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The new government and the TPPA-11

Written By: - Date published: 6:45 am, October 28th, 2017 - 150 comments
Categories: accountability, democratic participation, Economy, labour, trade - Tags: , , ,

Professor Jane Kelsey was interviewed about the TPPA on bFM last week, giving an update on where NZ is at with the agreement.

Kelsey said that when Trump withdrew the US [Jan 2017] the remaining 11 countries, including NZ, then started to look at how they could retain as much of the existing text in a new agreement. There is meeting on Monday for this, which raises the issue of what the new government should do. Decisions are expected to be made at the APEC meeting in the second week of November.

Kelsey outlined some of the then Opposition’s concerns


  • That the economics didn’t stack up, the models used were flawed, the agreement didn’t take into account consequences including for employment.
  • Issues around foreign investment and the ability to restrict foreign purchasing of residential housing.
  • Effects on the ability of the NZ government to regulate in the national interest.

In addition to those issues, NZ First also raised this:

  • Rights of foreign investors, especially to sue the govt

And a further issue from the Greens:

  • Impacts on sustainability

Asked if Labour in government will be less critical of the agreement Kelsey expressed disappointment that the coalition deal between Labour and NZ First doesn’t explicitly state what they will do about the TPPA. Jacinda Ardern has said they would revisit parts of the deal eg the residential property issue and the rights of investors to sue. Kelsey says we have to take them at their word on that. But she also says we need to remind Labour what they have said in the past about the TPPA – that it is not acceptable in its current form or with minor tweaking.

Kelsey is suggesting that Labour set up an independent economic inquiry to any agreement. This would entail two levels.

One is that whenever an agreement is proposed there needs to be a robust analysis of the implications of the agreement. This would inform the mandate taken into the negotiations, which would need to be revised over time. It should be contestable, and cover the broad range of issues (the TPPA has many, the National government didn’t do an analysis of most of them). At the end of the negotiation process there needs to be an in depth and independent analysis.

The second level is what Kelsey calls a first principles review of NZ’s approach to international trade and investment negotiations. Because the world is changing these agreements are no longer seen as the orthodoxy but outliers. We need a mature and open discussion in NZ about our position given the international rethinking about these kinds of agreements.

When asked about the negotiations being done in secret, Kelsey said she hopes that Labour will be more transparent and open about negotiations.

Professor Kelsey also wrote a caution to Labour earlier this week,

‘Before the new government can decide its position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), including whether it would genuinely boost exports and provide a net benefit to the country, Labour needs to address its own criticism that there is inadequate evidence to support even the original deal’, says University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey.

Text of Labour’s minority viewpoint in the select committee report on the TPPA is in the link. It covers concerns about sovereignty, inadequate modelling, uncertain gains, and a conclusion that ends with this,

The TPPA will have ramifications for generations of New Zealanders. For their sake, we should not so lightly enter into an agreement which may exacerbate long-term challenges for our economy, workforce, and society.

So that’s a bit of an update. I’m also disappointed that there wasn’t clarity in the coalition agreement (PDF, I can’t see anything in there at all about the TPPA). There are many exciting things happening with the new government, and we need to take some time to celebrate the positive changes that are going to happen as a result. We also need to pay attention to the holes in the government’s platform.

It’s easy to become complacent with all the feel good and assume that everything will be ok now. I wish we had more time to celebrate before tackling thorny issues but the TPPA is a hugely important problem for NZ on which many of the other issues on the progressive agenda depend. And the negotiating process won’t wait for us – there are just over two weeks until the finalisation of the TPPA-11.

These are Labour’s five bottoms lines from 2015,

There is also this from Labour’s website. It doesn’t have a date on it but I assume it is from during the election campaign – Labour’s position on the TPP.

In September the citizens campaign group It’s Our Future released their own ten bottom lines, and a report card on the various political parties,

Ardern has said that while they would negotiate hard on the housing and investor dispute issues, she wouldn’t go into detail now because she didn’t want to undermine their bargaining power. I’m hoping that despite the current focus with the media on the residential land issue that they will also include non-residential land.

But beyond that, I’m nervous. The time frames are too tight, and many people are saying that renegotiating in a meaningful way at this late stage (or at all) would be very difficult. I also don’t like what is essentially a ‘trust us, we know what we are doing’ approach from Labour. Our trust needs to be earned, not just because of the betrayals from National in the past nine years, but because Labour has its own history. We need Labour to start demonstrating now that they are in fact an open government that will listen to and take heed of the people for whom they govern. Rushing into the TPPA-11 would not be a good start.

On the positive side Ardern has said “she would not be forced into a TPP11 she did not agree to”. It’s technically possible for Labour to renegotiate. I’ve seen informed Labour supporters say that Labour will do good on those things, but I also know that Labour, including Ardern, have been too vague with the public for something so important. It’s the vagueness that bothers me. The problem for NZ is we don’t really know where the bottom lines are any more, nor the implications of signing into the TPPA-11 even if the main issues that concern Labour are resolved.

It’s Our Future have an open letter petition at Action Station, urging Labour to slow down the TPPA process until NZers have had a chance to have their say. They are also suggesting that the government needs time to develop a new and appropriate trade policy for NZ.

You can sign here.

150 comments on “The new government and the TPPA-11 ”

  1. James 1

    Good post.

    I’m thinking adren will not be as successful in renegotiating as she is indicating and she probably know this.

    • lprent 1.1

      In which case we should withdraw from it.

      The cost of restricting public policy from the current methods of investor-state disputes procedures are such, that there is little to be gained from such a ‘trade’ deal. We simply don’t gain enough benefit in any possible trade from this deal either immediately or in the foreseeable future to nearly compensate for that loss of control over our own local laws and processes.

      And that is before any of the other issues like the restrictions to the development and use of intellectual property are considered.

      We’d be better off moving back into bilateral trade agreements. They generally seem to work a lot better at getting us what benefits NZ than these daft behemoth trade fantasies.

      • greywarshark 1.1.1

        ‘We’d be better off moving back into bilateral trade agreements. They generally seem to work a lot better at getting us what benefits NZ than these daft behemoth trade fantasies.’

    • Patricia Bremner 1.2

      Why would Ardern (get her name right) not succeed at that James?

      Strikes me she has some lines in the sand, and has excellent negotiating skills according to Winston Peters.

      I think WP has more knowledge of her than you James. You are just barking.

      • weka 1.2.1

        I don’t think it’s about Ardern, but about the process and timelines. My concern is that if the other countries are ready to go and NZ says hang on, we want to change this, we might get some concessions but that’s entirely different than meditating a trade agreement that we actually want and that fits with where the Labour led govt intends to go.

      • james 1.2.2

        Im sure she does – but it does seem that she gives a lot away 😉

        But as Weka says below – its about the process and timelines, and the TPPA is almost ready to go. Any meaningful change now is going to be difficult.

        • tracey

          According to …

          • james

            well anyone who things that meaningful change to the TPPA just before signing is going to be easy is an idiot or a fool.

            • KJT

              Including the other participants that collectively want more than 50 changes to the TPPA. Especially now, the USA is not joining.

              Our bottom line should be at least the removal of ISDR and the right to legislate in our own country for social goods, work rights, restriction of speculation and protecting local employment.

              • weka

                “Including the other participants that collectively want more than 50 changes to the TPPA.”

                Which is another indication of what a mess the process is and NZers not really knowing what is going on.

            • JC

              “Get real. Next week in Chiba, many, many elements of the original text are up for grabs.”


    • Philg 1.3

      Jmes, can you please spell ADearn propliy.ta

  2. Enough is Enough 2

    I don’t think Jacinda should be renegotiating. She should be doing exactly what Trump did and just walk away.

    Our efforts should now be concentrated on bilateral agreements that work for New Zealand.

    • cleangreen 2.1

      Yes I agree walk away from TPPA 11.

      Please labour walk away from this corporate hatched deal to rule over us by regulations in TPPA 11.

      TPPA 11 regulations will make our elected government we voted for rendered as uterly powerless, as this so call trade deal is clearly a very un-democratic corporate controlled deal.

      Just walk away before it is to late!!!!!!!

      • Tony Veitch (not etc) 2.1.1

        And the country would not be one whit worse off if we did walk away!

        All in all, perhaps the best solution – then negotiate bi-laterals with the other 10.

        • james

          “And the country would not be one whit worse off if we did walk away!”

          citation – are you saying that there is nothing of benefit at all for NZ in the agreement?

          • KJT

            Can you find any.

            I have challenged Wayne Mapp repeatedly to prove any net benefit from “Free Trade” agreements. If anyone would know, he should.

            No answer, of course.

            Even the much vaunted China FTA resulted in no more increased trade with China than the Ozzies got, WITHOUT AN FTA.
            The borrowing to afford sub standard goods from China and develop the milk powder supplying dairy farms, the loss of jobs and the negative balance of trade have, most likely, overrode any benefits.

            • james

              Well – if there are zero benefits why are the Labour government heading over and looking at signing it?

              Do you think shes an idiot? Something in it for her personally? paid for by her union overlords? or just for the holiday?

              Of course there is benefit to NZ in it – thats why they make the agreements. Of course your mind is closed and you know better – so no point debating it with you.

              • weka

                National think there is a benefit to selling off state assets. Doesn’t meant they’re right.

              • KJT

                If there is a net benefit, then you would think the advocates for it will be able to show it.

                In fact I am ambivalent about “Free trade agreements”. Certainly our agreement with Australia has worked well for both countries.

                TPPA however is not about trade, it is about International corporate rights.

              • tracey

                Union overlords? Where did that come from? Unions were very quiet pre election day unlike the right wing ones, taxpayers, Fed Farmers

            • Wayne


              You are wrong. Australia has an FTA with China, negotiated a quite bit later than ours. It is actually a bit better than ours, which is why ours is being renegotiated.

              And you may or may not have noticed that for some years now NZ has out performed Australia. The FTA with China is one of the principal reasons.

              Anyway I am looking forward to Jacinda being successful at APEC and securing NZ into TPPA 11.

              It is a good thing that at least so far she seems to be reasonably orthodox when it comes to trade issues.

              • tracey

                Orthodox = follows the neoliberal belief that trade = growth = great for society

                while ignoring that NZ has been growing its economy steadily since the 80s but not wages, not dropping incarceration, not improved mental health, hospitals physically and otherwise failing, children in poverty, high child abuse rates…

                Looks good from your place though Wayne?

                Can you post your net benefit evidence soon?

                • Wayne

                  Wages have been growing at more or less the rate of growth, which is why there has been no change in income inequality for 25 years.

                  • KJT

                    Average wages!

                    Which have been pushed up by big rises at the top end, and job loses at the bottom.

                    The scary thing about you, Wayne, is you believe your own bullshit.

                    Of course not much has improved in 25 years, (Wages are now more than 30% below Australians) because the policies that did all the damage have not been reversed.

                • KJT

                  He won’t, because he knows it doesn’t exist!

              • KJT

                “Outperforming Australia”.

                In what?

                Increase in child poverty and zero hour jobs?

              • KJT

                Much later than ours. Their boom in trade with China happened before their FTA.

                And. The Aussies, unlike the idiots in our Government. Negotiated a better agreement. Good of you to admit that.

                And. We will look forward to all future Government legislation in New Zealand, like Canada under NAFTA, being subject to the test of whether corporation A, B or C will sue for loss of future profits.

          • Tony Veitch (not etc)

            No – comprehension 101 – if we walked away, nothing would change – ie in words of few syllables, our trading situation would be the same as it is now!

            • james

              Actually – it does not mean that nothing would change – and it is naive of you to think so.

              You are assuming that all the parties to the TPPA-10 (as it would be I guess) would continue to look at and treat NZ the same. There is no guarantee that this is the case.

              • weka

                Do you have some evidence or credible theory to support the idea that other countries would penalise NZ for walking away. Has this happened to the US (they pulled out 9 months ago)?

                • james

                  No I do not – Im only saying that its a possibility. and to think that its not a possibility is, well, stupid.

                  • weka

                    Sure, but James Shaw being PM is a possibility and if I suggested we should take that into account in a political conversation I would be expected to say how and why. You can assert that NZ walking away from the TPPA-11 risks repercussions, but at this stage you look like you are making it up. i.e. in the real world it’s not based on anything other than your belief (I’m not saying you are wrong btw, I just haven’t seen any evidence or credible theory on how or why that would happen).

                  • Robert Guyton

                    james – you are flinging the words “stupid” “idiot” “fool” etc. around like a muck-spreader on a Southland dairy farm. Only a stupid, idiotic, naive fool would do something like that and hope not to have it pointed out to them.

  3. Tautoko Mangō Mata 3

    There has been an unseemly rush by Todd McClay to push this TPPA through. The additional costs for Pharmac plus the extended copyright period were instigated by the US, so why should NZ voluntarily sign an agreement which gives privileges to the US which has withdrawn from the agreement. Labour should insist that the agreement must be renegotiated.

    • KJT 3.1

      The advantage, from the point of view of the people in charge, is exactly why they are happy to have ISDS in place still.

      It cements in Neo-liberal policy settings permanently.

      Any legislation or actions by democratic Government, to make ordinary peoples lives better, against the interests of large corporations, and the elite/scum will be too costly to contemplate.

      Already seeing the effects in the UK and Canada. Such as the onerous NHS PPP’s in the UK, The Sheffield tree massacre, and the effect on anti pollution legislation in Canada, and the actions against Monsanto in the EU.

  4. tracey 4

    All those people whining about lack of transparency in negotiation of the new govt will be outraged at lack of transparency in the past of this political agreement, right?

    Wayne will be along shortly to practice his sound bites on us for next weeks media commentating gigs. Starting with his “Kelsey has opposed every trade deal ever” line, carefully omitting that he has never opposed a single trade deal but that doesnt make his view jaundiced.

  5. DH 5

    I fail to see the fascination with overseas investors. It’s a losers attitude, this country already has more capital than it needs.

    IMO all that’s required is for the Govt to wake up to how the world of commerce works. Banks have to lend money to make money and for the last few decades they’ve been very happy to engage in no-risk lending to the housing market and reap the easy profits. It’s time to say ‘fuck ’em’ and make them take risks for their profits just like any ‘real’ business has to take risks.

    Seriously, if the demand for mortgages fell away dramatically the banks would have no choice but to lend commercially if they want to keep making their big profits. They have to lend, it’s what they do. And once they start lending more to business we’d no longer ‘need’ overseas investors.

    The point being… there is no need whatsoever for ISDS.

  6. Nick 6

    It would seem strange if Jacinda decides to continue TPPA based on what direction the government is now turning. So I doubt she will continue with it, in my opinion.

    • tracey 6.1

      Interesting that hasnt been her stance tho Nick? Or do you think she didnt want to scare the horses during a campaign?f

    • Sparky 6.2

      Don’t be so sure. They were unwilling to show their hand pre election. That in itself in questionable.

    • Siobhan 6.3

      This Government is not ‘turning’, it is simply readjusting our economic model to more tolerable settings. ‘Changing gear’ would be a more apt description.

      I fear too many people have voted on the basis of what they wanted to hear rather than actual concrete statements from Labour…hence the number of ‘Vague, but better than National’ comments on the ‘It’s Our Future’ report card.

      It’s a blessed relief to have Labour in charge, but in the scheme of things it may well be just a temporary respite from our future on ‘Elysium’ unless Labour can start making some real changes after their first term.

      Changes which becomes even less likely should onerous agreements like the TPPA be signed (small adjustments or not)

      • tracey 6.3.1

        Agree with you.

      • Jack P 6.3.2

        Doesn’t Winston Peters have any say about the TPPA being Foreign Affairs Minister? I know he is completely against the TPPA and maligned it through its process while Key just lied. I love Key’s explanation about protecting Pharmac, ” People will still pay only 5 dollars for their prescriptions.” But never mentioning how much more money will be siphoned to the big drug companies. They have to walk away from this deal, this is one of the main reasons why I voted NZ first.

  7. Sparky 7

    Why the hell are a supposedly left leaning coalition even considering this? Its pretty simple, follow Trumps example and formally withdraw. Problem solved.

    Suffice to say if they do sign they are I predict going to permanently alienate a big pool of real left voters including myself.

    So enjoy the next three years Jacinda and co. if you sign this I’m staying home to read a book next election and any that come thereafter.

    If you want to tell these characters what you think about this monstrosity of a deal sign here:


    • weka 7.1

      It always helps to read a post before commenting on it. The petition is linked clearly in the post.

      • Sparky 7.1.1

        I read most of it but to be honest have been following this since day one so much of whats here is hardly news to me.

        Did not see the link but can’t hurt to have it in more than once, right?

        • weka

          From the bottom of the post,

          “It’s Our Future have an open letter petition at Action Station, urging Labour to slow down the TPPA process until NZers have had a chance to have their say. They are also suggesting that the government needs time to develop a new and appropriate trade policy for NZ.

          You can sign here.”

          Plus the tweet from Harre.


  8. Incognito 8

    This link http://www.labour.org.nz/our_position_on_the_tpp goes back to 2014 but I cannot tell whether the contents have changed since but there is no mention of an update.

    I agree that at the bare minimum Labour needs to explain why they’re apparently doing a U-turn on the TPPA.

    I’ve raised this before but I’m yet to see more transparency from the new Government. I hope they’re not trying to sneak through a few contentious issues before Christmas and during the collective honeymoon phase with the electorate – I really want to give them the benefit of the doubt but …

    • weka 8.1

      Thanks. Trying to find what Labour thinks about the TPPA now is part of the problem. It’s very hard to get a clear grasp. I see some good things, but what they present to the public, if that was all I saw, I’d be very concerned.

      “I agree that at the bare minimum Labour needs to explain why they’re apparently doing a U-turn on the TPPA.”

      I’m guessing they don’t see it as a u-turn. Their position has been that they would support the TPPA if their bottom lines were met, so now they’re off to the negotiations to see if they can get what they want. That of course contradicts their critiques to the select committee. Again, it’s really hard to know what they are doing.

      The other problem for me is that they have those five bottom lines, but are they enough? I don’t think so.

      I’m also cautious about the transparency thing. I was looking for a statement that JA made in the past week or two about that and can’t find it. Would love a link if anyone has one.

    • Sparky 8.2

      Labour are not doing a u-turn they have been non committal on this. Its NFZ and the Greens who need to explain what they are doing. That said I’m shocked Labour would consider this.

      • weka 8.2.1

        Given there is no vote, I doubt there is much that NZF and the Greens can do. I’m guessing that Labour took a hardline on the TPP in post-election negotiations i.e. they weren’t going to agree to abandon it.

        The tricky thing about the timing is that all parties are probably going to prioritise forming a strong stable government over challenging this one issue. However the Greens did release this in Sept, which is basically a reiteration of their opposition to the deal,


        • Sparky

          I think you are right. In which case I would rather they had walked away and told so called Labour to get on with it.

        • tracey

          No vote but executive ratification… presumably by majority not unanimity?

          Of course Labour coukd say we want to be democratic and put it to avote knowing it will get Nats votes.

      • Wayne 8.2.2

        Why on earth would you be shocked?

        There is little or no evidence that Labour has adopted the Green Party approach to free trade. In fact they appointed a Minister who has the credentials to continue negotiating free trade agreements that follow a fairly conventional pattern.

        He was not appointed to oppose them.

    • Enough is Enough 8.3

      If there is a U turn made in secret then we need to let the government know loud and clear that this is not what they were elected to do.

      Even with Green and New Zealand First opposition to the deal, Labour can get this through with the support of National.

  9. BM 9

    Labour will sign the TPPA in its current form, there will be no renegotiations.

    There will also be no restrictions on foreign ownership.

    • Sparky 9.1

      I’d say you are dead right.

    • weka 9.2

      la la la. Still in the troll stages of grief BM?

      Seriously dude, if you are going to assert your unfounded fantasies, expect ridicule.

      • Antoine 9.2.1

        This is one of those topics like the Kermadecs where you can expect RWNJs to wind you up a lot.

        (Unless Ardern succeeds in renegotiating the agreement with the amendments she wants, or doesn’t sign at all. Either way it should shut them up a bit)


      • BM 9.2.2

        Why do you think Labours been so vague around the TPPA?

        • Incognito

          Because up till now everything has been negotiated in secret, for years …

          Labour had no idea, and maybe still hasn’t, what Todd McClay and Tim Groser before him were doing behind the scenes!

          • Enough is Enough

            They should have some idea what is in there..

            If not this is a good starting place


            • weka

              My understanding is that there are significant parts that are secret and those things aren’t available to the Opposition ahead of an election. Has that changed?

              • Enough is Enough

                There have been closed door negotiations going on but it going a bit far to say Labour has “no idea”,when the orginal agreement has been published.

                • weka

                  ok, thanks, so do you think most of it is now in the public domain?

                • Incognito

                  You’ll have to ask the expert Prof. Kelsey whether enough is in the public domain now for the public to get an inkling of what’s it all about.

                  I used past tense “had”, not “has”. Moreover, Labour had and still have no idea what was driving Groser and McClay in their mad rush to push things through. Until they have read all (!) documents in their full gory and done a proper analysis they will still have no bloody clue about what to do and what the implications might be.

                  The first task of new newly-minted Ministers is to find their desks and the nearest coffee machine (and toilet).

                  So, I respectfully disagree that my words were taking it a bit too far.

          • weka

            Good point and that would be a reason to slow everything down and be more open with the public about the problems and the situation.

        • weka

          I think they’re not very good at comms. I also think that because they’re pro-free trade they don’t have the same kinds of problems with the TPPA as NZF and the Greens, and so haven’t taken a definitive stance. But that causes difficulties for them because the TPPA is not really a free-trade agreement and is basically a bucket of shit for people that want to protect sovereignty.

          Labour take an authoritarian approach to things, which is why on this they’re doing a whole ‘trust us we know what we are doing’ thing. I assume they believe that because they’re the government now they can do what they want in regards to the TPP.

          • BM

            I think they’re not very good at comms.

            I actually think they’re pretty good at comms, the let’s do it thing was marketing genius.

            The reason they’re vague is that they intend to sign and didn’t want all the left wing activists undermining them in before the election.

            • weka

              “I actually think they’re pretty good at comms, the let’s do it thing was marketing genius.”

              That’s not what I meant by comms. But sure, they improved their marketing substantially with the leadership change. We still don’t know what their position is on the TPPA though.

              Their main statement about the TPPA doesn’t have a date on it. And it’s bloody hard to find. I can’t see anything on their website from 2017 on the TPPA.


              No, they’re not that that good at comms.

              • Enough is Enough

                I think that depends on what you want out of your comms strategy.

                If the intention is too say nothing so that you you don’t offend either side of an argument, then they are doing very well on the comms front.

                At the moment no one really disagrees with Labour’s TPP position because no one really knows what that position is.

                And that is intentional.

                • weka

                  QFT. Which is the problem.

                  I’ve noticed that JA is very good at avoiding answering questions. In some ways this is good because she’s not letting the MSM bullshit control her. But it’s going to be a problem in terms of her relationship with the people of NZ, especially politicised ones.

                  Edit, I still also think they have a level of disorganisation around comms. During the election campaign they would announce policy and it would take days to turn up on their website. I really hope that wasn’t intentional.

            • Stuart Munro

              Hmmph – if they’d gone with “For the many, not the few” they’d’ve got another 5%.

      • Sparky 9.2.3

        Are you sure he is wrong Weka? I’m of the same mind myself. My opinion is they will make some noise and then simply give in unless they think the crown and sceptre will be taken away in three years.

        Its up to everyday people to stop them through protest.

        • BM

          That’s pretty much it, Ardern will say she tried and negotiated hard, but it was too far along, we’re a trading nation, we need to trade to survive, etc etc. and then quickly scurry off into the beehive.

        • weka

          I don’t believe that Labour will sign as is. I think more likely they will get some concessions and sign and people like you and I will be seriously fucked off about the result.

          Or, it’s possible they intend to walk away but need to go through the process so that future agreement partners don’t think NZ is flakey as.

        • weka

          btw, you understand that BM is pro-TTPA right?

          • Sparky

            Yes I had surmised BM might be pro TPPA (of course its up to him/her to confirm that). Everything I have read leads me to conclude s/he is correct and you can be sure I take zero pleasure in saying that.

            The only good thing perhaps to come from this is maybe it will open the eyes of people who somehow think because a party claims to be of the left it is of the true left.

            Maybe room in future for some genuine left leaning parties to come into being and eventually transplant the old.

            Hey how about the WEKA party? Has a nice ring.

            • weka

              I prefer to rabble rouse from the outside 😉 I agree about space opening up on the left, but I think we also need to move Labour more left than it is.

              • Sparky

                Fair enough Weka but we need real lefties running left parties. Personally Labours willingness to engage in this deal makes me doubt they can be moved to the left and indeed look a lot like centrist right (much like the US Dem’s) to me.

                My view is “out with the old and in with the new”.

                • weka

                  I’m a green politics person, not traditional left. I see Labour as neoliberal centre-left. The Overton Window has been moved in the past 30 years, and whatever happens with Labour that has to be addressed. We now have too many people in NZ who think that neoliberalism is normal.

                  The Greens broke left this election and a whole bunch of left wing voters went to Labour. For complex reasons, but I think the idea that Labour could easily shift to being a traditional left party again is flawed.

            • BM

              Gaining power is far more important than being “Left”

              As for the TPPA I don’t really have a fixed position, there’s no doubt pro and cons, I haven’t looked particularly deeply into the thing so I’m undecided.

              I’d prefer if foreigners couldn’t purchase residential property or farms, commercial and industrial I don’t have too much problem with.

              • Sparky

                Its more than that BM. Imagine for a moment is a company created a toxic chemical that was found to hurt people and the govt tried to legislate against it. They could then be sued and have pay millions in tax payer dollars and that could apply in just fighting the suit not even whether they win or loose.

                Now what do you think that means from the point of view of taxation? For you and I.

                It does not matter if you are left or right this is a bad deal for us all. Hope you will sign and say no to this.


                • Wayne

                  The company would have zero chance of winning such a case. Obviously the TPPA 11are not so negligent as to allow ISDS provisions that would allow such a case to succeed. In fact TPPA has strong environmental provisions.

                  ISDS provisions are for situations when governments break contracts by cancelling them, amor reducing their term. For instance a mining licence of 20 years is unilaterally wound back to 10 years.

                  Most probably Jacinda will get her carve out to prevent foreigners buying existing houses, that is NZ will have the same provisions as Australia. In fact I am pretty sure she will succeed. The other 10 will not have too much trouble giving a new government a concession that most of them already have.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    It’s quite likely however that a product of no particular merit, treated as safe in one jurisdiction but unsafe in another could force entry to the market over local objections – much as US bananas did to the EU. The obvious product of course would be GMOs.

                    Best reason to abandon the TPP process is the folk who put it together – Grocer et al – are and always have been manifestly untrustworthy. They were committed to the deal above all, notwithstanding their inability to demonstrate merits to balance the up front costs to the likes of Pharmac. It’s a good thing Winston is there to nudge Jacinda in the right direction on this – left to themselves Labour might fall for the neoliberal bullshit.

                    • Wayne

                      That would already be the case under the WTO agreements (as was the US banana case). Once in the WTO, countries cannot unilaterally ban things they don’t like. Think of NZ apples to Australia. NZ took Australia to the WTO arbitration and won. Now admittedly that is a state to state arbitration.

                      One of the main reasons for nations to enter free trade agreements, both bilateral and multilateral, is to stop arbitrary behaviour by governments so that firms can trade with predictability.

                      As for your views on the negotiators, well that is your view, But not a guide for government.

                      More interestingly is what NZ First will do. They are less keen on FTA’s than Labour (though very keen on a Russia FTA). They are not implacably opposed like the Greens. One of the reasons why Greens are only on confidence and supply is to reduce their influence on things like TPPA. Labour knows they can get the necessary votes from National for the TPPA, or indeed any free trade agreement. From the point of view of the Greens they still have the freedom to vote against.

                      I imagine Winston will basically go along as long as the deal is good enough, and has the sale of land protections. Particularly so given he is Foreign Minister.

                  • lprent

                    Obviously the TPPA 11 are not so negligent as to allow ISDS provisions that would allow such a case to succeed. In fact TPPA has strong environmental provisions.

                    Yeah right. Point to the words in the known existing agreement that would actually preclude this. Have a look at the case in NAFTA for the basalt quarry in Canada.

                    As far as I can see they are doing essentially the same legal wording.

                  • tracey

                    ” that is NZ will have the same provisions as Australia. In fact I am pretty sure she will succeed. The other 10 will not have too much trouble giving a new government a concession that most of them already have. ”

                    Wayne what was the last Nat govt getting for NZ for not pushing the same provision everyone else had?

                    • Wayne

                      National did not believe in banning house sales to foreigners. Perhaps they paid a political price for that.

                    • Tracey


                      You didnt answer the question, again. Everyone else in TPP bans foreign sales. We dont. That suggests a prid quo pro

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    Lprent is being too polite. I suspect an impostor.

                    There’s little chance you will akshully seek to cure your ignorance, so I’m going to do it for you.

                    Bilcon sued Canada — and won. The company is seeking as much as $443 million, plus costs. While the Canadian government can fight to lower that sum, Nafta provides no appeal mechanism to reverse the underlying legal decision.

                    Question: is it fair to consider your lip service to “strong environmental provisions” in the context of the National Party’s treatment of New Zealand’s environment?

                    Because if so, it’s worthless.

                    • tracey

                      Are you using that old communist looney trick of using actual situations and facts?

                    • lprent

                      Lprent is being too polite. I suspect an impostor.

                      Nope. Just refactoring a pile of old code. Then I reserve emotional hammer for recalcitrant objects until they obey my will. Meanwhile I get all analytical in the outside world.

                      Correct case. The more that I dig into what is known of that case the more than I see how it has direct analogues here and through the rest of the 11. Hard to see anyone who benefits for the ISDS apart from corporates and international lawyers – who cannot be checked by superior courts.

                      Basically Bilson wasn’t even quarrying the site. They were merely looking at it, were informed of the risks of the consultation/approval, didn’t achieve approval at the national level, lost in every court in Canada that they tried, and then effectively used the ISDS and won because some provincial bozo had said that they should be able to get 50 years to blow shit up next to neighbours and destroy the local fisheries.

                      As far as I am concerned that is exactly the type of risk that any company takes into account, which is why they get limited liability and have access to actual courts.

                      If that is ISDS, then I can see no reason to allow it in NZ.

                  • The company would have zero chance of winning such a case.

                    Well, experience shows that you’re wrong:

                    Ethyl, a U.S. chemical corporation, successfully challenged a Canadian ban on imports of its gasoline that contained MMT, an additive that is a suspected neurotoxin. The Canadian government repealed the ban and paid the company $13 million (approximately €8.8 million) for its loss of revenue.

                    I doubt if the ISDS clause in the TPPA is any better.

                    ISDS provisions are for situations when governments break contracts by cancelling them, amor reducing their term. For instance a mining licence of 20 years is unilaterally wound back to 10 years.

                    As far as I’m concerned that ‘s just the risk that the company takes. As long as the government does it for a well founded reason then tough fucken biccies.

                    • tracey

                      I agree that is a risk and one which any company would factor into its decision making, tendering, royalty offers

                  • KJT

                    I am sure you are aware of current ISDS cases in South America and Canada. Where even if they win, the costs are likely to severely punish the local or State Governments concerned.

                    The UK is already having problems with PPP’s, especially in the health sector where the private company should have their contract abrogated in the public interest.

                    For example in New Zealand. If a National Government, with their usual foolishness with public money, gives a PPP to a private company for Dunedin hospital for 25 years, and it is costing the public more than it is worth. Why should a future Government be bound by it.

                    Or the decision is made that banks are taking way to much share of the economy and it is to be wound back, or banking re-nationalised. Under TPPA the offshore banks can sue. New Zealand banks cannot.

                    Under the current TPPA, if the Whangarei council tries to take back public provision, or favours a local firm. Amourguard, which won the services and dog control contract despite a higher bid, ?? can sue under ISDS.

                    Dictatorship by offshore tribunal.

                  • One Anonymous Bloke

                    admittedly that is a state to state arbitration

                    Yes. The problem is investor state dispute resolution, as illustrated by the Bilcon quarry example referenced by Lprent and linked by myself.

                    As usual, you fail to answer any substantive rebuttal of your bad faith dishonest spin. Then you wonder why the National Party has no mates.

              • weka

                are you ok with the NZ government not being able to pass laws, or companies being able to sue the NZ govt it those laws affect their profit margins?

                • Enough is Enough

                  Yep. And those things are not going to change as they are fundamental to the people wanting this – big business.

                  We should end negotiations this afternoon.

                • KJT

                  It even goes down to local councils. If they favour a local business over a foreign one, they can be breaking the agreement.

                  Not to mention getting sued for loss of future potential profits.

                  • weka

                    that’s the shit that bothers me. Labour have this idea they can make the TPPA ok, but I can’t see how it can ever be anything other than a compromise and I don’t want Labour deciding what’s ok for us to cede.

                    • weka

                      at the very least there should be a national conversation about this.

                    • but I can’t see how it can ever be anything other than a compromise

                      It’s not even that. IMO, the whole point of the TPPA and FTAs in general is to favour business over government and the people.

                • tracey

                  Maybe Wayne will underwrite future NZ Govts against this happening given he is so sure.

                  • KJT

                    I doubt it.
                    Still waiting for Wayne to point me to any evidence of net gains from our TPPA’s. If they are so good, shouldn’t that be easy.

                    Constantly repeating “free trade is good”, is not evidence.

                    • Wayne


                      The evidence that free trade is good is overwhelming. And there is a vast amount of empirical information to that effect. That is why virtually all economists said the UK was crazy to pull out of the EU, a vastly more comprehensive free trade agreement than TPP.

                      It is as if all parts of Europe are one nation, with no borders against trade, investment, people flows etc. So all of you who rail against TPP, must be implacably against the EU, since that is the ultimate of free trade deals.

                    • One Anonymous Bloke

                      @ Wayne Mapp.

                      The TPP is a restraint of trade deal, which is why I’m opposed to it. This point has been made too many times for you to feign ignorance, so I can only conclude that your misrepresentation of those who “rail against the TPP” is a deliberate and cynical lie,

                      And then you wonder why the National Party is greeted with contempt.

                    • KJT

                      Wayne. Ask the African and Mexican farmers who lost their livelihoods to US grain dumping?

                      Or the workers in the Dunedin railway workshops?

                      “The evidence is overwhelming”. So how come you cannot give us the figures showing the NET benefit, of the China free trade agreement. Surely if it is overwhelming you can convince me. A capitalist businessman!

                      TPPA is about corporate rights, not “free trade” anyway.

                    • KJT

                      Wayne. Economists also said that reducing taxes on the rich would “trickle down”!
                      And the
                      “private sector is more efficient than the State sector”.

                      As for the effects of Brexit, that remains to be seen. I suspect the difference will be, if the next British Government is a Corbyn or Tory one.

                      Being in the EU has certainly not done the Greeks any good. Germany has won the third world war.

                      I see on the Spinoff you are bullshitting about the new Governments “lack of mandate to remove neo-liberalism”. As well over half the voters voted for parties that promised just that, (including TOP and NZF) there is much more mandate for this Government, than National’s for asset sales (80% opposed) for example.

              • weka

                Gaining power is far more important than being “Left”

                No reason why we can’t have both.

              • Jack P

                Wikileaks stated that 4 chapters pertained to trade while 25 chapters pertained to copyright and patents just about all of it in favour for the corporations. They have a 100% truth rating. This is the beginning of the takeover of our economy by the big corps. My guess is Key resigned because of the flag and Trump stopped the TPPA. Key is a Wall Street boy and has rubbed shoulders with the federal reserve(rothchilds, Rockefellers, duponts, etc.) and is working for them. Corporate media did a brilliant job protecting him and his elk. I agree with Weka, Labour is neoliberal and need to be closely watched. This is non partisan, we all should stand together to stop this and I am conservative (NZ first)

    • Robert Guyton 9.3

      And do you still believe National will become the Government of September 23rd, BM, that there’s still a chance???

  10. UncookedSelachimorpha 10

    I don’t trust Labour on this yet, but I’ve been wrong before – here’s hoping.

    They should walk away from the TPPA – it is not in the interests of most New Zealanders.

  11. veutoviper 11

    This is my take on the current situation from my Public Service work experience :

    1. Jacinda Ardern and her relevant Ministers (Parker, Peters) will not have been briefed fully on the current situation re the TPPA-11 negotiations until after they were sworn in on Thursday, 26 Oct.

    2. They will therefore not have known the detail of what NZ negotiators (including Todd MacLay as previous Minister of Trade and Mike Petersen as Chief MFAT negotiator) have already supposedly agreed to on NZ’s behalf. Without knowing exactly what has been discussed, the lines taken by the former govt Ministers and negotiators etc, Ardern’s. Peters’, and Parker’s hands have effectively been tied as to what they could say. They will also not want to disclose their negotiating position.

    3. Hopefully by now David Parker at least (as lead Minister of Trade and Export Growth) will be in urgent and intensive briefings from MFAT this weekend in view of the imminent resumption of TPPA-11 negotations this coming week, pre APEC in Vietnam the following week.

    4. These resumed TPPA-11 negotiations are being held outside Tokyo, Japan from Monday, 30 Oct to Weds, 1 Nov. Hopefully Parker at the least will be joining the NZ negotation team. And why not O’Connor as well as Associate Minister of Trade and Export Growth.


    5. Now that all Ministers have been sworn in, they should all be receiving or have received their written BIMs – Briefings for Incoming Ministers – from their respective Ministries, Departments etc. with face to face briefings lined up in the next week or so.

    6. In the case of Ardern and Peters, hopefully they will also be intensively briefed on the TPPA-11 negotiations to date as a matter of utmost priority – eg early this week so they can advise/instruct the negotiators in Tokyo as the resumed talks are underway and in preparation for their attendance at APEC.

    • tracey 11.1

      Thanks for the insights. Would it come within Peters Foreign Affairs purvue as well?

      • veutoviper 11.1.1

        Very much so – and he is expected to attend APEC with Jacinda A and David P the following week.

        There has been next to no mention of the activities, movements etc of Jacinda Arder, Peters or any other Ministers over the last day or so, other than Robertson appearing on The Nation this morning.

        It would be great if they were all getting a bit of a break for a few days after the intensity of the last few weeks, and especially with “Gypsy Day” happening in the Parliamentary precinct – the changing of the guard with Labour moving to Beehive from the old buildings, National in the the opposite direction etc!

        But I really do hope that Parker at least is getting briefed on the TPPA-11 as I just do not trust the Nats on this. It is going to be a ‘delicate’ situation considering that NZ pretty much instigated and led the original TPPA negotiations and have been at the forefront of pushing the TPPA-11 negotiations since the US withdrew. There is so much in these agreements that have nothing to do with trade per se, and IMO opinion should not be included due to the loss of sovereignty etc.

        Trade was not my area per se in my public service career, but it was my father’s and I spent my teens as an unpaid kitchen hand helping cook many legs of NZ lamb in Washington DC in support of his official role as NZ Trade Commissioner there!

    • weka 11.2

      Thanks veuto.

      “1. Jacinda Ardern and her relevant Ministers (Parker, Peters) will not have been briefed fully on the current situation re the TPPA-11 negotiations until after they were sworn in on Thursday, 26 Oct.”

      That’s what I thought, but then upthread is an discussion about how the agreement is in the public domain now, so I’m not that clear on this point.

      • veutoviper 11.2.1

        From memory, the original TPPA Agreement which included the US is in the public domain as it was completed and ratified etc by most of the 12 countries (including by NZ in the early part of 2017 shortly after Parliament resumed after the summer break) but then was basically left in limbo because of the US pulling the plug and refusing to ratify the agreement. Yes – see this MFAT link:

        ( Text of the original TPPA can be found at one of the links under Resources )

        As the MFAT link states, the agreement has been/is being redrafted to exclude the US – ie TPPA-11. NZ has been very much one of the leaders of this under the Nat government. The revised agreement under discussion includes some changes plus the proposed suspension of some provisions and parts of the original agreement until such time as the US returns to the agreement.

        There are stacks of links on Google to discussion on the revised TPPA-11 and its proposed changes but I don’t have time now to find these for you* – but in the quick look I did earlier today, I don’t think that a revised draft agreement has been released publicly as it is still under negotiation.

        * Suggest you Google “TPPA-11 agreement”

      • tracey 11.2.2

        It will be about nuances and understanding where some countries stand on sone stuff rather than the text per se? The text doesnt tell anyone where different country’s negotiators stand, or “see” different aspects?

        • veutoviper

          Just from the little I have read as I have not really followed the TPPA-11 process in detail, they seem to be sticking with the original 12 country TPPA agreement as a base – but it is hard to determine how closely they are sticking to the original text. As well as proposed suspensions, a number of other countries apparently want other changes.

          The final text of any such international multilateral or bilateral agreement is never going to reveal where the different countries’ negotiators stood, what they sought and got, or sought and did not get. That type of information is very rarely if ever released publicly. (Just as we will probably never know the same level of detail of the negotiations between Labour and NZF, and Labour and the Green Party.)

          The best the public can usually get to know is what information the different participating countries release publicly during the course of the negotiations – and/or what experts and lobbyists such as Prof Kelsey find out and release.

          Throughout the original TPPA negotiations, the NZ Nat government was extremely cagey about what it said, and I personally (and others) found that other foreign media were a much better source of information of what was happening in the TPPA negotiations than the NZ media because of the closed lips of the Nat govt. Ditto in the past months during the TPPA-11 negotiations, foreign media seem to have revealed far more than here in NZ.

          Here are a couple of links that may help

          Jane Kelsey’s take on the position of some other countries’ positions.


          A broader take on the position of the US, Japan, China etc as at 10 Oct 2017

          PS – this was written before I updated myself on the whole comments thread on this post so don’t know whether it is still of use as have been offline since late afternoon yesterday. Was pleased to hear both Jacinda Ardern and David Parker on radio news (RNZ) last night and early this morning speaking on the TPPA-11 negotiations.

          • KJT

            New Zealand Government still follows the Richard Prebble prescription. “Do it quick before the public figure out what is going on”.
            In other words, Democracy is only to the level allowed by the Government in power.

  12. Drowsy M. Kram 12

    Might NZ’s speedy adoption of the anti-sovereignty TPPA-11 be bought and paid for?

    It’s an agreement to benefit multinationals that wield enormous global power and influence.


    “One conclusion seems inescapable: in light of the multinational’s power, authority, and relative autonomy, the time-worn mandatory/voluntary dichotomy inhibits rather than advances our coming to grips with the challenges posed by corporate globalization.”

    Personally, I believe multinationals deserve some stick – more carrots (including TPPA-11) won’t help as they have plenty already.

    • KJT 12.1

      Certainly Key’s, and other ex right wing politicians, retirement jobs, do little to allay perceptions of corruption.

  13. Jum 13

    Prime Minister Ardern, Mr Parker and Mr Peters should speak to President Trump about his obvious contempt for the TPP(A). Like modern day capitalism it’s a failed ideology.

    Then formally withdraw until New Zealand can get a better deal with USA and each member of the remaining 10 on a more personal and empathetic basis, that is ‘it is people, it is people, it is people’. NOT corporates, which are profit, profit and more profit and wanting to reduce expenses, i.e. people.

    The current deal/steal is all about American corporates’ wet dreams which even the US Ambassador to NZ says is a bad deal for NZ and we can do so much better.

    Prime Minister Ardern has made it clear that she and her government coalition will be working on behalf of ALL New Zealanders. This lying travesty of corporate greed is destroying the integrity and long traditions of fair trade and should be dustbinned.

    The TPP(A) has debased the very meaning of global community, which is about sharing trade bounties with people not taking their freedoms from them.

    Whatever is pushing Nats love-in with this deal, and given their personal advantages in other deals, (Amy Adams with Central Plains Water), (Judith Collins with Oravida) must be of huge importance to their own followers which makes it automatically toxic for most New Zealanders.

    • Then formally withdraw until New Zealand can get a better deal with USA and each member of the remaining 10 on a more personal and empathetic basis, that is ‘it is people, it is people, it is people’.

      Just withdraw and set standards that other countries must meet before we trade with them. Essentially that just means that their laws need to equate to ours and be just as well enforced.

      Don’t need FTAs or even the WTO. Sovereign money removes the need for the World Bank, the IMF, and many other organisations that are there solely to benefit capitalism.

    • tracey 13.2

      The USA is NOT interested in any free trade deal that doesnt overridingly benefit the USA. That was true before Trump and more so now. They are a highly protective nation the Land of the Free and inroads into Agriculture sector are few and far between

  14. james 14

    “more personal and empathetic basis, that is ‘it is people, it is people, it is people’. ”

    Do you think that they will take that same approach trying to enter a Free Trade Agreement with the Russia-Belarus-Kazakhstan Customs Union?

    Afterall – its members are so well known for their human rights and empathetic approach.

    • KJT 14.1

      And you think ISDS is out of regard for democratic human rights?

      It is intended to cement in neo-liberalism and privatisation, no matter what each countries citizens want.

    • tracey 14.2

      Interesting allusion. Wasnt Keys govt one of the ones to not join sanctions on Russia… or belatedly vis a vis dairy?

      On a side note there is a high profile Russian who settled in Christchurch in 2009. He is spending big, or proposing to spend big on sports facilities for his children 40m in total over time. Made his money in meat processing but finding anyone with decent due diligence on this guy is proving hard. He uses an interpreter. Yep after 8 years in NZ his english is still pretty poor. How ever did he pass the IELTS test?

      My point is there are different rules for the very wealthy and big business. Why anyone things TPP is any different to that “model” beggars belief. Over 400 big US Corporates were privvy to and part of much of the TPP negotiations. They would report to Boards. Thousands on corporates new and influenced an agreement people of democratic countries werent allowed to know.

      Didnt Fonterra and others get to go to a round in Hawaii? Make no mistake this is almost exclusively about corporates

      • Stuart Munro 14.2.1

        He’ll have prepurchased a chunk of tuition – doesn’t have to actually study or pass anything. I taught a Russian like that for a while – he didn’t study, but we had a good time – used to have eight bottle restaurant lunches on Fridays & I helped him track down some Aussie reds that he considered better than more famous French labels, Barossa valley cab savs.

      • james 14.2.2

        “Made his money in meat processing but finding anyone with decent due diligence on this guy is proving hard. ”

        Why would you be looking for people with due diligence on him?

        • tracey

          Do you often enter into business or funding arrangements without doing due diligence James?

          Secondly some organisations I know are underpinned by ethics and values, and one is govt funded. They like to know if they are dealing with someone for whom “meat processing” might be a euphemism. If they did business with someone who was not kosher it impacts.

          Better question though James, would have been ” why is it so hard to find the detail of his claims to his wealth”

  15. peterlepaysan 15

    Free trade is peripheral to any agreement.

    Originally a group of pacific/ pacific rim countries started to negotiate a joint fta.

    Then the US , (dragging Japan and Canada) muscled in.

    Because of freetrade? BULLSHIT!

    China has been flexing its geopolitical muscles for some long time while the US has been preoccupiedinthe middle and north western asia.

    The US feels it has to counter China’s growing power in the asia pacific region. That is why the TPPA was conceived.

    These talks have little to do with trade but everything to do with geo politics.

    We need to pull out. If we stay in we are taking sides in foreseeable warfare.

    • Anne 15.1

      The US feels it has to counter China’s growing power in the asia pacific region. That is why the TPPA was conceived.

      These talks have little to do with trade but everything to do with geo politics.

      Precisely. I don’t bother reading all the minutia about the TPPA – including here on TS – because there’s little point. It’s much ado about a trade agreement which is not a trade agreement. It’s an attempt by the US to shore-up its super power status by controlling the Pacific rim countries and shutting out China in the process. Except they’re not going to win.

  16. Zorb6 16

    If the TPP is really all about trade,why isn’t it called the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement?I recall Groser trying to assuage fears about swallowing dead rats, by saying the Govt could withdraw from the obligations of the agreement by giving 6 months notice .Wonder if it is really that simple.

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