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Post TPPA signing

Written By: - Date published: 6:14 am, March 12th, 2018 - 34 comments
Categories: capitalism, climate change, Economy, trade - Tags: , , , ,

 

It’s Our Future spokesperson Oliver Hailes was interviewed by Wallace Chapman on Sunday (RNZ) yesterday. It’s only five and half minutes, but Hailes is succinct and clear in pointing to the problems.

It’s not a shiney new deal, it’s basically the same deal that David Parker and Labour were protesting about a few years ago. It’s not about trade, it’s about setting the agenda for the global economy.

The rules are wrong for NZ. Business can’t trust democracy to protect its profits. Governments are under pressure to deal with social issues and climate change and meaningful action on these will negatively affect foreign investors and multinationals.

They’ve kind of highjacked the popular discourse of free trade and expanded the scope of these treaties to include legal obligations that make it very difficult for future governments to regulate in the public interest.

Wallace Chapman suggests that the TPPA will create lots of jobs. Hailes cites Tufts University that there will be a net decrease in jobs from the TPPA. MFAT says there will be only a slight net increase.

This discrepancy means there needs to be independent analysis of cost benefits before ratification. This is an opportunity for Labour and NZ to be different from National and not rush to complete the deal without bringing everyone in.

Haile cites MFAT’s own figures to show that the benefit to the economy as a whole is trifling over time. Chapman uses the example of reduced tariffs putting meat exporters back in the game, and again, jobs! But Hailes points out that the meat industry will be increasingly automated (e.g. in abattoirs), so the promise of jobs isn’t reliable.

Hailes also co-authored this article published in the New Zealand Medical Journal last week,

In this viewpoint article, however, we focus on the CPTPP in the context of the global climate crisis and its potential downstream impacts on health. While the treaty pays lip service to broader social and environmental concerns, we will highlight how the CPTPP is geared fundamentally towards the interests of transnational corporations and foreign investors at the expense of concerns about human and environmental health.

There’s a good summation of the direct and indirect impacts on health from climate change (some already happening), along with pointing to the health benefits of an approach of mitigating climate change. However,

Only six of the 30 chapters to the TPPA, now the CPTPP, deal with trade in goods such as meat, milk and motorcars. The rest of the 6,000 pages cover a vast range of matters such as Electronic Commerce, Government Procurement, Labour and Environment. Yet nowhere in the final text is the term “climate change” mentioned.18

(my emphasis).

Article 20.15 appears to address the climate crisis obliquely…

But it is important to realise from a legal standpoint that these soft acknowledgements and the vagaries of the environmental “Cooperation Frameworks” (Article 20.12) contrast starkly to the enforceable rules designed to protect the profitability of foreign investments.

Investor protections under the CPTPP effectively introduce a backdoor mechanism to constrain New Zealand’s law-making process by enabling investors to sue governments if they adopt regulations that, for example, erode the expected value of their assets through environmental regulations such as the phasing out of fossil fuel extraction. These protections are not available to New Zealand citizens and businesses, yet they extend to “every asset that [a foreign] investor owns or controls, directly or indirectly, that has the characteristics of an investment, including such characteristics as the commitment of capital or other resources, the expectation of gain or profit, or the assumption of risk” (Article 9.1). This expansive definition goes well beyond real estate and physical assets to cover almost everything that can be wrapped in the cloak of property rights, including this non-exhaustive list of examples: regulatory permits; intellectual property rights; financial instruments such as stocks and derivatives; “turnkey, construction, management, production, concession, revenue-sharing and other similar contracts”; and “licences, authorisations, permits and similar rights conferred pursuant to the [country’s] law”.

The effect of the Investment Chapter, in particular, is not so much to reform current policy but to prevent future progressive or precautionary reforms through obligations that make it more difficult for governments to regulate in response to public health and environmental risks.

Concluding remarks

Since 1984, successive governments in New Zealand and other countries in the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) have actively pursued a broadly neoliberal policy agenda characterised by transforming public property and social services into tradable assets and creating a regulatory landscape that prioritises interests of foreign investors.30 As we have noted, international economic treaties such as the CPTPP have been a key mechanism through which this agenda has been consolidated and expanded. However, in light of climatic impacts alone, it is now clear that this model of economic development is unsustainable, dangerous to population health and in urgent need of fundamental reform.

The Labour-led Government has launched into its first term with bold plans to align New Zealand’s economy with priorities dictated by the urgency of the climate crisis. This will include introducing a Zero Carbon Bill to set statutory targets for transitioning to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050; health professionals will have the opportunity to contribute to the nationwide consultation beginning in May. Ironically, the Government’s ambition in this regard would be seriously undercut by signing a treaty that underwrites the economic status quo and creates strong legal headwinds for essential regulatory action. A systematic and independent assessment of the CPTPP’s anticipated impacts on climate disruption, and on mitigation strategies, should therefore be undertaken and released for public discussion before the treaty is ratified. The assessment should also include an analysis of the projected impacts on population health and equity. Such an assessment is particularly critical as climate change poses such clear risks to the health of New Zealanders, and the constraints on climate action conferred by the CPTPP (as presently formulated) would prevent important steps to protect our health and create a fairer society.

Authors:

  • Oliver Hailes, Solicitor and Legal Scholar, Wellington
  • Rhys Jones, Senior Lecturer, Te Kupenga Hauora Māori, University of Auckland, Auckland
  • David Menkes, Academic Psychiatrist, Waikato Clinical Campus, University of Auckland, Auckland
  • Joshua Freeman, Consultant Clinical Microbiologist, Canterbury District Health Board
  • Erik Monasterio, Clinical Director Canterbury Regional Forensic Service and Senior Clinical Lecturer, Christchurch School of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch.

34 comments on “Post TPPA signing”

  1. Loop 1

    Could not have said it better myself. Government needs to listen and act in the interests of it’s citizens! The economic and social engineering of the past 3 decades is an abysmal failure for the majority.

  2. Ed 2

    Both main political parties in New Zealand are neoliberal.
    This treaty is another nail in the coffin of citizens rights.
    The banks and corporations already own us.
    Now they can take us to court if we try to end that.

    • soddenleaf 2.1

      Thirty years ago middle east oil gushed cheaply out onto the world. We did not ask what the consequences were, in fact a extremist ideology encapsulating see, hear, speak no govt. The idea was accepted by most as the regulatory mix held back the economy from utilizing the gushing cheap, high density fuel. Several mistaken assumptions were mythologized, that the right were now experts, that they delivered the economic growth, that the market would limit externaitites. The right, who are funded by those big corps want to capture free trade agreements for their own rent seeking activities, and most business were happy to oblige thinking what’s good for the goose… …however something changed, not only are the assumption bad for businesses, the environment, but it makes the right look stupid for continuing them.

      But wait, the left come to their defense. Arguing freer trade is bad, or checks a balances are anti human rights. We all should want fewer rent seekers, and means to curtail them. I oppose the tpp as it’s checks were hidden ends in private courts, i eelcome harmonization as it aids dealing with ecological crisises. And most people do also, so please stop and think about consequences of international agreements that target hidden costs and what it would be like without them.

      True the right has done little to pass on the benefits of the freer trade, sure owning several homes, getting lavish pay and benefits stops as our mps leave parliament. you might say at the door of parliament.

  3. Johnr 3

    Good post Weka,
    It confirms what I believe that this agreement is another step towards a one world government.

    This one world government will be covert and owned and controlled by the 0.01%.

    They will not form any governing body as we know it, but rather let our current governing bodies exist as they do now. But, they will control those governing bodies.

    There is ample evidence that this is so through powerful lobby groups as well as legal agreements such as the CPTPP

  4. chris73 4

    I’ll admit I’ve been critical of Labour but this is a good thing they’ve done for the country so well done to them

    • Molly 4.1

      Is your reading comprehension lacking? Or did you not find anything inaccurate in the post, so you resort to tired baiting?

      • chris73 4.1.1

        When Labour do something I disagree with I post it, when they do something I agree with I post it

        We’re an island nation which has to trade and its a trade deal which opens up markets for us, its a good deai

        • dukeofurl 4.1.1.1

          The trouble with saying that, is people who disagree seem to think we can become like Albania or Cuba.
          Its just a fact of life that ‘rules and regulations’ about trade pop up all the time, see the recent turn-around of phosphate from Western Shahara

        • Molly 4.1.1.2

          “We’re an island nation which has to trade and its a trade deal which opens up markets for us, its a good deai”
          It’s not expected to deliver in terms of jobs, or provide a significant increase in GDP. So what makes it a “good deal”?

        • lprent 4.1.1.3

          The amount of ‘trade’ in this dsft agreement for NZ is so small that it resembles Cameron Slater’s moral and ethical depth. So small that it vert nearly isn’t measurable.

          Basically it is a crap deal for trade because the only benefits are for a few rural industries with decreasing employment and margins plus the bankers who suck among them.

          It causes increased hidden costs for every local export industry with good margins and increasing employment. Curiously MFAT hasn’t analyzed that

          • Ad 4.1.1.3.1

            Tariffs will be eliminated on all NZ exports to CPTPP countries – with the exception of beef to Japan, and dairy to Japan, Canada, and Mexico.

            Compare: early estimates of tariff savings at the signing of the NZ-China FTA were estimated at $115m. Our trade with China has now quadrupled.

            Not saying I like all of TPPA. It’s just not all bad.

            • lprent 4.1.1.3.1.1

              Are you deliberately being a dimwit with false equivalences? Or are toy simply being a MFAT (lying by omission)?

              Outside of rural industries – are there any tariffs worth mentioning in any of the countries ? I don’t know of any at all.. Even places like Japan have limited tariffs – they specialize in the types of restrictions that this agreement won’t cover. Ask the flower exporters.

              Are there any on these countries where we cannot access resources (including their manufacturing) in those countries ? Again, I don’t know of any.

              Trying to compare it to China is just stupid. China had major import tariffs and restrictions across the board. It still does.

              But outside of the rural sector this country also gained a great deal by being able to access the manufacturing inside China. I can’t see any of that happening from ANY other nation in this abortion of a trade agreement.

              I can’t see anything good in this agreement apart from for the 0.05% of the population who are shareholders in a few rural industries. Which are effectively an industries that are slowly dying due to incompetence and a lack of innovation over many decades.

              I can however see how it is going to negatively impact on everyone else. Something that neither you nor MFAT are apparently willing to deal with.

              Of course I have only had 40 years of actually exporting – so what would I know eh?

              • Stunned Mullet

                This site is useful for determining the various tariffs to those markets one exports to.

                https://tariff-finder.fta.govt.nz/

              • Ad

                You are clearly not in a ‘rural’ industry, or one needing their ingredients.

                Nor are you from a developing country, for whom agricultural tariffs are the core driver of global trade inequality.

                No doubt this agreement should have done so much more. You won’t hear me praising extrajudicial conflict resolution.

                But I think you are confusing a trade argument for a productivity argument: you want fewer bulky high-mass commodities and more digital ones.

                Few would disagree with that general direction, but this agreement was never going to be a substitute for a national high end manufacturing strategy.

          • weka 4.1.1.3.2

            “Basically it is a crap deal for trade because the only benefits are for a few rural industries with decreasing employment and margins plus the bankers who suck among them.”

            Which begs the question of why Labour were so keen. They had a way out, why didn’t they take it?

            • lprent 4.1.1.3.2.1

              Labour are interested in getting another term or two.

              They simply can’t do that without the provincial areas and NZ First. National made it perfectly clear that they’d use this particular issue that benefits their larger donors to attack both NZF and Labour if they did anything to disrupt it.

              Plus of course the idiots employed in MFAT like going to conferences on it more than they like actually doing some legwork on trade. They have been incredibly slack for the last decade. It has been noticeable that the increase in the tech sector has been going on despite them rather than with them.

        • Incognito 4.1.1.4

          We’re an island nation which has to trade and its a trade deal which opens up markets for us, its a good deai [sic]

          I’m with Molly @ 4.1 that either your reading comprehension is lacking, you’re baiting, you didn’t read the OP at all, or all of the above:

          It’s not about trade, it’s about setting the agenda for the global economy.

          It’s not an FTA but something that goes much deeper & further.

  5. CHCOff 5

    When New Zealand is no longer weak it can be unsigned later.

    Lets fire up the engines of independent communities via traditional NZ equalitarian sports club culture boys and girls!

  6. Drowsy M. Kram 6

    Thanks for this excellent post, Weka. Transnational corporates are the grasping global governance ‘arms’ of the 0.001%.

    Isn’t it extraordinary that David Parker and other pro-CPTPPA authorities feel it necessary to reassure the public that future NZ governments will be able to regulate/legislate in the public interest.

    That such reassurances are considered necessary says it all. Whereas I thought that regulating/legislating in the public interest is the priority function of any sovereign government, and any NZ government that knowingly undermines our sovereignty is a treasonous government.

    Regardless, expect reassurances, of the ‘sustaining sovereignty’ type, to continue until they become untenable.

    • UncookedSelachimorpha 6.1

      And of course, what is and isn’t in the Public Interest, is now open for costly debate by lawyers of wealthy corporations in ISDS….

  7. dukeofurl 7

    This is what Labour did say before the election ( by Little) about the previousTPA.

    “It is important that trade agreements are carefully negotiated, and that provisions in these agreements do not undercut the regulatory sovereignty of New Zealand.
    Labour opposes the sale of our farms, homes, state-owned enterprises, and monopoly
    infrastructure to overseas buyers. Investment protocols in trade agreements should not prevent a future government controlling such sales.
    The current National government traded away these rights in NZ’s Free Trade Agreement with South Korea and in the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership.

    Ceding this was wrong in principle. It was also unnecessary, given that other
    countries including Australia retained their rights to do so. Labour will renegotiate these provisions.
    https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/nzlabour/pages/8555/attachments/original/1504500586/Trade_Manifesto.pdf?1504500586

    ‘Labour will renegotiate these provisions’, and they did

    I understand Greens pre election policy was similar:
    We support open and rules-based trade, but have concerns over agreements that extend into intrusive rules on government regulation, and the inclusion of Investor State Dispute Settlement. We would work with like-minded governments towards agreements that embody fair and sustainable trade, and which ensure that governments’ right to regulate in the public interest is fully protected….

    I dont see an newer posting on Greens Blog about TPPA, but presumably they say CPTPP ‘doesnt go far enough’ but not sure exactly the details and whether they ‘future weaknesses’ rather than existing issues

    • weka 7.1

      Can’t make sense of the grammar in your last paragraph, but the Greens have made their stance on the latest version of the TPPA clear, and that has been covered on TS. Try reading their trade policy as well, and it will be clear why the TPPA is still considered a dog.

      “‘Labour will renegotiate these provisions’, and they did”

      Yes, but not in any adequate way, and either they mislead the voters, or the voters were daft for believing Labour, depending on how you see it. Labour initially said they wouldn’t sign unless they could protect NZ sovereignty etc, and then their messaging (post leadership change) became they would sign and they would do their best. Those are very different messages.

      • dukeofurl 7.1.1

        “‘Labour will renegotiate these provisions’, and they did”
        Yes, but not in any adequate way

        Thats not what Shaw said

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

        No change to Green position on TPP

        I can see the Greens are not totally happy, after all ‘not-far-enough-ism’ is a legitimate political strategy.[Which labour used on TPA]
        But I beg to differ on it ‘not in any adequate way’ (Your words) when the party leader was much more positive.

        • weka 7.1.1.1

          still no idea what you are on about. Obviously I’m not Shaw, and I disagree with his framing.

    • Carolyn_Nth 7.2

      Labour signed side letters with 5 mainly minor countries, out of 11 against ISDS.

      This will not stop corporations relocating to other countries in the 11 to launch ISDS suits against NZ legislation.

      Those side letters are like saying we’ve now got an ocean going boat with 5 leaks instead of 10 – or like saying a condom with holes is better than no condom.

  8. savenz 8

    Agree 100%

    Also the ecommerce laws are designed to circumvent privacy of Kiwi’s data and also conveniently means that records of Kiwis such as medical records or criminal records can be kept offshore.

    What got the EU residents up in arms (as well as the ISDS) was the ability for their ‘social’ services to be outsourced.

    Trade agreements around the world have already killed worker jobs or lowered the wages to below liveable levels (see our high skilled transport industry that pays $16 – $20 p/h in AUCKLAND) , now the managerial jobs are cleared to go offshore for health, police, defence, councils, education etc.

    Our Labour and NZ First government just signed that one away for future jobs in this country.

    If you don’t like it, don’t forget government are not allowed to give preference to their own countries under these trade agreements.

    All this so according to David Parker, things like beef exports MAY be increased because of our export declines in Japan. Maybe that’s also because Silver Fern is under new Chinese management and Japan does not like it, there’s a million reason’s it could be, a rise in bowel cancer, vegetarianism, not just Australian tariffs and no reason to assume anything is gonna change by signing a ridiculous agreement that they know is going to take jobs away from this country and lower wages even more – it’s already going to cost a absolute fortune in compliance alone that starts from day 1!

    I think CleanGreen described his local council as ‘demented’ because they refused to fund public services like rail because ‘they could not afford it’ while spending millions on new/upgraded council premises.

    Demented is the word that describes these government idiots who are so impractical and without any inkling of creative brain matter to be able to envision a future with the clauses and risks of their own deals they spend millions on organising to sign and cheerlead against their own countries interests. When asked what will happen if, do they put their hands to their heads and chant ‘it’ll be ok, eat beef’ while rocking backwards and forwards?

    If you are one of the 75% who do not think this deal should have been signed then make sure you vote Green so that you send Labour and NZ First and National a message 2020!

  9. Philg 9

    I’ve always suspected Labour, and Jacinda were neolibs. This is another Con(intentional) firmation. She was not voted into leadership by the membership.

  10. savenz 10

    As time goes on, guess what exports change… NZ government is actually trying to keep the low wage economy and unsustainable business practises going by subsidising it with ludicrous agreements or immigration scams to prop up failing corporations and fake/flakey educational qualifications, while wrecking the reputations of the good corporations and educators.

    Time to look out of the box … I’m not a fan of drugs but hey, life changes.. it’s called diversification! NZ is very rich in natural resources and there is plenty of interest in anything to help pain relief for example…. (At last they found something Kiwi worker’s after decades of neoliberalism can excel at:)

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/102044376/medical-marijuana-a-billiondollar-industry-says-budding-exporter-whose-has-staff-with-a-past?cid=facebook.post.102044376

  11. Korero Pono 11

    There is no proof that the CPTPP will benefit New Zealand and without independent analysis no one can make such claims. Evidence suggests (based on the TUFT paper) that job losses are inevitable, along with the resulting increase in inequality. Jane Kelsey’s analysis paints a very grim picture indeed. Never mind that Labour failed miserably in fulfilling the three P’s component of te Tiriti when it comes to this absurd monstrosity of a ‘deal’.

    None of Labour’s five bottom lines were met when they signed this ‘dog’ of a deal, yet their spin merchants have been out in force trying to claim otherwise. Labour have proven once and for all that there is little difference between them and the Nats. I am disgusted at how blatantly they have spun this illusion and equally disgusted how the die-hard Labour fans continue to defend the party’s lies and broken promises.

    They foisted Rogernomics and all of its subsequent tragedies onto us and now they give us CPTT. Way to go Labour. Can’t wait for next election…I imagine that there will be a huge switch in allegiances farther away from the right leaning toss pots we currently have to contend with.

  12. Draco T Bastard 12

    Business can’t trust democracy to protect its profits.

    It’s not a government’s job to protect a businesses profits.

    Governments are under pressure to deal with social issues and climate change and meaningful action on these will negatively affect foreign investors and multinationals.

    That’s the multi-national’s problem – not ours. Ours is ensuring that we have a sustainable and equitable society which actually means getting rid of businesses that prevent that from occuring.

  13. timeforacupoftea 13

    I always thought Parker was in the wrong party.
    Perhaps this time it will be proven.

  14. SPC 14

    The only sensible response is

    1. to ask Labour to oppose the USA joining TPP 11 or develop TPP 11 whereby others can only join on its existing terms and any agreement with changes to those terms is a separate arrangement only including those members that agree. This to make us immune to the nefarious agendas of American corporates.

    2. Labour oppose ISDS in RCEP

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