TPP2: Electric Boogaloo

Written By: - Date published: 8:30 am, March 8th, 2018 - 82 comments
Categories: copyright, Economy, employment, Free Trade - Tags: , , , ,

Today is the signing of the little zombie deal that could, (CPA)TPP1. Those of you already following Weka’s earlier post have already seen my short thoughts on this deal, but I thought I’d give you both the long take and some political analysis on this tire fire for its signing day.

But first, let’s talk about action against it! The petition at dontdoit.nz has broken 5,000 signatures, a really respectable number for an issue where we’re breaking with the Labour party, (there is an understandable deference to authority by some more moderate supporters of the government, but that’s a really poor reason to support a deal like this) so great work to everyone involved, and it’s still worth having a look at signing if you haven’t yet. There is a protest today at Parliament, assembling at noon, so if you’re in Wellington, show up! I plan to be there, weather allowing. It’s important that Labour realize they have put themselves in an unenviable position by signing on to this deal despite their “bottom lines.”

That brings us back nicely to analyzing the deal, and let’s do so in terms of Labour’s bottom lines. Like a zombie, it is definitely suffering necrosis. Firstly, and most alarmingly, we are clearly being set up for the US’ re-entry into TPP with the worst parts of it, such as the copyright provisions, simply “suspended” rather than deleted. You don’t “suspend” parts of a deal you don’t want there, you delete them, so they are suspended for a reason- clearly the large multinational corporations that have lobbied hard for this treaty want the US to come back to it once they have a more friendly administration, or even once they can talk Trump into it. (he has talked about renegotiating a “better deal” for the US- which likely means he would want to make the deal even worse for everyone else, so we can hope he makes no progress there) So the biggest problems still haven’t been “solved” as claimed, but rather set aside until eventual consideration of the USA’s re-entry.

Secondly, the much-vaunted side deals to limit ISDS claims, which Labour claims half-victory on, are really a total failure. What they have done is make it marginally harder for Australian corporates, and any other country’s corporates who we have secret side deals with, to take us to the ISDS tribunal. It’s still absolutely possible: Corporates aren’t like people, they don’t have citizenship. As long as they have operations or are willing to set up operations in a country without a TPP side-deal, they can simply relocate their HQ to that country and sue us under their ISDS clause, and suddenly our side-letters don’t apply. So in practice, we are likely open to 95% of our trade to the TPP11 countries in lawsuits, rather than having cut it down to 20% or less of our trade.

I will point out that the problem with TPP’s ISDS mechanism isn’t that allowing investors to resolve disputes with states individually isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but that it is structured as basically a corporate rights charter instead of a legitimate, law-based disputes process. You could arguably design a good ISDS in a multi-country agreement by having nominated third-party countries hear cases in their courts with their judges, and pay due respect to the public interest in those laws. TPP has some provisions around legislation in the public interest, but it’s hard to have confidence in them when the sorts of tribunal’s TPP’s ISDS is modelled after have historically been kangaroo courts presided over by lawyers whose whole careers have been built on pro-corporate trade advocacy- so there is not even a veneer of neutrality.

Thirdly, Labour’s triumphant legislation to ban foreign buyers of existing homes is the real half-win. Yes, it will do a little to improve the housing situation by forcing foreign investors to build new houses, but it doesn’t solve the land concern. Foreigners will still be able to buy up farmland, or empty land to build McMansions on, so it’s less of a win than it seems to be.

Basically, Labour has broadly failed on its own “bottom lines” depite rounding themselves up to victory in the media. So why support this new zombie deal when they were clear on those deadlines and it’s failed to meet them?

Because the purpose of the bottom lines was, sadly, never to communicate clearly the conditions under which Labour would reject the deal. Rounding themselves up to passing one of them shows that quite clearly- if they were bottom lines, half-success on just one of them would mean the deal needed to be rejected, and thus we are clearly in bad faith territory here. But why?

Well, I think honestly, Labour have never had to turn around one of these trade negotiations before. They are not a populist party by nature, not since the 1980s, and they think they honestly know better and can do better than the public on trade. I believe they honestly thought they had the power to turn those negotiations around, if they even happened, and that Japan would likely slow things down for long enough that they could make a really good show of it. But someone was busy working behind the scenes in Japan, and they reversed themselves, and Labour found they were suddenly under time pressure having promised everything would be alright if they won the election, and their bias of being for Every Single Trade Deal Ever Proposed reared its ugly head again.

If you don’t like that behaviour, if you think it’s dishonest, well, you honestly need to not vote for Labour. You have precisely one option if you oppose corporate trade deals like the TPP in the future, and that’s the Greens, who have opposed this deal in Parliament, and will oppose it in Cabinet.

As for New Zealand First… I can’t actually fathom them really and genuinely supporting the new deal. I think they knew that it would be a price they’d pay to go into coalition, and New Zealand forced them into coalition by making them the critical party to get above 50%. Again, if you thought they’d prevent a TPP, don’t vote for them, and demand they give some real guarantee they’ve changed their stripes before you ever consider doing so again.

Beyond the bottom lines, here’s another summary of bad things about the TPP2:

  • The deal is likely to cost more than it benefits us. MFAT’s projections of 0.9% GDP growth (relative to today) over 12 years haven’t been independently reviewed, (this is compared to a modelled 47% growth in the control scenario without the TPP, so it’s basically three cents on the dollar even if you think MFAT has got it right) and we already know those predictions exclude significant cost factors, such as temporary unemployment spikes due to labour redistribution from industries which are “losers” for New Zealand under TPP, to industries which are “winners.” This alone should eat the entire economic benefits promised by the deal, which can be best described as “meagre technicalities,” rather than actual benefits.
  • Beyond some non-binding language, everything about its structure is bad for the environment. The ISDS clauses will allow overseas investors to sue us for any new environmental legislation, including transitioning to a carbon tax, or new marine reserves, or new national parks, or strengthening the RMA, despite New Zealand being a very stable country to invest in, the ostensible point of having ISDS clauses. (ie. there is no reason to apply them to a country like NZ)
  • It will restrict labelling such that our existing food exports will be less competitive.
  • Existing light-touch regulations will be semi-locked in due to threat of ISDS challenges.

Here are the bad things that come back when/if the US deigns to re-enter TPP:

  • While we could operate PHARMAC under even a TPP-12, we will either have to spend more, or buy less medicines to do so, as the costly provisions that were added purely to benefit US pharmaceutical companies were only suspended, not removed.
  • Copyright terms will only remain the same if the US doesn’t re-enter the deal. Our copyright duration, and the length which we honour other countries’ copyrights, is already far too long, stealing works which should rightly be open for re-imagination and re-interpretation and improvement from the public domain. 50 years is more than enough- for context, the original version of Star Trek would just recently have entered public domain had it been made in New Zealand. All New Zealand copyrights would take an extra 20 years to reach the public domain if the US re-entered the deal, restricting our artists, programmers, games developers, etc… from improving classic stories and intellectual property into something substantially new, or even just modernising it in innovative ways.
  • You will be able to be arrested for breaking copyright protection mechanisms. (eg. jailbreaking your games console, or removing copy protection from a file so you can play it on a computer where that copy protection causes it to crash)
  • Government procurement policy will be affected if they re-enter.
  • ISPs will be able to be held liable for copyright infringement if the US re-enters the deal, a frankly draconian and unworkable solution that undermines legal process and shifts the responsibility from copyright holders.
  • The ISDS provisions become worse. (see below)

There are SOME actual improvements, to be 100% fair:

  • Private investors can’t directly sue the government for contract breaches as easily as they could before, even though they can still sue us for legislation change.
  • There is some degree of protection for Te Tiriti o Waitangi rights added to the deal, although it’s uncertain how strong this will actually be.
  • There is some aspirational language about environmental protections, and labour rights, but it is unlikely to make any difference.
  • There is some language that might improve foreign policy slightly in some of the other signatory countries by obliging them to take certain joint positions. New Zealand isn’t affected by any of these, or already considers the final position to be a net positive anyway.
  • The re-entry of the US might help us sell intellectual property in certain Asian countries with notorious problems enforcing copyright law to a reasonable level, however a lot of modern software produced in New Zealand is of an online-only nature, which means this is less of a benefit than it might have been, as it cannot be copied illegally without first reverse-engineering it and developing an offline version, which is a very difficult hack to do and would require significant leaks from developers to pirates.

1 If you’re going to change the bloody name of the deal, at least get your acronym letters in the right order for the new name. Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership definitely acronyms down to CPATPP, so I’m not sure why people acronyming the new name are sometimes calling it CPTPPA. The “A” is clearly now in the middle of its name, but this just belies the fact that it really is the same deal- I would say in drag, but frankly that’s slanderous to drag queens, who are excellent performers (and an implicit critque of toxic masculinity, nonetheless!) and do not deserve to be associated with this rubbish.

I’m calling it the TPP from here on, because it is in many ways the same deal, just with bits of it in hiding until the US rejoins.

2 This analysis is a summary based on splitting the difference between It’s Our Future NZ’s analysis of the original TPP-12, and MFAT’s claims about suspended sections of (CPA)TPP. You will note that MFAT only claims that the new agreement protects our rights to legislate in the area of healthcare and education, and even then, that healthcare claim presumably depends on the suspension of the items the US wants to make PHARMAC pay their drug companies more money. They don’t even pretend that the new deal won’t limit our ability to regulate our private market.

Image credit: Perlinator, generously released under CC0.

82 comments on “TPP2: Electric Boogaloo”

  1. dukeofurl 1

    The idea that Trump can come ‘back in’ is false. Even Obama couldnt get it passed by Us Congress on an ‘up or down’ vote.

    Its confusing because various stages did have votes The ‘authority to negotiate’ did pass for the TPP . This is often called a Fast Track

    Of course once the negotiations were completed the ground had shifted and both Trump and Clinton were promising not to proceed.
    Obama could have ‘pushed’ for a vote after the elections on whether to ‘finalise the agreement into law’, but once Trump won there wasnt any interest in doing so as it wouldnt have passed.

    • Sparky 1.1

      It will pass in the US in time. Its simply a matter of having the right person in the drivers seat. I suspect voters in the US felt Clinton would have passed it once in so they moved their vote to Trump.

      • dukeofurl 1.1.1

        You havent read what I said. The Congress , both houses, would have the final say.
        Clintons opposition was due to union groups opposed to the TPPA endorsing her and while she could have shifted once elected, the union opposition would transfer to Senators and those in Congress
        The broad support in Congress is just not there for the foreseeable future.

        • Sparky 1.1.1.1

          I think you might find a good degree of that “opposition” was not because they did not want the TPP its because it did not offer enough for them to agree to it. In particular the clause excluding tobacco was a bone of contention with Congress……

          • dukeofurl 1.1.1.1.1

            Yes you are right that various politicians had ‘different bones to pick’

            My understanding was they could only vote for or against. It wasnt able to be picked apart again.

            For me having the US out of the agreement is the best part, as their interests were more of the corporate advantage rather than actual trade.

            Then again NZ has always been the small cog in these things . For a long time we were bound by the British Empire trade group which allowed access to Britains markets but we had to take their manufactures and their rules on banking, finance and insurance.
            The British Privy Council was the body to enforce UK companies financial interests.

    • Enough is Enough 1.2

      As you can see from the resignation of Trump’s senior economic adviser, and the noise coming out of the Senate Republicans as a result of Trump wanting to impose high Tarrifs on steel to protect US jobs, the US still has a general thirst for Free Trade.

      I expect that a future US Government will enter this deal.

    • Matthew Whitehead 1.3

      It really depends on what sort of congress they elect. If you got an Obama-style corporate-friendly Democrat, with a Senate and House majority of largely corporate Democrats, you’d get yourself negotiations on TPP-12.

      I agree right now the current Trumpian congress couldn’t approve Fast Track for TPP re-entry even if they tried to do it on a literal intercity train, but there is clearly SOMEONE in the policy process for this whole thing anticipating the possibility of resurrecting TPP-12, and that means they will try to get even Trump to support the thing. A Trump TPP-12 negotiation is likely to either be a non-starter in the US, or a non-starter internationally, but I’m not ruling out his wealthy backers manipulating him into supporting it again.

      The real danger of TPP-12 coming back is if, say, Kamala Harris or Cory Booker wins the democratic primary. They would be as enthusiastic in support of TPP as Hillary Clinton was.

  2. cleangreen 2

    Thanks Matthew;

    A good summary of the “true facts” here thank you.

    Why couldn’t the Labour NZ First mob explain it all so well??????

    Did they want to pull the wool over our eyes???

    My best reaction is; – “Dont sign it Labour.”

    • Matthew Whitehead 2.1

      Yeah, my take, as in the post, is that they were looking for a way to support it, because they thought they could change tack on this agreement really fast, and that Japan would delay the necessity of them doing so, and they got caught in a trap of their own making.

    • Unicus 2.2

      For a lot of reasons the Labour Party is in a hole on this – damed if you do and damed if you don’t –

      None of the oppositional arguments are without foundation – it’s a dog – but blind freddy would tell us there was no way the new Government could walk away from it .

      Since its implementation is a forgone conclusion Its time “good people and true began figuring a way for it to work primarily in the citizens interest.

      In the fashion of he article’s illustration – in reverse !

  3. Sparky 3

    A well written article Matthew but in my opinion you are being too kind to Labour. I stopped trusting them after the Lange government in the 1980’s when they NOT the Nats took NZ down a really ugly and cruelly implemented path to bare faced capitalism. Some of the changes were necessary but others were simply inhumane and we are seeing the results now with endemic inequality and entrenched poverty.

    To my mind this Labour govt are really a continuation of that “Blair-ite” mentality. In the UK they have in part begun to learn their lesson but here it seems nothing has changed. I can but hope voters wake up and we see Labour fade into obscurity. Of course that means that non critical Labour supporters need to start being more discerning but whether that happens is anyone’s guess.

    Hope to make the protests but still jet lagged so will see how I feel after a coffee or two…..

    • savenz 3.1

      At the end of the day, the people gave Labour an other chance to be a center government. They failed on this by signing this dog of an agreement within 6 months into their government to help overseas super rich and subjugate those people who live here.

      People gave a minor party NZ First the ability to have change in a positive way and put NZ First. They failed almost immediately .

      National are craven crazies anyway and at least were clear from the get go they would sign the zombie deal to help their super rich mates in finance and their new best friends from overseas big business. So no surprises the Natz crazy thicko’s are still zealously supporting it.

      Greens are the only ones still in parliament who are left who at least publicly say no to this deal.

      Mana had things been different (and we know who we can blame for that) would also have been a voice against it.

      Vote wisely next time folks! We gave Labour and NZ First a chance and they blew it!

    • Matthew Whitehead 3.2

      Really? I thought I was relatively mean to them.

      I have implied they were naive, overconfident, campaigned on TPP in bad faith, and are now selling us incredible levels of spin to try and make us less angry at their signing it, even when I gave them the most charitable interpretation of how they got into that mess. Glad to see people don’t think I’m just hating on Labour, though. 🙂

  4. cleangreen 4

    Labour failed miserly to put a shine on this turd called TPP11 so no-one in NZ will ever believe them after this sadly.

    They will have lost the solid faith they built up during the election till today so quick they were to destroy their own work for what????

    Silly move there.

    “Lets not do this”

  5. savenz 5

    Not only is is crazy the new government signing this deal, the courts they use are not even considered legal anymore in the EU. They are quasi courts! What idiots wants their disputes solved by quasi courts when on claimant has more rights that the other!

    See below extract.

    “A landmark ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) today could mark the beginning of the end of the so-called ‘corporate court’ system within Europe.

    This infamous system is now to be found in hundreds of trade and investment deals. Under the guise of protecting investments in foreign countries, the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), as it’s officially known, allows big business and super-wealthy investors to sue foreign governments for regulations they don’t like. What’s more these courts exist outside the normal legal framework, are presided over by corporate lawyers and usually meet in secret, with no right of appeal.

    Across the world, this system has been used to challenge dozens of environmental regulations, as well as minimum wage rises, putting cigarettes in plain packing and freezing electricity prices. It was also at the core of opposition to US-EU trade deal TTIP, which would have included corporate courts.

    Today’s ruling is part of a specific case involving a Dutch company called Achmea and the government of Slovakia. The company was just starting to provide health insurance in Slovakia in 2006 when a new government in the country decided to reverse the liberalisation of its health insurance market, and placed specific limits on profit-making. The case is important in highlighting the threat to contracted out public health systems – like parts of the NHS – from these corporate courts.

    Achmea brought corporate court proceedings against Slovakia in 2008 under a Netherlands-Slovakia investment agreement. The company won, and Slovakia was order to pay €22million. That’s when proceedings started in the German court system to force Slovakia to pay up, and the German federal court of justice asked the ECJ whether all of this was lawful under EU Treaties.

    Today we received the answer: the way these corporate courts work isn’t lawful because they exist outside the normal court system and therefore outside the judicial system of the EU. As such they are incompatible with EU law.”

    http://www.globaljustice.org.uk/blog/2018/mar/6/corporate-courts-thrown-out-europe-now-britain-must-follow-lead

    • Sparky 5.1

      My prediction is NZ will become a banana republic if this passes.

      What they fail to realise is people are mobile these days. They can leave and many probably will. Especially the better educated who want a decent life for themselves and their families.

  6. savenz 6

    With the EU ruling on ISDS the NZ government should pull out and not sign today!

    • dukeofurl 6.1

      We dont have a legal sytem like the EU does for trans national disputes.
      But its an interesting point , that because the Arbitration ( every country has that outside the court system) is not part of a countrys legal system thay cant use the normal legal system to enforce it.

      But wasnt labours approach to TPPA was to void the adding of new arbitration processes/countries to those we have currently?

      It was definitely labour election policy to renegotiate on this and some other key areas like ‘buying land’ , Treaty of Waitangi etc

      • Matthew Whitehead 6.1.1

        They did get what they say they wanted on Te Tiriti, but it doesn’t exactly look like a strong carveout there. I don’t think they ever talked about buying land, did they? They talked about houses. There’s absolutely no strategy to prevent buying land to any degree greater than we have today.

        • dukeofurl 6.1.1.1

          Same as ‘farms’ the carve out is farmland.

          Housing is the same, residential land is the carveout.

        • savenz 6.1.1.2

          As well as land, farms tc all business assets and commercial holdings. Pretty much everything really is now able to be bought and sold internationally – it always was, but with globalism and cheap travel and tax havens, it’s becoming a problem that doesn’t work anymore (aka local people who work in the country and pay taxes in the country become tenants in their own country and therefore countries like Canada are doing things like a 20% stamp duty on foreign bought housing for example, capital gains don’t work when they people structure their affairs to pay zero taxes aka UK has stamp duty, capital gains etc but still locals can’t afford the property or even rents there ).

  7. savenz 7

    As for the petition, it’s no wonder people are not signing, the state even have PI’s investigating earth quake victims! These days you are ‘punished’ for being a voice against neoliberalism and we are turning into a surveillance state.

    • Sparky 7.1

      More reason than ever to stand up and be counted but you do make a good point….

    • greywarshark 7.2

      What indeed are people and the state turning into? I fear it is a cul-de-sac. It is too late to sign petitions now, all has been settled, our goose is cooked, our near future hashed.

      This is what Chris Trotter said about timing and protest on Bowalley Road.
      Perhaps he is right.
      https://bowalleyroad.blogspot.co.nz/2018/02/too-little-too-late-opportunity-to-stop.html

      It makes me think of words from the old pop song;

      The Buggles Lyrics
      “Video Killed The Radio Star”

      I heard you on the wireless back in ’52
      Lying awake intently tuning in on you
      If I was young it didn’t stop you coming through
      Oh-a-oh

      They took the credit for your second symphony
      Rewritten by machine on new technology
      And now I understand the problems you can see

      Video killed the radio star
      Video killed the radio star
      Pictures came and broke your heart
      Oh-a-a-a oh

      And now we meet in an abandoned studio
      We hear the playback and it seems so long ago
      And you remember the jingles used to go:

      Oh-a-oh
      You were the first one
      Oh-a-oh
      You were the last one
      https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/buggles/videokilledtheradiostar.html

      This vid link is just right:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HRXeBKys-Sw

      Even the word hash has added numbers of different meanings from the way that I used it at the beginning of the comment.

      Google
      3 Reasons Hashed Emails are the Future of Marketing – TowerData
      https://www.towerdata.com/blog/3-reasons-hashed-emails-are-the-future-of-marketing
      Feb 17, 2015 – Each email has it’s own unique hexadecimal string that remains consistent no matter where the email is used to log in on the web. For marketers, this means the email is the holy grail of consumer data. Since an email is essentially the passport to the internet, the hashed email can trace every logged-in …

    • Matthew Whitehead 7.3

      Southern Response is not the State. It is an SoE, which means it can make semi-independent decisions. I agree they were nuts for surveilling people rather than handing their records of any threatening interactions over to the police, however.

      You will likely be surveilled for protesting the TPP, but it’ll be by the SIS, who basically surveil all left-wing protest movements in the country, despite an excellent history of non-violence in even the most radical ones like Greenpeace. This shouldn’t scare you, just make sure your activism is non-violent and you’ll be fine.

      • Philg 7.3.1

        Mathew Re TPPP protest meetings / gatherings.
        “… but it’ll be by the SIS, who basically surveil all left-wing protest movements in the country …This shouldn’t scare you, just make sure your activism is non-violent and you’ll be fine ” !!!! Mathew. Are you kidding me. SIS surveillance is OK!!!

        • Matthew Whitehead 7.3.1.1

          I didn’t say it was OK or ethical for the SIS to spy on us. I said it shouldn’t worry you, which I meant in terms of your activism decisions, at least if your actions are ethical and non-violent.

  8. BM 8

    I find it interesting that there is not even one article on any of the MSM sites, Radio NZ, TVNZ that the TPPA is being signed today.

    You’ve really got to wonder what’s going on?

    • Sparky 8.1

      We all know the answer to that BM. The MSM are in many instances owned by big corporations who stand to gain from the passage of the TPP.

      • BM 8.1.1

        Yeah, but RNZ and TVNZ?

        Are they trying to protect Ardern and Labour? no coverage so no bad press?

        Concerning.

        • weka 8.1.1.1

          The NZ actions are on the 8th, but I haven’t figured out if there is a time zone issue here, or if it’s even the day the TPPA is actually being signed (maybe it’s tomorrow). Pretty sure that Labour will have organised some PR for when it happens, so not to worry BM, you won’t miss out.

        • Matthew Whitehead 8.1.1.2

          I think RNZ will definitely cover it when the thing ratifies by the other signatory countries signing it. TVNZ should be lumped in with the other commercial media in terms of how they’ll cover it- it will probably merit a brief mention that is largely congratulatory.

    • Puckish Rogue 8.2

      I personally think the media are protecting the present government and i just hope at some point it ends

      • BM 8.2.1

        They most definitely are, it bodes poorly for democracy in NZ when the state broadcasters are nothing more than a mouthpiece of the current government.

        • dukeofurl 8.2.1.1

          The media have covered the ‘upcoming signing’ in previous items a few weeks back.

          Its not news again until it is signed and Im sure when its got some pictures of the actual signing they will appear.

          No coverup. Its the way news happens to these sort of procedural events

        • Matthew Whitehead 8.2.1.2

          RNZ has National on all the time. It has a tradition of being very friendly to the opposition of the day, at least partly because of their increased availability to comment- part of why National hated it when it was in government. Now they are the ones benefitting and don’t seem to be so keen on slagging off RNZ anymore. (at least, other than Brownlee, lol, who is rightly getting the blame for how he managed EQC’s up-scale)

          Unfortunately, in this case, being friendly to the opposition would mean arguably having them on to crow about how TPP is great and isn’t it good that Labour’s got on board with their ideas, etc… etc…

        • greywarshark 8.2.1.3

          You two wailing whinnies PR and BM would always say something that implies Labour is wrong or unfair in some way. That is a really good sentence BM at 10.40 am and I suggest you copy it and run it every two months. You won’t think of a better one for your purposes.

        • Tuppence Shrewsbury 8.2.1.4

          The progressive liberal media have always looked after there own, look how many of them go on to stand for Labour in parliament. the ties between Labour, the greens, lobbyists and PR people should really be investigated. It seems to be almost institutionalised

      • weka 8.2.2

        I just hope you and BM are going to come up with some better lines or it’s going to be a long 12 years.

      • Matthew Whitehead 8.2.3

        If National aren’t capable of landing hits on the new government on their own, it’s not RNZ’s job to help them, PR.

        • Puckish Rogue 8.2.3.1

          So much for Radio NZ holding the government of the day to account then

          • Matthew Whitehead 8.2.3.1.1

            Holding the government to account and treating them like a punching bag are not the same thing, PR. RNZ is absolutely holding the government to account, it’s just that the stories they’re finding right now are all things that were mis-managed by the previous government.

            Give it a year or so, government business can be slow, then we’ll start seeing things actually be about Labour, NZF, and the Greens’ policies.

    • dukeofurl 8.3

      Is it Thursday Chile Time, which would make it tomorrow our time.

      • BM 8.3.1

        I thought it was today? to be honest, if it wasn’t for political sites like The Standard I would have no idea that the TPPA was even being signed.

        • savenz 8.3.1.1

          That’s why the more enlightened right wingers now have to read center left blogs to find out intelligence on what’s going on, as you can’t get it from the media.

          Sign of the times, BM.

          • BM 8.3.1.1.1

            Unfortunately, there’s a concerted effort going on to dumb people down, get them to completely switch off to what’s going on outside their wee insular personal/facebook bubble.

            Hard to believe but the reality is that the sheeple are getting dumber and the flock is getting larger.

            Idiocracy here we come.

            Maybe the thinking is that with the coming robot/automation revolution, dumbing a large chunk of people down to the IQ level of an amoeba is the only way to stop civilization from breaking down?

            • ropata 8.3.1.1.1.1

              Maybe the media is giving Labour a free pass, or maybe reporting on the TPPA is too boring and they would rather print Kim Kardashian’s latest butt pose

              • veutoviper

                There have actually been a number of media reports over the last few day about the signing of the CP-TPP in Chile on March 8 (Fri 9 March NZ time), including reports on both NZTV and Newshub earlier today – just some people are too lazy to look properly or the truth spoils their ‘story’.

                • dukeofurl

                  Here it is ‘day of signing’ and you are right. There is coverage as you would expect and the people who have the conspiracy mindset are wrong again. ( Not that there arent big manipulations of what the media presents as newsworthy)

            • savenz 8.3.1.1.1.2

              If you look at the surveilled earthquake survivor who wanted his claim settled and talked to media, then you can say why people are being trained to be Sheeple and keep their heads down.

              Sadly when our ground water is polluted by industry and our air and water is too, as well as USA style health care and a third world social welfare system like Asia, even people like you BM will rue the day, that everyone was turned into sheeples.

            • Janet 8.3.1.1.1.3

              “Hard to believe but the reality is that the sheeple are getting dumber and the flock is getting larger.”

              Spot on … when you consider HOW the flock is becoming rapidly larger.

        • veutoviper 8.3.1.2

          Indeed, BM – but then you need to read them more thoroughly. Here is a quote of a comment on yesterday’s Open Mike

          “Oh well, Sparky – only two more days until the sky falls in.

          Two days because you have to factor in the time difference between NZ and Chile.

          To help you prepare, NZ is 16 hours ahead of Chile so 10am/5pm Thurs 8 March in Chile are 2am/9am Friday, 9 March in NZ.”

        • weka 8.3.1.3

          you understand how time zones work right? And where Chile is in relation to NZ?

    • savenz 8.4

      Newshub has an article.

      Even China knows it’s a lemon and not being a part of it, but in news hub TPPA x 2 is painted as being more ambitious. Yes who would have thought subjugating your country the most, is now being painted as being more ambitious.

      But Newshub is owned by US hedge fund Oaktree Capital.

      All good for hedge fund owners! Less so for normal folks and taxpayers.

      • savenz 8.4.1

        Maybe we should write ISDS into employment contracts for the employees.

        You know, if the employer changes their mind or makes you redundant when times change, you sue the employers for doing that as well as your future lost wages for decades in a special employee’s court. We are not talking weeks of income here, but the entire income you are likely to achieve had you stayed working for that employer. It’s all run from overseas at huge costs, and no right of appeal for employer. Sounds good, right!

        • Matthew Whitehead 8.4.1.1

          you mean like compulsory union arbitration? 😉

        • greywarshark 8.4.1.2

          savenz
          I don’t know if you saw my comment back a day with Dennis Potter talking about things important and strongly on Rupert Murdoch. Very heartfelt as he knew he had only months to live. I’ve just lifted it to copy – it-s not long.

          It might be interesting to the thoughtful to see this vid from Dennis Potter a few months before he died in 1994. He talks about the great media businessman Rupert Murdoch. He is very successful but Potter points out what a poisonous sort of business that is. 3.53m

  9. Stuart Munro 9

    One obvious mitigator is a levy on foreign “investor” corporates – to fund ISDS. Damned if I can see why the public should pay for these scumbags.

    • Matthew Whitehead 9.1

      Nah, that’s a waste of time. Why make them pay for it when you can get the whole idea ruled illegal like in the EU? 🙂

      • Stuart Munro 9.1.1

        I’m all for that – just not sure that ‘can’ is in reach of the myopic faux technocrats who in their godlike ignorance have wished this lousy deal upon us.

  10. Adrian Thornton 10

    This is a really good piece Matthew, thanks.

    Of course why anyone seriously believed that Labour would not sign into this agreement in one form or another is beyond me, Labour have never made any secret that they are absolutely a centrist party, and all they have done (for the past 25 odd years) and will do going forward is governed, (and quite explicitly I thought) by their stated Liberal Free Market economic ideology.

    Green/Green seems to be the only option…just to bad Sue Bradford wasn’t at the helm of the Greens, then at least we would have a NZ political party really worth fighting for.

    • Matthew Whitehead 10.1

      Sue Bradford would have had many of the same difficulties the Greens are having right now, anyway. Without going into specifics, (some of this shit is confidential) we have been put in a lot of difficult situations between the MoU campaign strategy and going into coalition negotiations blind in terms of what NZF’s demands would be.

    • dukeofurl 10.2

      I just cant get it when people want ‘their own boutique’ political party AND want that particular niche to exercise real political power.

    • savenz 10.3

      Labour privatisation policy is NOT a centrist policy – it is more akin to Rogernomics aka ACT – far right policy!!

  11. Philg 11

    Just sprinkle a little sugar on the lemon and it’ll be OK. Labour, as the major party, betrayal.

    • Matthew Whitehead 11.1

      IMO, upend the coalition arrangement if you find this sort of thing unacceptable. Time for a Green/Labour government. 😉

      • weka 11.1.1

        next time round it could be Shane Jones manipulating things. There’s a cheery thought.

        • Matthew Whitehead 11.1.1.1

          It could, although I am whispering of a dream that NZ First’s sub-5% polling will hold.

  12. Penny Bright 12

    http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1803/S00113/tppa-dont-sign-protest-outside-prime-ministers-office.htm

    TPPA Don’t Sign protest outside Prime Minister’s office | Scoop News

    I’m a constituent – and I was there.

    (Been actively fighting this now regurgitated TPPA since 2010.)

    Penny Bright

  13. Venezia 13

    Thank you Matthew. The clearest analysis I have read to date on this dog of a deal.

  14. Ad 14

    All signed.

    Here’s the Minister’s statement:

    https://www.beehive.govt.nz/release/new-zealand-sets-out-progressive-and-inclusive-trade-approach-cptpp-signing

    From the release:

    The declaration affirms the right of each country to regulate to achieve legitimate public policy objectives, in such areas as health, safety and the environment.

    It also includes commitments to work together through trade policies on sustainable development, climate action, gender equality, indigenous rights and minimum work standards.

    “We recognise that trade can be a force for good around the world, for example by raising environmental and labour standards, or enforcing commitments to reform fisheries subsidies.”

    • savenz 14.1

      “We recognise that trade can be a force for good around the world, for example by raising environmental and labour standards, or enforcing commitments to reform fisheries subsidies.

      …. they forgot to put that part in and instead left in the ISDS clauses that are a force for bad trade and polluting and privatisation, and also forgot to mention that trade seems to have been bad for NZ average wages, productivity, houses, health, transport, actually you name it, it’s not been good for it.

      Apparently the earthquakes were a force for good on our economy so now we have to pray for earthquakes to help the neolib’s.

      Looking forward (sarcasm) to the 600 jobs predicted to be lost upon signing this agreement…

      And also looking forward (sarcasm) to my rates going up to pay for the compliance that the TPPA will create.

    • veutoviper 14.2

      Excellent indepth interview (20+mins) with David Parker first up on Nine To Noon, RNZ National this morning, only an hour after signing in Chile. RNZ Economics Correspondent Patrick O’Meara adds his views in the last few minutes of the recording.

      http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018635367/this-is-a-fair-deal-for-nz-new-look-tpp-signed

      • savenz 14.2.1

        Pretty sad reading of Parker’s career on Wiki. So unpopular Labour can’t even get him to stand in an electoral seat.

        False return allegations and yet another lawyer who can’t practise law as well as he thinks. (Too many of these in parliament already, but at least some can handle an electoral seat without losing most of the time).

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Parker_(New_Zealand_politician)

        • veutoviper 14.2.1.1

          savenz, you really should learn to read properly – or give up trying to spin as you are not very good at it. And this is far from the first instance where either/both of these traits has been demonstrated in your comments.

          “So unpopular Labour can’t even get him to stand in an electoral seat.”

          So just remind me, for example (as these questions can also apply to candidates from all parties) :
          1. how many Green Party candidates have ever won an electorate seat
          2. How many GP Electorate candidates have made it into Parliament despite “losing most of the time” and coming in only on the basis of their list placing
          3. how many GP candidates who have made it into Parliament have done so only as list members and have never stood as electorate candidates.

          “False return allegations”
          How convenient of you to not mention this entry in Wikipedia “An inquiry by the Companies Office cleared him of the charge of filing false returns.”

          “and yet another lawyer who can’t practise law as well as he thinks”
          Where is your proof of this? If it just your opinion, then say so.

          You really should be more careful in your claims.

  15. McFlock 16

    Can someone correct me on the process, here?

    The suspended sections, according to the ministry link in the post, need to be agreed to by all parties after/as part of the US coming in. Doesn’t that mean they can be individually turned down at the time? And if trump follows through and tries to negotiate a better deal for the US, doesn’t that basically rip up the suspended sections anyway?

    So pretending the sections are a sure thing is a pretty long stretch. Which then makes me wonder just how long a stretch the idea of multinationals relocating just to sue NZ is, as well.

    Frankly, I’m still not convinced that this is A) a bad deal; or B) that Labour have reneged on a damned thing, especially their bottom lines.

    • Carolyn_Nth 16.1

      Well, in theory, i suppose, other countries could resist inclusion of the ISDS clauses if the US wanted back in.

      But, if that is the case, why haven’t they excluded the ISDS clauses from the current TPPA rather than suspend them? It also reinforces the view that it was the US largely pushing for the inclusion of such clauses (on behalf of their multinationals), and that the 11 countries will be happy to re-activate such clauses to entice the US back in.

      • McFlock 16.1.1

        Well, those are the clauses that got closest to being signed off when the US was looking for membership, so yes it’s reasonable to use them as a starting point. But whether the 11 will be “happy” to sign off on them in even six months is another question entirely: if the US ends up being the instigator and loser of a trade war, the benefits of including them will be even less. Getting access into a sluggish economy is little benefit, so the cost the members would be willing to pay would go down.

        Yes, I agree they’re there as a way to ease the inclusion of the US. But they’re not a rubber stamp.

        My (completely ignorant) impression is that the CPTPP is a better deal ,i>without the US: with the US inclusion and the copyright issues etc, the economic benefits were functionally next to nothing. Now I think they’re more likely to be a narrow positive, and it creates a Pacific trade bloc that can be more equally-beneficial. With the US it was likely to be a more imperial-style “all roads lead to Rome” flow of wealth.

        • Carolyn_Nth 16.1.1.1

          Seriously?! There’s really nothing in it for working people. Laila Harre has looked at that closely.

          The Lab-NZF-Parker have left the door open to ISDS. The chances are way more likely that the US will demand that and more.

          There is no ISDS side letter with Japan or Canada. So the door is still wide open for NZ being sued.

          We need to be sure the interest of working all Kiwis are being protected. this deal does not provide that security.

          Labour and NZF indicated before the election that they’d be way tougher than that and would not accept a lesser deal.

          I heard Ardern say on RNZ tonight that it is not the deal they wanted, but it is better than the previous one. But the places where the deal falls short are telling. Ardern’s comment is just spin for admitting they backed down. That is not good enough for a left wing party claiming to be for the poor and for the working class.

          Reported on RNZ website tonight:

          Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the government wanted to stop the investor state dispute settlement provisions from applying to New Zealand altogether, but only partly achieved that goal.

          “We managed in the general negotiations to make a huge change there to investor screening,” Ms Ardern said.

          “We then set out to undertake side letters, so with individual countries we also suspended the provisions entirely.

          “I am pleased with the progress we made there – but we didn’t get as far as we would have liked.”

          This is an admission of failure to protect NZ. The deal should not have been signed. Limited progress is not stopping NZ’s exposure to corporate interference in NZ sovereignty.

          • McFlock 16.1.1.1.1

            Yeah, nah.

            Some of the worst ISDS aspects of ISDS were suspended, others mitigated by side letters, but the point you missed again was that Labour always wanted ISDS, just not to the level of the original TPPA. And they never said otherwise.

            Whether the remaining structure will result in the collapse of NZ sovereignty to hidden corporate tribunals, well, that seems to be a fantasy of people who think that Labour promised to completely eliminate ISDS from the TPP or walk away.

            As for the US, in two weeks they start a trade war. They’ve also promised an annual increase in their military spending that’s larger than every other nation’s total military expenditure (except China). And corporate tax cuts. So unless the US has a dramatic change of heart in the next few years, it runs the risk of going the way of the Soviet Union in the 1980s: a top-heavy economy bankrupted by trade issues and spending billions on tanks they don’t need using steel that’s more expensive than everyone else’s.

            They might not have the same leverage at the negotiating table they used to have…

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