The citizens group It’s Our Future recently launched a campaign to get political parties to front up on NZ trade and investment policy. They produced ten bottom lines and an analysis of each parties’ policies and responses to the bottom lines.
These bottom lines were developed to reflect New Zealanders’ concerns about the TPPA, and to ensure that the toxic elements of that agreement are not replicated in other forms.
The ten bottoms lines are:
The political parties’ responses were published on 22 August 2017 and are available here. The Greens, Maori Party and New Zealand First signed on to all 10 bottom lines. The positions of Labour and the The Opportunities Party are equivocal.
Of the Green Party, It’s Our Future said this (PDF),
The Green Party were consistently opposed to both the process and substance the TPPA from the beginning. On 10 August 2017, the day of the It’s Our Campaign launch, the Green’s trade spokesperson, Barry Coates MP, released a blog post outlining the Green’s trade policy position. Unsurprisingly, this policy closely aligns with the 10 It’s Our Future bottom lines. While the policy is silent on the application of trade and investment agreements to local government, the concerns for regulatory autonomy for local government underlying that bottom line are addressed elsewhere in the Green’s policy.
Here are the assessments of the policies of main parties in this election:
For those for whom the TPPA is a significant issue in terms of voting, it’s worth pointing out that neither NZF nor the Māori Party have ruled out supporting a National-led coalition. If we want a government that will do right by NZ internationally, we need to vote further left. While Labour is so unclear on what it would do with the TPP there is a great need for the Greens to have as many MPs as possible going into coalition negotiations and to have maximum influence in the next government.
It’s also worth remembering to what extent the TPPA threatens the NZ environment as well as sovereignty around other issues we hold dear.
Yesterday, the Greens released a further statement on the TPPA with particular reference to the the investor-state dispute settlements which would give private companies the right to sue governments in the most undemocratic of ways including when we try to protect the environment.
From the Green Party website:
Green Party remains opposed to the TPP-11
James Shaw MP on Friday, September 8, 2017 – 13:31
The Green Party today remains deeply concerned about the TPPA’s successor agreement, TPP-11.
“The most egregious clauses in the original TPPA were the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms, which were included largely at the insistence of the United States. Now that the US isn’t a part of it anymore, the remaining countries should simply remove the ISDS mechanisms,” said Green Party Leader James Shaw.
“As long as the ISDS mechanisms remain in place, the TPP-11 undermines New Zealand’s ability to stand up for the protection and enhancement of our environment and our national sovereignty.
“Eighty five percent of trade disputes cases brought by corporate interests in trade agreements with investor-state dispute mechanisms are around environment and natural resources.
“Real action to protect the environment – banning new mining on conservation land, charging water bottlers and ending deep-sea oil exploration and seabed mining - means we can’t risk signing the TPP-11.
“We need to focus trade negotiations on real benefits for all New Zealanders, instead of loading agreements with issues like patents, copyright and other rules that could undermine our state-owned enterprises, tangata whenua and public services like health and education.
“The Green Party needs strong representation in the next parliament to strengthen Labour’s arm and protect our environment by ruling TPP-11 out.
“Our commitment to pulling out of the TPP-11 along with our ambitious plan to reduce climate emissions, protect our conservation estate, clean up our waterways and phase out plastic pollution shows that the Green Party is the only party committed to real leadership on the environment,” said Mr Shaw.
So many of Labour, the Greens, NZF and the Mp’s policies could fall on the ISDS issue alone if the TPPA goes ahead, and it’s the Greens that are best placed to stop this.
It’s Our Future’s TPPA report will be on The Standard’s sidebar to the right until at least the election.