- Date published:
11:28 am, January 12th, 2016 - 94 comments
Categories: business, capitalism, class war, climate change, economy, Economy, energy, Environment, exports, Globalisation, national/act government, Steven Joyce, sustainability, trade, us politics - Tags:
Steven Joyce has an opinion piece in the Herald this morning which reads a bit like a job application. Maybe he is still interested in the job of being leader when Key departs.
The article neatly summarises National’s proposal to create a better New Zealand which is to grow incomes and living standards. We need more, more overseas holidays, more flat screens and better and bigger cars.
And how do we achieve this nirvana? Through more trade.
He claims that the TPP “will provide unparalleled access for New Zealand companies and farmers to the consumers of eleven countries across the Asia Pacific region, amounting to around 40 per cent of the world’s economy.”
He also says this:
And then there is the WTO Government Procurement Agreement. It sounds mundane, but it will have a far-reaching positive impact on New Zealand’s tech companies. Under the GPA, New Zealand companies must be given a level playing field with locals to bid for $1.7 trillion of Government contracts in 43 countries around the world.
It opens up huge opportunities for New Zealand’s clever niche tech exporters. The likes of Fisher and Paykel, Orion Health, and the Gallagher Group are already taking advantage of it.
The one thing about the agreement that Joyce does not mention is that overseas interests will have a similar ability to compete for local contracts.
And he makes no mention of the potential harm that free trade can cause.
An unfortunate example appeared this week. Following the cancellation of the Keystone XL Pipeline project by US President Barak Obama the company involved, TransCanada, has sued the US Government for US$15 billion damages. This sum includes not only lost investment but also anticipated future profits even though the plunging oil price very probably made the project financially unviable. And although the US has had a good success rate with these disputes anything is possible.
From the New York Times:
Trade experts were reluctant to speculate on TransCanada’s case, which will be heard through an arbitration process outside the American judicial system.
“The rules themselves are so vague by design that practically every case is a crap shoot,” said Robert Stumberg, an international law professor at Georgetown University.
350.org hopes that the event will cause states to rethink the signing of the TPP agreement. From ClimateProgress:
TransCanada has just done the best possible job of making clear why TPP is such a terrible idea,” Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org and a leader of the environmental movement, told ThinkProgress via email. “Their position seems to be that NAFTA is a planetary suicide pact that forces us to pour carbon into the atmosphere. Americans rallied in unprecedented numbers to beat Keystone, and now TransCanada wants to overturn all that energy behind closed doors?”
Joyce’s prognosis for a bright future involves nothing but increasing trade and has no understanding of the fragility of our environment, the finite levels of our resources or the incredible power these agreements give private corporate interests over national governments. And the ultimate goal, increased financial prosperity, only appears to happen to the wealthiest of us, and ignores other invaluable attributes such as family and friendship and free time.