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TPP, Corporate Coup or “Free trade”?

Written By: - Date published: 9:07 pm, November 8th, 2017 - 99 comments
Categories: Abuse of power, copyright, debt / deficit, democracy under attack, economy, Economy, employment, Environment, exports, Financial markets, Free Trade, Globalisation, overseas investment, Privatisation, Propaganda, public services, uncategorized, water - Tags:

“Free trade” or Corporate Magna Charta.

The overall benefits of “Free Trade agreements” to participants, especially smaller economies with less economic power, are often dubious, and frequently just a matter of how you rig the accounting. Leaving out externalities, like the increase in numbers on the dole, is common when counting “benefits”. As the “parties of business” forget a ledger has two sides.

In fact no country has ever succeeded on exports alone, without a healthy internal economy. Export Share of GDP.

And no country has ever succeeded in benefiting from an export economy, without initial State support of the export sector. New Zealand’s successful Dairy industry being a prime example of continued State support. Banned for future industries, if we sign the TPP.

“all major developed countries used interventionist economic policies in order to get rich and then tried to forbid other countries from doing similarly”.

Kicking away the ladder. Ha-Joon Chang.

“Freer trade always results in benefits for both countries”. Well no.

Even Ricardo never suggested that Britain give up making wine altogether, or Portugal textiles. As usual, simplistic slogans/magical thinking, seem to sway shallow intellects.

One where every country is going to get rich by out exporting every other country.

There are examples of “Free Trade” agreements, such as CER, which have been of net benefit to both countries. Notably where labour laws, the rule of law and democracy, and standards of living, are already, somewhat congruent. (Though it should be noted the Australian banks take more profit out of New Zealand, than the dairy sector earns).

The EU, has worked, as economic stimulus for Germany. It is debatable how well it has worked for Southern European countries. Clever of the Germans to get them to take on debt, from German banks,  to pay for German economic stimulus, though.

Then, there was our abandonment of our own businesses and workers, in the 80’s and 90’s, in pursuit of an ideological dream thinking that other countries would be mad enough to follow suit. Leaving us nothing to bargain with in future agreements. Only their purpose is mad.

That some have worked, is not, evidence that all such agreements will work. Or that adding services, law making and finance, is a good idea.

TPP

However. TPP ( The trans Pacific partnership) is NOT a “Free trade” agreement. It is an attempt to cement in corporate power, to override inconvenient  local Democracy, and collect rents from local communities in perpetuity.

Since when was giving large companies extra rights in law, and rights to extract even more economic rents, “Free trade”?

TPP gives corporations rights to overrule Democratic Governments.

The proponents of TPP claim that New Zealand has never been subject to an ISDS case. Of course not.

Our Governments in recent years, have been ideologically opposed to legislating against corporations for the common good. They are not bothered about giving foreign corporations rights above individuals and local business. Because they don’t want to “interfere” with the “free market”, and I suspect, with their own wealth..

We may want our future Governments, however, to legislate for the rights and welfare of New Zealanders and our environment. Not for Nestle’, BP, Apple, Orivida,  Amazon and Exxon.

The future under TPP.

We can see the effect of TPP and ISDS in current “Free trade” agreements.

Local and State Governments looking at legislation in terms of “will we get sued” under “Free trade” or ISDS agreements.

Australia being sued by a tobacco company is just one example.

The EU has enough trouble trying to ban bee killing insect sprays in their own courts. Imagine if they had to answer also to “independent” ISDS tribunals.

Osceola A small town of 2 thousand fighting against water extraction.

Under NAFTA’s ISDS provisions Canada is One of the most sued countries in the world.

The rest of the world is catching up to Canada. ISDS cases.

Corporate legal rights are already having a detrimental effect on progressive  legislation worldwide. Corporations do not need more rights that locals and individuals do not have.

For example. If Whangarei decides to take dog control, from the foreign corporation that currently has the contract. Having to pay for an ISDS case will give the council pause. A local firm does not have that recourse.   An overseas shipping company  pays extra, to get priority over other companies at NZ ports. A future Government may want to prevent such uncompetitive behavior, because it is disadvantaging coastal shipping.   We decide we want to re Nationalise banking. Because the country cannot afford to bleed so much money to the finance sector. Or close private prisons. Or restrict water extraction. Or cut CO2 emissions.

We don’t really know what we may need to do in future to protect ourselves, local business and our environment, from corporations, who have been shown to have no other interests, apart from extracting as much money from local communities as they can.

Benefits?

The most optimistic benefit analysis is less, than the costs of ISDS and extra drug and copyright expense, we will have to pay overseas firms. Not to mention local job losses and even more offshoring of profits.

And giving drug companies, copyright holders and proprietors, rights way in excess of their original contribution.

Of course, our pursuit of pure “free trade” has worked so well? How much has our number of people in poverty increased by, again?

99 comments on “TPP, Corporate Coup or “Free trade”?”

  1. Macro 1

    An excellent summation KJT.
    I was in Canada in 2014 and NAFTA was a common topic with many of the folk I met on my trip. Some things I learnt included the fact that if the US Canada boarder closed – Canada had only 14 days of supplies left. In other words the country can no longer sustain itself. I would suspect that that applies to the US as well. The US had one of the largest clothing industries in the world. Today the clothing industry is a tiny fraction of what it used to be. Were the US to close its borders to China the people of the US would be reduced to wearing rags in short order (except of course for the Uber rich who only wear bespoke clothing).
    These so called trade agreements are really ways for the oligarchs to order their business dealings to their advantage “Globalisation” it’s called. And then having extracted the wealth from the populace the greedy bastards then ferret their ill gotten gains away in places where it cannot be touched and avoid contributing to the societies that gave them the privilege of exploitation in the first place.
    Mind you there is nothing new in all this:
    Solomon and Sheba undertook a similar trade agreement around 3000 years ago. It had a similar outcome. Solomon and Sheba did very well out of the arrangement. He got the cedar from Lebanon, and she the wine and expertise from Israel. But as always – it was unsustainable and the end result was the impoverishment of both Nations. But humans as a rule fail to learn from the mistakes of the past. It’s as much about greed as anything else.

    • It is, IMO, things like that that has interest banned in all major religions. Interest ensures that all wealth will accumulate in the hands of the few with the inevitable collapse of society. We’ve seen it before and modern research by everyone except economists shoes that we’re in to the collapse stage yet again all due to greed.

      Which probably explains why greed is one of the seven deadly sins.

  2. savenz 2

    +1000 – it’s ludicrous to sign it. These trade agreements are causing instability around the world in Western countries aka USA and rise of Trump. Turning people against each other and the .01% getting richer and richer while paying less taxes (Panama papers) through ‘pretty legal’ channels, set up by the rich for the rich.

    Look at NZ, the Australian banks making a killing in NZ, more than Dairy and yet nobody dares thinks about transaction taxes or anything to curb them. NZ is just a cash cow to OZ banks. Nope it’s all talk about more taxes to local people, you couldn’t increase taxes to offshore BUSINESSES making a fortune…

    • cleangreen 2.1

      200% correct, Draco & savenz,

      These shonkey deals & lies inside the TPPA are only just the last minute efforts of major ‘financial zealots’ to come here to NZ to steal every last dollar from us all here .

      Consider the following;

      So scrap the lot I say, and let us deal with anyone or country we chose with the best interests for our benefits given back to us the taxpayers, as it was us that paid for all those origional publically owned companies National had systematically ‘privatised’ and had sold off, and we need an investigation of this, – so now ;

      The new Labour lead Government need to send into treasury the best financial investigators into every corner of the “financial records of the last nine years to investigate all the corrupt practices the last national government had conducted including where was then money from all SOE sales gone to, and who stold the $100 million Dollars from the “Ontrack” rail agency that Helen Clarks Govenment placed in the rail maintainence agency in 2008 and national Government have closed down ‘Ontrack’ with no records of what happend to that $100 million amount of money.

      Also what of the $12 Milllion dollars given to a Saudi bussinessman?

      And where is the detailed assessments of public funding that was put into the Lockinvar farms in Taupo that was hastily sold off to NZ/Chinese investors?

      Lockinvar; – that land was developed over more than 20yrs using mountains of public funds!!!!! origionally the land was not worth anything and during the 1960’s public funding went into the land to develoop a method to actually grow things onthe land as nothing could be grown at that time so many ears were funded by us to ‘treat’ the soils on that land before it could be dveloped for farming,

      So all these deals national made and others like the ‘Pamama papers’ shonkey deals need investigating as was the Rio tinco Aluminum Smelter ‘subsidies payments’, Warner Bros subsidies, and other bad deals the last National government freely gave money to without any publiclly available details.

      The new Labour coalition needs to make all information on National’s secrecy financial dealings to be made “transparent”to us the taxpayers of NZ.

  3. Tony Veitch (not etc) 3

    We have a wonderful opportunity to be ‘on the wrong side of history’ with the TPP! /sarc

    There is a world-wide and growing movement against globalisation – accentuated by the recent revelations in both the Panama and Paradise papers!

    The global elite have had it too good for too long. It’s time the ordinary people acted to correct the balance.

    Bilateral trade agreements between equals, such as CER, while by no means perfect, have a better chance of delivering benefits than one-sided multi-nation cover-it-all agreements like TPP.

    The race to the bottom is over (hopefully). Our coalition government (fingers crossed) will restart the race, heading the other way!

  4. DH 4

    My own gripe about the TPP is it’s not about trade. There’s too many other deals in it, particularly about investment and IP.

    NZ needs to look at its own history to see the perils of TPP. I can recall when nearly all of the processing , supply & distribution chain of our main primary industries was owned & controlled by absentee British owners. They completely suffocated our economy for their own personal gains. Farming for example only took off in NZ after they took back control of the logistics chain.

    Forestry is an example of what farming used to be like, with foreign investors shipping logs offshore with next to no value added here.

    It’s economic suicide to give such power to overseas investors. We’d never be able to get rid of them, to undo the harm they’ll do, if we sign up to the likes of TPP.

  5. Wayne 5

    For those who rail against TPP, the ultimate multilateral trade deal is the EU. No tariffs, no quotas, free movement of people, free movement of capital (i.e. no restrictions on sale of property), no preference for local companies, EU rules on just about everything you can imagine.

    TPP is actually a shadow of the EU. Sure it reduces some barriers, and harmonises some rules, esp on IP, but nothing like the scale of the EU.

    Virtually every economist would say European nations have benefitted from the bigger integrated market. That is why all the eastern European nations were keen to join. And that is why Ukraine would like to join.

    TPP will make it easier for NZ to gain greater access to a number of markets that have real opportunities to increase our agricultural trade, especially Japan, but also Canada (currently we are completely locked out) and Mexico.

    Anyway we will know within a week whether the Standardnistas and their fellow travellers have effectively nobbled David Parker and Labour.

    I’ve asked others to cut down the personal attacks. I think the snide digs are uncalled for, also. KJT

    • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1

      Your concern for the NZLP is touching, really. It’s great to hear that you care so deeply. Although is that a little corner of pissy pique I can see?

      You lost. We won. Eat that.

      Edit: I note that you still cannot bring yourself to confront any of the substantive concerns raised here, you bloviating waste of oxygen.

      I don’t agree with Wayne, but I do think that he is genuine in his beliefs.

      Please leave the personal stuff and attack his arguments, not the person. KJT

      • cleangreen 5.1.1

        Wayne – Mapp; – is like a road map.

        “cracks in the folds and falls apart after to much use”.

        • KJT 5.1.1.1

          I don’t agree with Wayne, but I do think that he is genuine in his beliefs.

          Please leave the personal stuff and attack his arguments, not the person.

      • red-blooded 5.1.2

        Hey OAB, you may disagree with Wayne on most things (I do too), but how about a bit less personal abuse and a bit more response to the substantive issues he’s raising?

        • cleangreen 5.1.2.1

          hey red-blooded,

          “substantive issues he’s (Wayne) raising?”

          He states his case on hackneyed old National Party Neolib neocon outdated ideas that has almost bankrupted the country and sold off everything, so what is ‘substantive’ about those issues; – except that he and his National Party has ruined our children and grandchildrens futures?
          No Wayne; we should forge trade with Russia not only Ukraine.

          • red-blooded 5.1.2.1.1

            You don’t have to agree with Wayne’s point of view, but he’s putting forward an argument about the EU. I’m just saying it’s possible to argue back against that viewpoint without getting abusive. And the “substantive issues” ref was taken from OAB’s own comment. He accuses Wayne of “not answering substantive issues” while entirely avoiding answering anything that Wayne said.

            I don’t see any excuse for personal bullying in what’s meant to be a discussion about policy. Wayne doesn’t do it, and neither should we. Be robust, yes; get a bit lively with language, sure – in the right situation. Get personally abusive? Nah. Without the edit, I wouldn’t have responded ton OAB’s comment. The comment in that edit is childish and nasty, on a personal level. Andre and DH, below, manage to actually respond to the idea, rather than resorting to that kind of ad hominem attack – good on them.

            • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.2.1.1.1

              Wayne doesn’t do it

              Yes, he does. More than half his ‘arguments’ shoot the messenger (“Standardnistas”) without even mentioning the message. For that, I called him a windbag. I also invited him to address the message.

              He must have seen it enough times by now, after all.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.2.2

          The substantive issue? Wayne’s comment is a stack of red herrings and insults.

          If he ever bothered addressed any of the “railing” (note the dismissive insult in that categorisation) I might have less contempt for his views.

          If he refuses to address the actual problems – ISDS etc, and chooses instead to run diversionary crap about the EU (which settles disputes in court), you bet he’s going to get a serve every time.

          Are you comfortable being described as a “Standardnista” (ie: with no mind of your own) who “nobbles” people?

          Pfft.

      • Naki man 5.1.3

        Fuck off Troll

        I expect contributions to the discussion. Not mindless abuse.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.3.1

          No I don’t think I will, actually.

          Have you got anything to say in defence of ISDS clauses? Someone from the right must surely have some sort of vague reckons to share with us.

    • KJT 5.2

      Ask Greece…………………

    • Andre 5.3

      Did the formation of the EU involve setting up some kind of unaccountable revolving door tribunal of corporate lawyers like the ISDS? Which can consider corporate claims for expected future profits on top of any expenses incurred?

      Did the formation of the EU involve substantially increasing the terms and enforceability of corporate intellectual property rights? (disclosure of interest: my family has received a pleasantly boosted income stream from the extension of copyright from 50 years after death to 70 years after death. But that extension also gave a much larger boost to the income stream of Wiley and other publishers).

    • DH 5.4

      You can’t be serious Wayne. The EU is nothing like TPP and even if it was it’s a graphic illustration of why it’s such a bad idea.

      What about Greece, Portugal, Ireland and others who haven’t done so well out of the EU? I notice you conveniently ignored the massive bailouts some EU members have needed. Who’s going to fund the TPP bailouts? Is NZ going to be a winner like Germany or a dismal failure like Greece? You can’t answer that because you don’t know and can’t possibly know, but the fact is the EU is not the resounding success you claim it to be.

    • TPP will make it easier for NZ to gain greater access to a number of markets that have real opportunities to increase our agricultural trade, especially Japan, but also Canada (currently we are completely locked out) and Mexico.

      I doubt it. The is can already out do it agricultural capacity many times over and do it better. The same is true of all the other nations really. On top of that we then have to add the cost of distance and the added GHG emissions that come with it.

      And then there’s the simple fact that we can’t increase our agricultural capacity any more and should probably be decreasing it for sustainability reasons.

      We’d be better off developing our high tech capability. It has higher value and it’s less environmentally damaging. And, as LPrent has pointed out before we don’t need the TPP for that.

    • Nick 5.6

      Wayne, you should be banned for writing such crap.

      • boggis the cat 5.6.1

        He is simply regurgitating the talking points of the professional neo-con / neo-liberal apologists (choose preferred term). When you look into the real facts, the picture looks a lot murkier.

        I believe that the EU is a worthwhile project to pursue for reasons apart from economics (where it has, in reality, performed rather poorly for most people). The Euro side-project has proven to be a potentially fatal mistake, binding small countries to the economic decisions of the larger. Business cycles and the component parts of economies do not all move in lock-step, and it is a well-known problem that dominant regions (f.e. London in the UK) set policies in their interests that have negative effects on peripheral regions (f.e. Scotland).

        • DH 5.6.1.1

          “I believe that the EU is a worthwhile project to pursue for reasons apart from economics ”

          Yeah, the driving motivation behind forming the EU was to end the scourge of nationalism in Europe that’s caused so many of its ruinous wars. Funny how Wayne didn’t mention that.

          The EU example should be a lesson to this country. The resulting EU economy was utterly predictable; the already strong industrialised nations prospered at the expense of the agrarian. NZ isn’t an industrialised nation, we’d get eaten alive by our wealthier TPP partners.

        • Wayne 5.6.1.2

          Ask any East European. I guarantee they would all say the EU has been a huge boost to their economies.

          As for Greece, well they had massive borrowing, both private and public, way beyond the capacity of their economy to repay. Virtually none of it went into the productive economy. One major failure due to fiscal indiscipline, out of 27 EU economies does not discredit the whole idea of economic integration. The other economies that were over extended have managed to sort themselves out.

          And to DH,

          I am certain we will be a major gainer from TPP, perhaps not on the scale of the China FTA, but the gain into Japan alone makes it worthwhile. In fact these kinds of deals give the biggest benefits to agricultural producers since they typically face the highest trade barriers.

          And apart from minerals, the Aussie economy is much like ours, with large agricultural exports. That is why the Aussie Japan FTA has been so beneficial to them, and gives them a real advantage to their exporters. The TPP will negate that advantage, i.e. we get back in the game again for our exports to Japan.

          Why do I post here at all. To provide the counter view. Though I suspect many don’t want to hear it; they would sooner prefer only confirmation posts.

          Anyway, more to the point, if my view is so wrong, why is the Labour led government even considering TPP?

          A govt that also did the China FTA, where they had to get the votes from National, since NZ First and the Greens voted against. Harder for NZ First to do that this time since NZ First is actually in the cabinet.

          • tracey 5.6.1.2.1

            “Though I suspect many don’t want to hear it; they would sooner prefer only confirmation posts.” You know the same is true of your views? You assert a kind of rationality but you are fixed and firm in a view (which is your right) while lambasting others for being fixed in theirs.

            You are sneering and dismissive of Kelsey because she “has never supported FTA” and yet you have never opposed a FTA.

            Even referring to people as Standardistas is meant to be derogatory and is mere ad hominem. Perhaps we need to start calling you a Putinist (those who serve the interests of the Oligarchs for crumbs from the table).

            Are you actually saying that the majority is always right, as opposed to simply being the majority?

            • Wayne 5.6.1.2.1.1

              Tracey,
              To take your first point, that was really a reference to the level of abuse that some posters indulge in (not you).

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                The reason you think that way is that you are a member of the National Party. We’ll see in a week or so whether you have effectively nobbled the citizens of New Zealand.

                Gosh! To think that I can form arguments as deep and subtle as those of a former Law Commissioner. It must be tiring having to think so hard.

          • Sam aka clump 5.6.1.2.2

            They could put pressure on Greece’s creditors to agree to take only a fraction of the values of the loans owed. But they’d never do that because they seemingly don’t give a shit about actually fixing the crisis. “Greece must pay debts in full, despite everyone very well knowing that it’s impossible! More austerity will of course fix this problem! I mean who cares that Greece is in a depression and has 51.2% youth unemployment and people struggling to buy food due to economic contractions as well as a decrease in public benefits! More Austerity is obviously the answer!”

            Like getting into a debt crisis in the first place is certainly Greece’s fault. But the fact that the crisis has been prolonged for such a long time rests nearly entirely on Germany and those who insist Greece do something that they are literally incapable of doing. At this point, trying to get Greece to pay back everything it owes is just vengeance, because if they really wanted to fix the problem, they’d be trying to give Greece an option of doing something that it actually can do.

          • KJT 5.6.1.2.3

            “As for Greece, well they had massive borrowing, both private and public, way beyond the capacity of their economy to repay. Virtually none of it went into the productive economy”.

            It was no more the ordinary Greeks fault, than our massive increase in poverty is the fault of the ordinary New Zealander.

            They had to borrow, because the normal way of paying your way, devaluing the currency, was not available to them under a common currency. Much to the glee of the banks. Who were paid off in full with bailout money, while ordinary Greeks have to pay the piper.
            Tax dodging, and removing money from the community by the wealthy and foreign “investors” was their National sport, same as here. But NZ has made it legal.

            Like New Zealand under the Neo-liberals. Especially the last Government.
            And. Transferring it from the public to the private sector, is not reducing debt.

            Like Greece, the rich, and the big business borrowers, will get away scot free, while the rest of us will have to pay it back.

          • DH 5.6.1.2.4

            “Anyway, more to the point, if my view is so wrong, why is the Labour led government even considering TPP? ”

            You know very well why they’re considering it Wayne, because National got NZ so far deep into it that the new Govt is being advised they can’t withdraw without significant costs. Stop trying to be obtuse.

            I like your attempt at a tactical withdrawal, you’ve gone from;

            “Virtually every economist would say European nations have benefitted from the bigger integrated market. ‘

            to…

            “Ask any East European. I guarantee they would all say the EU has been a huge boost to their economies. ”

            The EU was a Western European venture Wayne, as you know. You also know that many of the East European members were keen on joining NATO, not the EU.

            • Wayne 5.6.1.2.4.1

              DH,

              There are no “significant costs” as such because there is no agreement as yet. So far the only cost is negotiating time.

              Therefore the relevant costs have to be the opportunity costs of not being in TPP11. It appears that the government (Arden, Parker) have accepted these are large enough that it is in New Zealand’s interest to be in TPP11.

              • Sam aka clump

                That’s a really poor excuse for doing a half pie job of the TPPA. I’m still pissed Grosser lost our only copy.

              • DH

                Again you take us for fools Wayne. It’s perfectly obvious the incoming Govt will have received strongly urged advice that arbitrarily walking away from the TPP at such a late stage would have serious diplomatic repercussions. That’s how the game works.

              • Therefore the relevant costs have to be the opportunity costs of not being in TPP11.

                What a load of bollocks.

                Of course there are other costs associated with being in the TPPA. increased costs of medicines. Increased costs of copyright. Increased costs of doing business as the multi-national corporations sue our pants off.

                You can’t just write those off by simply not mentioning them.

              • KJT

                I may even agree with you Wayne.

                If ISDS and the extra rights for rentiers, like drug companies, and foreign firms, were taken out. However you have given us nothing to convince us, apart from bald statements of opinion.

                And you havn’t addressed the posts point about ISDS, at all.

          • KJT 5.6.1.2.5

            Wayne. I have yet to find any evidence, from you, of the net gains enumerated from the China and other FTA’s that you confidently support.

            So you will excuse me if I do not simply take your word for it.

            We had the politicians word that we would all be better off after the “sacrifices” of the 80’s and 90’s. Most of us are still waiting.

            • Draco T Bastard 5.6.1.2.5.1

              We had the politicians word that we would all be better off after the “sacrifices” of the 80’s and 90’s. Most of us are still waiting.

              And a hell of a lot of us are worse off.

          • One Anonymous Bloke 5.6.1.2.6

            To provide the counter view

            You can’t even articulate the view, so the notion that you counter it is delusional and self-serving.

            Got anything to say in defence of ISDS or IP issues? Or is it easier to pretend that the TPP is a trade agreement?

            If all you can offer is a strawman, what use are you?

          • cleangreen 5.6.1.2.7

            And the National party is the best policy NZ has even had?????

            To Wayne,

            You are typical of all the other brainwashed national party cling-ons we have grown tired of hearing from over the last nine years while our country was sold to foriegners.

            We now need to take our SOE’s back now because your government sold those assets that we taxpayers owned & built up over many years and got nothing back in return. National stole them from us see.

            Your government robbed us and you will say National was the best government we have ever had!!!!!

            I will ignore your ‘tommy rot’ always.

            So you are really here to brainwash and disillussion us all nt to argue the right way for us because your lot have sold us out.

            My suggestion is for you to bugger off and sell your lies somewhere else as we have some ‘meangful work to assist the new government to save our country your lot tried to ruin.

          • Nic the NZer 5.6.1.2.8

            Jesus wept.

            When Greece goes through a massive unforecast (but predictable) economic contraction (losing a quarter of its GDP) on the back of an IMF & EU imposed austerity program, and its debts become unrepayable as a result, the people least responsible for this are Greek. Further its clear now in hindsight most of the bailout money was simply funelled through the Greek budget rather than the EU actually having to step in and bail out creditors itself.

            • DH 5.6.1.2.8.1

              I’ll make a prediction. Some of the East European EU members will go the way of Greece in a few more years.

              Greece went bust because more Euros were leaving Greece than were entering Greece, They had to sell state assets to buy more Euros in and when they ran out of assets to sell they had to borrow Euros… until no-one would lend them any more Euros.

              Some Eastern members are in the same boat; they’re bleeding Euros. They’re already selling state assets to create the mirage of economic prosperity, probably borrowing too. They’ll take longer to crash because they’ve got more assets left than Greece had…. but crash they will IMO.

              • Nic the NZer

                I think its unlikely that will happen. The ECB has been running a program of buying EuroZone government debt from various countries since 2010. They can continue to do this indefinitely, its what central banks do. This has been keeping interest rates down on the debt for the countries they are helping, because its been clear since they started to do this that failing to help these countries and allowing a sovereign debt crisis in another larger EuroZone economy is likely to cause it to break up.

                Greece on the other hand got into trouble because
                1) It joined the EuroZone and gave up its Currency Sovereignty, this means if its central bank (The ECB) chooses not to support its government budget, the Greek government can’t make it.
                2) Its economy contracted and the government started to run a government budget deficit larger than 3%, this caused the ECB, EU and IMF to step in enforce excessive deficit procedures. When, a decade earlier, Germany needed to run a large budget deficit there was no enforcement of this part of the treaty. Anyway because more than 3% is considered excessive (the currency sovereign UK ran 6% for several years around this time), and the ECB was not running its debt buying program yet, it became clear that Greece was possibly going to default. This caused a massive spike in the interest rates on Greek (and other) government debt which made their debt burden much worse.
                3) The bailout mandated in addition a massive Austerity program, this was forecast (by the IMF) to be a helpful program making the Greek economy recover quickly with unemployment topping out lower than 20% and then shrinking. Instead the actual GDP contraction (Greece lost a quarter of its GDP) caused the debt burden to grow. Greece had employment over 20 percent for many years in a row now, at times this has been forecast to continue for a decade.

                Improvements in any of points 1, 2 and 3 (which are out of Greek hands) could have left the Greek economy in a fairly healthy state.

                • DH

                  I think you’re overcomplicating it. Greece simply ran out of Euros. The achilles heel of the EU and Euro is that EU nation states can’t keep a currency confined within their borders. Euros moved out of Greece and only came back as debt for which they had to pay interest on and further increased the bleeding of Euros out of Greece.

                  Greece’s problems would have been a balance of payments crisis for us, because we have our own currency. Our dollar would fall and we’d be able to trade our way out by virtue of higher export earnings. Greece’s currency can’t devalue because they don’t have one.

                  Mark my words, many East Europe EU members are facing the same fate.

                  • Nic the NZer

                    Couching the problems in Greece as a Greek trade deficit is beside the point, and typically devolves into victim blaming from what I have seen.

                    While this needs to be taken into account the current account deficit is not the major moving part in the spending collapses we have witnessed in nearly any country.
                    In Greece the major spending collapse was the result of the domestic Austerity program, that is what has left so many Greeks unemployed. In the UK also the spending collapse (and double dip recession) was the result of the domestic Austerity program, but that is largely behind the UK now.
                    The difference between these two is that in Greece the Austerity program was imposed externally because Greece is on the Euro. In the UK they thought and quickly thought better of the Austerity program but they could decide to give it up and did (because the UK is currency sovereign).

                    The key difference between the EuroZone and Currency Sovereign economies is that in the EuroZone not running a trade surplus is poison and above 3% government deficit the EU start circling. That means these countries can at best compensate for a 3% private sector collapse in spending.
                    In a currency Sovereign country they can compensate for any magnitude of collapse in private sector spending, regardless of their current account balance, at all times.
                    There are also examples (e.g Australia, or the US of course) of countries which have run decade long persistent current account deficits simply compensated for by their government spending more (rather than the alternative of rising unemployment). All this means is that overseas they are happy to earn and accumulate savings provided by this country, but there are not really further implications to a countries current account balance beyond this.

      • cleangreen 5.6.2

        Agreed Nick,

        Wayne is a ‘road map to ruin’

        So let him go back to his National Party again.

        So Wayne; leave here as we are sick of your crap ‘winging wayne.’

      • tracey 5.6.3

        He will still be paid by TeeVee for spouting in though in his new gig.

        • Wayne 5.6.3.1

          Tracey,

          TV doesn’t pay any panellist, or anyone interviewed for the contributions. Because both Q & A and The Nation are news programs, it would be inappropriate to pay anyone other than the TV staff.

          • tracey 5.6.3.1.1

            Thanks for the correction and honesty Wayne. Apologies. What say you about investor clause dumped by European countries in favour of a Court? So why do we need it in TPP?

            • Wayne 5.6.3.1.1.1

              Tracey

              ISDS usually exist in trade agreements covering disparate economies, ranging from those with highly developed economic and legal systems to those that don’t. For instance, how independent are the courts of Vietnam?

              Almost all major investments from first world countries into third world countries have ICC arbitration as the means to settle disputes. ICC arbitration is the genesis of ISDC clauses.

              ISDS clauses are not necessary where everyone has similar economic and legal systems, and courts that are accepted as independent. Therefore ISDS would have no role between Australia and New Zealand.

              To answer your direct point, a trade and economic agreement between the US and the EU does not need ISDS.

              • solkta

                You can say that, but ISDS clauses have been used against Australia and Canada.

              • Sam aka clump

                Wayne constantly reminds me of medieval members of the court who repeatedly failed in there position only to face the executioner. The world doesn’t doesn’t work the way it use to even when Wayne was a minister back on 2011 or when ever. The TPPA most avid proponent, Obama failed to rush TPPA through under urgency, most congressional opponents seized on ISDS provisions as giving to much sovereignty away to foreign corporations to sue the U.S. And the little thing of republicans filibustering anything democrats want to do. This is understandable when you consider the U.S military destroys billions in infrastructure globally every year through Obamas drone campaign alone. How no one saw that except for may be Trump is beyond madness.

                Investor State Disputes Settlements (ISDS) is a Cold War relic like its proponents. First brought in in the 80’s to give investors away of pulling there cash out of communist countries in case those assets got nationalised.

                Now the point isn’t screwing over one country or another, the point now is enriching the corporations at the expense of the average citizen.

                Robert Kiyosaki said it best when he described a corporation as a body with no soul.

                Some corporations might even have negative souls. We already know that there are some industries with corporations so willing to abuse ISDS that the TPP11 and other FTA’s had to specifically exclude them from the ISDS provisions. We do not really want to find out if “power corrupts” applies to all the corporations that will get a harmonised ISDS system thanks to the TPP11.

                Also, IP law provisions for medicine are a vastly different thing from IP law provisions covering consumer products, software programmes and mass media. Consider Japanese television programmes. While TPP11 will probably make all fansubs for television programming illegal, it is likely to give streaming services increased confidence that they can expand their market. Meaning people in South-East Asia might be able to watch Hulu or Crunchyroll without a virtual private network (VPN) that connects users to private corporate networks in the future (note that VPNs aren’t banned anyway, the telecommunications industry and many other businesses will be up in arms if TPP11 banned them as a way to sidestep geographical restrictions.) To the average anime viewer, legal streaming sites are at least as good as fansubs, and probably better since the streaming service will have professional translators at work and since it is legal. The prospect of the doujin sector as a training ground for new creative talent disappearing is a more disturbing prospect, but the vast majority of viewers may not even be aware of this. And this is something I suspect National Party planners are licking there wounds over considering they to broke IP laws, but totally failed to recognise those same provisions used to rule against them, will be strengthened under TPP11 IP provisions.

                Meanwhile, using legislation to retard the development of generic drugs can very quickly turn into a matter of life and death. And since the need for medicines is pretty much guaranteed by society (there are dozens if not hundreds of cancers, and a severe lack of cures for them, to say nothing of infectious diseases) excessive copyright or patent protection on drugs tends to rally almost everybody into opposition.

              • tracey

                And yet there it was. Inserted until sufficient negotiation got it removed. What idiot put it there if it were never needed? What silly billies. Why on earth would we be negotiating with nations who have corrupt court systems? Imagine what else is corrupt in those nations? Or is the argument like the one about China, if we trade with them they will see the error of their ways and honour human rights? Cos human rights have NOT improved in China.

              • One Anonymous Bloke

                So they’re a means for rich large states to bully small independent ones. The third world doesn’t really exist anymore, by the way, unless you count tax havens.

                Bono would be proud of you. (To be clear, that’s an insult.)

    • As usual the evidence against your opinion builds quickly – you still seem to be locked into a very short term instant gratification mode there Wayne – try thinking with longer timeframes, it will help your analysis no end.

    • savenz 5.8

      Wayne the EU has strong employment and regulatory standards and look at Greece and Brexit so the idea should be to have the advantages of Europe trade, with strong regulation to PROTECT people not protect PROFIT.

      When immigration, social services aka health care and housing, pensions and financial markets go astray then you are getting problems. EU is also a lot more like minded in social areas.

      It’s pretty hard when doing trade agreements with countries than don’t have democracy, don’t have minimum wages and conditions, don’t have proper environmental controls, have serious gender discrimination and have high corruption. It becomes a race to the bottom and a way for the .01% to make more profits not a big happy trading environment.

      • tracey 5.8.1

        Apparently entering trade with China was the Wests way to help improve human rights. Of course it didnt but money has been made by some in tge West so mission accomplish, smokescreen forgotten

    • tracey 5.9

      Hi Wayne

      Why do you think the Europeans ditched some of the clauses that you think should be in TPP?

      For example ISDS clause in the draft Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership treaty was removed and in its place, the European Commission proposed an investment court system (ICS)

      I mean, why bother, if it is a fine old clause?

      • DH 5.9.1

        I bet Wayne remembers the old Satchi & Satchi ad….

        “Accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative.”

        I respect him fronting up here but I resent the way he treats everyone like children. The rational approach to something like TPP is to weigh up the pros & cons. There are always cons, as we all know. Nothing good comes without a price. Newtons third law etc. Life is like that, we’ve all learned it the hard way.

        In Waynes world at the Standard there are no cons.

        • tracey 5.9.1.1

          Which states my point well. Wayne seeks to disparage Kelsey because she cannot be relied upon cos she never liked a fta BUT wayne can be relied upon when he has never opposed one. He frequently avoids commenting on this aspect of his beliefs

          • One Anonymous Bloke 5.9.1.1.1

            He rarely comments on anything other than his opinions ad nauseam, with a side order of strawman.

            • tracey 5.9.1.1.1.1

              I try to make a point of answering all questions I am asked but that is just me. I consider it a community service to point out when others are avoiding them.

    • Tracey 5.10

      Agree… except when he calls me a Standardista. I will call him a Putinist.

    • Siobhan 5.11

      Virtually every economist would say European nations have benefitted from the bigger integrated market….you have great faith in Economists, remind us how many of these great sages predicted the entirely predictable 2008 crisis…Economists are a bunch of people well versed in telling their masters what they want to hear (their current employers being neo liberal free traders) so it may pay to look elsewhere for more nuanced views on the eu.

  6. Zorb6 6

    Of course the EU is so good, the UK are leaving.What is wrong with bi lateral trade agreements? The benefits to NZ from the TPP seem very vague when weighted up against the downsides.

  7. boggis the cat 7

    It is worthwhile remembering that corporations are legal fictions. They are a business entity given the legal rights of a human being.

    The ISDS mechanisms give these immortal, unjailable, shape-shifting, identity changing fake human beings more legal rights than mere flesh and blood humanity. In effect, we are elevating business (greed-driven profit seeking) to a higher level of privilege than people — all people, too, as not even a billionaire is immortal.

    Modern trade agreements and internal reorganisation of labour look to be bringing us full circle back to a medieval social order, where the many serfs are ruled over by levels of middle management classes with supreme rulers (corporations) dictating laws in their own interests.

    • cleangreen 7.1

      Brilliance there Boggis the cat. 100%

      “corporations are legal fictions. They are a business entity given the legal rights of a human being.”
      Bloody good points made there, ‘an exact comprehension of a corporation.’

      I used to work for one of the biggest in Canada with 55 000 employees, as a kiwi and it was like living in a vaccumn, where it seemed so unreal or “ficticious”.

    • tracey 7.2

      The Europeans ditched ISDS clause in their version of TPP and replaced with a Court. I guess the Europeans are just idiots who do not know what Wayne Mapp knows.

      • greywarshark 7.2.1

        Aha one says wisely:
        Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always interesting to me, because as we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns – the ones we don’t know we don’t know. And if one looks throughout the history of our country and other free countries, it is the latter category that tend to be the difficult ones.[1]
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/There_are_known_knowns

        I’m sure that Mapp’s knowledge level fits in somewhere above.

      • KJT 7.2.2

        Agree. There is so much evidence of problems, and the anti- Democratic nature of ISDS, I wonder how “seemingly” sensible people can defend it.

        Certainly our own legal professionals’, people who do know what they are talking about, have serious reservations.

  8. Alan 8

    Cannot wait to see what you all have to say when your darling comes back with a deal – trouble at mill!!!!!

    • cleangreen 8.1

      Alan,

      Is this just a Sick joke – ‘Darling’?

      Jacinda is a kind compassionate soul human being.

      That is a quality see have not seen for nine years, and some cherish this event, as I certainly do.

      So we know Jacinda will work for all our best interests and not just the rich.

      Are you with the 1% who want to continue to plunder?

      As we dont want to carry on this way as you may want to.

      Jacinda is running a caring, kind, compassionate, government boat now, so come aboard or swim away.

      • Sparky 8.1.1

        Is this satire or are you serious? If its the latter how do you know what kind of government we are going to get under Labour?

        Keeping in mind the neo liberal nightmare we have endured since the mid 80’s was started not by National but so called “cuddly, super caring”, Labour.

        All I see if a movement away from socialism and leftist principles on the part of the main NZ parties towards a rightist corporate agenda with some nasty overtones that remind me of the sort of totalitarian nonsense we saw in the 1930’s and beyond.

        Spying on the public, burdensome taxes, (GST which is by definition regressive or put another way indiscriminate tax- brought in by Labour by the way) a propagandised MSM, harassing critics and at times applying so called democracy only when its convenient.

        • patricia bremner 8.1.1.1

          Get it right please. A few right wing characters used Labour and Muldoon’s mistakes to introduce their own ideas. Roger Douglas and Richard Prebble.

          Jim Bolger Ruth Richardson and Bill Birch (of the contract acts infamy) caused all our woes. Then along came John Key the wolf in sheep’s clothing to finish the asset sales.

          It began with some Labour members (who then became Act) but finally was carried by National and friends. So blame where it belongs. Both parties became neo-liberal.

          • Sparky 8.1.1.1.1

            Why don’t you get it right mate. Are you telling me Lange and co were just passive by standers in their own government? Give me a break!

    • tracey 8.2

      Those of us who voted Green will not be happy. Did you think we woukd feel differently?

  9. Sparky 9

    A well researched and well written article. In my opinion this is an economic corporate coup. Labour’s current fussing and fudging the issues over the TPP deal which they had no problem comprehending and saying “no” to whilst in opposition, raises questions that have, in my opinion, no good answers.

    I would go as far as to say this is indicative of the gradual failure of government in this country. Its high time for real change which must include an entrenched constitution and replacing the Westminster system, to prevent a repeat of this kind of banana republic bullshit.

    Of course, people need to stop being complacent too and need to be willing not to timidly ask for change but openly require it. Time for public servants to go back to being just that.

    • cleangreen 9.1

      Yes Sparky ,

      We all want ‘substantial change’ but firstly we will need the levers in place in the new government’s hands or we are truly sunk. They are still in the opositions hands and the media are backing them also still.

      First things first;

      That is why we need to dismantle all that National has done to ‘control us’ during the time they deliberately sold off all our taxpayer owned assets they could in the biggest public swindle I have ever witnessed in my 73yrs of life here in my country of NZ.

      But now I am firmly on the side of Winston here with his plans to change the Reserve Bank Act and dismantle the treasury.

      Next importantly to dismantle all Steven Joyces (MBIE) Ministry of Bussiness Innovation & Employment control mechanisms, as well as a radically change the media, (particularly the public media as the RadioNZ and TVone) are both still singing from the National Party playbook, even now, when we dont have them in power any more.

      That will start the ball rolling and then this government can have a bloody voice finally to sell the radical changes we need badly to roll back the ‘deep state’ intervention you correctly speak of.

      • Sparky 9.1.1

        Whats any of what you just said got to do with Labour not walking away from the TPP11?

        As to the MSM their currency is increasingly heading into negative figures both here and overseas. This is why there are moves afoot to censor social media as its the new forum for genuine information dissemination and opinion. You too are here not on a MSM site, right?

        Labour have no excuse for not doing what Trump did, ignoring the sleazy MSM and simply withdrawing which is what his voters expected and what he did as soon as he took office. Say what you will about the man, that’s integrity.

        Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein both expressed their unwillingness to go along with this dirty deal too. Both said they would veto it.

        What really disturbing too is Labour clearly refused to discount this thing as NZF and the Greens wanted. They were as Jane Kelsey pointed out vague heading into the election too when both coalition partners said an emphatic “no”. What does that tell you about their likely motives moving forward?

      • patricia bremner 9.1.2

        Agree 1000%

  10. J 10

    So when Todd McClay said a day ago in Parliament that the US corporate clauses had been taken out of TPP he was essentially lying. They’ve just been frozen awaiting America’s pleasure. Not the same thing.

    • Sparky 10.1

      My personal view is the stage is being set for the US’s future entry into the TPP when a more pliant President comes along.

      No doubt US clauses will be written into the deal when its re-negotiated to include them.

    • patricia bremner 10.2

      J, When have they been truthful??

  11. patricia bremner 11

    Jacinda will do her best, and she sent Winston and David ahead to try to set up side deals to mitigate the worst features of the TPPA11.

    It may work, it may not. We have to face some compromises, and be careful not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.

    They intend to bring it back to the people so all is not lost. She has said they will listen. Have you written, emailed facebooked?? I have. So should each of us. Have your say.

    • Sparky 11.1

      What do you actually know about this deal PB? Any idea, for example, whose office drafted it and what it includes?

      Suffice to say like NAFTA you can’t fix this, its like trying to water down toxic waste or put Sarin gas in smaller dispensers.

  12. Sparky 12

    Well here you have it Labour apologists fresh from Bloomberg:

    New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her nation would benefit from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, indicating she won’t let concerns over dispute resolution clauses scupper the trade deal.

    I should add I’d happily be wrong…….

  13. cleangreen 13

    Well Sparky,

    I am totally surprised as Jacinda must know how this willl affect all NZders who want to preserve our democracy and government control over all our employment, assets/public services,infrustructure, & environmental rights.

    TPPA does not allow any protections for this, so we are now in a vaccumn as the TPPA has never committed to making thse rules flexable.

    Like others have said this is a global Corporate set of rules that are set up to over rule any Government rules in favour of their own actions.

    Jacinda is caught in a ‘picker type movement’ it seems with the Corporate powers ruling over the entire process makingn Governments irralivent here it seems.

    Are we really able to now make those ‘significant changes now’?

    Only time will tell, as we await the explanations from our Government today.

  14. cleangreen 14

    RNZ said at 8am that the discussions with NZ representatives will go on all day and on newhub Phil Twyford said he is confident that the ISDS changes NZ is seeking will be successful.

    We hope Phil Twyford is right, as we cannot see this draconian ISDS control over governments is in any way a democrac policy.

    NZ delegations are continuing their discussions with other countries today also.

  15. cleangreen 15

    The real facts are here;

    6.30am today reports;

    https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/98741737/tpp-negotiations-go-down-to-the-wire-as-jacinda-ardern-arrives-in-vietnam

    Canada, Japan at odds over TPP as talks go ‘down to the wire’

    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is welcomed to Vietnam as she steps onto the tarmac.

    Discord has emerged between Japan and Canada over progress on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, as Japan says countries “agree in principle” on a way forward, but Canada says there is no such agreement.

    The spat emerged shortly after Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrived in Vietnam, telling reporters that negotiations were going “down to the wire”.

    Asked about the results of a meeting of TPP ministers, Japanese Economy Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said “[they] agree in principle”, adding that the ministers had finalised “a list of suspensions” – clauses that would be suspended to avoid renegotiating the whole agreement.

    Ardern describes TPP negotiations as “tough going”.

    His Mexican counterpart, Ildefonso Guajardo, also said that a deal had been reached, and Australian Trade Minister Steven Ciobo said the meeting was “very good”.

    Get the who, what, why of NZ politics in our newsletter
    But Canadian Trade Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne later said on Twitter: “Despite reports, there is no agreement in principle on TPP.”

    François-P Champagne ✔@FP_Champagne
    Despite reports, there is no agreement in principle on TPP.
    6:30 AM – Nov 10, 2017
    6 6 Replies 80 80 Retweets 25 25 likes
    Twitter Ads info and privacy
    Canada, whose economy is the second biggest among the TPP-11 after Japan, said it would not be rushed into a revived TPP deal. Like Mexico, its position is further complicated by renegotiation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta) with the US.

    Ardern, speaking with Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters beside her, said talks would continue “as long as it potentially takes”.

    “It’s fair to say these negotiations are now down to the wire. It is still not clear what the outcome will be.”

    Ardern said her Government had arrived on the scene within weeks of the talks concluding to revive the Asia-Pacific free trade deal known as TPP-11 – now minus the United States.

    New Zealand’s focus was on improving the investor state dispute settlement (ISDS) clauses that allow investors to sue host governments.

    “It is fair to say that has been tough going and continues to be,” Ardern said.

    But talks were coming to a head and it was hard to know if countries could maintain their negotiating position the longer they dragged on, she said.

    A major meeting of leaders from TPP nations is set down for Friday evening (NZT).

    There is likely to be a strong pushback from Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who values the ISDS clauses as a means of protecting Japan’s extensive international investments.

    Ardern will hold bilateral meetings on Saturday with leaders of countries that are part of the TPP-11. They will be with Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia and Singapore.

    It was understood discussion has canvassed suspending the ISDS provisions, narrowing their application or agreeing “side letters” with countries that are prepared to mutually set the ISDS provisions aside.

    But, so far, only Australia has agreed such a side letter with New Zealand.

    Ardern said her team was trying to balance concerns about the ISDS provisions with the needs of exporters who benefit from the TPP.

    If New Zealand joins, Parliament will likely have to pass a law to reflect changes from the original TPP-12. However, that is expected to be limited in scope.

    It was also possible the TPP-11 would be given a new name to distinguish it from the original 12-nation TPP.

    Ardern said she expected to meet US President Donald Trump informally at the 21-nation Apec summit, but there were no one-on-one talks with him scheduled.

    – Stuff, Reuters

    • greywarshark 15.1

      TPP is based on the idea of expanding business through exports and will mine the resources of the country denying them to the citizens, if necessary to maintain the export trade and meet contracts which should never have been signed because the company was decimating the finite resource needed by citizens.

      And if the locals don’t do this, the businessmen of the world will fix their eagle eyes on possible profit and pick out any plums available. Then we will hear the reason for mining in national parks or any other project that means losing important resources, ‘If we don’t do this, then it leaves it open for overseas companies to do so, and they won’t be as careful as we are.’ That reasoning can be applied to a large number of situations.

      In other words TPP just opens up our homelands to foreign invaders armed with lawyers and plastic money cards. What a sad end to the dreams of generations of New Zealanders who came to this country because it was special.

      I wonder how long the reality will take to filter through the miasma coming from rotting brains falling away from a culture based on some standards, some religion, some connection to respect for others, to one that is hellbent on getting money, a system of tokens accepted worldwide that must be worshipped before any other consideration. The ring that rules them all and it doesn’t have to be gold, it can be anything that the supremely wealthy decide.

      Hell-bent, and what we see around us with poverty and uncaring, is just the first stage.
      Winston Churchill said it succinctly –
      “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”

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