Obama’s TPPA bid to over-ride democracy

Written By: - Date published: 6:47 pm, January 10th, 2014 - 16 comments
Categories: accountability, activism, capitalism, democratic participation, exports, privatisation, same old national, us politics - Tags:

This article on today’s NZ Herald reinforces some of the Jane Kelsey’s statements indicating a bit of a tussle between Congress and Obama’s push to get the TPPA though as soon as possible.

In November, Kelsey stated there was a conflict between the US House of Representatives and Obama’s desire for them to the President ‘fast track authority’.  Some documents released by Wikileaks resulted in a response from Democrats in the House of Representatives.

In a second, stunning blow to the TPPA negotiations, 151 of the 201 Democrat members of the US House of Representatives today released a letter to the President that formally declared their opposition to giving him “fast track authority’. Others may follow.

The letter states ‘we will oppose “Fast Track” Trade Promotion Authority or any other mechanism delegating Congress’ constitutional authority over trade policy that continues to exclude us from having a meaningful role in the formative states of trade agreements and throughout negotiating and approval processes.’

Fast track, otherwise known as Trade Promotion Authority, would require Congress to accept the final TPPA deal or reject it, in toto, and not to cherry pick the parts they want and block what they do not like. No major deal has gone through Congress in recent decades without fast track.

On 11 December, Kelsey reported on the continuing tussle as Obama aimed to push through the TPPA negotiations while many people were still in December-January holiday mode.

‘The US behaviour is not surprising’, Kelsey said. ‘What is shocking is that other countries would make major concessions without a firm US market access offer and knowing that Obama cannot guarantee to deliver any deal through the Congress’.

‘Some ministers at the press conference said the deal is contingent on acceptable market access. But they have already put their cards on the table’.

A final piece of hypocrisy in the statement is the promise to ‘further our consultation with stakeholders and engage in our respective political processes’.

The ministers have simply ignored groundswell of condemnation from legislators in the US, Peru, Chile, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia and Japan about the secrecy of negotiations and their calls for release of the draft text.

Stakeholders, pro and con the TPPA, have had no formal opportunity to interact with negotiators for the past three negotiating rounds, although most governments have engaged actively with commercial lobbyists.

Today the NZ Herald reports that Obama’s preference for the “fast track” option is still getting opposition in Congress, while talking up the possibility of Obama getting his way.

Legislation key to President Barack Obama’s trade agenda to boost exports to the Asia-Pacific is being welcomed by business, but faces some stiff opposition from Obama’s fellow Democrats.

A bill to grant the president “fast track” authority for negotiating trade deals was introduced Thursday, co-sponsored by a senior Democrat and two key Republicans.

Fast track, which was last approved in 2002 and expired in 2007, assures that the administration can negotiate trade deals that Congress can accept or reject but cannot change.

But while the US members of Congress complaint about the limited amount of say they will have on the TPPA deals, they will have more say than NZ MPs. The NZ PM will only show all MPs the deal once it has been signed.

Five House members from the New Democrat Coalition said the bill made key improvements to the 2002 fast track, and would help in efforts eliminate unfair barriers for American companies.

As if many US companies are at a disadvantage compared with NZ ones, inside and outside NZ.

This important issue should not be allowed to slip under the radar over the summer period.

It’s about democracy and sovereignty: particularly it’s about Kiwis being able to ensure a reasonable life for all New Zealanders.

16 comments on “Obama’s TPPA bid to over-ride democracy”

  1. Pasupial 1

    Karol

    Thanks so much for this post, I’ve been so wrapped up in gloom inducing facts today that it’s good to get some good news. Even if it is only through the byzantine maze incompetence that is the USAmerican government. If we can change government this year, then there is a chance that we may actually get to see that pig poked in a sack for which we’re prepared to swap our sovereignity.

  2. Chooky 2

    @ Pasupial..is it good news though?…if Obama gets his way it is a blow against democracy and NZer’s interests

    Why is Obama trying to push this through like this?…surely such action goes against everything he is supposed to stand for? ie democracy and fair trading?….and if he succeeds can a Labour Govt rescind the agreement?

    • Macro 2.1

      Why is Obama trying to push this through like this?

      because although a democrat he is only slightly to the left of genghis khan.

  3. Philj 3

    Xox
    Lol, I like the reference ‘Key improvements’. Haha

  4. greywarbler 4

    No way do we want to hitch ourselves to this holey ship that is the USA. We have problems but TPPA would add to them. Australia, an ally of the USA, and apparently with no commitment to maintain friendly relationships with us, may try and suck us dry. To have the USA take charge of our nation and our decision-making and control our actions at will, would finish us. That would not improve our economy, our way of life, and we would become saturated by USA culture which has become toxic for their own people, as well as whomever they touch.

    There are some good things, great things, to admire in certain states of the USA but what the federal government does outside the country does not inspire admiration. Will we be a new Okinawa? A permanent base for military. It is possible they might envisage this, as they try to maintain dominance in the world, especially China, with whom we are trying to build important trading relationships. The joint military international exercise recently in Timaru was very uncomfortable to view.

    • SpaceMonkey 4.1

      Could be the US (read US corporates) see NZ as a stepping stone to Antarctica and all that unlocked oil, natural gas, and minerals…

  5. infused 5

    It will never pass. No need to worry about it. Look at wiki leak files, nz pushed back hard on it, same as most other countries

  6. Foreign Waka 6

    An Imperialistic approach disguised as a trade agreement covered with movie images and propagated with a hint a a Big Mac. Yeah, they have read the Kiwis like an open book……

  7. joe90 7

    The dunghammer.

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership is a million-ton dunghammer aimed at what’s left of the American middle-class, the dwindling numbers of which ought to be able by now to recognize the taste of “free-trade” snake oil when it’s fed to them. This bill is the worst kind of Beltway Potemkin transparency. It seeks to guarantee that the debate is carefully circumscribed within the parameters in which the Serious People feel most comfortable — one in which a goody-bag for corporate interest supported by Orrin Hatch and Max Baucus is considered to be a “bipartisan” triumph — and making sure that the debate doesn’t disturb the horses or interrupt cocktails on the veranda.

    http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/trade-bill-in-congress-010914

  8. joe90 8

    This too.

    Could there be a connection between the growth of violent, undemocratically imposed, unjust and unfair economic policies and the growth of crimes against women?

    I believe there is.

    Contributions of women

    Firstly, the economic model focusing myopically on “growth” begins with violence against women by discounting their contribution to the economy.

    The more the government talks ad nauseam about “inclusive growth” and “financial inclusion”, the more it excludes the contributions of women to the economy and society. According to patriarchal economic models, production for sustenance is counted as “non-production”. The transformation of value into disvalue, labour into non-labour, knowledge into non-knowledge, is achieved by the most powerful number that rules our lives, the patriarchal construct of GDP, Gross Domestic Product, which commentators have started to call the Gross Domestic Problem.

    http://2013.onebillionrising.org/blog/entry/introducing-the-obr-article-series-dr.-vandana-shiva-1

    • QoT 8.1

      Dr Vandana Shiva is a fucking rock star.

      • Chooky 8.1.1

        joe 90 and QoT…+100 on Dr Vandara Shiva

        ….”the economic model shaped by capitalist patriarchy is based on the commodification of everything, including women.”

        ……”a model of capitalist patriarchy which excludes women’s work and wealth creation in the mind deepens the violence by displacing women from their livelihoods and alienating them from the natural resources on which their livelihoods depend – their land, their forests, their water, their seeds and biodiversity. Economic reforms based on the idea of limitless growth in a limited world can only be maintained by the powerful grabbing the resources of the vulnerable. The resource grab that is essential for “growth” creates a culture of rape – the rape of the earth, of local self-reliant economies, the rape of women. The only way in which this “growth” is “inclusive” is by its inclusion of ever larger numbers in its circle of violence”

        …..”all women who produce for their families, children, community and society are treated as “non-productive” and “economically” inactive. When economies are confined to the market place, economic self-sufficiency is perceived as economic deficiency”

        – See more at: http://2013.onebillionrising.org/blog/entry/introducing-the-obr-article-series-dr.-vandana-shiva-1#sthash.XQ6L9Cbq.dpuf

        • karol 8.1.1.1

          Oh most excellent link – I have been researching a similar topic. Thank-you, Chooky & joe.

          • Chooky 8.1.1.1.1

            karol …you may also be interested in the writings of

            *Susan Griffin ( ‘Women and Nature….’ and ‘Pornography and Silence – Culture’s Revenge Against Nature’)
            * Mary Daly (Gyn/Ecology)
            * Carolyn Merchant ( ‘The Death of Nature -Women, Ecology and the Scientific Revolution’) * Loretta Napoleoni (‘Rogue Economics – Capitalism’s New Reality’)

        • RedBaronCV 8.1.1.2

          Commodification of women. I can see myself using that phrase, its good. Thanks

  9. adam 9

    Why is Russian TV the only one giving this the coverage it deserves.

    A wee bit from Abby Martin RT has a lot of others at RT good coverage of this issue.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Typhoid report shows health officials under the hammer
    A chaotic picture has emerged around the response of Auckland public health officials to this year’s typhoid outbreak, says Aupito William Sio Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesman.  “Our Pacific community was left exposed by the Auckland Regional Public Health Services’ ...
    15 hours ago
  • Huge high country station risks going to overseas ownership
    The real estate advertisement is spot on in describing Mt White Station as an “iconic” South Island high country station. The 40,000 hectare property is adjacent to Arthur’s Pass National Park and the upper reaches of the Waimakariri River. Mt ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    17 hours ago
  • Bill English must be upfront about his involvement in Barclay scandal
    Bill English’s explanations that he was on the periphery of the long running employment dispute involving Todd Barclay don’t stack up, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister claims to have been a bystander, but we know he was ...
    2 days ago
  • Labour will not resile from royalties
    Labour believes cleaning up our rivers so that they are clean enough to swim in is the most important freshwater issue for this election, but that it is also fair that a royalty should be charged where public water is ...
    3 days ago
  • With friends like Hone, who needs enemies?
    With less than three months until the election, Hone Harawira has delivered another blow to the Māori Party’s flagship policy of Te Ture Whenua Māori reform and the already unstable MANA-Maori Party alliance, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. “On The ...
    3 days ago
  • Shifty Bill jumps the shark
    Bill English's claim today that it has never been established that Todd Barclay's recordings of his staff took place is bizarre and shows a complete lack of honesty and leadership, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson.  "Todd Barclay told Bill ...
    4 days ago
  • Te Ture Whenua – gone by lunchtime?
    Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell has to front up about yesterday’s mysterious withdrawal of Te Ture Whenua Bill from Parliament’s order paper, says Labour’s Ikaroa Rawhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.  “Has he lost his way and has decided to run ...
    4 days ago
  • Bill English ignorance of law beggars belief
    For Bill English to claim he and others in the National Party didn’t realise the law may have been broken in the Todd Barclay taping scandal is simply not credible, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “The Prime Minister ...
    5 days ago
  • Government ignored advice on Pacific people’s superannuation
    The Government ignored advice from the Ministry of Pacific Peoples that raising the Superannuation age of eligibility would have a ‘disproportionately high impact’ on Pacific people, says Labour’s Pacific Island Affairs spokesperson Aupito William Sio.   “The Ministry for Pacific ...
    5 days ago
  • Bill English misleads Parliament on Police statement
    Bill English's attempt to restore his damaged credibility over the Todd Barclay affair has backfired after his claim to have "reported" Mr Barclay's actions to Police has proven not to be true, says Labour MP for Wellington Central Grant Robertson. ...
    5 days ago
  • Keep it Public
    The Green Party strongly supports the Tertiary Education Unions call to #KeepitPublic Keep what public? Out quality tertiary education system that National is trying to open up to more private for-profit providers with a new law change. The (Tertiary Education ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    5 days ago
  • This ‘technical error’ is hurting big time
    Jonathan Coleman cannot resort to his ongoing litany that the Ministry of Health’s $38 million budget blunder is an error on paper only, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “He might keep saying it’s a ‘technical error’ but the reality ...
    6 days ago
  • Labour to invest in public transport for Greater Christchurch
    Labour will commit $100m in capital investment for public transport in Greater Christchurch, including commuter rail from Rolleston to the CBD, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “As the rebuild progresses, there are huge opportunities for Greater Christchurch, but ...
    6 days ago
  • Green Party will repeal solar tax
    It’s ridiculous for an electricity distribution monopoly to apply a charge on solar panels but worse than that, it’s harming our effort to tackle climate change. Hawke’s Bay lines company Unison last year announced a new solar charge for their ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    6 days ago
  • English fails the character test over Barclay
    Bill English is hoping this scandal will go away, but he is still dodging important questions over his role in covering up for Todd Barclay, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    6 days ago
  • Government must apologise for Christchurch schools stuff-up
    The Ombudsman’s findings that the Ministry of Education botched the reorganisation of Christchurch schools after the 2011 earthquake are damning for an under-fire National Government, says Labour’s Education spokesperson Chris Hipkins. “The Ombudsman has found the reorganisation of schools in ...
    6 days ago
  • Government’s multinational tax measures weak
    The Government’s proposals to crack down on multinational tax avoidance, by its own admission only recovering one third of the missing money, means hardworking Kiwis will bear more of the tax burden, says Labour’s Revenue spokesperson Michael Wood. “The Government ...
    7 days ago
  • World Refugee Day – we can do our bit
    I’m really proud that yesterday, on World Refugee Day, the Greens launched an ambitious plan to increase the refugee quota to 5000 over the next six years. Of those places, 4,000 will be directly resettled by the government and another ...
    GreensBy Denise Roche
    7 days ago
  • PM’s leadership in question over Barclay affair
    The Prime Minister must belatedly show some leadership and compel Todd Barclay to front up to the Police, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “Twice today Bill English has been found wanting in this matter. ...
    1 week ago
  • Another memory lapse by Coleman?
    The Minister of Health ‘couldn’t recall’ whether the Director General of Health Chai Chuah offered his resignation over the Budget funding fiasco involving the country’s District Health Boards, says Labour’s Health spokesperson David Clark. “In the House today Jonathan Coleman ...
    1 week ago
  • Bill English needs to come clean over Barclay
    Bill English needs to explain why he failed to be upfront with the public over the actions of Clutha-Southland MP Todd Barclay, following revelations that he knew about the secretly recorded conversations in the MP’s electorate office, says Labour Leader ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister, show some backbone and front up and debate
    Rather than accusing critics of his Te Ture Whenua Māori Bill of telling ‘lies’, Māori Development Minister Te Ururoa Flavell should show some backbone and front up to a debate on the issue, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri. “Te ...
    1 week ago
  • Equal pay for mental health workers
    Today, mental health workers are filing an equal pay claim through their unions. Mental health support workers do important and difficult work in our communities. But because the workforce is largely female, they are not paid enough. It’s wrong for ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    1 week ago
  • Nats’ HAM-fisted housing crisis denial
    National’s decision to knowingly release a flawed Housing Affordability Measure that underestimates the cost of housing is the latest evidence of their housing crisis denial, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    1 week ago
  • New Pike footage builds compelling case for mine re-entry
    New footage of the Pike River Mine deep inside the operation, revealing no fire damage or signs of an inferno, provides a compelling reason to grant the families of Pike River’s victims their wish to re-enter the drift, says Labour ...
    1 week ago
  • Labour will get tough on slum boarding houses
    The next Labour-led Government will legislate a Warrant of Fitness based on tough minimum standards to clean out slum boarding houses, says Labour’s Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. “It’s not acceptable for New Zealanders in the 21st Century to be living ...
    1 week ago
  • Green Party tribute to Dame Nganeko Minhinnick
    Haere ngā mate ki tua o paerau; te moenga roa o ngā mātua tupuna. Haere, haere, haere. It was with a huge sense of loss that we learned of the death of Dame Nganeko Minhinnick yesterday. The Green Party acknowledges ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Urgent answers needed on DHB funding
      Jonathan Coleman must come clean and answer questions about what actual funding DHBs received in Budget 2017, says Labour Health Spokesperson David Clark.   ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Treasury puts Māori Land Service on red alert
    A damning Treasury report raises serious questions about the delivery of Te Ururoa Flavell’s proposed Māori Land Service, giving it a ‘red’ rating which indicates major issues with the project, says Ikaroa-Rāwhiti MP Meka Whaitiri.  “Treasury’s Interim Major Projects Monitoring ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Economy stalling after nine years of National’s complacency
    The second successive quarterly fall in per person growth shows the need for a fresh approach to give all New Zealanders a fair share in prosperity, says Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Kiwi kids deserve much more
    All Kiwi kids deserve so much more than the impoverished picture painted by the shameful rankings provided by the UNICEF Innocenti Report Card, says Labour’s children spokesperson Jacinda Ardern. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • NZ Zone a precursor to a total nuclear weapon ban
    New Zealand’s nuclear-free zone, legislated by Parliament in 1987, is something we all take pride in. It’s important, however, that we don’t let it thwart its own ultimate purpose – a world free of nuclear weapons. That goal must be ...
    GreensBy Kennedy Graham
    2 weeks ago
  • English must confirm we still stand by our principles on UN resolution
    Bill English must tell New Zealand whether we remain in support of the UN Security Council resolution on Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory, says Labour Leader Andrew Little. “After Foreign Affairs Minister Gerry Brownlee’s evasive answers to repeated questions on ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori party drop the poi on Māori health
    The Māori Party have dropped the poi when it comes to supporting Ngati Whakaue and Māori interests in Bay of Plenty by allowing an iwi owned and operated service Te Hunga Manaaki to be brushed aside in favour of a ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Labour to invest in Whanganui River infrastructure
    Labour will work in partnership with the Whanganui Council to repair and redevelop the city’s Port precinct in advance of planned economic development and expansion. To enable Whanganui’s plans, Labour will commit $3m in matching funding for repairing the Whanganui ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Parihaka: an apology
    An apology only works for healing if it is sincere and if it is accepted. We teach our children to apologise and to be genuine if they want to be forgiven. On Friday, June 9 at Parihaka, the Crown apologised ...
    GreensBy Catherine Delahunty
    2 weeks ago
  • Survey shows many international students plan to stay in NZ after study
    Most international students in New Zealand at PTEs (private training establishments) who have a plan for themselves after study intend to stay in New Zealand to work. This shows how low-level education has become a backdoor immigration route under National, ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Councils step up as Nats drop the ball on housing crisis
    Phil Goff’s Mayoral Housing Taskforce is another positive example of councils stepping up where National has failed on housing, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Time for a breather on immigration
    Labour will introduce moderate, sensible reforms to immigration to reduce the pressure on our cities, while ensuring we get the skilled workers our country needs, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. “New Zealand is a country built on immigration. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Inaction puts Māui dolphins at risk
    Conservation Minister Maggie Barry was at the United Nations Oceans Conference in New York last week, trying to convince the world that the New Zealand Government is doing a good job at protecting our marine environment.  Yet last week after ...
    GreensBy Eugenie Sage
    2 weeks ago
  • National unprepared as immigration runs four times faster than forecast
    National has been caught asleep at the wheel by record immigration that has outstripped Budget forecasts, says Leader of the Opposition Andrew Little. ...
    2 weeks ago
  • First home buyers shouldn’t carry the can for National’s failed policies
    The introduction of tighter limits on lending to first home buyers would see them paying the price for the National Party’s failure to recognise or fix the housing crisis, Labour’s Finance spokesperson Grant Robertson says. “Nine years of denial and ...
    3 weeks ago
  • Motel bill blows out as Nats fail to deliver emergency housing
    Minister Amy Adams has admitted at select committee that National has now spent $22m on putting homeless families in motels as it fails to deliver the emergency housing places it promised, says Labour Housing spokesperson Phil Twyford. ...
    3 weeks ago