.1

      +100…yes Hooton has been busy and buzzing…and starting diversionary fires all over the place…a political arsonist if ever there was one

    • Yep no more pretending for those with eyes to see. To chop chooky – “a political arse”.

    • Bearded Git 3.3

      @Anne

      Hooton was always part of DP. In the meantime he really has nothing to say when there is no Labour leadership challenge in the offing.

      He knows the most likely outcome in 2017 will be PM Little.

    • dukeofurl 3.4

      Hooton is writing in the NBR attacking Little in regard to beef going to India

      “Mr Little’s comments about India were even more stunningly ignorant. Did he not learn in primary school the role of the cow in Hinduism and in Indian village life?
      “There is not just a taboo around eating beef but the sale or slaughter of cows is actually illegal in 24 of India’s 29 states.”

      Thats strange because India is in reality the WORLDS largest beef exporter
      2014 it was 2,082,000 tons. NZ was back in 579,000 tons.
      http://indianexpress.com/article/explained/beefed-up-no-longer/

      The guy is total ignorance about anything.

  4. RedBaronCV 4

    And shouldn’t we be asking NACT MP’s which bits of TPPA they like the least. I’m picking that behind the scenes are more than some worried NACT members

    • b waghorn 4.1

      That’s the thing that baffles me the most ,its the nats that signed us up to the tpp yet all eyes are on labour people have learnt nothing from Nicky Hagars book.

  5. Keith 5

    Of course the MSM have by an large lambasted Labour, its suits their paymasters. Even more so because Labour have not been kind to the TPPA and we can’t have critcism. And Matthew Hooton would claim that wouldn’t he, it’s in his interests.

    But the Standard has flung a fair bit of vitriol at Labour too and its hysterical, not to mention the apocalyptic Chris Trotter, whom I think shares an office with Matthew Hooton.

    Quite rightly Labour have NO meaningful say on the TPPA because they are not in government and can do as much about signing this ratshit deal as anyone else not part of the National or Maori Party, that being precisely nothing.

    And very, very few of us know what is in this deal because National have point blankly and unlawfully refused to tell us schmucks what this deal is about and that is bloody scary because as proven, when National road block the flow of information you can bet its bad.

    We should all know better by now than to buy into what is out in the wasteland of the NZ mainstream media.

    And Annette King should stay on as Deputy, because she knows jsut what she is doing and she is very good at what she does. Who cares if she is from the old generation, so was WIntson Churchill in 1940!

    • AmaKiwi 5.1

      Keith

      “And Annette King should stay on as Deputy . . .”

      Absolutely.

      I have not always agreed with her but she has repeatedly demonstrated she knows how to speak to the media and with a razor sharp tongue when needed.

      I think these Jacinda stories are a lot of media b.s. (Is that Grant Robertson I hear in the background?) Thirty-one years in parliament in numerous important portfolios and leadership positions. Andrew would be a fool to give a Jacinda a second thought.

  6. “Labour has reserved its position on the treaty until the text was released.”

    If only that was what they did. But no.

  7. Bill 7

    Investor State Dispute Settlements are known to be hugely partial and to subvert domestic legal systems.

    Bilateral Investment Treaties (embedded in the TPP) are known to be the mechanism that allows ISDSs to kick in.

    It’s known that the presence of ISDS within the TPP will ensure that the lowest existing standards and regulations will prevail; that those companies manufacturing in countries that embrace the lowest standards and regulations will clean up market share.

    It is not known what the economic impacts will be, but it ranges from only nominally positive to negative, depending on what economic model data is fed through. Insofar as the TTIP and TPP are the same, the more respected economic model – the UN Policy Model – suggests negative outcomes on all measured fronts.

    Now, why do we (or the Labour Party) need to see the final detail to assume a position on the TPP? Dog-shit is recognisable as dog-shit without any need to sniff, taste and ingest…

    • Draco T Bastard 7.1

      +1

    • Leftie 7.2

      @Bill

      Still have to read the entire document first so the response is emphatic.

      You couldn’t sign or dismiss a contract without knowing the full details, even though you may know bits of it. The full text needs to be read first.

      • Bill 7.2.1

        The huge and onerous structural power imbalances the TPP ushers in, is enough on its own to be emphatic.

        The last time corporations were meant to assume such a crushingly dominant position over society, the ‘poster boy’ men were first of all lauded and then appeased as they went all militaristic before finally, a generation was sacrificed in halting their military expansion.

        Maybe people think fascism is nationalism, brown shorts and ‘final solutions’ etc? It’s not; those things were always addendums.

        It is and always was about the domination of society by corporate bodies. Mr Mussolini and the National Socialists sought and failed to establish that reality across borders by the only means available at the time – military expansionism.

        But here we are some 70 years down the track and we’ve got a resurgence in the form of a wave of fairly innocuous acronyms purporting trade deals that are actually corporate power grabs.

        But sure. Read the text.

        • weka 7.2.1.1

          ok, that needs to be in a post.

          I’ve been thinking along similar lines but for different reasons. Someone commented on Key not minding that one of his senior MPs (Collins) is being sponsored by a car company, and I thought it’s just blatant now, the culture has been shifted, this is normal.

          There is no such thing as integrity and in a few terms National have dismantled from politics and parliament something intangible but incredibly important for the functioning of a relatively non-corrupt society. These shifts in culture are insidious and we’re going to wake up in another decade and go wtf happened? By that time there will be a big chunk of the population who like the corruption and the privilege it affords them, and they’ll be happy for whatever force is needed to maintain the status quo.

          It’s nothing we can fight against ordinarily, because it’s slippery and incremental and we have no parliamentary opposition offering an alternative. But we should be very very concerned and taking action now. Of course this is just the local playing out of the same agenda attached to such global things as the TPP.

  8. Karen 8

    Thanks for this post, Mickey. Good summary of the actual situation rather than the ill-informed accusations that Labour has sold out.

    There is no question that Little will be having a difficult time keeping the caucus together at the moment, but IMO he is handling it reasonably well. Until the detail of the TPPA agreement is known they cannot be definitive about what their response will be. There are certainly some in Labour like Goff who would just support the TPPA, but hopefully he no longer has the influence he once had with the caucus.

    James Shaw seems to have been careful to just keep pointing out that it appears to be a poor deal and has not said anything definitive about what the Green party will do once it has been signed.

  9. Colonial Viper 9

    I would like to think that talk of Labour flouting the treaty rather than opposing it are premature. We need to see the final form of the Treaty and then see what Labour’s position is before we can pass judgment.

    Actually no.

    We pass judgement now and then we pour pressure on Labour to make the right decision. We don’t wait until Labour comes up with its final and inevitably pro-TPPA position.

    The clue as to Labour’s true attitude to the TPPA is here:

    Patiently, Little explained that the deal is done – and whether Labour “supports” it or not, is irrelevant at this point.

    That is: why bother to be an Opposition at all? Does Little even understand that the deal is NOT done?

    And this:

    I would like to think that talk of Labour flouting the treaty rather than opposing it are premature.

    This will have been a considered and deliberate spin line via that Labour Leaders office and staff. Little will not have come up with this term or concept of “flouting” an international agreement off the cuff or on the spur of the moment.

    Lastly:

    We know the contents of several key chapters of the TPP thanks to leaks. The insidious pro-corporate anti-sovereignty nature of the TPP is bloody obvious. Is it really “appropriate” for Labour to still leave the door open to keeping the TPP?

    What more does Labour need to get clear on before “finalising” its position???

    • Bill 9.1

      Positions shift when idols speak… 😉

    • Chooky 9.2

      +100 CV

    • mickysavage 9.3

      But then we get criticised for opposing something the details of which we do not know. I don’t see why waiting a couple of weeks is such a bad thing.

      • Colonial Viper 9.3.1

        Labour could get some guts and push back against the criticism. Assert that Labour believes it is unacceptable that trans-national corporations are being given the rights to sue the government. Mention that an agreement negotiated in secrecy from Parliament but where corporate representatives have full access is utterly undemocratic. Remind the public that NZ’s IT industry is dead set against the patents and copyright provisions in the TPP.

        Remind the MSM that Labour is sticking by its bottom lines come thick or thin.

        Is any of this really that hard?

        • Kiwiri 9.3.1.1

          ‘Cut the crap’ was Andrew Little’s high point, and indeed, turning point.

          To Labour Caucus 2015: con te partirò.

  10. Colonial Viper 10

    Basically I see a lot of people willing to give Labour the benefit of the doubt on the TPP. Just like on their change in stance on the 90 day right to fire. Their support of Key’s anti-terror and spying bill. Voting for National’s social welfare amendment legislation.

    Labour’s preoccupation with acting like the “Government in Waiting” instead of being the gutsy “cut the crap” Opposition is consistently telling in the polls and IMO will also be telling in the poll which counts in 2017.

  11. Tautoko Mangō Mata 11

    A good article, Mickey.

    National will commit NZ to the DEAD RAT Agreement.
    ( African proverb: Who takes a hut, also takes the rats and cockroaches.)
    We need to direct our anger at National at this point.
    National are selling us out.
    National are keeping the fishhooks secret.
    National are deflecting by using MSM , and bashing Labour and Jane Kelsey.
    Let’s not take our anger and concern out on Labour prematurely because this is EXACTLY what MH and National want. Let’s not get sucked in, least of all to National.
    (There will be time enough to throw the spears at Labour if necessary once the text is out. Labour’s response will need to be clear cut, unambiguous and it will determine their vote in the next election, so it better be damn good. If good Labour policy cannot be implemented because of the TPPA then the deal will need to be terminated IMHO.)

    • Colonial Viper 11.1

      If Labour does not represent the Left’s strident opposition to this DEAD RAT agreement, but instead has stated it wants to find out MORE about the DEAD RAT agreement first, what are we left with?

      There will be time enough to throw the spears at Labour if necessary once the text is out.

      This is not the way to manage the Labour Party.

      Pressure and acid need to go on Labour NOW to do the right thing. There is more than enough material known now about the ISDS, intellectual property, big pharma provisions of the TPP to bin the agreement.

      The question is why Labour is leaving the door open to keeping the TPP, and who it thinks it is serving in doing so.

      • Chooky 11.1.1

        on the best case scenario, as put in the Post,…maybe Little is stalling for time:

        1.) to mop up any opposition from within Labour from those who want the TPP

        2.) to make Labour’s eventual total opposition to the TPP , appear to the general NZ public, to be considered and set in concrete.

        • Chooky 11.1.1.1

          …also he may be hoping the TPP will be rejected by the USA or other countries first

          …whatever Labour’s reasons for not rejecting the TPP out of hand as soon as it was signed by jonkey nactional …it still looks like prevarication

          thus far NZF is the only Party that has come out and said it would reject the TPP if it were in government

          • Blue Boy 11.1.1.1.1

            Blue Boy this song is for YOU.

            You change your mind
            Like a girl changes clothes
            Yeah you, PMS
            Like a b*tch
            I would know

            And you over think
            Always speak
            Cryptically

            I should know
            That you’re no good for me

            ‘Cause you’re hot then you’re cold
            You’re yes then you’re no
            You’re in then you’re out
            You’re up then you’re down
            You’re wrong when it’s right
            It’s black and it’s white
            We fight, we break up
            We kiss, we make up
            (You) You don’t really want to stay, no
            (You) But you don’t really want to go-o
            You’re hot then you’re cold
            You’re yes then you’re no
            You’re in then you’re out
            You’re up then you’re down

            We used to be
            Just like twins
            So in sync
            The same energy
            Now’s a dead battery
            Used to laugh bout nothing
            Now you’re plain boring

            I should know that
            You’re not gonna change

            ‘Cause you’re hot then you’re cold
            You’re yes then you’re no
            You’re in then you’re out
            You’re up then you’re down
            You’re wrong when it’s right
            It’s black and it’s white
            We fight, we break up
            We kiss, we make up
            (You) You don’t really want to stay, no
            (You) But you don’t really want to go-o
            You’re hot then you’re cold
            You’re yes then you’re no
            You’re in then you’re out
            You’re up then you’re down

            Someone call the doctor
            Got a case of a love bi-polar
            Stuck on a roller coaster
            Can’t get off this ride

            You change your mind
            Like a girl changes clothes

            ‘Cause you’re hot then you’re cold
            You’re yes then you’re no
            You’re in then you’re out
            You’re up then you’re down
            You’re wrong when it’s right
            It’s black and it’s white
            We fight, we break up
            We kiss, we make up
            You’re hot then you’re cold
            You’re yes then you’re no
            You’re in then you’re out
            You’re up then you’re down
            You’re wrong when it’s right
            It’s black and it’s white
            We fight, we break up
            We kiss, we make up
            (You) You don’t really want to stay, no
            (You) But you don’t really want to go-o
            You’re hot then you’re cold
            You’re yes then you’re no
            You’re in then you’re out
            You’re up then you’re down, down.

            Read more: Katy Perry – Hot N Cold Lyrics | MetroLyrics

  12. weka 12

    Patiently, Little explained that the deal is done – and whether Labour “supports” it or not, is irrelevant at this point.

    Like CV, I think this is a critical problem. Little thinks it doesn’t matter, but many lefties do. We want Labour to at the least stick to its original position.

    It doesn’t matter whether Labour knows what is in the deal or not, because that’s the position they’ve always been in. So why not continue to say that they will oppose the TPP unless these 5 bottoms lines are met? That’s all they had to do until they see the full text. Why all of a sudden start to change the message now?

    There are two things going on here. One is whether Labour are now wobbling on the TPP and will in fact go back on what they’ve said previously. There is no way to know that at this stage, but the point is that many people already don’t trust Labour and here is another test they are failing. It’s not going to work to say, ‘oh trust us because we’re Labour and we’re saying it’s ok’. We are well past that point.

    The other is that irrespective of Labour’s position on the TPP they’ve yet again come across as not knowing what they are doing, or being wishy washy, or worse. That has nothing to do with Hooton, or DP (although obviously they will make it worse). It’s that Labour’s prime task at the moment is present as credible, and they haven’t on this issue.

    • Sacha 12.1

      “So why not continue to say that they will oppose the TPP unless these 5 bottoms lines are met? That’s all they had to do until they see the full text. Why all of a sudden start to change the message now?”

      I welcome anyone explaining that, because I sure can’t see the reasoning.

      • weka 12.1.1

        It really goes to the heart of the matter. Their actions have left many feeling like something dodgy is going on, but it could just be Labour making a mess of their communications again and/or not knowing where they stand on things. Either way, it’s not good.

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1

          The simplest and clearest explanation is that there are significant splits in caucus with some MPs very pro-TPP and some anti-TPP, and Little having to reconcile the two in public statements via balancing on the head of a pin.

  13. red-blooded 13

    The NACTs are going to sign this deal – all the talk of it being “scrutinised” by the cabinet is pathetic when the only choices are “Yes” or “No” and they’ve already said that it’s going to be “Yes”. Labour wasn’t in government when the deal got big; they didn’t get to attempt to negotiate the terms, and they’re not in government now, so they don’t get to decide whether or not to sign. They can’t realistically walk away from the deal when (oh, when?) they are next in power, and the people who are slinging mud at them for being “weak” need to wake up to the reality that NZ is a tiny nation that depends on international treaties for its well-being and that this deal was never going to be dominated by our priorities.

    The only treaties I can think of that we have disrupted are the Gleneagles Agreement (against sporting contact with apartheid-era South Africa) and ANZUS. Flouting Gleneagles was shameful, pandering to the selfish mob who cared more about rugby and the thrill of the game than human rights and ending the blot on humanity that was apartheid. We were widely (and rightly) condemned for it and it was only the passion of the protesters on the streets who helped to save NZ from being seen as a racist, mindless backwater. As for ANZUS; we didn’t actually break the terms of that treaty. The US took offence at our expression of sovereignty, but they were perfectly welcome to come and call if they assured us that their vessels were not nuclear-powered or armed. They were the ones who broke the treaty and walked away. Even so, we have had to work long and hard (and swallow a few dead rats) in order to weasel our way back up to “good friend” status. Why we bothered is another topic worth debate, but both Labour and National governments have seen it as a priority.

    If we signed TPPA and then walked away, we’d have significant problems dealing with international institutions and trading partners. That doesn’t meant that Labour shouldn’t be clear about which aspects of the treaty are worth supporting and which ones need to be raised for renegotiation, but unless there’s something absolutely appalling in the agreement, then I really don’t see how an incoming government can opt out without significant consequences.

    I know this isn’t going to be a popular position with people on this site, but I think it’s where Labour is likely to end up. They don’t have much room to move. They may have had different priorities and employed different tactics if they had been negotiating the agreement, but they weren’t, and they’ll have to deal with something that’s already in place whenever they next get in.

    • Colonial Viper 13.1

      Yep, Labour is looking pretty much the same as National with regards to the loss of NZ sovereignty and sustainable economic options via the TPP. Even less reason for the public to vote for change in 2017.

    • weka 13.2

      “but unless there’s something absolutely appalling in the agreement”

      That’s the point. The TPP is absolutely appalling, fullstop.

      What exactly would happen were a subsequent government to pull out on the grounds that the TPP was not manageable according to the needs of NZ society? Why is that worse than a Labour-led govt renegotiating or renegging on specific aspects?

      • Bill 13.2.1

        What exactly would happen were a…

        The inclusion of BIT and ISDS might offer a bit of a clue. Since I don’t know all the levers international institutions have at their disposal, I’m speculating. But if a future NZ government signaled its intent to walk away, then doubtless a suite of ISDS could land on the pretext that future profits were being expropriated.

        Apparently, each case costs about US$8 million to defend.

        Anyway, some tens or maybe hundreds of millions of dollars in fines later, and should the government continue on its course and also refuse to pay the fines, then a short sharp run on the currency and or a precipitous credit downgrade, would likely result in the dollar amount of any fine being surpassed.

        For your ‘entertainment’, here’s a list claiming to be the top 10 most pernicious ISDS lawsuits

        • weka 13.2.1.1

          A couple of questions. What’s the earliest date that the TPP takes effect from?

          Are you sure that the ISDS covers future investment profits as opposed to future profits from investments made under the TPP at the time it was in force?

          • Bill 13.2.1.1.1

            Question 1. Dunno. Sometime after passing through US Congress?

            Question 2. If I understand the question, then both.

            btw. I quickly read through that linked document with the opt out clause. I can’t see it having any relevance to any TTP insofar as it’s a million light years away from any likely TPP. It’s all about actual trade and ‘cooperation’ and ‘consultation’ with disputes referencing the WTO and whole chapters on setting tribunals and their procedures.

            I’d suggest that bar the name, nothing of that document has survived.

            • weka 13.2.1.1.1.1

              I thought it was going to take a few years to get up and running. Which doesn’t leave a lot of time between that and an incoming govt that might have publicly declared its intention to withdraw.

              “Question 2. If I understand the question, then both.”

              So a corporation could take NZ through an ISDS on the basis that it had been part of the TPP at some time in the past despite that corporation never having invested during the time that NZ was in the TPP? Do you have a reference for that?

              • Bill

                No investment = no ISDS. I didn’t get my head around your question.

                • weka

                  Ok, hypothetically then, if the TPP gets finalised in 18 months we’re 6 months out from an election. At that point both Labour and the GP could have been saying for 18 months that were they to form govt they would withdraw from the TPP. Anyone that chooses to invest in the subsequent 6 months (pre-election and then the 6 month post election withdrawal period) does do knowing that NZ’s involvement is going to change substantially. That’s true even if L/G simply say that they oppose NZ being part of the TPP and will do everything they can to remove us.

                  Why would someone invest based on TPP agreements under those conditions?

                  edit, basically I’m challenging the TINA line that everyone is running (left and right). Saying that the rest of the world are bullies who will beat us up may be true, but it might not be the whole story either. I’m getting very curious about why there is virtually no discussion on this.

                  • Bill

                    Litigious bastards will be litigious bastards Weka. If they think they can successfully argue (and remember, it’s just between them and their mates) that the government signed up to ‘x, y and z’ and the government is now not honouring ‘x,y and z’, then they will.

                    Maybe it’s important to note that it’s ‘the NZ government’ that signs up and not (as far as the parties are concerned) the ‘National government’ or a ‘Labour government’. So from that perspective, the NZ government signed up and then the NZ government welched and ISDSs begin to fall from the sky.

                    Anyway, the ‘best bit’ as far as I’m concerned is that one WTO and two Yale studies, plus one other that I can’t remember, show that not signing a BIT, or an Agreement with a BIT Clause, has no effect whatsoever on levels of direct foreign investment. Now that appeared to be what Helen Clark didn’t get – or didn’t want to acknowledge – when she was on about how NZ had to be at the table.

                    • weka

                      Litigious bastards might be litigious bastards but greedy bastards are going to invest their money where its going to give the best return. A state that is going to withdraw from the TPP and force them into forcing litigation still doesn’t sound like a good way to make money.

                      If you mean that this isn’t primarily about making money but about controlling NZ for other means (eg access to resources over time), that’s perhaps a different thing, but I’m still not convinced that there is that degree of intent eg that NZ would be punished to show it that it has to toe the line.

                    • Bill

                      In response to your first paragraph.

                      Force them into arbitration you say. Are you kidding? They (the corporations) are going to be looking for every opportunity to hit arbitration. It’s easy money/ money for nix.

                      Governments meantime, are going to bending over backwards to not wind up there. That means new environmental legislation getting kicked into the long grass. It means new health and safety legislation getting kicked into the long grass.

                      And it also, inevitably, means legislation around animal welfare or food safety and what not getting whittled away to re-establish a level competitive playing field with those imports coming in off the back of cheaper, more lax compliance regimes. For example, US animal welfare is apparently atrocious and chicken merely needs doused in chlorine at the point of packaging to comply with food safety standards. If NZ has a more robust and expensive regime including animal welfare provisions and food production standards, it’s producers go out of business due to associated costs.

                      If you mean that this isn’t primarily about making money but about controlling NZ for other means…

                      No, it’s all about making money through establishing procedures and systems that make the making of that money easy.

                    • weka

                      Force them into arbitration you say. Are you kidding? They (the corporations) are going to be looking for every opportunity to hit arbitration. It’s easy money/ money for nix.

                      The wiki page on ISDS has four examples, three of which went against the corporations and one that was settled without a ruling. Not saying that’s the norm (and it looks odd that the page has that ratio), but yet not willing to accept that it’s as blanket and fait accompli as you suggest.

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Investor-state_dispute_settlement

                      Plus bear in mind this is a hypothetical scenario where NZ has a left wing govt that pulls out of the TPP and might refuse to pay out on ISDS claims.

                    • Bill

                      It’s always a corporate body that applies for a ISDS. The three members who will make the decision are drawn from the corporate world. There is no civil representation. They can be and are held in secret. There is no right of access to the evidence. There is no right to access to deliberations. There is no need for the deliberations to take any other field of law into account (national/environmental/international) And so on and so on.

                      If people want to imagine that can make for an impartial settlement regime, then I’d guess they’d see nothing wrong with ‘Tony and the boys’ dispensing justice on ‘their patch’ either.

                      If a future government refused to pay fines handed down from a tranche of ISDS hearings, then you’re possibly in the territory of debt default and any number of ‘corrective’ measures being open and on the table. A run on the currency anyone? A fucked out credit rating anyone? Any one of a number of measures I can’t imagine due to not knowing the levers of power available at that level of the global financial/economic system?

                    • weka

                      Not sure why you’ve said the first two paragraphs, doesn’t really apply to what I am saying (or thinking).

                      If a future government refused to pay fines handed down from a ISDS hearing, then you’re possibly in the territory of debt default and any number of ‘corrective’ measures being open and on the table. A run on the currency anyone? A fucked out credit rating anyone? Any one of a number of measures I can’t imagine due to not knowing the levers of power available at that level of the global financial/economic system?

                      Possibly, but without measured discussion in it we will never know.

                    • Bill

                      The first two paras are because you seemed to imply that arbitration might actually be kind of reasonable and fair.

                      edit. I’m failing to understand your last sentence there. Are you suggesting that through discussion we could arrive at a position where we could say with a degree of certainty how international financial institutions would react to a country withdrawing from TPP, refusing to pay ISDS monies and in doing so threatening their new found hegemony? They’ll react badly – viciously.

                    • weka

                      “The first two paras are because you seemed to imply that arbitration might actually be kind of reasonable and fair.”

                      That’s not what I was meaning. I’ve given some examples of where the ISDS didn’t go in favour of the corporation, so all I’m saying is that it may not be as bleak as you believe.

                      edit. I’m failing to understand your last sentence there. Are you suggesting that through discussion we could arrive at a position where we could say with a degree of certainty how international financial institutions would react to a country withdrawing from TPP, refusing to pay ISDS monies and in doing so threatening their new found hegemony? They’ll react badly – viciously.

                      So we’re all doomed? I’d a like a bit more nuance to the story. At the moment there’s basically two lines. One is the neoliberal one (TINA), the other is we’re fucked. I think looking at what ‘react badly’ means in real terms would be useful.

                    • Matthew Hooton

                      Bill, the ISDS processes will be held in public, and all evidence etc will be public. This is very clear from the detailed summary material released by the 12 governments.

                  • Matthew Hooton

                    You are absolutely right. There would be nothing wrong with Labour saying it would pull out of the TPP if it wins the next election. The deal specifically allows for it. Pulling out of treaties is not a huge deal. Canada pulled out of Kyoto. What Labour couldn’t or shouldn’t say is “we will stay in TPP but deliberately legislate against it”. That is an appalling position for any country to take on any matter.

                    • weka

                      “The deal specifically allows for it.”

                      Have you seen the actual deal then Matthew?

                    • Bill

                      Tell me Matthew. What were the legally binding provisions of Kyoto? What institutions or procedures were in place that could enforce compliance? Where were the non-state actors? What room existed for any non-state actor extracting their ‘pound of flesh’ from any government withdrawing?

                      Comparing Kyoto to TTIP or the TPP is fucking astonishingly disingenuous – even for you.

                    • Matthew Hooton

                      In reply to your question “have I seen it” the answer is no. But the original TPP has article 20.8, Groser says the six month provision is still there, the USTR summary refers to it, and the text is coming out soon so I don’t think it is likely everyone is lying.

                    • weka

                      There could very well be omissions though.

                      What do you think the consequences would be?

                    • Matthew Hooton

                      Bill, the compliance and enforcement rules for Kyoto are summarised here: http://unfccc.int/kyoto_protocol/compliance/items/3024.php

        • Melb 13.2.1.2

          I started reading the article you linked. Looked up the result of the first case. Result – the Loewen Group was denied the right to pursue ISDS arbitration. A pretty rubbish article on the “pernicious lawsuits” when the first example listed was the company losing pretty handily.

          http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB105666565797645300

          The second one sounds so scary. Canada wants to ban toxic waste exports, who could be against that?! But reading through the documents of the case it appears that the decision to close the border was based upon protectionist reasons, to help Canada’s small but growing PCB disposal industry, rather than environmental ones.

          http://www.international.gc.ca/trade-agreements-accords-commerciaux/topics-domaines/disp-diff/SDM.aspx?lang=eng

          So good scaremongering article, but quite rubbish when getting into the nitty gritty of things.

          Here is a list of 15 countries that we have signed trade agreements with that has ISDS clauses. Tell me, how many ISDS lawsuits has NZ been hit with over the years?

          http://www.bellgully.co.nz/resources/resource.04037.asp

      • Tracey 13.2.2

        BUT Labour can’t stop the agreement being ratified by National. So in that sense he is right that it’s a done deal. So that is not where his position needs to be, it needs to be on what they will do when/if back in power? What areas ift considers important enough to fight against proposed legislation to enact the provisions of TPP?

        • weka 13.2.2.1

          That would make sense if it weren’t for the fact that many people don’t trust Labour. I don’t. So I’m not giving them the benefit of the doubt when they can’t say “we oppose the TPP”. They’re not in any different position than they were last month, so why change the message now?

          I agree the future questions are important too, but they can still be worked through from a position of opposition.

          • Colonial Viper 13.2.2.1.1

            Surely these are the basics of political opposition in a Westminster system. Labour can’t stop a majority National Government from doing *anything* but what does it tell the electorate when the party gives up on providing principled and rhetorical opposition?

            • weka 13.2.2.1.1.1

              yes, very odd. Maybe they’re trying to tell the electorate that they’ve moved on :-/

    • Bill 13.3

      but unless there’s something absolutely appalling in the agreement…

      Bilateral Investment Treaty (embedded) and Investor State Dispute Settlements – both absolutely bloody appalling. Not that they allow for any ‘walking away’ – quite the opposite.

      Labour should have been vociferously opposed to the TPP being signed. It’s that simple. It’s called being principled.

      • weka 13.3.1

        Not that they allow for any ‘walking away’ – quite the opposite.

        Article 20.8: Withdrawal

        Any Party may withdraw from this Agreement. Such withdrawal shall take effect upon the expiration of six months from the date on which written notice of withdrawal is received by the Depositary. If a Party withdraws, the Agreement shall remain in force for the remaining Parties.

        http://mfat.govt.nz/downloads/trade-agreement/transpacific/main-agreement.pdf

        That’s an older document (2005 according to Hooton), and I haven’t read the whole thing to see if there are overt penalties to withdrawing, but on the face of it it appears to be saying that parties can withdraw.

        It would be good if someone can refute that if it’s not true.

        • Bill 13.3.1.1

          Even if that remains the case, the possible repercussions outlined above (13.2.1) could still land in the intervening six months.

          • weka 13.3.1.1.1

            right, so we might have to pay penalties for leaving via ISDS.

            • Bill 13.3.1.1.1.1

              Yeah…kinda like – “Sure you can leave the gang, but first….” (off stage noises of baseball bats thwacking bruised flesh and screaming)

              • weka

                so this idea that NZ couldn’t withdraw doesn’t appear to be true.

                • Bill

                  It’s no more untrue than claiming that someone couldn’t jump off a 100 foot cliff. Both are possible. Both are likely to have serious repercussions or consequences though.

                  edit. Bad analogy, because in terms of the TPP, that was jumping from a 50 foot cliff to get to the position of contemplating the 100 foot cliff 😉

                  • weka

                    Everyone seems to be assuming that NZ couldn’t leave the TPP. I’ve not seen the debate on why that is, other than people saying it would be terrible. We don’t know if it’s jumping off a 100 foot cliff, or finding the way down the 100 foot cliff that allows us to survive. Or at least I don’t, and I haven’t seen anything convincing, yet, that says the only way down is to jump. I’m open to being wrong, but most of the people saying it can’t be done are neoliberals 😉

                    • Bill

                      The whole point of embedding those BITs (bilateral investment treaties) is to lock governments in and ensure they get on with implementing the ‘agreement’ in a timely manner. How? Well, they facilitate the ISDS (investor state disputes settlements)…the stick that stops any funny thoughts gaining traction.

                      Just logically, if there was a ‘get out’ clause, then the BITs wouldn’t be in there – the two things are completely contradictory.

                      But that doesn’t stop NZ leaving any more than (say) various ‘conventions’ stopped Argentina reneging on its international debts. But there will be consequences…eg, wrecked credit rating, decimated currency. And even if there was a six months notice period (and given the presence of BITs, it just doesn’t make any sense for there to be one) then since the ISDS decide arbitrary dollar amounts on rulings and come from a select group of employees who all work for major legal firms with portfolios full of corporates who would be looking to further or defend their interests through using the ISDS…

                      Look, essentially, it really is like a gang. The the only painless way out is to not get in in the first place.

                    • weka

                      sure, but I’m not saying it would be painless. I’m putting up a counter to the received wisdom that we have no choice here.

                      Not sure that withdrawing from the TPP would result in the same actions as defaulting on international loans.

            • Matthew Hooton 13.3.1.1.1.2

              You are taking about a world where we lose an ISDS case, have to pay damages, but instead withdraw. I can’t see how we could be forced to pay the damages. There are certainly no penalties for withdrawing (except the other countries obviously no longer have to keep their commitments to us).

              • Tracey

                As a lobbyist you are being disingenuous. You know that Bills can be stopped or seriously rewritten with the right kind of lobby pressure. And if a lobby group could threaten to sue a government, that would make many politicians back down.

        • Tracey 13.3.1.2

          Hooton was VERY adamant that clause is in. He wouldn’t be SO adamant unless he knew (which is a breach of the privacy provisions ). Or Hooton is lying to feed his meme?

          • weka 13.3.1.2.1

            given he got caught lying on RNZ this morning, I’ll take it as part of the spin until we see the final document (and even than we will never know what he’s had access to)

    • Lara 13.4

      “They can’t realistically walk away from the deal”

      I don’t think that’s true.

      AFAIK (according to Grosser) any government now or in NZ’s future may withdraw from the treaty with 6 months notice.

      If it gives us little benefits and major problems then that would be the only thing to do.

      From what’s been leaked so far it’s not looking good.

      • Bill 13.4.1

        Nice link.

        Tim Groser: Now we’re going to find out if I’m lying through my teeth. Do you really think I’d be reckless enough to make these statements if I thought I was going to be subsequently exposed?

        Me: Yes.

        I mean, lets face it, all Timmy boy (aged 65) has to do is leave politics within a year or two and he’s in the clear. Which makes my answer ‘no’, if I think about it. 😉

        • weka 13.4.1.1

          I don’t trust him either, but that doesn’t mean that there is no way out. It seems weird to me that there is so little discussion about this. It’s all received wisdom.

          • Matthew Hooton 13.4.1.1.1

            There is not much discussion about it, I think, because it is so obvious. Of course a country can pull out of a treaty. They almost always outline the procedures for withdrawal. In the case of the existing TPP it is 6 months, no questions asked (see article 20.8 athttp://www.mfat.govt.nz/downloads/trade-agreement/transpacific/main-agreement.pdf). The minister has said this provision remains. It would seem extremely reckless for him to be lying. Maybe he is. We will soon know. One treaty I am aware of that doesn’t have a withdrawal procedure is the Euro treaty, which makes the Greece situation so difficult. No one knows if or how Greece could withdraw or be ejected.

            • weka 13.4.1.1.1.1

              Assuming that your link (which is very old) is still relevant, it’s the consequences of withdrawing that aren’t clear. And probably won’t be until the deal is public.

              If it were as simple as you just implied why is everyone saying it’s not? Besides, you speak with a forked tongue, so why would we take your word for it? If you know something specific, you could just post that.

              • Matthew Hooton

                It’s old in terms of when it was negotiated but still current – it’s the terms of the existing P4 TPP from which the current deal developed.

              • Lara

                “you speak with a forked tongue”

                Crikey. That’s rather rude.

                I said exactly what I meant to say. That AFAIK there is a withdrawal option. That is all.

                And I didn’t expect anyone to take MY word for it, that’s why I posted a link! Grosser said it, not me, and it was duly reported in the MSM.

                My argument is simple. If the TPPA turns out to be horribly expensive and damaging for NZ (in terms of being sued in Investor State Dispute Tribunals and not being able to pass legislation to protect our environment, property rights or employment rights among other things) and the benefits from increased trade are minimal, then it seems pretty obvious to me that if costs outweigh benefits we would be better off withdrawing.

                And I do find it rather interesting that many commentators on this issue in NZ are insisting that withdrawal would be too damaging to NZ. Without even seeing the full document!

                • weka

                  The forked tongue comment was for Matthew (the man whose career is based around moving NZ to the far right, whose job it is to spin so up is down and left is right, and who is at least knee deep in Dirty Politics).

                  And I do find it rather interesting that many commentators on this issue in NZ are insisting that withdrawal would be too damaging to NZ. Without even seeing the full document!

                  I agree. At the least I would like to see this debated more fully. For instance Labour have said they couldn’t pull out. What is it that makes them say that? Specifically. We’re still not being told.

                  On the other hand, I don’t take Groser or Hooton’s information at face value, because both have extremely strong vested interests in the TPP going ahead and I doubt that they can be trusted. Hooton says Groser wouldn’t outright lie (despite the outright lies that regularly come out of the National govt), but it’s possible to mislead without outright lying and I think both are capable of that.

            • Bill 13.4.1.1.1.2

              No questions asked works just fine when you can throw up the BITS clause and rain ISDIs down on the departing governments head. Very much like any gang member can just leave then. The small matter of leaving via a long hospital stay or whatever doesn’t mean the gang member can’t leave, right? It’s simple. He just says “I’m out”.

            • Pat 13.4.1.1.1.3

              Interesting that you should mention the lack of withdrawal procedure from Euro currency union….although there is no prescribed mechanism nor is there any prescribed penalty…..and yet we saw the resulting events when it was even contemplated…are we to believe the US (and as we know the US corporates are the drivers) will be any more accommodating? I would suggest the US (corporates) have shown over the years that they play hardball far better(?) than the EU.

              • Matthew Hooton

                The thing about the Euro is that it was assumed countries were promising never to leave. For TPP, no such promise is made and how you withdraw is clear.

                • Pat

                  …are we to believe the US (and as we know the US corporates are the drivers) will be any more accommodating?

                  I’ll take it then that your position as stated last week that we will never attempt to leave TPP (should it proceed) remains unchanged

                  • Matthew Hooton

                    Yep. We will never leave because it will be so overwhelmingly and obviously beneficial to us. So leaving would harm us. But we can withdraw if we want, or if I am wrong.

                    I don’t know what you mean by “accommodating”. No one would care less if we pulled out.

                    • Pat

                      “don’t know what you mean by “accommodating”. No one would care less if we pulled out.”

                      continuing with the Euro theme why would anyone care less if Greece left the Euro?

                    • Bill

                      We will never leave because it will be so overwhelmingly and obviously beneficial to us.

                      Care to link to the modeling that shows a beneficial result?

                    • Tracey

                      so overwhelmingly and obviously beneficial that Groser couldn’t answer many questions posed by Little and relies on selective “Fact sheets” to drip selected figures to the public. And of course, soomeone/s are relying on you to do your bit prior to the detail being made public… none of which so far is base don facts.

                      By stating no one would care if we pulled out you are affirming that we essentially had no bargaining position and so did not need the ridiculous secrecy Groser and Key demanded.

                • Pat

                  heard you discussing TPP onRNZ today….how many straws did you end up with?

  14. Colonial Viper 14

    Basically we have a Labour Party which has no ability/will/intention/competence of holding a firm line in restraining transnational corporate and banking power.

    This is what I was pointing to with my post “bottom lines as weak as tissue paper.”

  15. red-blooded 15

    I think the problem with the idea of withdrawing is that the benefits are, on the whole, privatised (exporters, their employees etc) while the costs and risks are mostly collective (loss of sovereignty, the state being sued by private companies etc). Once we’re signed up, there will be loud voices complaining if their benefits are put at risk by withdrawal, and the while people might not like the negative impacts on the state, they’re felt at a more abstract level and are harder to quantify. Besides, just because it says in the rules that you don’t have to keep playing, that doesn’t meant that it doesn’t alter your relationship with the rest of the team and that you keep on being invited to team functions. (A clumsy metaphor, but I’m talking about the “me too” drive of a little country that feels dependent on others in lots of ways.)

    Hey, I’m not a fan of the TPPA, but I’m making a prediction that we won’t pull out and I guess I can understand why. Once we’re signed up (and we will be) it’d be very hard for a new government to pull the plug. And going to an election with this as a plan would be well nigh impossible, unless there was already been some public, quantifiable harm that people could use to point out the damages that could occur under the agreement. There’d be a lot of voices talking up increased trade in whatever area they care about, and while politically engaged people may care about issues like sovereignty, there’s not much evidence that they play a big role in the voting decisions of the majority. The “save our assets” campaign was heartfelt, but people went ahead and ticked National, even if they said in opinion polls that they were against asset sales…

    • Colonial Viper 15.1

      people were against asset sales, but still preferred National to Labour. Thats how shit shape they thought Labour was in.

    • Colonial Viper 15.2

      is it too much to ask for an Opposition that is willing to cut the crap, and which isnt overawed by power politics?

    • Karen 15.3

      +1 Red-Blooded at 13 +15.

      I am totally opposed to the TPP but I want to see exactly what is in it before deciding whether, once National have signed it, it would be feasible or economically advisable for a future government to withdraw from it.

      I am still hoping the Americans cannot get it approved and it collapses, but if this doesn’t happen there is nothing any opposition party can do to stop National signing it. Slagging off Labour does not seem to be a productive way of opposing the TPPA.

      • Colonial Viper 15.3.1

        I am totally opposed to the TPP but I want to see exactly what is in it before deciding whether, once National have signed it, it would be feasible or economically advisable for a future government to withdraw from it.

        So all the corporates and banksters need to do is make it sufficiently costly and onerous for NZ to withdraw and we’ll make the right decision to stay in it.

        Great. They can certainly do that.

        • Karen 15.3.1.1

          The point is that I don’t know what the costs are for withdrawing and neither do you. Demanding a future government should promise to pull out without knowing the costs and options of doing so seems stupid to me.

          • Bill 15.3.1.1.1

            Karen. Can I ask that you go back up-thread to comment 13.2.1 The costs will land regardless of any six month notification.

            Can I then ask that you read the comment 15.4 for the possible cost of signing up or staying in?

            What you should be able to surmise is that in both instances the only winners are corporations. No nation state can win in this game. Even the US winds up with a mixed bag (for the TTIP) when the fairly well regarded UN Policy Model is used to crunch the data.

            • Karen 15.3.1.1.1.1

              I agree with you Bill about the big corporations being the only winners.

              This is why I have been against the TPPA ever since I found out about it a few years ago. I still think it will be a disaster for NZ and I hope opposition in the USA means it falls over.

              My point is that I don’t believe Labour, or the Greens for that matter, can make any definitive decisions about the best approach until they know what the costs will be for any action they take. Labour also has the problem of a number within its caucus who will be pro TPP in spite of the obvious flaws and this is a situation Hooton is trying to exploit in order to take the heat off National. It seems to be working.

              • Bill

                I can agree with that. But I think most of the criticism or flak flying Labour’s way is because they haven’t been solidly opposing any agreement (either as a matter of principle, or as a display of solidarity with the public weal, or even in terms of just exhibiting a little intelligence) rather than for them being unsure of possible future action.

    • Bill 15.4

      Red Blooded mentions costs and risks. How’s about…

      lower labour share of gdp
      all regulatory frameworks and standards proceed towards the lowest common denominator.
      government tax take declines
      unemployment rises
      financial instability increases.

      Those are the conclusions for the TTIP when the data used to sell the deal was put through the UN Policy Model. Prior to that, scenarios were very much akin to what we’re being told about the TPP. Now, what I don’t know is if the TPP modeling was done using the same optimistic (and unrealistic) model that was used for the TTIP. Given the similar nature of the agreements and the similar forecasts though, I suspect so.

    • Tracey 15.5

      Matthew knows that if we pulled out under Labour there would be HOWLS of derision and cries of a kind Nationalisation /Communist? etc… And he would be leading the chorus

      • Matthew Hooton 15.5.1

        Yes, I would. But that is not to say Labour couldn’t pull out. What I might say should surely not impact their decisions on this?

        • Tracey 15.5.1.1

          Oh i agree that you are not that important but you and your pals know how to make yourselves seem important. Manipulation and all that.

          How would you have stopped you from abusing the OIA Matthew and will you lead the call for the law change you suggest would work to stop people like you abusing it?

  16. ianmac 16

    Well said Mickysavage.
    And the tough talk from some here at the Standard are doing Key’s dirty work for him. I cannot believe that anyone can state an unequivocal position until we know what the content is. And even then the complexity of the TPP will take ages to untangle. And while the experts are untangling, guess what the experts in Key’s office will be doing? Yep. Deflect. Redirect. Misquote. Lie. So that the issues will get buried. (Guess what their planners are setting up right now?)
    Flags? Easy to understand. But largely unimportant.
    TPP? Complex. Difficult to present issues in a digestible form. Real war yet to be fought and like a wild bush fire there will be so many fronts that ordinary folk will shrug and stick to the flag debate.

    • maui 16.1

      Two other opposition parties managed to make a stand on the tpp and stick to it. We’re still waiting to see what Labour stands for here. It could end up that they give tacit support with conditions, in which case voters are left confused on what Labour is all about.

  17. The Chairman 17

    Labour were attempting to play both sides. And in doing so, have created the mess they now face.

    First off, Labour announced their five non-negotiable bottom lines. This clearly implied if these bottom lines were breached, Labour wouldn’t support the deal and would walk away when given the chance (once in power).

    Before announcing these bottom lines, one would have assumed Labour thoroughly discussed the issue.

    However, once details of the deal were released, and Labour were called out on their bottom lines, their buckling became apparent.

    The narrative went from five non-negotiable bottom lines to possibly flouting the ordinances of the deal. Moreover, withdrawing from the deal (if in power) was now considered unlikely .

    As the main points (and it would be fair to assume the best points) of the TPP deal have been released, waiting for what’s expected to be less favourable details will only lead to more pressure being put on Labour to reject the deal.

    Labour’s strategy brought this upon themselves. The five bottom lines were announced long before Hooton penned his piece. So was Labour’s change of stance, which Little confirmed upon his return.

    Hooton highlighted the divide within the party, which a number were claiming Little’s leadership had unified. Moreover, IMO, Hooton was giving Labour an example of what to expect if they reject the deal, thus attempting to scare them off. And it seems it may have worked.

    Flouting the ordinances of the TPP allows Labour to save face on their bottom lines, while also implying they will support the rest of the deal. Therefore, an attempt to play both sides.

    However, flouting the ordinances of the TPP will bring our international reputation into disrepute.

    Potentially putting NZ offshore investments and the benefits of the trade deal at risk. Trade sanctions may be applied upon us in response.

    Labour merely proposing such a notion (flouting the rules) is putting our international reputation at risk.

    Therefore, playing both sides has led to Labour not only looking flakey, they are now coming across as recklessly incompetent (suggesting they’ll flout the ordinances of the TPP).

    Additionally, this mess will cost Labour votes on the right they’re trying to sway, while damaging their core support base.

    If Labour doesn’t want to be bound by this deal, their only credible option is to utilize the mutually accepted means available (see below) and withdraw once in power.

    Little told Radio New Zealand any party has the ability on six months’ notice to walk away from the agreement.

    • Karen 17.1

      Have you actually read Mickey’s post?

      • ianmac 17.1.1

        +1 Karen. Some here are committed to a point of view regardless.
        You would think that the energy should be directed against Grosser/Key who have created the TPPA rather than those who didn’t.

        • The Chairman 17.1.1.1

          Some here feel Labour should be held to task by highlighting their poor performance in an attempt to get them to acknowledge their mistakes, thus improve their game.

        • Ron 17.1.1.2

          Well that might be true if you were not really wanting to support the the Governments position. There seem to be so many people that spend most of their time using The Standard as a vehicle to attack Labour. As far as I am concerned if they were ever truly Labour members they sure have changed their position. Labour do not need people like that we have much more important things to do.

          You would think that the energy should be directed against Grosser/Key who have created the TPPA rather than those who didn’t.

          [lprent: Speaking as a long time active Labour member, I’d say that the number of living ex-Labour members far exceeds the number of current financial Labour members. Most of those would probably say that the party drifted away from them as it contracted to a size that the Labour MPs could cope with (they’re not that good at organizing).

          I’d point out that I’m in the process of leaving the NZLP myself primarily because of pig-ignorant fuckwits like you who seem to think that to join a political party means that you have to leave your intelligence at the door. This showed up in the some thick headed illiterate with a similar viewpoint as you trying to complain about what was written on this non-NZLP site to NZLP council apparently because they were too stupid to read our about. Fortunately the NZ Council or Tim Barnett had more sense.

          To make damn sure that similar idiots like them and yourself didn’t confuse my membership and donations to the NZLP with my independent thought and clear independence on this site, I cancelled my donations and waited for the membership to expire. But I missed killing a monthly VFL payment and consequently got a shock when the first NZLP membership card for many years (in plastic no less) turned up earlier this year.

          While clear thinking is not a prerequisite for being involved in a political party (you are in one for instance), an ability to tolerate divergence and disagreement is. If you’d care to send me your details, I’d be happy to point out the various ways that your attitude violates the NZLP constitution and assist in your expulsion.

          I might even not cancel my VFL before the end of the year purely to make sure there is time to make it happen. I think of it as assisting evolution… ]

          • Colonial Viper 17.1.1.2.1

            Labour do not need people like that we have much more important things to do.

            Labour has driven away a lot of experienced activists and organisers this year. And Labour has shown with its prevarication on the TPP that it hardly seems able to hold the line on even the “important” things.

            • Ron 17.1.1.2.1.1

              Really? I guess that is subjective and any organization will have people coming and going. What I do know is that there has been a significant increase in membership since Christmas and we are getting approaches from these new members to get involved. I am heartened by the increase and the keenness of these people to help. May it long continue.
              Do I take it from your comments that you are no longer a member?

              Labour has driven away a lot of experienced activists and organisers this year

              • Colonial Viper

                Newbies in an organisation are always welcome but they do not compensate for the gutting out of experienced activists and organisers.

          • The Chairman 17.1.1.2.2

            I think some here confuse highlighting what Labour do wrong as an attack.

            Flaws require highlighting and acknowledgment so performance can be improved.

            Apologists offer excuses.

            Nothing more important than improving their game and winning the election.

          • savenz 17.1.1.2.3

            @Ron – I think that your views seem to the Labour party views. Labour do not need people to disagree with them and they have more important things to do than listen to their ‘voters’. Like listening to themselves for example and going to lots of meeting organised by the Natz.

            However they will never win another election with their attitude. Alienating ex Labour who do not agree with them. not giving clear direction and hiding behind weak policies, supporting the Natz in these cosy meetings, and being the enabler for the Natz by attacking other parties like Greens and Internet Mana so weakening the left position and supporting ludicrous agreements like increased surveillance powers and secret agreements like TPP is political suicide.

            The pro neoliberal vote, pro unfettered immigration, trade at any cost, supporting wars, and onerous political agreements, for forth is already taken up by the Natz voters.

            Offering the same thing but slightly weaker on it, is not going to get those Natz voters voting for Labour, it is instead weakening the existing Labour vote who do not agree with it.

            Then being furious for ex labour voters for pointing it out repeatedly and refusing to change is going to exacerbate the situation.

            Yep it helps the Natz but if Labour can’t stand up to the Natz effectively now and have weak positions on everything, how can they stand up to other foreign governments or anyone else for that matter if they ever reached government.

            Hoping it all ‘goes away’ is not working on TPP. There are so many ways Labour could give a clear position and many non Natz voters have had enough.

            Here are some ways to try to gain back some credibility. Have the main pro TPP enablers in the Labour party such as Goff, Little and Shearer have a meeting with Prof Kelsey and Nicky Hager find out more information on TPP. Actually get credible people on the issue to explain concerns, not the Natz briefing paper from idiots who that says ‘all is well’ and then rush to press to say Labour probably won’t withdraw. Labour should be paying their own analysts to go through policy and getting real facts on the issues. Is water quality decreasing, is there alternative ways to run the economy, why is their so much inequality, are businesses in NZ really paying tax, why are wages so low here, why is building costs so high, what are the dangers of TPP?

            Labour needs to actually broaden who they are getting their information off, because being ignorant and not having a clear view on important issues and then using that as a way not to make a call on it, is one of their greatest problems.

            • Ron 17.1.1.2.3.1

              Dam I wrote a reply and it seems to have vanished. So I will try again
              I am not surprised if Labour view and mine are similar, that is probably why I am a member of the party. When I said more important things I was not precluding listening to members but there are many other things on the go and over the next 12 months they will come to fruition. If you are a member you will be well aware what is happening, if not a member then it really doesn’t matter. You make a comment about Labour attending meetings organized by Government but that is what happens in parliament. The Government frequently updates members of HM Opposition. It doesn’t mean that they have to buy in to it but they do need to be up to date with Governments position.
              The so called ex Labour voters constantly pointing out where Labour is supposedly going wrong. Many of those people seem to me to be working for the interests other than Labour and have no interest in seeing a Labour Government.

              Labour has driven away a lot of experienced activists and organisers this year

              • savenz

                “those people seem to me to be working for the interests other than Labour and have no interest in seeing a Labour Government”.

                You are right many voters do not want a Labour government if it has similar ideology and policies as the National government.

                The so called ex Labour voters constantly pointing out where Labour is supposedly going wrong.

                If you look at Labour’s election results it should not be “supposedly going wrong” it should be clear they ‘have defiantly got it wrong”.

                It is not the ‘brand’ that people are interested in, it is the details on how the political party will run the country.

                If after 7 years there is precious few details, Labour are unable to communicate major issues that come up like Spying and TPP, because voters have to wait ‘a year until they come to fruition’.

                Sorry a lot of ex Labour are smarter than some promise of a dehumidifier and a 100 new homes and a $10 tax credit or something to distract them from fundamental issues in the governance of the country like Spying and TPP. They don’t vote National for a reason.

                How can Labour run a government when things come up each day when you can’t even organise basic credible positions and policy that have been being debated for months?

                And no one wants to be a member of the Labour party any more so Labour need to find out why that is (being driven out no doubt by arrogant attitudes, hierarchy and people under 50 are not so keen on being a political member anyway which is not going to change in a hurry).

                If you look at the Corbyn effect – massive rise in membership but apparently NZ Labour did not even congratulate him.

                Labour doesn’t need party members it needs voters and to be gaining a following. Losing people by alienating them with ponderous decisions, poor communication and then thinking it is everyone else fault, it will all be ok next year etc. Nothing is going away. The closer the next election gets, the worse it will be for Labour if people are unhappy with them. There is a ground swell of discontent from all their stupid decisions like Spying 24 hrs vs 48 hrs, TPP, Hone and so forth. The arrogant attitude of believing all their decisions are right and everyone is wrong to critique them and if the voters would only shut up they can win the next election.

                The critique is the dwindling vote, and howls of anger in left blogs, and lack of membership.

              • Pat

                something you may wish to consider Ron…Labour will never lead a government if the only people who vote for them are financial members.

            • greywarshark 17.1.1.2.3.2

              Savenz good points.

              We don’t allow car hijacking in this country – it is a crime.
              Some of us have looked at recent history and realised that NZ Labour was hijacked by a bunch of subversives and think that is a crime and they are criminals.

              Those operating happily within the present NZ Labour Party could be said to be utilising stolen goods. In law that does not make innocent buyers criminals, as they weren’t aware of purchasing stolen goods. But now, when the history of the heist of Labour is known, quite transparent, plain to see, then people happy with what the Labour Party delivers them for their membership are participating in a fraud.

              So stick that up your nose Ron and all who attempt to prevent any criticism of Labour. The honeymoon of Little’s appointment is over, the happiness and coloured balloons released on the apparent forward-movement of the caucus, and expectation that the ABC’s would put their team efforts into a feisty, embraceable Labour, well that has all popped.

              There is a big task ahead for people who want to face the uncomfortable future, conserve the good bits of the old historic NZ way of politics and rebuild it, a bit like Rekindle do in reality with recycled wood in Christchurch. Propping up new Labour if it can’t appreciate vintage core principles and want an easy ride on historic achievements using their mana tupuna, is wasting time on dead wood with rising damp.
              (‘Damp is a silent demon that can wreak havoc on your home, often manifesting itself in dark emanations and evil smells’!!
              http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/mar/01/diy.homes8)
              edited

              • Ron

                Greywarshark I agree entirely with your points (well excepting the nose bit) but institutions do move on and usually when members disagree to the point that many on this issue seem to, then they leave and either join another party or start afresh. Winston did this, Jim Anderton likewise, and while Winston’s party has lasted longer than many others, this seems to be the only course unless you want to work within the party for change. Norm Kirk I understand was vehemently opposed to Homosexual Law reform a few years later Labour passed the required changes to the law. Of course it was a National politician who first had the courage to raise th eissue int he house. Venn Young I think it was.

                Many of the things that people on here are complaining about re Labour are things that crop up in every Political Party heck in every organisation.
                If it is a democratic institution things can be changed. Look at the massive changes that have occurred in Labour and National over the years. Do you really think Micky Savage (the original) would have supported Homosexual law Reform or Abortion law Reform of the removal of smacking as a defense under the crimes act.
                I some how doubt it. Yet we have had these subjects changed radically over the years and not just by Labour.
                I was at the Prison Reform Forum on Saturday (some really amazing speakers by the way) and one of the speakers pointed out that Rob Muldoon in 1975-1984 was responsible for driving through (and here my memory has let me down) a major legislation on Human Rights. Wish I could remember which it was hopefully the papers from forum will be published soon and I can refresh memory.
                The point is that changes do happen and not always the way we expect.

                • greywarshark

                  Ron
                  I’m sorry that I get the impression that your damp has already risen.

                  I fear that it is time for stopping calmly considering and accepting and actually getting angry and using that to fuel some thinking and then using that pondering to do some action, that will result in something concrete that provides a step up for us all, not just something to trip over.

                  Better than the following situation happening. A warning for today.
                  The moment for calm and rational discussion has passed.
                  Now is the time for senseless bickering.

                  Karl Popper had something to say about what man can do and think when all is unravelling.

                  If we are uncritical we shall always find what we want: we shall look for, and find, confirmations, and we shall look away from, and not see, whatever might be dangerous to our pet theories. In this way it is only too easy to obtain what appears to be overwhelming evidence in favor of a theory which, if approached critically, would have been refuted.
                  The Poverty of Historicism (1957) Ch. 29 The Unity of Method

                  Whenever a theory appears to you as the only possible one, take this as a sign that you have neither understood the theory nor the problem which it was intended to solve.
                  Objective Knowledge: An Evolutionary Approach (1972)
                  https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Karl_Popper

                  edited

                • savenz

                  Ron, I fear you are part of the problem of NatLite.

                  You run down Michael Savage.

                  Your say how great Muldoon was for Human rights.

                  Not really helping your cause there for getting the centre left vote with that NatLIte talk.

          • Ron 17.1.1.2.4

            Well Lprent that was a surprise. I have no problem with you or anyone else leaving the Party or for that matter discussing it. I have seen plenty of blood on the floor at conferences to know that there are vigorous debates and disagreement within the party. But that surely doesn’t mean that if we oppose some actions of the party we should spend our spare time thinking up ways to attack the party. we already have people as MP’s that do that quite effectively in my opinion. I know of several people that left Labour and joined other parties and now work to promote that party but don’t spend time attacking their previous party. You are obviously aware by your actions to the number of people that populate this site with comments that are designed to promote right wing parties to detriment of the left or often just to stir up trouble.
            I would also think my voting record on social issues across a wide range would be pretty indicative of my supporting divergent issues.
            Heck you sat alongside of me at Christchurch Conference a couple of years back.
            Anyway happy to discuss any issues anytime I guess you might be going to Palmerston North as a reporter (or maybe not) so we can continue discussion if you so wish.

            [lprent: I work on the reflective principle when I warn.

            Rant and if I feel the need to warn, the warning is likely to receive a rant in return. Assert you own the TRUTH, and you’re liable to get some links and commentary back with a tub thumping assertion that you are WRONG! Trolls are likely to be trolled. Wave a dick around, and get a commentary back about syphilitic dickheads.

            I find that pushing a distorting and extreme mirror into the faces of people’s behaviour is a very effective way of getting them to understand how they look to others. Fortunately I feel absolutely no need to be nice about it. And it is a effective way of releasing any pent up frustrations with chasing bugs in code.

            In your case, a rant about other people should be silent will receive a rant back about critics trying to silence and why it is a bad idea.

            I may or may not be in Palmerston North. There is a task that needs doing in Europe for work at about that time so I may be getting a second winter in a hotel. ]

            • savenz 17.1.1.2.4.1

              If Labour are the same as National in their core policies and their inability to work with anyone else, then fewer people are voting for them anyway…. like last election.

              The ‘clinging on’ of this attitude of Labour hard core, that only Labour will be able to change the government so it is a 2 party race of Labour or National so they don’t need to listen to voters anymore, or work with anybody, as they will eventually tire of National and vote for Labour. Not working!

              Labour have lost so much vote they actually need partners now, they will never gain 48% because they think they are right on everything and if only voter and everyone else would shut up, they could go back to being ineffectual and then somehow beat the Nats (like close to last decade ago).

              The Natz have move on since then to dirty politics, money laundering sophisticated polling, numbers people and PR, but Labour, still trying to organise social media, let alone follow where they are going wrong on policy. Instead of treating the Natz briefing’s as a snake pit, they seem to joyfully frolic out proclaiming how they don’t agree with TPP but will probably stay in it anyway. Who’s got time to do any research for themselves when the Natz and MSM are doing it for them?

              Most other political parties and individuals around the world seem to be able to say yes or no on TPP at this point but Labour believe they can’t really make a decision until they see the full txt but actually Little seems to think they will stay anyway but flout the rules. Confused? Pretty much everyone else apart from the Labour party who thinks that it’s a great move. Is Teresa Gatting the new PR person for the Labour with a confusion policy?

              Labour have not moved with the times and seemed to have little defence against the Natz tactics so are instead going for easier (they believe) to complain that their ex supporters many of whom (like me) still gave them a winning electorate vote are the problem.

              If Labour and it’s members can’t see they need to change from being NationalLite and with arrogance of how brilliant and misunderstood they all are, after all this time, god help them.

              • greywarshark

                I’ve heard the old ‘system’ of getting kids swimming by throwing them in a river and letting them struggle and win at the skill. Not drowning gave them a great feeling of accomplishment. Could have been what made a wimp of me, but sometimes a daring approach has to be taken. What a choice for Labour, they might lose their seats if they don’t show daring, and then how will they fly by the seats of their pants?

                Faint heart never won fair lady. Do they want to win though? It hurts to have the present ordure happening because they didn’t make the best running and seize every opportunity at the last election. Even if an arm comes out of a pond with a dripping sword they should seize it.
                My favourite Monty Python sketch. The Anarchistic Collective.
                (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-8bqQ-C1PSE&spfreload=10)

      • The Chairman 17.1.2

        Yes, of course. Your point is?

  18. Ad 18

    Mickey can’t we move on now?
    The horse is well dead, even before the mockery of Select Committee hearings.
    Stop flogging.

    • Bill 18.1

      When a government – any government – is faced with the prospect of it costing more to oppose the will of its populace (cost comes in many forms) than it would be to acquiesce to that will, then it acquiesces.

      If we ‘move on’, then we are licensing the idea that any government can essentially do as it chooses – that we don’t count and that everything of substance should be decided on solely within a parliamentary context.

      But if you think that people matter, then the issue has to be kept live and a deeper knowledge or understanding of it promulgated to an ever wider audience.

      • Ad 18.1.1

        Nah.

        People’s energy and will to keep fighting against injustice matters. Even heroes can call it a day and find winnable causes. No shame in admitting defeat on this one, unless you’re a dogged Roger Whittaker fan who knows all the lyrics of “To Fight The Unbeatable Foe.”

        The combined Opposition has been disunited and ineffective, and will only get moreso as the Bills come to Parliament.

        Call it a day on TPPA and move on to Paris – there’s more chance of altering something.

        • Bill 18.1.1.1

          Why not both since they’re so obviously linked? And put most of your energy into whatever thread of the weave best suits you?

  19. Tiger Mountain 19

    Mr Little’s RNZ comments were pretty definitive the morning after his short bench (coincidentally made up of right wing MPs–Goff, Robertson, Shearer, King, Nash) had met Mr Groser’s delegation for a briefing

    all he had to say was that they were considering what they had been told and that the 5 point NZLP bottom lines would apply until at least the full TPP text had been released and possibly until the US Congress vote

    so what was the rush? who and or what prompted Little’s apparent capitulation?

    • Anne 19.1

      The “short bench” was the Labour leader, deputy leader, finance spokesman and 3rd ranked Labour MP, shadow foreign affairs spokesman, and former foreign affairs and trade minister. Nash, I’ve been told, was not in the mix. That was misinformation and this time it came from the left and not the right.

      • Kiwiri 19.1.1

        “Nash, I’ve been told, was not in the mix. That was misinformation and this time it came from the left and not the right.”

        link?

        • Tiger Mountain 19.1.1.1

          the presence of Mr Nash was mentioned by Radio NZ in a lead up to Andrew Little’s statement on Radio NZ last Monday, but I suppose it was not so much who was in the line up perhaps, but why Mr Little felt compelled to make an immediate statement trashing the “5 bottom lines”

          there is a reason for the others being present–Labour hierarchy–as Anne has said and Nash seemed incongruous (though not his right wing views and the statement that emerged from Little) but it would be good to have it settled

        • Anne 19.1.1.2

          No link Kiwiri. It was part of a verbal conversation earlier last week. I don’t tape conversations I have with other people.

          The misinformation seems to have occurred around Little’s interview on the Monday morning. He was asked to name the individuals who visited Groser with him and Nash’s name was not one of them. However Suzie Ferguson then mentioned Nash in the context of a Labour MP who is on record supporting the TPP. There were several links to that interview on this site last week.

  20. maui 20

    Looks like Hooten isn’t commenting on this thread then..

  21. Chooky 21

    the TPP is not good for American working people either…NZ Labour Party should take heed…especially Andrew Little a former trade unionist..if it is not good for workers it is not good for the NZ Labour Party

    ‘US Congressman: Washington aims to impose disastrous trade policies everywhere in the world’

    https://www.rt.com/shows/sophieco/318340-tpp-us-congress-jobs/

    “A historic deal between the US and 11 Pacific Rim nations has just been brokered; American elites are praising it as the most beneficial deal for businesses – and yet, many predict that thousands in the US will lose their jobs because of it. The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement is veiled in mystery, as the powers that be are doing their best to keep some of its provisions secret from the general public – and nobody knows why. Who really benefits from the TPP? Why was the president so eager about it – and does he even have a say in these matters, or is it the corporations that call the shots? We ask an American Congressman and senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Brad Sherman is on Sophie&Co….

  22. savenz 22

    Many people asked Labour on their Facebook what their position was.

    They will NOT say NO to TPP and avoid answering any direct questions.

    They are more interested in the TPP property angle than the whole agreement. Again using the losing and disingenuous strategy from the election, to focus on a small part of something to agree/disagree on, with many exceptions to the rules and wonder why no one trusts them.

    Labour’s foreign policy as is the Natz, seems to be to follow as ‘part of the club’ into spying, wars, trade agreements they do not understand, do not benefit NZ and actually blind agreement is bad even for the other countries involved in them. The idea, that NZ consider giving up our sovereignty in favour of such a magic bean agreement is ludicrous and Labour’s blind faith in these agreements as a way to keep NZ safe is disturbing. The phrase ‘stand on your own two feet’ does not seem to be the Labour way anymore. Goodbye Lange legacy and say hello to a government and opposition of scared sheep.

    War is about defending a way of life. NZ is a social democracy and signing an agreement that essentially gives up our rights to our way of life buried in small print that nobody is allowed to see. How can that be democracy?

    If Labour can’t see or communicate their position on TPP in a clear way (not full of 5 possible bottom line loopholes) then that is their problem.

    If Labour are not credible as an opposition then they are not credible as a government.

    • Chooky 22.1

      +100…well said…and they cease to be a Labour Party…the day that the Labour Party died…intelligent people will vote accordingly

      • Ron 22.1.1

        “Vote Accordingly” Who the heck do you think they will vote for. To change government needs a party with around 48%
        Love to know which party you think other than Labour is likely to get that sort of vote.
        Hating labour and refusing to vote for them just ensues that we will have National for ever.
        Good luck with that one. (unless of course that was your plan all along.

        • Colonial Viper 22.1.1.1

          To change government needs a party with around 48%
          Love to know which party you think other than Labour is likely to get that sort of vote.

          Uh Labour isn’t going to get that sort of vote either.

          And changing the party in government is largely irrelevant if everything else stays 95% the same.

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