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Reasons to vote Green: the TPPA

Written By: - Date published: 12:58 pm, September 9th, 2017 - 61 comments
Categories: democracy under attack, Economy, greens, overseas investment, trade - Tags: , , ,

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:

  1. An end to secrecy
  2. Democratic oversight
  3. Unrestricted right to protect the public interest and the environment
  4. Regulation of overseas investment
  5. Protection of international law
  6. No Investor-State Dispute Settlement
  7. Honour the Treaty of Waitangi
  8. Exclude local government
  9. Retain the role of the State
  10. Promote the free flow of knowledge and information

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. 

61 comments on “Reasons to vote Green: the TPPA”

  1. Siobhan 1

    Labour Party supporters I know seem very confused about Labours position on the TPPA. Many of them seem to believe Labour is against the entire concept, I guess they just see headlines and statements like ‘The TPPA undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty and is a threat to our democracy.‘ and assume that means Labour wouldn’t dream of signing.

    I’m not entirely sure why they can’t understand that in Labours mind, and stated policy, it’s not the TPPA that is the problem, it’s just one of the five bottom lines that they dislike.
    If I were more cynically minded I might just think that’s a confusion Labour are happy to just let alone.

    • weka 1.1

      I think some of it comes from having to continually argue around Labour’s centre left position. So I don’t condemn Labour outright on this like I would National but Labour also make me nervous. Maybe their plan will work in terms of renegotiating, maybe it won’t, it’s just unclear and in that sense I don’t trust them because it’s such an important issue. So with Labour it’s not black and white given they will lead the country (who to vote for is black and white imo). Which makes for confusion.

    • The Chairman 1.2

      “Labour Party supporters I know seem very confused about Labours position on the TPPA. Many of them seem to believe Labour is against the entire concept, I guess they just see headlines and statements like ‘The TPPA undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty and is a threat to our democracy.‘ and assume that means Labour wouldn’t dream of signing.”

      I find it’s part of Labour’s modus operandi. Make a lot of noise, generating desired headlines, which go on to shape public perception.

      • tracey 1.2.1

        Like when Bill English pretends to care about kids in poverty when before ardern’s elevation he didnt accept it existed or need financial boosting

  2. esoteric pineapples 2

    In so many areas of crisis in New Zealand – especially the environment – all the political parties (other than the Greens) are promising people that they can both eat their cake and keep it. For example, now everyone is saying they are onboard with cleaning up our waterways but their solutions are so vague as to be almost non-existant. Doing the right thing is going to hurt so whoever does do the right thing is going to have to be prepared to take the flak. So far only the Greens can be trusted to stand on principle.

    • Steve 2.1

      ” all the political parties (other than the Greens) are promising people that they can both eat their cake and keep it.”

      However the green party, in years gone by, “might just as well” have said to us (conservationist land owners) we cannot eat our cake or even keep the cake either

      As their plan was such a bloody ball’s-up.And then when we spoke to some of their parliament members about the situation we were struggling with.They said they would look into the situation on our behalf, but then we never ever even heard back from them about it

      As a grass root layman.I had thought that perhaps a higher education was supposed to help?

      If they disappear (off the political scene) . Then who’s fault will that be?

  3. mikesh 3

    If Labour wished to push it through they could do so with the support of the National Party.

  4. Awesome that there is strong opposition to this bogus ‘trade’ deal. Thank you to those 3 parties, and especially to the Greens, for holding the line in opposition to this.

  5. Sigh 5

    I think in future Labour will just support free trade agreements if they are politically smart. They got hammered by business for voting against the TPPA and for their policy to oppose it, and got picked to pieces by the left anyway. If the left are going to keep hitting you anyway even when you oppose free trade agreements then you might as well just keep business happy and save yourself the bother.

    • weka 5.1

      there’s a difference between free trade agreements and the TPPA though, which is part of why Labour ended up in the mess it did. They support free trade, so maybe they should have opposed the TPPA and proposed their own free trade agreement so that business understood that capitalism and the world weren’t going to end with no TPP.

      • tracey 5.1.1

        In some ways. The biggest problem.with TPPA is it brings Canada and the USA into the investor provisions. Those two countries have highly litigious companies . More likely to invoke the business friendly, and secret, dispute resolution process

  6. boggis the cat 6

    These trade agreements look like an attempt to circumvent any expression of democracy. The corporations are not run by idiots (well, most aren’t), and they know that the disparity of wealth combined with no improvement in opportunities for those not in the top few percent is going to lead to a backlash.

    By setting up their own parallel system of laws and a Union for corporations (“Corporations are people, too”) that trumps mere nation states and governments, they can provide cover for their bought politicians to claim that there is nothing to be done.

    Unless these ‘trade agreements’ get stopped our societies risk becoming forced into a corporate run dystopia.

    Keeping the Greens a viable coalition partner for Labour is a safer bet than hoping that Peters doesn’t decide that a sack of corporate money would be a nice retirement bonus.

  7. cathy 7

    Not only TPPA.

    Labour needs the Greens to get past the 5% so they have better choices for a coalition.

    the polls are looking good for Labour at the moment, who knows what will happen in 2 weeks, my guess is that Labour could still pick up another percent or two and there will be surprises in the election.

    Any party that gains over 5% ends up with at least 6 seats, that’s important.

    Winnie of course holds the best chance of deciding the outcome. his natural inclination would surely be to go with the Nats, unless Labour is well ahead.

    But then would you want to spend the next three years in bed with Winnie?

    And if the Greens don’t make it into parliament at all, will they survive in any meaningful way?

  8. Jenny Kirk 8

    I would like to see Labour in Government, in partnership with the Green Party.

    Having said that, I’m now going to say that I’m feeling very fed-up with Greeny and MSM attempts to continue to portray Labour as the “baddie” on TPPA, climate change and all sorts of matters including water rights, and that Labour is “stealing” Green policy – and I refute those claims totally.

    Details below of Labour’s policies on these matters – and people need to realise that Labour has an obligation to put more detail as is possible into these policies during the election campaign – which is what it is now doing. No over-shadowing of the Green Policy – merely explaining further detail on Labour’s policy.

    On the TPPA – I am disappointed with the “Its Our Future” people for continually undermining Labour’s position – which is to refuse an agreement which overrides our nation’s sovereignty, believes in international law, does not like the secrecy behind the TPPA, will fight to continue Pharmac’s position on drug costs, totally opposed to that investor-state provision, and so on, and so on.

    On Climate Change, clean water issues and other matters, Labour has consistently had a Policy Platform which promotes good environmental and sustainable management including climate change. Here is an extract from that – discussed and decided upon by Party members at a large number of conferences and workshops over the years.

    4.9 Recognising the intrinsic, economic, and social value of our environment, Labour’s environmental vision for New Zealand includes:
     rivers, streams, lakes, estuaries, and coastal waters throughout the country that support healthy aquatic and marine biodiversity; are safe to swim in; and are protected from the impacts of intrusive commercial development and agricultural runoffs and toxicity
     access to fresh water that is safe to drink
     reduced gross carbon emissions enabling us to meet our international obligations as part of a more efficient and productive economy
     air quality that meets World Health Organisation standards in all urban areas
     soils free as possible from chemical contamination
     pest and weed-free forest and tussock lands
     productive land managed to maintain long-term productivity and minimise soil erosion
     biologically diverse and stable native ecosystems in protected status across the country
     protected ‘wilderness’ areas.

    ” Climate change—
    4.12 Labour wants New Zealand to honour its international commitment to reduce our gross greenhouse gas emissions through good science and responsible behaviour by companies and individuals. We will encourage the development of mitigation technologies and industries, such as forestry. We will make sure our Emissions Trading Scheme has environmental credibility as an ‘all gases all sectors’ scheme, ultimately free from subsidies to greenhouse gas polluters.
    4.13 Labour recognises the need for New Zealand to prepare for, and mitigate, the likely environmental, economic, and social impacts of climate change, and will take action to plan for this based on scientific advice.

    If you doubt me – go and read about Labour’s Policy Platform on its website, and then compare this with Labour’s announced policies to date.

    [if you are going to quote other people please cite. This means naming the author and the place you sourced the material from. It’s a courtesy to the source, and it gives people a context for your comment. Telling people to go look on Labour’s website isn’t enough. – weka]

    • tracey 8.1

      There is a difference between similar policies and the brand/taglines used in campaigning. 7 weeks ago I had no idea that Labour’s 3 pillars for this election were

      Reduce poverty, Clinate change and clean rivers… but I did know that was Greens tagline. And the Greens have more than 3 policies so I understand the difference.

      Jacksons snide dig at Davidson this morning that inferred what she thought was irrelevant when on 4.5% is not helpful. You can be strong on your policy without ridiculing potential partners. Outside this forum there are many Labour folks who want NZF instead of Greens.

      I do not know why people are so scared of the Greens their actions and policies of tge last 20 or so years do not justify tgat fear or ridicule in my opinion.

      • Karen 8.1.1

        “Outside this forum there are many Labour folks who want NZF instead of Greens”.

        What are you basing this on Tracey? Do you have any evidence of this at all? If you do could you please link to it.

        I know a lot of Labour Party supporters and I do not know a single one who would prefer a coalition with NZF over the Green Party. I do not think it is helpful to either party to keep making this claim.

        • tracey

          Well, am pretty sure the Labour Party itself indicated that at the last election. The MOU with Greens expures 23 Sept and existed to bring I down the National govt. Not the same thing as wanting them as a partner. Do you have links to show they have resiled from wanting to partner with NZF? I googled but cannot find anything from Ardern.

          I want National defeated and that requures Labour. I am, however suspicious of Labour. They, and you cannot relieve me of those suspicions until they are govt and act differently.

          I worry about more of the same but for tinkering.

          I know a number of Labour party voters who want NZF rather than Greens so my evidence is anecdotal, like yours

          • weka

            That’s not my understanding about the MoU. It wasn’t just about brining National down, it was about changing the govt to an actual progressive one and both parties committed to forming a coalition if the numbers made that possible. While the document was up until the 23rd that’s because it didn’t make sense to bind the two parties into anything before the votes were counted.

            I understand the reluctance to trust Labour given the history, but I also think that the whole point of the MoU was to build relationship and that that imperative remains. So while I find myself in a dilemma because I think that the Greens need votes from Labour voters, I think there is a line in terms of criticising Labour because we still need a good, working relationship with them (we being lefties who vote Green). Where that line is is one of the great tensions of this election.

            As for Labour voters supporting a coalition with NZF, yes I see those people around too, even here on TS, but I don’t think there’s is much to be done about the ones who are there because they don’t like or hate the Greens. The others who are there on policy and culture can be persuaded perhaps, but if they’re already voting Labour, they’re not the main concern.

            • tracey

              I heard the MOU described this way by, I think, Turei at a meeting here.

            • Carolyn_nth

              My understanding of the MOU was that it was about getting rid of the current government. There was no commitment to the make-up of a Labour-led government.

              The MOU was signed by a different leader than the one we have now. So that complicates it.

              On past behaviour under the Clark government, I would expect Labour to work to maintain the balance of power. And this fits with the Ardern “pragmatic” approach.

              I would expect an Ardern-led government to try to play one coalition partner off against another. I would expect them to try to do deals with both NZ First and the GP, and possibly also the Mp. This would mean they can choose which partner to draw on to get the policy and legislation results that Labour prefers.

              I also don’t trust the Labour caucus leaders as much as I trust the LP members. The current caucus leaders have shown they want to call the shots. This might be mitigated somewhat by the new intake of LP MPs.

              But, in short, I wouldn’t trust Team Ardern to prefer a coalition deal with the GP over NZF, no matter how many MPs both get.

              Ardern’s response to Turei when Turei was under pressure to resign, indicates to me that Team Ardern will do whatever they think it takes to gain power – including compromising on some of their stated policies to negotiate specific deals with NZF.

              • tracey

                You have outlined my concerns very articulately.

              • weka

                Sure, but other than the Greens, isn’t doing whatever to gain power the modus operandi of every other party in parliament? I don’t have any expectation that Labour won’t do what they need to to get the best deal for a Labour govt. But that’s not the same thing as them preferring NZF, or them being willing to fuck over the Greens.

                The big dilemma here is what Labour will do if the GP have less vote than NZF. If they had more, it would be more straight forward. This is the tricky bit for me. Had Labour gone after NZF votes by positioning themselves on top of NZF policy more overtly, then I’d be less concerned e.g. the Greens could pick up more of the left vote.

                But tbf to Labour, it’s almost impossible to know why the GP vote has apparently collapsed the way it has. Far too many variables over that time period. I think that more than the Labour caucus being expected to be nice to the Greens post-election, the onus is on Labour voters to vote Green if they actually want those values and policies in govt. Otherwise they will get NZF.

                Despite there being Labour voters already willing to vote Green, I don’t think this message has quite gotten home yet enough to make a big difference. There’s also the issue of people fear voting Labour because they think the Greens will drop below 5%.

                • boggis the cat

                  “There’s also the issue of people fear voting Labour because they think the Greens will drop below 5%.”

                  Anyone not wanting a National-led government should be Party voting for the Greens. Labour aren’t going to drop below five percent, so unless the prospective MPs on the Labour list are more important than having the best coalition partner — I don’t know, but I would think not — then voting Greens is a ‘no brainer’.

                  Unless I am not understanding something here.

                  (I have always voted Greens, or the Alliance before them. Roughly half of Greens policies seem impractical to me, but as they are always going to be in a coalition there is no risk of unworkable policies getting implemented.)

                  • Incognito

                    Best comment of the day, IMHO.

                  • weka

                    It’s also a no brainer for me too, on many levels, but then the Greens are polling sometimes as low as 5%. If they’re still polling on 5% come election day there will be people who fear that their vote will be wasted and that this will costs the left the election if the Greens don’t make it back into parliament.

                    • Incognito

                      I can see what you’re saying but the Greens not making it back is worse IMO than wasting a single vote. So, the logical thing to do is to vote for them and not give into the relatively minor fear that your (party) vote might be ‘wasted’. In other words, don’t make it a self-fulfilling prophecy and vote for the Greens.

                    • weka

                      Oh I agree, definitely not the time for people to bottle it. I was just explaining the rationale as I understood it. Not so much fear of wasting personal vote, but that if the Greens slip under 5% then those votes don’t go to the left. I know it’s not quite like that, someone should crunch the numbers and see how it’s likely to turn out.

                    • Incognito

                      Yes, I know; I was not meaning you personally, of course 😉

                    • weka

                      lol, I got that. You’d have to pry my Green vote out of my cold dead hands 😉

          • Karen

            Neither Labour nor the Greens have ruled out a coalition with NZF. Labour and the Greens signed the MOU as a sign that working together in a future government was their preference.

            Yes, my evidence is anecdotal – I wasn’t claiming otherwise.

            I am not going to continue this conversation except to say that I think attacking Labour based on personal suspicions is not an effective way of attracting more votes for the Green Party.

            • marty mars

              “I think attacking Labour based on personal suspicions is not an effective way of attracting more votes for the Green Party.”

              Yeah me too and like you I’m voting Green. I just struggle to see how it fits with the goals.

              • tracey

                What goals marty, yours or mine? I am after a genuinely progressive govt with the courage to make the BIG changes I think are required.

                • boggis the cat

                  Our choice is essentially a National dominated or Labour dominated government.

                  It really wouldn’t matter if Labour were only slightly better — they’re still better.

                  Now, if you’re asking if Ardern is progressive enough; I think she is quite good. We know, however, that the Prime Minister is not the sole power in a government. My concern about Labour is that I remember the fourth Labour government — Lange was a good man, but we got shafted by the neo-liberal wolves hiding in his cabinet.

              • weka

                I tend to agree, but I also think that people need to be free to critique Labour. Tricky.

            • tracey

              Questioning and voicing my reservations. This is a forum. I do not think for a minute I have the power you think I have to alter the election.

              I didnt say you claimed otgerwise. The evidence I have is the same as yours, anecdotal. Weka below has observed similar.

              I can find no evidence the MOU is anything other than an agreement to get rid of National. The former Green leader repeated this at a meeting 2 weeks ago. There may be an assumption that they are each others preference or do you have a link to Labour stating that?

              • weka

                “I can find no evidence the MOU is anything other than an agreement to get rid of National.”

                Well the agreement itself says differently. And certainly if you listen to what the Greens are saying, it’s their understanding that the point was to have a solid working relationship so that if the numbers worked out the two parties would form a coalition govt. It’s my impression that Ardern sees it this way, although as I said, I understand the not trusting Labour on this until we see how they act.

                I’ll just keep saying it, there’s the document, and then there’s the relationship. The relationship doesn’t expire on election day.

        • weka

          “I know a lot of Labour Party supporters and I do not know a single one who would prefer a coalition with NZF over the Green Party.”

          Ad is doing support work for Labour I think and he seems pretty happy at the idea of a L/NZF coalition. He’s not the only one. So while I wouldn’t characterise it as many like tracey did, I also wouldn’t say there are none (I know you were speaking to your own experience, not making that claim).

    • cleangreen 8.2

      100% Weka & Jenny, – TPPA will kill our Environment & so we need to remove this Government.

      Jenny you are importantly including the ‘Environment’ component into inclusion with Climate change?

      I ask this as we have already discussed the issues of rail as an important tenant in planning the best movement of freight, and we discussed the re-opening of the Gisborne rail service to lower ‘greenhouse emissions & air and ‘road runoff of other pollutants, all carried by freight or stock trucks and the shedding of tyre dust (which is a very large emission from trucks now.


      Tyre dust pollution goes onto our streams, rivers,lakes, aquifers & our drinking water, and the environment by air borne particle as it settles on the roads too!!

      Then rain water washes these toxic (PAH’s) off the roads into drains along the roads that winds up in drinking water as I said.

      No Political Party yet has explained this yet, and we need to ask why not?

      Jenny last week you said labour spokesperson Michael Wood said ‘Gisborne rail would only be opened if it is economically viable’ so we must ask both Parties you are choosing here Labour & Green party if they consider ‘Environment’ of our water important to be considered when choosing if rail should be used to lower trucks without just using the ‘economic viability’ question?

      Our Environmental Monitoring Company has measured the tyre dust emissions deposited from both a car and a truck to our roads per km now and in just one round trip from Napier to Tauranga and the truck deposits are frightening.

      Every car tyre sheds 0.031mgs per km.
      One truck per tyre sheds 0.21 mgs per km.

      A average car going to (Gisborne to Napier return) sheds aprox’ 250 mgs (quarter of a Kg of tyre dust.)

      The main tyre components of concern in every tyre are 1,3,butadiene & styrene, both cause cancer, and 1,3, butadiene is far worse and causes cancer and nervous system damage and birth defects -(OHSA/NIOSH) reports.

      We are now drinking it in our water so we must choose to use rail as they have no tyres, we propose Labour/greens plan to at least carry half all our regions road based freight on rail. – This is real ‘environmental management’ here.

      ;Not this current National Government policy.
      Polluted Paradise
      People & Power investigates New Zealand’s water pollution problem as regional elections gear up.
      31 Aug 2017 12:41 GMT | New Zealand, Water, Pollution

      • Jenny Kirk 8.2.1

        Hi Weka – just to note, I did say the above were extracts from Labour’s Policy Platform. Which is on Labour’s website.
        This is to Weka at 8

      • Jenny Kirk 8.2.2

        cleangreen – sorry for delay in reply. Been out campaigning !

        Your comments are very useful. Where can I find further information on this please? I can use this sort of info in submissions about freshwater springs close to a main highway used by hundreds of trucks each day. And this could also be used as positive arguments for rail in both Gisborne and in the North.

        “Our Environmental Monitoring Company has measured the tyre dust emissions deposited from both a car and a truck to our roads per km now and in just one round trip from Napier to Tauranga and the truck deposits are frightening.
        Every car tyre sheds 0.031mgs per km.
        One truck per tyre sheds 0.21 mgs per km.
        A average car going to (Gisborne to Napier return) sheds aprox’ 250 mgs (quarter of a Kg of tyre dust.)”

        • boggis the cat

          250 mg is one quarter of one gram, not a kilogram. That is a factor of 1000 error.

          Tyre wear pollution is a problem, but it isn’t that significant compared to other sources. Rail (and light rail) needs to be compared to where transport is likely to have moved by the time such infrastructure can be built. It may well be that electric passenger vehicles become the best option within a medium time frame.

          (Rail being better than ICE vehicles does not ensure it is better than electric vehicles. It is complex, with a lot that we can only make educated guesses about.)

    • Drowsy M. Kram 8.3

      “Labour’s position – which is to refuse an agreement which overrides our nation’s sovereignty, believes in international law, does not like the secrecy behind the TPPA, will fight to continue Pharmac’s position on drug costs, totally opposed to that investor-state provision, and so on, and so on.”

      I’m relieved that this is Labour’s stated position. Quick question about Labour’s “fight” to continue Pharmac’s position on drug costs – who are they fighting, and could a Labour-led government lose that fight? If NZ is a fully sovereign nation (big IF), and Labour is committed to supporting Pharmac’s position on drug costs, then I don’t understand the need to for a Labour-led government to fight to continue that well established position. It would, however, be useful to entrench Pharmac’s position so that it is more difficult for future governments to undermine it regardless of pressure/inducements from the Big Pharma corporates.

      ‘Not liking’ secrecy is not the same as opposing or (preferably) preventing secrecy – presumably a future Labour-led government could be trusted not to engage in secret negotiations with the potential to undermine NZ’s sovereignty?

      Labour’s new leader is rebuilding public trust at an extraordinary rate. My main concern about that is I remember when the 1984-1990 Labour governments abused that trust, and the long-term consequences for NZ. The Green’s have my party vote until Labour earn my trust again.

      • Jenny Kirk 8.3.1

        Drowsy M Kram – Labour’s position on Pharmac was made very clear when it was first raised in the TPPA that Pharmac’s policies of getting the best drugs at cheapest rates were under threat. This was a major platform in Labour’s statements earlier about the TPPA. Since then the Nats have backed down on that aspect.

        And while I cannot guarantee it, Labour on trust this election is a very different creature that emerged from the 1984 election. That creature – designed by Roger Douglas – over-rode Party members, Party policies, and everything Labour had stood for.
        This time around, Labour members have had a much greater say in how the Party is run, in Party policies as I’ve already mentioned, and in choosing the Party Leaders. If Andrew Little hadn’t re-built the Party, unified the Caucus, and put up some solid good socialist policies, then I wouldn’t be so sure about it all. But he did this, and left an extraordinarily good legacy for Jacinda Ardern to take up. The policies she is pronouncing on are the ones Andrew Little set up. And everyone in Labour is endorsing them.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 8.3.2

        …presumably a future Labour-led government could be trusted not to engage in secret negotiations…

        And why would they do that until the negotiation model changes? Do you play poker with your hand exposed?

        We cannot afford to isolate ourselves from the rest of the world. The TPP is a shit deal and not worth signing; that doesn’t mean we throw the baby out with the scummy National-Party-stained bathwater.

    • weka 8.4

      On the TPPA – I am disappointed with the “Its Our Future” people for continually undermining Labour’s position – which is to refuse an agreement which overrides our nation’s sovereignty, believes in international law, does not like the secrecy behind the TPPA, will fight to continue Pharmac’s position on drug costs, totally opposed to that investor-state provision, and so on, and so on.

      In the absences of supporting evidence for those assertions Jenny, I will treat them as your beliefs rather than being factual statements. I’d love to see Labour saying it will stop supporting the TPPA unless the ISDS parts are removed, but I haven’t seen them say that. I’ve seen them equivocate, which is what It’s Our Future assessed them at as well.

      I’d also like to see a clear, up to date statement from Labour saying that it will refuse the agreement if all its bottom lines aren’t met. Why have they not done this?

      Regardless, the Greens have a much stronger stance on the TPPA and it makes sense to point this out going into an election.

      • tracey 8.4.1

        ISDS is crucial and I too have seen no definitive statement that this needs to be gone or Labour walks away. Maybe they are not wanting to turn voters off. However that also amounts to a form of deception.

        • weka

          Not sure if this is new, but it was tweeted out today,



          • tracey

            I note Labour has property ownership by foreigners gone by christmas in latest announcement.

            Thanks for link. Disputes overseen in secret by corporate lawyers not mention as the 1 to 3 things they do not like.

            • weka

              I think that’s covered in their opposition to the ISDS, but my concern is that the last time I heard Ardern talk on this she wouldn’t address the issue of what Labour would do if they can’t renegotiate the agreement.

              I also think their five bottoms lines aren’t enough.

      • Anne 8.4.2

        I am disappointed with the “Its Our Future” people for continually undermining Labour’s position – which is to refuse an agreement which overrides our nation’s sovereignty, believes in international law, does not like the secrecy behind the TPPA, will fight to continue Pharmac’s position on drug costs, totally opposed to that investor-state provision, and so on, and so on.

        weka, Labour leaders and senior Labour politicians have repeated the above ad infinitum since around 2012. They are not merely the beliefs of Jenny Kirk who is a former Labour MP and has been involved with the Labour Party at senior levels for many years. She knows what she is talking about and can be trusted to speak with honesty and integrity.

        I recall you saying once that you rarely watched TV (in fact I think you said you didn’t have a TV) so suspect you may not have picked up on the well publicised positions as outlined by Jenny. I recall every last one of them and I’m sure many others do too.

        There must be a plethora of supporting evidence but it is incumbent upon individuals to keep themselves informed of what is already out there in the public arena – not the ‘messenger’ who probably has limited time to spend on a site like this.

        • Anne

          Oh and weka I’m not attempting to be critical of you as a moderator. Just trying to put you in the picture. Jenny Kirk knows what she is talking about and her word can be accepted – in the same way most of us accept the word of James Shaw, Metiria Turei and other senior Green personnel past and present.

          • weka

            The content of Jenny’s comments on the TPPA and Labour have nothing to do with moderation. People are welcome to critique my posts respectfully and within the rules.

        • weka

          Anne, look elsewhere in the thread, I’ve already linked to Labour’s position on TPPA. I disagree with what Jenny has said about Labour on this, as have others. Labour’s position is too vague for me and it doesn’t matter who Jenny Kirk is, her arguments don’t stack up.

          There are reasons that people don’t trust Labour on this. One is Labour’s history. Another is that the TPPA is hugely important, as I said in the post, it will undermine many other policies, including those of Labour and the Greens. The final one for me is that Ardern recently wouldn’t say what Labour will do if they can’t renegotiate all five bottom lines, or if the manage to get say 3 or 4 of them. For me, that’s vague, and it’s also not good enough. If Labour intend to pull out of the TPPA if they don’t get all their conditions fully met, why not just say so?

          If you have specific issues with the content of the post, please raise them, because otherwise all I’m hearing is that some Labour people think the post was unfair on Labour (and Jenny used the thread to have a general go at people who criticise Labour). If you disagree with IOF’s assessment then point to the ones you disagree with, say why, and back it up with definitive statements from Labour to prove them wrong. They might be, but I’m not seeing it. The difference I see is the you and Jenny trust Labour and there are others here who don’t. This doesn’t make Labour bad necessarily, it just means that on this issue their politics are something I would vote against.

        • weka

          “I recall you saying once that you rarely watched TV (in fact I think you said you didn’t have a TV) so suspect you may not have picked up on the well publicised positions as outlined by Jenny. I recall every last one of them and I’m sure many others do too.”

          I don’t have a TV, I watch TV on the internet. The bit about Ardern recently refusing to say what Labour would do if they couldn’t renegotiate everything they wanted to was on TV, that’s where I saw it (but via the web). I don’t watch TV news by rote (my parents still sit down and watch the news at 6 o’clock every night), I go watch the specific current affairs things I want to watch. That includes politics. I also use social media to see what is being discussed.

          So I feel like I have a pretty good understanding of where Labour are at. If you look you will even see me defending them last year on the TPPA.

    • weka 8.5

      Please see moderator note above and respond, thanks.

    • Jenny Kirk 8.6

      Hi Weka – just to note, I did say the above were extracts from Labour’s Policy Platform. Which is on Labour’s website.

      [and as a moderator, I’m saying you need to cite. Put up a link if you are taking something off the internet, or if it’s not on the internet make it clear what policy its from (exact policy name). It’s not for other people to chase this up, especially as things can be hard to find. Running out of patience here at my time being wasted, so consider this a warning. thanks – weka]

      • weka 8.6.1

        further moderator note, and response required.

        • Jenny Kirk

          Labour’s policy platform is at –

          Click to access New%20Zealand%20%20Labour%20Party%20Policy%20Platform.pdf

          Labour’s announced policies are at – http://www.labour.org.nz/policy

          [I know where the general Labour Policy is, I wasn’t asking for that. I’ve asked the same of you as other commenters, i.e. a specific link and cite so that other people, myself included don’t have go do search it out, and you’ve refused. I’m not willing to have my limited time wasted or this level of disrespect under my posts, so please refrain from commenting under my posts for the next two months.

          You are of course free to take your comments to Open Mike, but know that I expect anyone commenting in OM to also cite cut and pastes from elsewhere on the internet. I won’t be warning on this again, I will simply delete content and replace it with a note. – weka]

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