— Robin Campbell (@robellcampbin) September 16, 2017
Green Party Spokesperson for Trade, Barry Coates, writes about National’s latest moves on the TPPA:
In the two days before the election, New Zealand MFAT negotiators will attend a negotiations meeting in Japan on the successor to the failed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), now called the TPP-11. The negotiations are shrouded in secrecy but we know that officials from eleven governments aim to agree which parts of the treaty will be suspended until (and if) the US re-joins.
It is customary practice that governments should try to avoid taking pre-emptive decisions just before an election, particularly those that bind the decisions of the incoming government. At the least, they consult with opposition parties. However the current Minister for Trade, Todd McClay has ignored customary practice, even though the Green Party, Labour, NZ First and the Maori Party have all made it clear that they have concerns over TPP-11.
The Greens have submitted an OIA calling for the government to release its position on negotiations before the election. But there is no accountability from the government on New Zealand’s position. This matters because decisions taken at the meeting will be difficult if not impossible to reverse. Around the time of an election, there is an added responsibility for the government to act in the broader interest of New Zealand, not in the interests of a single political party or the US.
This continues government’s desperation to see a TPPA at any cost.
Deeper changes are required. The most significant provision is the controversial Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism. The US itself last week signalled that it is looking to remove ISDS from its renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) through the creation of an opt-in clause. This follows the EU’s rejection of ISDS in trade agreements, and the decision by India, South Africa and Indonesia to unwind their ISDS commitments in Free Trade Agreements. There is no reason to keep ISDS in the TPP-11.
Beyond the approach of suspending provisions that are favourable to the US and its multinationals, there are other problems with TPP-11. The Labour Party has raised the issue of a change to prevent non-residents from buying existing houses in New Zealand. This is an existing provision in the Free Trade Agreement with Korea, and is proposed for inclusion in TPP-11. Despite a clear signal from Labour and the Greens that a ban on non-resident purchases would be part of a future policy, the government did not register an exception.
Press release from greens.org.nz:
Secret TPP talks smack of desperation from National
Barry Coates MP on Saturday, September 16, 2017 – 14:50
National’s last minute ditch to get the Trans Pacific Partnership 11 agreement across the line just a day before the general election smacks of desperation, the Green Party said today.
The comments come on the back of news that MFAT negotiators will meet in Japan to negotiate the final package of elements for the TPP, now called the TPP-11 since the US pulled out. This is the deal that will be presented for final agreement by Ministers in November.
“The fact the Government are trying to get this deal over the line right before the election without talking to Opposition parties about it, isn’t transparent, and looks like they’re trying to get it into place before they are voted out,’ said Green Party trade spokesperson Barry Coates.
“This continues National’s desperation to see a TPPA at any cost. Any deal made now will lock in a future government without their consent.
“It is customary practice that governments should try to avoid taking pre-emptive decisions just before an election, particularly those that bind the decisions of the incoming government.
“National is pushing for the TPP-11 to go through to make it look as if they done something in their nine years in government besides higher greenhouse gas emissions, dirtier rivers and more children in poverty.
“We need trade agreements that are in the interests of all New Zealanders,” said Mr Coates.
Reasons to Vote Green: the TPPA outlines the Green Party’s strong opposition to the TPPA and its importance in this election.