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Trust, Labour and the TPPA

Written By: - Date published: 6:05 am, November 5th, 2017 - 96 comments
Categories: Economy, International, labour, trade - Tags: ,

Action Station co-director Laura O’Connell Rapira wrote at The Spinoff the other day about the spin being used to push the TPPA:

And yet here I am, adding my own 700 words worth of political analysis to describe what has been a masterclass in ‘priming’ and ‘agenda-setting’ from Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the New Zealand Labour Party.

The message they are spinning? “Sorry voters, but we had to swallow the worst parts of the TPPA. It’s not our fault, it’s National’s.”

This is, of course, patently untrue. The Labour-led government doesn’t have to forge ahead with a subpar trade deal […]

They are choosing to push ahead with it. They just want us to think it’s not a choice.

Priming has its basis in cognitive psychology. It is about readying the public for a political decision using messages that foreshadow the outcome. It is about tapping into preconceptions to frame up the inevitability of your decision so the public accepts it more easily because they have been prepped for it.

It’s Jacinda Ardern commenting on the likelihood of successfully negotiating changes to the most toxic clause in the TPPA – investor-state dispute resolution, or ISDS – with this statement: “I do acknowledge it will be difficult [at] this late stage to achieve this outcome, but that will not stop us from trying.”

This is the tricky bit for me. The words often sound reassuring and have a feel good quality to them that Ardern is so adept at, but in the end I still don’t know what she means. Is she saying that they want to try but they know that it might not work and then they will walk away? Or is she saying they will do their best but might have to sell us into a really shitty agreement? Personally, it’s hard for me to imagine Labour will sign with the ISDS in place, because it would be such a huge betrayal, but the point is that I actually don’t know, none of us do.

This kind of communication has become such a common occurrence with the TPPA lately it’s starting to piss me off. Being skilful at leaving people feeling good while not being terribly clear is useful in an election campaign against an opponent that is lying through its teeth and getting away with it, but it’s wearing thin now that Labour are in power and we need them to be upfront and treating us as people worthy of honesty and clarity.

Here’s another example from a NewstalkZB piece last week,

A Japanese foreign official says any move to renegotiate the deal [on housing] could be the end of it altogether.

But Ardern evaded the question on Tuesday when asked if she’d be happy to carry the weight of responsibility if she pursues negotiations, saying it’s about balancing resolution of the housing crisis with exporter interests.

“I don’t see the two as mutually exclusive and that’s what I’m focused on,” she said.

To me balancing the resolution of two potentially conflicting needs suggests a compromise, and saying that those two things are not mutually exclusive is technically true but might just mean you end up with a crappy compromise. Yes, they might not be mutually exclusive, but they might be too. Then what?

I don’t know where the bottom lines are any more and it looks more and more like Labour are finding hacks to a situation that is basically broken. I can’t escape the feeling this is not going to be the new government’s finest hour. I’m angry because of the TPPA issues, but I’m also sad because if Labour fuck this up that’s the scene set for our shiney new government for the next three years. I really hope I am wrong.

O’Connell Rapira goes on to talk about agenda-setting in media and political theory and how in this case getting a win on housing allows Labour to stay in the TPP. She acknowledges that the Labour/NZF/G government is our best option to mitigate the TPPA that National intended, but that there is room for cynicism:

But as I was doing research for this piece, I went looking for a petition Labour had launched against the TPPA earlier this year. I found this:

Big ol’ blank page

The cynic in me says this is purposeful. The charitable digital campaigner in me hopes it’s just a glitch. Either way, it didn’t do much to reassure me that Labour will hold strong when it comes to the pressure they will face from business to finalise the TPPA, ISDS included.

There’s been a number of conversations on The Standard about the TPPA-11, which are suggesting to me that the left is falling along a spectrum of greater or lesser trust in Labour or not. I want to but I don’t. I know they’re between a rock and a hard place in that they can’t be open about details ahead of the negotiations next week. But I also agree with O’Connell Rapira that Labour don’t have to be doing this.

The election campaign rhetoric about neoliberalism having failed us was a statement from a centre left position that was going to disappoint many left wing people, but more of a problem for me is that a Labour-led neoliberal-lite govt would still be a move in the right direction but for this – every way we turn there is still the issue of trust with Labour. Taking a position of ‘trust us, we know what we are doing’ doesn’t work with the kind of history NZ has. At some point Labour will need to do the mahi of earning the trust of NZ again, and what’s happening at the moment is the painful, ‘let’s wait and we’ll eventually find out’ way.

The Spinoff piece ends with this,

This comment, deep in the select committee report on TPPA in 2016 did provide some relief though. Here’s what Labour said then:

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

I would add that I’ve seen it reported once that Ardern has said if they have to, Labour will walk away from the agreement. That I’ve only seen this reported once amongst all the other messaging is what worries me.


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96 comments on “Trust, Labour and the TPPA ”

  1. Ad 1

    Same issue for this government as the last:
    Explain the benefits and costs to the public clearly and in daylight before signing.

    The rest is fog.

    • Ed 1.1

      That’s the problem.
      The benefits are seriously outweighed by the negatives.
      The only winners are big corporates.

      • Gristle 1.1.1

        The last cost beneither analysis undertaken for TPPA when the National Government inked it’s acceptance was a result that by 2030 the benefit of zero was within the model’s margin of error.

        Removing the USA from the participating parties sees a massive reducation in the possible upside risk of the deal. Unless the downside risk, such as IP rights, Pharmac’s role and capability etc are eliminated or mitigated then the modelling is only going to show a poor result.

        Why even go there.

        • Ed

          Yes, if the Labour Party give in on this, it’s shows their neoliberal colours are still strong.

        • weka

          Did the Pharmac stuff get sorted during National’s negotiations? Haven’t heard it mentioned in a while.

          • Carolyn_nth

            Health organisations are still concerned that TPPA-11 is no different from TPPA-12 on health matters.

            This article posted at 7.18am today on RNZ

            Health organisations are concerned the new government will follow the old when it comes to negotiating the Trans Pacific Partnership deal.

            Three organisations have sent a letter to the Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, before her meetings on the 11-nation trade deal in Vietnam next week.

            Erik Monasterio is the spokesperson for one of those groups: Doctors for Healthy Trade.

            He said many of the troubling elements of the TPP remained the same as before the United States withdrew, and health professionals want to remind the government what those are.

      • And it’s seriouly looking like the downsides may be even bigger for peoples privacy:

        How many of us simply click the box when the website says we have to agree to its rules or accept cookies to proceed without thinking about the rights over our information that this gives to the giant global corporations who run the digital platforms and services? And how many of us know the TPPA guarantees those rights to those corporations? If these rules remain in a TPPA-11, our government will face huge problems in trying to regulate the digital domain, especially through privacy laws that protect our personal information as new situations emerge, and to ensure that businesses and organizations that hold our data safeguard and handle it appropriately.

        Big corporations have easy access to our data and we’re not regulating it properly.

        • boggis the cat

          This is a useful example of where a foreign law, in corporate use, effectively negates local legislation.

          Now, what happens if Sony decide that it is a negative impact on their profit margins to have to adhere to local censor rulings? Ditto all of the multinationals producing intangible entertainment products.

          TPPA isn’t a trade agreement between governments, representing people: it is an agreement between giant corporations, looking to disempower the governments that represent the people.

          (Further out, surely it’s inconvenient that we use the wrong electricity standard and drive on the wrong side of the road. Free potable water from the tap? Down with this sort of profit-impairing evil!)

    • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2


      So signing is inevitable then. Or you’ve just read about priming for the first time and you want to see if you can do it too.

  2. patricia bremner 2

    Weka, I am sure I saw a report of a recent Labour cabinet meeting which declared no trade deals will be accepted with ISDS clauses. Jacinda said this was the stance of the three parties. I think it was reported in Scoop political.

    • patricia bremner 2.1

      Regarding ISDS crrection 2, stance actually reported in Newsroom 31/10/2017.

      • weka 2.1.1

        I’m guessing you mean this?


        Elsewhere, they announced that the Government would be able to focus on amending the Investor State Dispute Settlements (ISDS) clauses in the TPP now the foreign buyers’ issue was out of the way.

        “We remain determined to do our utmost to amend the ISDS provisions of TPP,” Ardern said.

        “In addition, Cabinet has today instructed trade negotiation officials to oppose ISDS in any future free trade agreements,” she said.

        That doesn’t say no trade deals will be accepted with ISDS clauses.

        It says that Labour intend to their best on the ISDS in the TPPA but not if it’s a bottom line or not.

        It also says that they will oppose ISDS clauses in subsequent deals. One would hope that means it’s a bottom line, but again, it’s not totally clear (might be clearer in a press release or other media reporting). Here’s what would be clear to me,

        “Labour will not sign any future trade deals that have ISDS clauses in them.”

        And so on.

    • Venezia 2.2

      And reported here:

      There are other countries unwilling to sign up to ISDS clauses. Lets hope it falls over.

  3. Korero Pono 3

    Labour’s lack of transparency on the TPPAII does not surprise me in the least. This double speak was occurring even when thousands were marching in the streets to oppose the shonkey deal. Jane Kelsey wrote an open letter to them pre-election (Link unavailable at present). Labour, unlike National will not get away with this type of duplicity. Once were Labour voters have not forgotten their shift to the dark side of the political spectrum in the mid 80’s (and beyond) and the TPP debacle will reinforce what we already believe. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to be proven wrong…but I won’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen but if it does, Labour loyalists can say I told you so and I will take it on the chin. In the meantime, the only mediating factors this time are the Greens and NZ first, I wait in hope that either (or both) will oppose the deal when the time is right, which many will see as irrelevant because the Natz will support it anyway. Labour however will have pissed off those keeping them in power…if the TPP11 issue wasn’t so serious, I’d sit back with delight and watch the inevitable drama unfold.

    • Bill 3.1

      I don’t know how I feel about the prospect of NZ Labour chumming up with National to push this through if NZF and The Greens stay firm. I guess there’ll be a gallows laugh.

      Standing against that happening is Winston Peters having indicated, I think, that only the ISDS clause stands in the way of NZF support. To which I’d respond – “Hands up if…”

      • weka 3.1.1

        I’m tempted to say that at least the left would finally know where it stands once and for all, but I suspect there will be a fair amount of wool being pulled over eyes no matter what deal gets signed.

    • Venezia 3.2

      Korero pono.. I take from what Jane Kelsey says (see link above) that Labour/NZ First have a clear commitment to try and get the ISDS clause removed and have made statements since election confirming this, instructing negotiators this is their position. But there will be a lot of pressure on them (not the least being NZ negotiators) about signing. There are other countries who intend not to sign up to ISDS clauses, so lets hope this prevails.

  4. James 4

    I thought labour were very clear.

    They have their bottom lines all over their website:

    “Labour will not support the TPP if it undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty. This means:
    • Corporations cannot successfully sue the Government for regulating in the public interest”

    I have not seen releases that they have changed policy and assume that they were keeping to their very public views – unless giving up on this is another captains call by Jacinda.

    [if you are going to cut and paste please provide a link so people can see the context. Link added now – weka]


    • weka 4.1

      So why not say it’s a bottom line and they will walk away if the ISDS clause/s remain? Is it because it’s not that black and white?

      • One Anonymous Bloke 4.1.1

        It’s clear that companies can sue us, so long as they’re unsuccessful 🙄

        • weka

          The thing that drives me crazy is was it incompetence that led to that particular sentence, or was it deliberately vague? Either is not a good look for Labour but I’m really hoping it was someone that didn’t have particularly good communication skills.

          I’m so over this shit. As just saying used to say “tell the fucking truth” (not sure they added the expletive). It’s not that hard, it gets easier with practice.

        • Draco T Bastard

          So, if they sue the country for 5 trillion but only get 5 billion is that counted as successful or unsuccessful?

        • lprent

          Companies can sue us anyway. They just have to do it in the courts rather than this half-arsed non-judicial system that is the ISDS

          • One Anonymous Bloke

            Which renders the passage even less clear.

            Plus, it really depends who the government is. If it’s National, all you have to do is inform them you aren’t going to sue and collect $11M anyway.

            • Gristle

              OAB, please remember that through the OIA it has been revealed that McCully’s much relied upon legal advice has been found not to exist. Therefore statements made by various National Cabinet Ministers that the legal advice was the basis for giving $11m to various influential people are lies. Were any statements made in Parliament to this effect, then there has been a breach of privilege.

              It has been revealed that there was no legal recommendation support the payments. Further, it has been stated by McCully that the money was paid with the intention of smoothing the way for Saudi government officials to endorse a FTA with NZ. As such, does then become an attempt to corrupt officials of the Saudi government? Probably drawing a long bow on that one, but I am very uncomfortable even being able to ask that question of a Government Minister.

      • Carolyn_nth 4.1.2

        There’s also copyright and patent issues. Not a word from Labour about these.

    • James 4.2

      Sorry re link – it’s also published on the labour website.

  5. Tony Veitch (not etc) 5

    I walked away in disgust from Labour in 1987 and am still not a member of the party, though I donated during the election campaign.

    I also worked hard in ChCh Central for Labour . . .

    But, if they sign TPP-11 with ISDS still in place, that’s it – National-lite is not a party to retain my allegiance!

    We must rid this country of the last vestiges of that most insidious of modern cancers – neoliberalism!

    100% Korero Pono above.

  6. Reality 6

    Things may not always turn out ideally in the real world, whether we like it or not. We won’t always get what we want. How about trusting our new PM that she will do her very best for New Zealand, in contrast to John Key who wanted only to please his mates or those with influence.

    • weka 6.1

      Because her idea of what is best isn’t the same for lots of other people. I’m pragmatic around a lot of things that Labour will do, but the TPPA is one that is so important that it’s not enough to just sit back and hope Labour get it right.

      • greywarshark 6.1.1


      • cleangreen 6.1.2

        Correct Weka, Labour will be fools if they sign this corporate toxic rort document that we have yet to see in full!!!!! So we are all flying into a cloud with no navigation skills here.

        TPPA = Sell our country as we get nothing back in return so expect ruin.

      • Grantoc 6.1.3

        The TPPA is ‘so important’ but not for the reasons you’re espousing.

        Its ‘so important’ because it will provide access to a number of export markets that as a country we don’t currently have access to. That’s important because selling into these and other export markets helps provide the do rah me to pay for the long list of social programmes that Labour wants to implement.

        Closing down our ability to export into these markets undermines Labour’s ability to fund such programmes.

        Our economic and social well being is pretty dependent on exporting. TTPA will facilitate this.

        Is it better to walk away from the TTPA with our ‘sovereignty’ (whatever this actually means) intact and not be able to fund programmes to tackle child poverty, for example; or is it better to sell our exports into the Japanese market, under TPPA, and generate export earnings so that child poverty programmes can be funded?

        • weka

          False premise there. No-one is suggesting we close down our ability to export*.

          “Our economic and social well being is pretty dependent on exporting. TTPA will facilitate this.”

          Yet plenty of people including Labour have said that the TPPA itself (not FTAs in general) won’t bring NZ much direct economic benefit. Labour have a whole analysis of the proposed benefits.

          Also, the TPPA isn’t a trade agreement, it’s a move by certain sectors of societies globally to shift power from governments to corporations. So yes, sovereignty is the key issue there. There are plenty of other ways for NZ to make a living, we don’t need the TPPA despite your ungrounded assertion that we do.

          *apart from maybe Draco but he has other suggestions for the economy.

          • Draco T Bastard

            *apart from maybe Draco but he has other suggestions for the economy.

            Even i don’t say we should get rid of trade altogether. I just say that when every country has a well developed economy there will be little to no trade and that we have to plan for that. We’re not in the 18th century any more and productivity is high enough and factories efficient enough that economies of scale no longer apply and so every country can provide for itself from it’s own resources and doing so is cheaper.

            • weka

              True, and I see it similarly although for me its ecologically based, the locavore movement, and in the principles of think global act local.

            • boggis the cat

              and productivity is high enough and factories efficient enough that economies of scale no longer apply

              Completely incorrect.

              Or wait: did someone invent those Star Trek replicators?

              and so every country can provide for itself from it’s own resources and doing so is cheaper.


              Do you believe that there is some form of global conspiracy going on, and we don’t need to trade something in order to buy shiny iThingies (for example) — because Dave across the road can make one in his back shed from some river clay and wool clippings?

              What world are you living in?

    • Carolyn_nth 6.2

      Trust needs to be earned. The thing is, Ardern has been leader for too short a time for us to know whether to trust her on this.

      Looking at the way Labour pre-Ardern had left wriggle room to sign the TPPA(12), then it’s looking like continuation of the same under Ardern. So, it looks like change of face, but it is still (neoliberal) Parker leading the Labour caucus on TPPA-11.

      Until we see the deal Ardern’s government signs up to, we will not not for sure if it is still Parker (and Robertson) running the show.

      I would like to see Ardern develop to being the leader taking the reins assertively (not just in media performance).

      I keep hearing in my head, a refrain from a Joan Armatrading song when it comes to the current TPPA-11 narrative: “Drop the pilot” – not sure if the rest of the song fits the situation, but I guess we don’t really know yet what sort of leader Ardern is going to develop into.

    • eco maori 6.3

      +100 Reality cant you guys see Jon key wants to be in the billionaire club and he will use us to get there. Ka pai

  7. Nick 7

    Winston was dead against it, Greens were dead against it, so I will be surprised if they go ahead. I marched against this, so hopefully that wasn’t in vain.

  8. Bill 8

    Hands up if you want the countries lowest common denominator on food standards to prevail in New Zealand? What about farming practices? Or health and safety?

    In these areas and others, deals like the TPPA bolster trade agendas in such a way, that over time, various domestic industries and sectors demand that regulation gets watered down so they can remain competitive.

    Think (for example and under the TTIP) chlorinated chicken being imported from the US being much cheaper than UK chickens where there’s a stricter animal welfare regime. The UK chicken industry’s farmers and processors then win a relaxation in legislation to bring them more in line with the US. Or they go under.

    A fair few articles have been written on this dynamic and it’s not limited to the US, chlorinated chickens and the UK chicken industry. (I’m sure google will prove to be a most excellent friend 🙂 )

    • weka 8.1


      We are now so focussed down onto the ISDS as if everything else about the TPPA is going to be ok.

    • timeforacupoftea 8.2

      chlorinated chicken is normal practice in NZ so what would be the problem if we were to get cheaper chicken from the US

      • Bill 8.2.1

        Twat misses point. Way to go…

      • boggis the cat 8.2.2

        so what would be the problem if we were to get cheaper chicken from the US?

        We can raise chickens and process them into food here, using local resources, without exploiting ‘illegal’ labourers and making the animals’ lives horrific.

        Better to import things that we can’t produce locally.

  9. BM 9

    This article sums up how this Labour government will operate.

    Steve Maharey, newly appointed Social Development Minister under Helen Clark, excused one of that government’s changes of tack when challenged about the mismatch between his opposition rhetoric and his actions by breezily saying it was ‘just the sort of thing you say in opposition’.


    • boggis the cat 9.1

      I think that neo-liberalism is on its death-bed, BM. Labour will have to side-line the old Tory-light cadre and move with the times.

      You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

  10. Molly 10

    MANA was often the main political party presence at every protest I attended in Auckland, and Greens were there too, with NZ First having a marginal appearance. Labour and the Maori Party only attended one, and their speeches were ambiguous so I am not convinced they are listening to anyone outside of their immediate political circles.

    If they go ahead, despite all their attempts to do the easy fixes (credit given where it is earned) they will cement themselves in my opinion as a return to the status quo, just one step at a time…

  11. chris73 11

    For what its worth Weka I’ve always felt you were one of, if the most, balanced people on here

    • weka 11.1

      Crikey chris, not sure how to take that from a right winger when I’ve just written a post critical of Labour 😉 but thanks.

      • chris73 11.1.1

        Well what it shows is that while you are of the left you’re stilling willing to criticize Labour rather than being blind to their faults which means I take your posts more seriously than others

        • weka

          ah ok, well there’s plenty of critique of Labour here and I spent a chunk of last year pushing back against Labour bashing.

          I vote Green so I don’t have any particular allegiance to Labour, and I see them as centre left not left anyway. But it’s true that it’s easier for me to write about what they get right and wrong than say with the Greens. I do feel an allegiance with the Greens and given they also get attacked all the time I end up writing posts about what they are getting right, it’s just a balance thing (also, I find them genuinely interesting and exciting). It’s not like I don’t think there are things there to critique the Greens on though.

    • James 11.2

      Would have to agree with that. Not just because of this post – but in general.

  12. cleangreen 12

    Labour Coalition Partners NZF/Greens firmly against TPPA = Labour are ‘lite’ on TPA.

    Sadly, is this the first sign of dissention between these coalition partners?

    Jacinda must in ‘caution’ heel to their partners else we all collectively suffer here as a elite keep on being allowed to rule & plunder.

    Recall when our new Leader Jacinda said i her opening speech in Auckland tow hall. (quote) ; “We will run an inclusive government where every one has a voice and is heard”

    Please Jacinda, refuse to sign TPPA as we will loose our country and our freedom to choose & democracy otherwise.

    • weka 12.1

      “Sadly, is this the first sign of dissention between these coalition partners?”

      I haven’t heard a peep from NZF or the Greens, so no, I don’t take this as dissent. It’s disagreement. We knew going in that Labour differed in important ways from the other two parties.

  13. Enough is Enough 13

    “it’s hard for me to imagine Labour will sign with the ISDS in place, because it would be such a huge betrayal”

    And everyone here needs to let their local Labour MP know that. This is not something minor. Labour were elected the government to stop the corporatisation of New Zealand by the Nats.

    If they are simply going to roll over and let it happen, then what the hell was the point in changing the government.

  14. RedLogix 14

    So far I’ve been very muted in my support for this new govt. I expect that by and large it will do good things and be an improvement overall on National’s lazy kleptocracy. But it will also leave me feeling betrayed on issues like this.

    I’m not especially against trade deals. They have a place; but this TPPA was fundamentally flawed from the outset and Adern would be doing everyone a favour by walking. If the whole thing fell over, all the better. The various nations involved would be forced to start over, ask the core question “what is the goal here?”, Why, how and what … in that order.

    Walking would be a political challenge, the commentariat would squeal and howl for a few weeks … and then nothing. Because really NZ has nothing much to lose by not signing. But this govt would gain something very important, that it was willing and able to impose it’s OWN brand of political change and and firmly signal they are no longer beholden to the establishment neo-liberal group-thinking trolls that still infest our power structures.

    It really comes down to a matter of political courage. Do they believe?

    • Philg 14.1

      RedLogic. +1
      I feel that Jacinda is being rushed into this deal. There is no need to rush. That is the oldest trick. NZ FOR SALE .. BUY NOW!
      The neoliberals have resurfaced in Labour. Parker, O’Connor, Robertson, Jacinda? Transparency is what is required, full disclosure, not disclosure of fools.

      • Wayne 14.1.1


        The 11 negotiating parties are working to a timetable. Essentially the intent is that they all sign together this month. I suspect the various nations will think that they have spent enough time on TPP by now, and it is time to close the deal.

        The PM seems to get this (well briefed but intuition as well). Which is why she has softened everyone up for the deal to be done at APEC and EAS. That means November 15.

        So there is a need to rush if NZ is be an effective part of it.

        I appreciate Standardnistas are uniformly opposed to TPP 11, even with various amendments. But the wider NZ interest (at least in my view) means we must be there.

        Not being in such a deal will harm NZ within the Asia Pacific region, and in a trade sense deny trade opportunities in Japan, Canada, Mexico and a number of Asian nations. Japan being the biggest of these, and alone worth hundreds of millions in reduced tariffs and quotas..

        • KJT

          Don’t go for evidence much. Do you Wayne?

          Simply repeating the same thing over and over does not make it true.

          Even the right wings own assessment show the gains from TPP are marginal, at best. And to get them we have to abandon any chance of legislating for any social benefit, that may affect corporate profits.

        • KJT

          70% of New Zealanders know the TPP is a crock of shit. And do not want it signed.

          Obviously Wayne, like most of our “born to rule”, “rotating Dictators” have a problem with democracy, also.

        • Draco T Bastard

          But the wider NZ interest (at least in my view) means we must be there.

          But we’re also a democracy and not a dictatorship and the majority of the population is against the TPPA:

          …and more than half of the New Zealand public opposed the TPPA in a TV3/Reid Research poll.

          Which means that your view is meaningless. And that goes for all the MPs that support the TPPA as well.

          Quite simply, if NZ is actually a democracy, the government would not be signing it.

          Not being in such a deal will harm NZ within the Asia Pacific region, and in a trade sense deny trade opportunities in Japan, Canada, Mexico and a number of Asian nations.

          Everything I’ve seen indicates that it would do us less harm being out of it than being in it.

          Japan being the biggest of these, and alone worth hundreds of millions in reduced tariffs and quotas..

          Which is all unlikely to happen as they all look to producing other non-tariff barriers. If any of these other nations believed in free-trade they would have done what we did in the 1980s and dropped their tariffs and other barriers. They all understand that if a country wants to develop an industry then significant controls and government subsidy is the only way to go.

        • Drowsy M. Kram

          Corporatistas are literally blind and deaf to the drawbacks of TPPA-11; they perceive only positives (for themselves.)

          The majority of NZers, however, are well aware that TPPA-11 is a dog of a deal, just as the majority of NZers could see the hazards of transferring public assets to private owners.

          Why is neoliberalnista Dr Mapp so enthused about selling NZers short?

          “230 Law and Economics Professors urge President Trump to Remove Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) from NAFTA and Other Pacts” – 25 October, 2017.


          “ISDS thus undermines the important roles of our domestic and democratic institutions, threatens domestic sovereignty, and weakens the rule of law.”

    • I’m not especially against trade deals. They have a place;

      I am because they don’t have a place. They force trade rather than freeing trade.

      The basis of free-trade is Willing buyer, Willing seller.

      For a country that means setting standards that other countries have to meet before trade happens.

      but this TPPA was fundamentally flawed from the outset and Adern would be doing everyone a favour by walking.

      That applies to all FTAs. The concept behind them is flawed.

      What they’re supposed to do is to make laws in the signer countries the same, to bring standards together. But you’ll note that large and powerful countries will often change laws against the agreement or simply not make them in the first place. Or, as happened with the steel from China, when an action breaks those standards will not enforce them and will even threaten retaliatory action if the smaller country makes too much fuss about it.

      But the big flaw is that it removes a nations right to self-determination from them. Prevents them from acting in their own best interest or, more importantly, even stops them doing what is right.

      Walking would be a political challenge, the commentariat would squeal and howl for a few weeks … and then nothing. Because really NZ has nothing much to lose by not signing.

      By not signing we lose nothing while if we do sign we will actually be worse off. Many public services, health for an example, will be more expensive and we’ll lose some sovereignty.

      But this govt would gain something very important, that it was willing and able to impose it’s OWN brand of political change and and firmly signal they are no longer beholden to the establishment neo-liberal group-thinking trolls that still infest our power structures.

      And that would be the big one. Having a government willing to stand up to the big players and the corporations.

      • RedLogix 14.2.1

        The core idea that I think FTA’s should have is to regulate the labour, social, environmental and externality costs between nations.

        For instance it makes no sense to have strict rules in one nation around materials recycling and toxic discharges, if that same nation then imports goods from another with no such constraints. It just turns the whole thing into a scam.

        Same goes with a host of other standards and conditions. Even intellectual property rights do need to be treated in a consistent fashion (absent the corporate bullying embedded into the TPPA). Consistent rule of law, banking, commercial practice and procedure are all important as well.

        Since the global WTC process stalled some years back, it does make sense to continue with regional substitutes. But we should see them as an ongoing process of negotiation and improvement over time. Locking ourselves into ‘once-only’ trade positions with unknowable outcomes is just mad.

        Set the goal first. Get agreement on why we need multinational trade rules, and what the long-term outcomes should be. The TPPA fails at that crucial hurdle because no-one has confidence in it’s intentions.

        Then commit to how, design and on-going process of data and information sharing, build trust, proposing rules and protocols that enable all the nations to contribute in confidence. Create an open-ended process of negotiation.

        Then the details of what you will do become just simple technical decisions. If they work great! If they don’t then back to step 2 and re-work them. If one party loses confidence in the process, then back to step 1 and have a long hard think about why again.

        And if you can’t answer ‘why’, then walk away.

        • Draco T Bastard

          The core idea that I think FTA’s should have is to regulate the labour, social, environmental and externality costs between nations.

          Yes but if you think about it we don’t actually need international agreements to set those. Each country just needs to say that other countries just need to meet their standards or better to be able to trade freely between them. This actually would reverse the ‘race to the bottom’ that’s been happening over the last few decades and encourage each nation to develop their own economy and society.

          Money shouldn’t be able to go out side of its country of origin. Hell, it shouldn’t go outside of the Reserve Banks’ computers. You’ll probably need some sort of international agreement to facilitate monetary exchange between Reserve banks but that’s all.

          Foreign ownership needs to be banned internationally. All that achieves is higher rates of inequality and poverty.

          • red-blooded

            Sorry, Draco, but that’s needs a bit more thinking through. How do countries like China or India ever get to lift their national earnings and thus create conditions in which they can actually implement policies to protect the environment and improve workers’ rights and incomes if nobody trades with them? And do you think little old NZ can sit in our own wee box, producing everything we need because no-one (or very few) meets our standards? The pressure would actually be pretty much what it is now – countries would want to trade and so would lower their standards so that they could trade with as many other partners as possible.

            As for your ideas about money, ever heard of Bitcoin or any of the other digital currencies? You’re not going to be able to turn the clock back to the days in which money was coins or bits of printed paper and you could put it in a central bank and lock it up. And it’s not reserve Banks that trade, it’s companies and individuals.

            Global trade is here to stay. We can do our best to promote good regulations and we can refuse to sign agreements that we see as having a negative impact, but don’t let’s get too carried away, here.

            • Draco T Bastard

              How do countries like China or India ever get to lift their national earnings and thus create conditions in which they can actually implement policies to protect the environment and improve workers’ rights and incomes if nobody trades with them?

              By developing their economy to utilise the resources that they have available. In fact, that’s the only way to do it.

              The best way for them to do that is R&D funded by their government creating money and spending it into their economy.

              This applies to all nations.

              And do you think little old NZ can sit in our own wee box, producing everything we need because no-one (or very few) meets our standards?

              Yes and any nation that can’t has problems as it obviously can’t support itself. This is going to become a major issue in the preceding decades as Climate Change advances.

              The pressure would actually be pretty much what it is now – countries would want to trade and so would lower their standards so that they could trade with as many other partners as possible.

              I think it more likely that they’d increase their own standards as that actually does make life better for their nations while lowering standards makes things worse – as the last thirty years of lowering standards proves.

              As for your ideas about money, ever heard of Bitcoin or any of the other digital currencies?

              Yep and they’ll do all the same things that private currency have always done – trash the economy. It really is what happens when everyone can make their own currency. We really do need to make them illegal.

              And it’s not reserve Banks that trade, it’s companies and individuals.

              The Reserve bank is the keeper of the currency – a fairly important role that ensures that individuals and companies can trade. Or do you think everyone will go to barter once all the private currencies have trashed the economy?

              Global trade is here to stay.

              Actually, from what I can make out it’s time is limited because it’s going to get a whole lot more expensive with climate change, fuel restrictions and better automated factories.

              • Wayne

                Given your extensive knowledge, you must know that sea transport is ultra efficient in the amount of fuel used per ton shopped. International shipping is not a major contributor to global CO2 emissions. In short global trade will continue to increase.

                • Yep, I knew that.

                  I also know that ships are susceptible to the ever increasing storms that Climate Change is brining.
                  I know that a factory in one country is just as efficient as in another country making the transport an extra cost that’s simply not needed.
                  I know that we don’t need foreign currency to develop our own economy. That we only need it for trade.
                  I know that any interest rates above zero and perhaps below make comparative advantage meaningless and trade even more costly.

                  These are some of the things that I know and they all point to the simple fact that trade is expensive and decreases development.

      • Tony Veitch (not etc) 14.2.2

        Absolutely agree, DTB!

        Let’s show some spine!

  15. Richard Christie 15

    Labour have facilitated the passage of TPP throughout its development and passage through the House.

    Been bloody obvious for past 4 years they’ll accept ISDS processes.

    • Been bloody obvious all along that the leaders of Labour have been in favour of the TPPA. Hell, they’re the ones that started the talks on it.

      None of them have clicked over the last thirty plus years that NZers don’t actually want to give everything away.

      • James 15.1.1

        “Been bloody obvious all along that the leaders of Labour have been in favour of the TPPA.”

        Well they campaigned heavily on their bottom lines and giving away out sovereignty- are you saying they were not being honest with the voting public ?

        • Draco T Bastard

          No, they were being honest. But that doesn’t mean that they’re listening and taking note of what the populace are saying.

          Also there’s the point that out electoral system will always return us a government even if the majority of us don’t want that government and that that government can then do what it chooses rather than what the populace wants.

          We don’t really have a democracy in NZ – we have an elected dictatorship.

      • Richard Christie 15.1.2

        Been bloody obvious all along that the leaders of Labour have been in favour of the TPPA. Hell, they’re the ones that started the talks on it.

        Yes, however the ISDS clauses were not there at inception, they were injected later, after, iirc, the US became involved. I’m just saying that Labour have never made any serious noises about ISDS.

  16. James 16

    It’s just not the tpp11. But the way labour / nzf are going we will have the tpp11 and put at risk future deals with the EU.

    Pretty impressive in the first 100 days


    • Richard Christie 16.1

      I fully support Peters thawing NZ’s relationship with Russia.

      • cleangreen 16.1.1

        Me too Richard Christie,

        Russia would be a great trading partner & ally for us since they are more eaily satisfied with trade than even China is today.

    • boggis the cat 16.2

      The EU has come unstuck due to internal problems (those ex-Comecon countries didn’t quite morph into replicas of the UK or France, after all), and the ill-advised foray into Ukraine’s internal politics (that whole coup thing).

      Russia looks to have bent rather than broken, economically and politically, and have further tied themselves to China. That makes some form of trade agreement a good idea, even if cranky ol’ Uncle Sam will get pissy about it.

  17. Dale Frew 17

    I trust this labour led government twice as much as I did the nat’s but then 2 x 0 still equals 0. Yes life for the working poor will be better with labour (in the short term anyway) than national but only marginally. this government will tinker with the excesses of our neoliberal economy but lets be honest Jacinda has spent her entire political career within the neoliberal sphere, and her hero is Helen clark who followed the neoliberal agenda. As for Winston while yes an impressive speech, he has spent the last nine years propping up the nats neoliberal agenda that he now claims is our foe. his words ring more of political expediency than deeply held ideology. But what scares me the most is the blind euphoria from the so called left of having a labour led government. So before the wellington “chardonnay socialists” (or whatever they are drinking now) raise their glasses for another toast they need to start winning back some trust and a good start will be walking away from the TPP and develop a real plan for lifting the living standards of our working poor. For while their first 100 day plan looks impressive and gives the public a “feel good moment” it does lack any real substance that will bring any real change for the working poor. 75 cent increase in the minimum wage even the $20 ph by 2021 is hardly substantial.
    I do hope to be proven wrong but history will be the judge

    • One Anonymous Bloke 17.1

      he has spent the last nine years propping up the nats neoliberal agenda

      Say whutnow? Citation needed.

  18. savenz 18

    Learn from the USA and Nafda. When people and towns are effectively obsolete in their own country, strange things happen. Hence rise of Trump. No one trusted Hillary when she said she would get rid of TPPA. Telling everyone how marvellous free trade has been for wealth (as averaged out not median) rings hollow when the middle class wages and living standards are dropping in real terms and people have to work harder and longer and with more instability for the same wages before neoliberalism.

    Somehow supporting the burgeoning middle classes of China and India are not the warm little fuzzy in the workers of the west.

    Bizarrely the other angle used to sell TPPA is stopping China. The same countries aka USA and UK trying to stop China are actually supporting them by manufacturing in China and using asian cheap labour and materials on projects which undercut their local labour and goods. The UK spends a fortune on defence and then signs a contract with China for them to provide their nuclear power station (Hinkley PT) at incredibly inflated prices in the age of cheaper and cheaper power. Obviously someone got some backhander out of it and it’s not the British people.

    In NZ we increasingly are a country that exports profits under the trade deals NOT goods or services. Giving away residency and citizenship so that Labour can get cheaper and cheaper and keeping the Ponzi scheme going.

    The problem is, in NZ unlike many countries that bring in cheap Labour we have a welfare system, so as new citizens are discarded or decide they don’t need to work, the NZ system is expected to pick up the slack and of course it can’t have the same services with less income, more outgoings and only asset sales and borrowing to turn to. Things are going to change for the worse. Or Labour campaigns to increase taxes, increase retirement age etc to the middle class who already have longer work hours and less money and people switch off and stop voting or their votes become split.

    Wise up. Time to look to the future, stop looking at other countries and work with the many assets NZ has. Well educated population, honest, abundant natural resources like water, strategic location, etc etc. Look to the future. We already missed clean energy in the Natz arse licking to the declining oil industry.

    NZ seems to think we should turn ourselves into Singapore, Ireland, UK, China and USA, instead of looking at what makes NZ unique and how to turn that into jobs and benefits for the future generations.

    We don’t need TPPA if it’s more of the same. To support it will be curtains for the new government next election, because it’s not an easy road ahead picking up the fuck ups of the Natz and the lefties are tired of Labour’s links to neoliberalism and Natz will sing it from the rooftops next election if Labour and NZ First sign up to TPPA with Green support.

  19. Whispering Kate 19

    It will be Jacinda’s legacy if this beast gets signed. Typically National have escaped the responsibility of signing the bloody thing, a trait they are very good at, leaving others to do the hard yards. . How does Winstone feel about all of this, he has been conspicious by his absence since the election, is he resting up with his mate Shane Jones and getting his strength back being an older gentleman as he is, was all the negotiating too tiring for him.

    If the TPPS is signed with the ISDS still in place then I will be very disappointed in Jacinda Adhern. I cannot understand why she is so hell bent on signing it. What is Winstone’s position on this, the Greens surely must be so against it. I never trusted Labour and voted for the Greens, I am feeling that my intuition was based on good judgment.

    As for Australia and Turnball’s stroke of genius – fancy having an on-going “so called” agreement with the US to take on these suffering refugees conveniently in place just when she is visiting the country. Jacinda was probably saying to herself “just saved by the bell”. How stupid does he think we all are.

    • savenz 19.1

      The problem is that the Kiwi politicians are in a time warp – thinking about trade post 2nd world war when nobody could get enough of our products in the UK.

      Times and trade has changed in the post war, post modern, global, multinational world. Kiwi politicians still have not caught up with it.

      They think somehow trade is always beneficial and prepared to sign outside of their knowledge and understanding of all the 1000’s of details that are not trade related. This they leave up to other people who are generally the IYI (intellectual yet idiot class) or just plain opportunistic idiots.

      There is also a massive short term investment rather than per generation – sort of sell everything now and then give a few handouts to the young. A year of tertiary study and $10k towards a house while wishing them luck in a foreign owned and effectively operated global banana tax republic with a contract job at declining wages, which soon they won’t even have.

      Have a look at what’s going on.

      The Cadbury and Mondelez situation and Silver fern farms
      Foreign owners of Silver Fern Farms ‘failed to deliver’

      This is already happening without TPPA, imagine what’s gonna happen when overseas shareholders start getting even greedier with more profits being demanded by lawyers and opportunistic lawsuits to governments, lower wages, less quality, more pollution and legal battles to boot in special business tribunals with companies that have more money than the NZ government.

      NZ could have sold produce to Russia, but didn’t so the free trade model is not even working as NZ gets more and more tied to alliances and interests that seek to restrict trade not allow it.

      Extension of copywrite duration is something not even considered by the NZ government and media. More and more restrictions on IP and terms in biologics for example.

      The world is moving to open source, more permissive intellectual regimes to foster innovation and keep change flowing, not being locked down by giants in legal battles. In a world of increased automatic it is becoming more critical to allow for more rapid innovation so new jobs can be created. The business Giants see whats coming and they don’t want the change, they want to see zero restrictions to them, compensation for them for change and the most profitable taking all away from smaller players, legally.

      In a small way the legal action against Andrew Little timed for the election, showed what is going to happen under these agreements. Now expressing an opinion can disrupt and bankrupt somebody for years.

      Scare tactics and legal disruption is effective to stop change and TPPA is about stopping change and giving power and maintaining profits to big business and away from governments trying to protect people or just run their country how they want for their own interests. Under democracy governments should have that right.

  20. Brian Tregaskin 20

    lots of detail here about ISDS and potential sub agreements with a few targeted countries not to sue each other

  21. John L 21

    So….here we go…

    Labour showing it’s no better than the arseholes recently evicted…..

  22. Sparky 22

    Yeah I have said it before and I’ll say it again in my opinion Labour are no longer a party of the left. I believe they gave that up in the 1980’s with the “New Labour” government and little has changed since.

    Yet for all that we get the fanboys/girls and apologists who stubbornly and often angrily refuse to face facts……

    All I can hope is the TPP11 is the last nail in their coffin (if it passes and I suspect it will) and people wake up to the fact there is a need for better support for new parties and others such as the Greens/NZF that are truly on the left of the political divide.

  23. Angel Fish 23

    Even Trump left the TPPA!

    • boggis the cat 23.1

      Yes, but he had no idea what it was. He just wants his lawns mowed by poor white people, not poor Hispanics.

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  • New kaupapa Māori mental health and addiction services to support people in central North Island
    New mental health and addiction services rolling out across the central North Island will improve outcomes and equity for Māori, Associate Minister of Health (Māori Health) Peeni Henare says. Today the Minister met with providers of the new kaupapa Māori primary mental health and addiction service, Poutama Ora, which will ...
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  • Trans-Tasman travel window to close at midnight tomorrow
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  • Govt investing millions in Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti schools
    Napier Boys’ and Girls’ High Schools are among those set to benefit from a $16.5 million investment in the Hawke's Bay and Tairāwhiti region, Economic and Regional Development Minister Stuart Nash announced today. The Government has set aside money in Budget 2021 to accelerate five projects in Napier, Hastings, Havelock North ...
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  • Game changing Jobs for Nature investment for Northland
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  • Third COVID-19 vaccine receives provisional approval
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    The Commerce Commission’s draft report into the retail grocery sector is being welcomed by Government as a major milestone. “I asked the Commerce Commission to look at whether this sector is as competitive as it could be and today it has released its draft report for consultation,” Commerce and Consumer ...
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  • Christchurch’s Youth Hub ‘set to go’ thanks to further Government funding
    Construction of New Zealand’s first, purpose-built centre for youth well-being is ready to get underway thanks to an extra $2.5 million of COVID-19 response funding, Housing Minister and Associate Minister of Finance, Megan Woods announced today.  “The Christchurch Youth Hub is about bringing together all the things young people need ...
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