This TPP…

Written By: - Date published: 11:19 am, November 8th, 2017 - 68 comments
Categories: capitalism, class war, Economy, Globalisation, health and safety, International, jacinda ardern, labour, liberalism, nz first, political parties, politicans, useless, winston peters, workers' rights - Tags: , ,

The TPP was never going to have an impact on the government legislating to ban foreign individuals from buying houses in New Zealand. Some people have said the proposed change to legislation includes companies, but I haven’t seen any compelling evidence to that effect. And David Parker has been very specific in referring to individuals and the “1%”.

The reason legislation affecting individuals can be passed, is simply because individuals do not have recourse to the ISDS process. That being the case, individuals only have recourse to NZ domestic law.

The ISDS process is a dog. We know that. But even if it’s junked, things go down-hill for New Zealand.

In passing – the “General Equilibrium Models” used to gauge the likely economic effects of the TPP are laughable.  Eg the idea that 3000 redundant workers in Auckland will instantly and miraculously begin work in Hamilton or Invercargill is built into the assumptions such models use.

In short, some very bad and obvious dynamics are unleashed by agreements like the TPP.

In an open market situation, the country with the lowest wages and least expensive compliance regime around such things as food handling, processing and manufacturing, gains an obvious market advantage. A NZ Labour led government might be quite happy to consider more lax regulatory frameworks for domestic industry when faced with the prospect of industrial sectors going “down the tubes”…or happy to juggle, in an attempt to hold up wage rates by allowing industry to off-set wage costs with lower compliance costs.

But for you and me, there’s nothing to be gained bar a host of undesirable consequences in the great “TPP race to the bottom” –  like lower wages and/or less stringent food safety and so on.

So why does NZs political class seem so keen on the idea of signing us up to this nonsense? Well, apart from ideological capture, something that no-one seems to be mentioning is that NZ is the designated suppository  Depository for the TPP – making NZ  a kind of bureaucratic nexus. And it does cross my mind to ask how many public servants and politicians (past and present) might be eyeing up a secure wee number for themselves and turning a willful blind eye to what the TPP will mean for the ordinary people of this country?

68 comments on “This TPP…”

  1. AB 1

    It is the abstract faith in equilibrium models that allows people to sign up to deals that benefit one sector of the community, but devastate others, without experiencing any kind of ethical dilemma.
    In any system with even rudimentary natural justice, the beneficiaries of such a change would be required to compensate those damaged by it – at least for a lengthy interim period of adjustment.
    This sort of arrangement may make those potential beneficiaries less rabid and irrational in their advocacy for such deals. They would come out on top only if aggregate benefit exceeds aggregate harm over time.

    • Gristle 1.1

      Theories containing the concepts of Comparative Advantage essentially assume instantaneous reallocation from one resource country/area/industry/company to another without too much lag. Unfortunately it doesn’t quite roll that way. Just look back to the 1980’s to look at how long it took for ‘surplus’ labour from Railways or wherever to get new jobs.

      It’s the sort of dogmatic optimism of purists that annoys me. Just one more inquisition and Spain will be free of heretics.

  2. UncookedSelachimorpha 2

    Unfortunately if they sign this, Labour will be joining National in taking pride in NZ being a “low wage economy”. No future there. The benefits from any increased trade will largely accrue to the already very wealthy, while the costs of the agreement (medical costs, evironmental costs, loss of sovereignty) are borne by the majority.

    • greywarshark 2.1

      And It will be the end of Labour as a party for people in the lower class and eventually in the middle class as the whole trend is for the middle classes to be competed out of their jobs. Their hard-won positions after applying themselves to education, taking on student loans with the vaunted rise in personal advantage and income from such self-investment as the promise, will be occupied by others or be factored out by AI, FFS and other acronyms. I wonder how many burnt out past students there are around NZ already facing that sort of personal crisis?

      I hope this is not going to be our theme song after the election:

      Yesterday all my troubles seemed so far away.
      Now it looks as though they’re here to stay.
      Oh, I believe in yesterday.

      Suddenly I’m not half the man I used to be.
      There’s a shadow hanging over me.
      Oh, yesterday came suddenly.
      AZLyrics

      • UncookedSelachimorpha 2.1.1

        “And It will be the end of Labour as a party for people in the lower class and eventually in the middle class ”

        Arguably that has already happened since 1984, with Labour at best sitting on its hands while collective bargaining and free education died, and the welfare state withered.

        Maybe this is Labour’s last chance to be something different?

  3. Enough is Enough 3

    When Trump pulled the US out I smiled and though TPP was dead…then it was revived with the US.

    Then Winston chose Jacinda and I smiled as I mistakenly thought on the basis of 2 years of bullshit rhetoric that NZ would pull out.

    Now we are here, in this place where I strongly suspect we have been lied to again and New Zealand will sign up to the dog of a treaty that National negotiated.

    • Yep. Getting that feeling as well.

      Still, I do hope that both the Greens and NZ1st keep going against it. Then, if Labour sign it with support from National, it will likely kill them and we’ll end up with an actual Green government.

  4. BM 4

    I don’t see how they could sign it, NZ Firsts against it, the Green are against it and Labour stated clearly they were against it

    Here’s what Peters had to say about the TPPA

    The TPPA was not a free trade deal, but an international corporate protection racket, covering a wide range of laws which challenged our national sovereignty, giving legal preference in a court not of New Zealand’s choosing. That’s just to highlight just some of its defects,” says Mr Peters.

    http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/nz_foolish_to_sign_up_to_dead_tppa_with_japan

    New Zealand’s chief negotiators for the TPPA are meeting between 20-30 August in Sydney secretly to present the next New Zealand Government with a fait accompli for the APEC meeting in Vietnam in November.

    “They will be considering two options in Sydney, neither of which the New Zealand public is aware of.

    “This is government by tyranny, and not for or on behalf of the people. Secrecy, scheming and arrogance are not what New Zealanders want.

    “The National government should be ashamed.”

    http://www.nzfirst.org.nz/national_scheming_to_lock_in_tppa_so_future_govt_has_no_influence

    I realise Winston Peters is a self-serving fuckwit who only thinks of himself but even for him supporting the signing of TPPA is a step too far.

    Then there are the Greens

    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.</blockquote

    https://www.greens.org.nz/news/press-release/green-party-remains-opposed-tpp-11

    • SpaceMonkey 4.1

      I would be furious if the Green Party support this.

      And even if they (and NZFirst) don’t support it, I can see Labour making some kind of deal with National to push it through.

      Not a good start for Labour if that happens.

      • Matthew Whitehead 4.1.1

        Greens have bottom lines on supporting a deal with TPP countries, but Labour is making no noise on most of those bottom lines, such as fixing the intellectual property provisions.

    • Matthew Whitehead 4.2

      They don’t need NZ First or the Greens if National votes for it.

      • BM 4.2.1

        Obviously, wasen’t considered important enough to be part of the coalition agreements.

        • Matthew Whitehead 4.2.1.1

          You need to remember that just because something was absent from those final deals does not mean it wasn’t discussed and wasn’t attempted to get it into the deal.

  5. One Two 5

    If TPP is signed..and I believe it will be..

    It ‘should’ be the nail in the coffin for the Westminster System..

    Exposure of Parliament working for ‘other interests’, will be undeniable

    Participation and voter numbers ‘should’ collapse..

    But will they…

    • Sparky 5.1

      I suspect a lot of people who voted for NZF and the Greens most certainly will remember. Labour seem to be in FPP land where they think they can act against the interests of voters whose parties are a part of the coalition and still get away with it.

      My prediction is it passes and the MSM go into corporate overdrive trying to justify it. Next election though I’d say this mob are down the road and the Nat’s will be back. Not a happy ending but then the NZ fairy story has been dead the last 30 or so years.

  6. Nick 6

    I dont think they will sign it.

  7. Clashman 7

    If they sign it I think it really is time for some serious ‘civil dsobedience’.

  8. Clashman 8

    I’d also add that the coalition should make sure they enjoy the next three years because I think they’ll be in opposition for a long long time. None of them will ever get my vote again.

    • weka 8.1

      That doesn’t make sense. NZF and GP obviously have no direct control over the TPPA. It’s all on Labour.

      If you mean that NZF and GP should have made the TPPA bottom lines, what makes you think they didn’t? Do you think we’d have better off with a 4th term National govt?

      If you don’t vote for the parties who oppose the TPPA (NZF/GP) then you may as well vote National.

      • james 8.1.1

        It will be interesting if they support Labour in signing it then.

      • Clashman 8.1.2

        ‘If you mean that NZF and GP should have made the TPPA bottom lines, what makes you think they didn’t?’
        Well surely if they made it a bottom line and have consequently joined with Labour in coalition Labour has agreed to their bottom lines, so Labour won’t be signing then, good-oh.

        ‘Do you think we’d have better off with a 4th term National govt?’
        It’s increasingly looking like we’ve got National lite anyway….so meh.
        I voted for meaningful change not tinkering.

        • weka 8.1.2.1

          Or, they made it a bottom line and then had to choose between Labour on Labour’s terms and letting National form govt. I really think you haven’t thought this through.

          “It’s increasingly looking like we’ve got National lite anyway….so meh.”

          We got a centre left govt, that’s what NZ voted for. But to say they’re not much better than National tells me you don’t follow policy very much.

          • Clashman 8.1.2.1.1

            Poilcies are one thing actually following them is another.
            Signing the TPP with the ISDS clause intact goes against one of the stated aims of Labour’s trade policy – to “preserve regulatory sovereignty…”
            I’ll judge them on what they do not what they say.

            • weka 8.1.2.1.1.1

              Looks like you can’t tell the difference between National’s actions on the TPPA and Labour’s, but do you think that the TPPA issue outweighs all other policy?

      • If you don’t vote for the parties who oppose the TPPA (NZF/GP) then you may as well vote National.

        QFT

        And if you want an actual egalitarian country then you vote Green.

      • 3stepstotheright 8.1.4

        Precisely. And both NZF and the Greens could vote against Parliament ratifying the deal. I don’t understand some of the handwringing on this against NZF and the Greens.

    • Sparky 8.2

      Mine either mate. Well said.

      • weka 8.2.1

        So rather than voting for the Greens who have consistently opposed the TPPA, you would rather that National won?

    • Wayne 8.3

      Clashman,

      So who would you vote for, because on your reckoning 100% of the parties in parliament would have supported TPP, even if not directly, at least indirectly. For instance the Greens might say they don’t support TPP, but they will hardly walk away from the coalition.

      • Clashman 8.3.1

        I guess I’ll join the other million or so who are totally disillusioned with the choices on offer

      • KJT 8.3.2

        Well. You have just stated the reason why we should have direct democracy.
        The fact that a Government can ram this dog through, like National with asset theft/sorry, sales! despite majority opposition, proves my point about a rotating Dictatorship.

        However. Greens and NZF will not support the TPP. The only way Labour can get it through is by “breaking with the coalition” and using National votes. A step to far, I think, for even the neo-liberal dinosaurs left in Labour.

        • weka 8.3.2.1

          NZ will never get direct democracy without people voting for it. Just saying 😉

          • KJT 8.3.2.1.1

            LOL.

            Seems to me that anything which reduces the power of politicians over us, is popular with everyone except politicians and their hangers on. Which is why MMP got a majority of votes despite most peoples aversion to change.

            Of course, we will never be allowed to vote for Democracy.

            As someone once said. “If voting changed anything, They! would never allow it”.

            Like Catalonia. “Democracy is fine, so long as those in power agree with the voters”.

            • weka 8.3.2.1.1.1

              hang on, Iol, I was actually saying that voting increases our chances of getting direct democracy. Not sufficient but necessary. If we don’t vote we allow National and Labour to continue their duopolistic oligarchy. If we vote Greens, we support a party that wants to reform our political system.

  9. Sparky 9

    A right wing capitalist party in the form of Donald Trumps Republicans can ban the TPP whilst a supposedly (and I say this with due sardonic humour) leftist coalition can’t do the same?

    What does that tell us all about politics in NZ? Much as many iike to throw mud at the US we are looking a lot more like a banana republic than they are. A nasty one too run by cynical jerks who treat this country and its people like a ruthless corporation.

    Suffice to say F**K YOU Labour. Savage would be spinning in his grave if he could see what you have become.

  10. Phil 10

    In passing – the “General Equilibrium Models” used to gauge the likely economic effects of the TPP are laughable. Eg the idea that 3000 redundant workers in Auckland will instantly and miraculously begin work in Hamilton or Invercargill is built into the assumptions such models use.

    That is some Trump-level gross mis-characterization of what a GE model is and how it works.

    • KJT 10.1

      Pretty good model of how a right wing politicians brain works, however. Simplistic slogans and wishful thinking. When it is not outright greed and cynicism.

    • Nic the NZer 10.2

      Its a pretty good characterisation of what the models claim actually. General, means all markets including the labour market and Equilibrium for the Labour market implies full employment. Models of international trade generally assume the trading economies are all in simultanious equilibrium.

      Of course the ‘out’ used to believe in this nonsense, by people who take umbridge in what such models say, is to claim full employment is about 4-5 percent unemployment (the NAIRU).

      Care to supply a counter example?

  11. Puckish Rogue 11

    44% + 36% for TPP is a pretty compelling argument and NZ can’t afford to be out in the cold so well done Labour for putting NZ above petty ideologies

    Might have to reconsider voting for them if they keep this up… 🙂

  12. cleangreen 12

    Jacinda is a smart lady folks she will know that if labour signs TPPA they are gone next election period.

    Dont sign TPPA jacinda, – we believe you have a bright future saving NZ from another ‘National sellout oblivion’.

    • Puckish Rogue 12.1

      Naah, she’ll be thinking that its very rare for single term governments but I like how shes willing to whats right rather than take the easy route

    • Foreign waka 12.2

      Who knows, maybe some deals have already been committed in the assumption that Nat will win. It would be a possibility that Labor has to put a signature to the TPP just to rubber stamp what has already been signed and sealed in commercial contracts. Who knows…..
      Nothing would surprise me really.

  13. Peter 13

    I just had a thought ( you mite think I’m stupid ) if country A sells $50 million worth of goods to NZ, and NZ only sells $10 million worth of goods to country A then next year country A can only sell $10 million worth of goods to NZ, that way both do not poach each others work because you can only sell the same amount of goods to each other. What do you think.

  14. James 14

    From the labour website :

    “We have five key principles which will be non-negotiable bottom lines to protect New Zealand’s interests when the agreement finally makes it to Parliament.

    – Pharmac must be protected
    – Corporations cannot successfully sue the Government for regulating in the public interest
    – New Zealand maintains the right to restrict sales of farm land and housing to non-resident foreign buyers
    – The Treaty of Waitangi must be upheld
    – Meaningful gains are made for our farmers in tariff reductions and market access.”

    Labour have non negotiable bottom lines. They won’t support anything that does not meet the above – so you can rest easy that they won’t sign it – unless they lied to everybody.

    http://www.labour.org.nz/labours_position_on_the_tppa

    • weka 14.1

      “Posted by Andrew Little on July 23, 2015”

      • James 14.1.1

        It’s been labour’s position all along. Never said they were giving up on their bottom lines.

        • weka 14.1.1.1

          I think their position has changed over time and is currently ambiguous.

          • James 14.1.1.1.1

            I don’t think they have ever said they were going back on their bottom lines that they shouted from the roof tops.

            • weka 14.1.1.1.1.1

              You want to make it black and white, presumably so you can attack Labour later. It’s not black and white though.

              • James

                The fact is if they sign it as is – they are going back on what they have said was a bottom line and not acceptable.

                When have they come out and said that they were willing to “sell our sovereignty” (to use their term).

                • weka

                  No shit Sherlock.

                  Thing is, we don’t know what the current agreement says, so we don’t know what ‘as is’ is. Nor do we know what the intentions of Labour are, because they believe they need to keep it secret for negotiation reasons.

                  So yes, there’s the potential that Labour will do something seriously bad for NZ here. Is that what is worrying you?

                  • Ed

                    Clearly not…

                  • Venezia

                    Well it is very clear in the Speech from the Throne. Cant remember verbatim but have just heard Patsy Reddy say ‘ will seek to exclude the ISDS provisions in the TPP’ and several other references to protecting the sovereignty of NZ in any trade deals.

                    • weka

                      Will have a listen, but afaik the ISDS isn’t the only sovereignty issue. Bill referred to some of it in the post.

                      Also if Reddy is saying that, then that’s an improvement, because what I’ve been hearing is seek to negotiate on the ISDS, which means there is still and ISDS but not just a terrible one.

                    • weka

                      Here’s what Reddy said,

                      High quality trade agreements that benefit our exporters, at the same time as protecting New Zealand’s sovereignty, will be supported. This government will make sure New Zealand always retains the right to make laws in the public interest. This includes seeking to renegotiate the Trans Pacific Partnership to exclude investor state dispute mechanisms and avoid their inclusion in all future agreements.

                      https://www.gg.govt.nz/publications/state-opening-parliament-1

                      That’s not a definitive statement of ditching the ISDS in totality or walking away.

                      With the TPPA ‘as is’ will future governments be able to legislate to ban land sales to overseas people? I don’t think anyone knows.

  15. Incognito 15

    What exactly does it entail being the Depository for the TPP-11? I cannot gauge the impact of the bureaucratic nexus that you’re referring to on the local economy.

  16. savenz 16

    Even Hillary knew not to sign it…. The ultimate free marketeers…

    • Sparky 16.1

      The office of the secretary of state had a big hand in drafting it mate and NAFTA was passed whilst Bill was in office……

  17. the pigman 17

    Bill, I couldn’t get past the first sentence of your article. You said:

    “The TPP was never going to have an impact on the government legislating to ban foreign individuals from buying houses in New Zealand.

    You were literally saying (about a week ago? I forget) that the TPP had absolutely sunk Labour’s plan to ban foreign buyers and that they were talking about imaginary mechanisms (your phrase I think “waving a fucking imaginary magic wand” or something) that would enable them to do so. Then hinting (darkly) that Labour would back off restricting foreign ownership because they loved the TPP so much.

    As always you are short on facts and always leap for the panic button. Based on your typically hysterical commentary, the mess at Fukushima should have wiped us out (or at least those of us residing in Tokyo) by now.

    Ever heard the fable of The Standard Author That Cried Wolf?

    • weka 17.1

      They haven’t banned foreign ownership of land and as far as I can tell have no intention of doing so.

  18. Bill 18

    I think you’ll find I was saying that if individuals formed companies then the ban wouldn’t stand up against TPP provisions Pigman.

    But if you don’t read posts, and have a penchant to fly off through your own imaginary conversations (Fukushima?!) to arrive at pre-determined conclusions , then hey….

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