web analytics

TPP protests – Day 1

Written By: - Date published: 11:59 am, December 3rd, 2012 - 9 comments
Categories: activism, assets, class war, Economy, International, jobs, Privatisation, sustainability, telecommunications, trade, us politics, workers' rights - Tags:

Today a small group of protesters have been outside the entrance to Sky City Convention Centre, where a round of secret international TPP negotiations started to day. The big concerns about the TPP are the secrecy with which it is being developed, the potential to undermine NZ’s independence, the ability to make and enforce our won laws, and the amount of control being given over to powerful (US-based) multinational corporations.

On today’s protests, Stuff reports:

Around 20 placard-carrying protesters are outside the centre with police watching on.

A protest march through the city is scheduled for later today.

It’s a pity the march through the city wasn’t publicised more widely in advance.  (I have a prior unbreakable commitment this afternoon).

Others try to put the case for TPP.  The above Stuff article reports on the government’s (unconvincing) reassurances that they won’t negotiate anything that is not in NZ’s interest.

Two of the contentious areas are intellectual property and pharmaceuticals. Commentators have expressed concerns that New Zealand might have to sacrifice freedoms such as the right to parallel import trademarked goods, and make concessions over Pharmac’s bulk purchases of drugs and medical supplies.

But it is understood New Zealand does not expect to go into bat alone on these and other controversial aspects of the discussions.

Amongst the very unconvinced are Jane Kelsey, who writes:

However, the TPP is not simply, or even principally, about trade. There is a well-documented push from the US to secure extensive new rules that will serve the interests of their corporations and empower them to enforce those rules.

But it is increasingly clear that US politicians see the TPP as a vehicle to re-establish America’s ascendancy in the Asia-Pacific region to counter China’s emergence as a superpower.

Kelsey states that Key is seeking to talk down possibilities of NZ being caught between the TPP and the China-driven RCEP trade negotiations.  Kelsey concludes:

Whether or not you think that is desirable, it ignores both geopolitical realities and the divergent paradigms on which China and the US operate.

A serious risk is that governments participating in the TPP will sign up for strategic reasons to a text designed by and for the US to serve its commercial and foreign-policy interests. As a result, New Zealand and Australia, alongside Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei and Vietnam, who are members of Asean, will become caught up in a new Cold War, conducted through the proxy vehicle of economic integration agreements.

Large numbers of Kiwis are also unhappy with the secrecy of the TPP. This makes it impossible for ordinary people to judge how good it will be for the country. A Consumerlink, mid-November poll shows,

65% of New Zealanders think the Government should make the contents of the agreement public before the negotiations are completed and the agreement is signed, 14% do not mind if this does not happen, and 21% have no opinion.

[h/t: Draco T Dastard]

Today Canada will be joining the negotiations for the first time. Canadian consultant Peter Clark is arriving to attend tomorrow, and is underwhelmed by what has been achieved so far, and what may be achieved in the future.

The TPP negotiations are based on a shaky foundation. Congress has not granted Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) for the TPP.19 Without TPA, trade agreement negotiations are fraught with risk and uncertainty. It is folly.

Without TPA, the TPP negotiations are a crapshoot for other countries. Without TPA, all Trans-Pacific partners are exposed to the virtual certainty of having to re-negotiate with Congress a hard fought, done deal.

The TPP is nowhere near finished. On several important issues, it appears to be stuck in neutral. It will, like all other free trade negotiations, be about hard fought exclusions. In Asia, there are alternatives to the TPP for ASEAN members. The RCEP will be much more user friendly and flexible. This will feed dissent and objections to U.S. demands.

More information about the protests this week on the GPJA  blog, including [edited to save space – check blog for full version]:

3 Dec Auckland: Street theatre and rally at opening of negotiation round, 8.00 am, Entrance to Skycity casino, Federal St….

Public meeting hosted by the Fabian Society. Speakers: Lori Wallach (from US watchdog Public Citizen) and Jane Kelsey. 6.30 pm, Old Government House lecture theatre, University of Auckland, Auckland

4 Dec Wellington midday. 12noon, Midland Park, Lambton Quay.

1-8 Dec Auckland. ‘Having fun with TPP’ Cartoon exhibition, BizDojo.Co.Space, Karangahape Road, Auckland….

NB a mobile billboard featuring one of the winning cartoons and advertising the Dec 8 rally will be driving around Auckland from 4-12 December. … Details tba, contact Stephen Parry 021 039 0284.

7 December Auckland. [Related, but not  a TTPA event:]… Aotearoa Is Not For Sale: The Big Push. March against Asset Sales, meeting 6pm at Britomart. …

8 Dec Auckland: Major rally and presentation of Avaaz petition on TPP …, meeting at Aotea Square at 2pm, marching to entrance of Skycity casino, Federal St. ..

TPPA? No way! Awareness raising concert at St Kevin’s arcade, 6-9pm.

10 Dec Auckland “Trading away our future: TPPA and the Environment”, … Refreshments provided. 5.30 at Green Party offices, 17 Mercury Lane, Newton. http://www.facebook.com/events/562836617066132/

9 comments on “TPP protests – Day 1 ”

  1. Wayne 1

    Karol,

    The fact that President Obama made TPP such a priority at EAS shows the level of effort the US is putting into it. Clearly the US will have to accommodate other nations concerns, but obviously everyone has to get something out of the negotiations that they can value, or else the deal won’t succeed.

    I think the US has put too much into TPP to see it fail. Congress would think very carefully about rejecting a sucessfully concluded TPP. The Republicans in the lower House support free trade. The Democrats in the Senate support their President.

    NZ as the depository of TPP and as host of these talks also has a lot vested in their success. And that would apply for both National and Labour. A NZ Govt that rejected a deal for which they were depository would destroy our credibility among the Asia Pacific for many years to come. We simply would not be trusted.

    The ASEAN nations with their parallel project of RCEP also do not want to see China excluded. But most of them are also in TPP. Same for NZ. So ASEAN sees that both deals need to succeed, to keep the balance between China and the US.

    Both China and the US are Asia Pacific nations; they aint going anywhere. And none of the other nations in the region are going to go out of their way to unnecessairly antagonise them. In fact the ASEAN nations see themselves as the bridge. They have many initiatives designed to bring China and the US into regional dialogue. EAS, ARF and ADMM+ are just three.

    Logically when both TPP and RCEP are complete, they are likely to merge as the much vaunted APEC free trade pact. But TPP is at least 3 to 5 years ahead of RCEP.

    So while the Left (but not Labour) might rail against TPP, I do not think Jane Kelsey et al will have much influence on Tim Groser and the Govt (or on David Shearer).

    • thatguynz 1.1

      Except for the minor problem that TPPA is a trade agreement second, not first.  I do of course agree that neither Groser and National nor Labour have any interest whatsoever in listening to any opposition to it.  And make no mistake, based on what has been leaked so far this is one of the biggest present threats to NZ.

    • lprent 1.2

      Problem is that from the little that is known about TPPA positions it looks like it could take a decade or more for any benefits to flow through from the US in the terms of opening of access for farm produce. And that assumes that the US legislature is cooperative, which hasn’t exactly been noticeable over the trade agreements in the last few decades.

      Whereas the likely lousy effects on our burgeoning export tech industry will probably be a whole lot faster, and enforced by unaccountable kangaroo courts with unfathomable appointment procedures and no appeal.

      So remind me – why exactly is this a “trade” treaty that we are engaged in, compared to something like a political treaty of economic conquest – which is more what it seems to resemble? So far there appears to be little or no trade rationale for NZ to be engaged in this in a world where we don’t appear to have much of a problem selling our wares, just a problem in getting further up the processing value chain.

      If I had to guess this looks more like a opportunity to open up more international boards for ex-politicians and diplomats to ease into retirement with. So far that seems to be the only likely benefit for actual exporting NZ businesses.

      BTW: I replied to your yesterday sideline comment on this – http://thestandard.org.nz/tpp-negotiations-auckland-next-week/comment-page-1/#comment-557747

    • Draco T Bastard 1.3

      Just because a lot of self-important twits have put a lot into it doesn’t mean that we should sign it. Especially considering that the only people who have had a say in it are actually the corporations and not the people.

  2. PlanetOrphan 2

    Great post Karol, we should ditch the TPP completely until we are sure of our needs when it comes to regulation of the local economy.

    We Just need to follow the USA’s example, protect the local economy otherwise all the money bleeds out into the wilderness.

  3. karol 3

    Jane Kelsey on the unprecedented lock-out of stakeholders from Sky City TPP negotiating venue today.  It basically means that those with criticisms of TPP don’t get any opportunity to interact with the international negotiators.

    “We turned up this morning and found we are locked out of the entire Sky City Convention Centre for all 10 days except the so-called stakeholder day on Friday,” according to Professor Jane Kelsey, who has attended six previous rounds.  …

    “It is patently obvious that our government is actively attempting to block us from having private interactions with negotiators who have their own concerns or want more information in areas they lack expertise, or are simply polite enough to respond to requests for meetings.”
     
    “The previous round held in New Zealand in December 2010 was widely criticised for its secrecy – including by journalists trying to find out what is happening. It looks positively transparent when compared to what we are now confronting, which is hugely depressing and totally unacceptable.” 

    So, the secretive negotiations are becoming even more secret 

  4. Murray Olsen 4

    As far as I can see, the TPPA formalises governments as the enforcement arm of the corporations. Key and co, as well as the likes of Mallard and Jones, might like the idea of cushy seats on various boards as a result of turning Aotearoa into a sweatshop/casino/private prison, but I can’t see anything in it for the rest of us. It’s so bad that I can only see signing or supporting it as acts of treason.

  5. Rosemarie 5

    Thankyou Karol for the info..very enlightening

Links to post

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Environment Court Judge appointed
    Prudence Steven QC, barrister of Christchurch has been appointed as an Environment Judge and District Court Judge to serve in Christchurch, Attorney-General David Parker announced today. Ms Steven has been a barrister sole since 2008, practising in resource management and local government / public law.    She was appointed a Queen’s ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 hours ago
  • Government moves on climate promises
    The Government is delivering on its first tranche of election promises to take action on climate change with a raft of measures that will help meet New Zealand’s 2050 carbon neutral target, create new jobs and boost innovation. “This will be an ongoing area of action but we are moving ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    7 hours ago
  • Jump starting research careers
    The Government is investing up to $10 million to support 30 of the country’s top early-career researchers to develop their research skills. “The pandemic has had widespread impacts across the science system, including the research workforce. After completing their PhD, researchers often travel overseas to gain experience but in the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    8 hours ago
  • Project protects jobs and nature
    A Waitomo-based Jobs for Nature project will keep up to ten people employed in the village as the tourism sector recovers post Covid-19 Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says. “This $500,000 project will save ten local jobs by deploying workers from Discover Waitomo into nature-based jobs. They will be undertaking local ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister Shaw speaks with U.S. Presidential Envoy John Kerry
    Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw spoke yesterday with President Biden’s Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry. “I was delighted to have the opportunity to speak with Mr. Kerry this morning about the urgency with which our governments must confront the climate emergency. I am grateful to him and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs makes three diplomatic appointments
    Foreign Affairs Minister Hon Nanaia Mahuta today announced three diplomatic appointments: Alana Hudson as Ambassador to Poland John Riley as Consul-General to Hong Kong Stephen Wong as Consul-General to Shanghai   Poland “New Zealand’s relationship with Poland is built on enduring personal, economic and historical connections. Poland is also an important ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Major redevelopment of Wainuiomata High School underway
    Work begins today at Wainuiomata High School to ensure buildings and teaching spaces are fit for purpose, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. The Minister joined principal Janette Melrose and board chair Lynda Koia to kick off demolition for the project, which is worth close to $40 million, as the site ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • New expert group appointed to advise Government on Oranga Tamariki
    A skilled and experienced group of people have been named as the newly established Oranga Tamariki Ministerial Advisory Board by Children’s Minister Kelvin Davis today. The Board will provide independent advice and assurance to the Minister for Children across three key areas of Oranga Tamariki: relationships with families, whānau, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • COVID-19 vaccine slated for possible approval next week
    The green light for New Zealand’s first COVID-19 vaccine could be granted in just over a week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said today. “We’re making swift progress towards vaccinating New Zealanders against the virus, but we’re also absolutely committed to ensuring the vaccines are safe and effective,” Jacinda Ardern said. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New ACC Board members announced.
    The Minister for ACC is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to join the Board of ACC on 1 February 2021. “All three bring diverse skills and experience to provide strong governance oversight to lead the direction of ACC” said Hon Carmel Sepuloni. Bella Takiari-Brame from Hamilton ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Economic boost for Southland marae
    The Government is investing $9 million to upgrade a significant community facility in Invercargill, creating economic stimulus and jobs, Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson and Te Tai Tonga MP Rino Tirikatene have announced.  The grant for Waihōpai Rūnaka Inc to make improvements to Murihiku Marae comes from the $3 billion set ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Celebrating the Entry Into Force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
    [Opening comments, welcome and thank you to Auckland University etc] It is a great pleasure to be here this afternoon to celebrate such an historic occasion - the entry into force of the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. This is a moment many feared would never come, but ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Supporting disabled people to stay connected
    The Government is providing $3 million in one-off seed funding to help disabled people around New Zealand stay connected and access support in their communities, Minister for Disability Issues, Carmel Sepuloni announced today. The funding will allow disability service providers to develop digital and community-based solutions over the next two ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Voluntary saliva testing offered to quarantine workers from Monday
    Border workers in quarantine facilities will be offered voluntary daily COVID-19 saliva tests in addition to their regular weekly testing, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. This additional option will be rolled out at the Jet Park Quarantine facility in Auckland starting on Monday 25 January, and then to ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Next steps in firearms buy-back
    The next steps in the Government’s ambitious firearms reform programme to include a three-month buy-back have been announced by Police Minister Poto Williams today.  “The last buy-back and amnesty was unprecedented for New Zealand and was successful in collecting 60,297 firearms, modifying a further 5,630 firearms, and collecting 299,837 prohibited ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Jobs for Nature projects target iconic ecosystems
    Upscaling work already underway to restore two iconic ecosystems will deliver jobs and a lasting legacy, Conservation Minister Kiri Allan says.  “The Jobs for Nature programme provides $1.25 billion over four years to offer employment opportunities for people whose livelihoods have been impacted by the COVID-19 recession. “Two new projects ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • New Public Housing Plan announced
    The Government has released its Public Housing Plan 2021-2024 which outlines the intention of where 8,000 additional public and transitional housing places announced in Budget 2020, will go. “The Government is committed to continuing its public house build programme at pace and scale. The extra 8,000 homes – 6000 public ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Prime Minister congratulates President Joe Biden on his inauguration
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has congratulated President Joe Biden on his inauguration as the 46th President of the United States of America. “I look forward to building a close relationship with President Biden and working with him on issues that matter to both our countries,” Jacinda Ardern said. “New Zealand ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Jobs for Nature funding will create training and employment opportunities
    A major investment to tackle wilding pines in Mt Richmond will create jobs and help protect the area’s unique ecosystems, Biosecurity Minister Damien O’Connor says. The Mt Richmond Forest Park has unique ecosystems developed on mineral-rich geology, including taonga plant species found nowhere else in the country. “These special plant ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pre-departure testing extended to all passengers to New Zealand
    To further protect New Zealand from COVID-19, the Government is extending pre-departure testing to all passengers to New Zealand except from Australia, Antarctica and most Pacific Islands, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “The change will come into force for all flights arriving in New Zealand after 11:59pm (NZT) on Monday ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Bay Cadets learn skills to protect environment
    Bay Conservation Cadets launched with first intake Supported with $3.5 million grant Part of $1.245b Jobs for Nature programme to accelerate recover from Covid Cadets will learn skills to protect and enhance environment Environment Minister David Parker today welcomed the first intake of cadets at the launch of the Bay ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Cook Islanders to resume travel to New Zealand
    The Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern and the Prime Minister of the Cook Islands Mark Brown have announced passengers from the Cook Islands can resume quarantine-free travel into New Zealand from 21 January, enabling access to essential services such as health. “Following confirmation of the Cook Islands’ COVID ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Supporting communities and landowners to grow employment opportunities
    Jobs for Nature funding is being made available to conservation groups and landowners to employ staff and contractors in a move aimed at boosting local biodiversity-focused projects, Conservation Minister Kiritapu Allan has announced. It is estimated some 400-plus jobs will be created with employment opportunities in ecology, restoration, trapping, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Border exception for some returning international tertiary students
    The Government has approved an exception class for 1000 international tertiary students, degree level and above, who began their study in New Zealand but were caught offshore when border restrictions began. The exception will allow students to return to New Zealand in stages from April 2021. “Our top priority continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Tiwai deal gives time for managed transition
    Today’s deal between Meridian and Rio Tinto for the Tiwai smelter to remain open another four years provides time for a managed transition for Southland. “The deal provides welcome certainty to the Southland community by protecting jobs and incomes as the region plans for the future. The Government is committed ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • New member for APEC Business Advisory Council
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has appointed Anna Curzon to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). The leader of each APEC economy appoints three private sector representatives to ABAC. ABAC provides advice to leaders annually on business priorities. “ABAC helps ensure that APEC’s work programme is informed by business community perspectives ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Govt’s careful economic management recognised
    The Government’s prudent fiscal management and strong policy programme in the face of the COVID-19 global pandemic have been acknowledged by the credit rating agency Fitch. Fitch has today affirmed New Zealand’s local currency rating at AA+ with a stable outlook and foreign currency rating at AA with a positive ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • Additional actions to keep COVID-19 out of NZ
    The Government is putting in place a suite of additional actions to protect New Zealand from COVID-19, including new emerging variants, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins said today. “Given the high rates of infection in many countries and evidence of the global spread of more transmissible variants, it’s clear that ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 weeks ago
  • 19 projects will clean up and protect waterways
    $36 million of Government funding alongside councils and others for 19 projects Investment will clean up and protect waterways and create local jobs Boots on the ground expected in Q2 of 2021 Funding part of the Jobs for Nature policy package A package of 19 projects will help clean up ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 weeks ago