Labour cannot, should not and, apparently, will not support ratification of the TPPA. The Labour Party view on ratification is contained in its minority report within the final report of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee (starts p. 11).
The minority report makes for heartening reading.
One fundamental reason for ongoing opposition that Labour identifies is the loss of sovereignty. The NZ National Government negotiating team did not preserve the right of future New Zealand governments to ban the sale of residential housing to non-resident foreign speculators. That’s selling out our future.
Additionally, Labour have identified that the flawed and inadequate modelling about supposed benefits of overseas trade, or additional employment opportunities, actually indicate little real gain for New Zealanders. Better modelling will likely show no benefit at all to the average Kiwi.
“The current laissez-faire economic approach to economic management speaks to a level of resignation about an expected long term decline in our nation’s financial security.”
Labour says the Government could have commissioned modelling and developed policy responses to address concerns about employment, income distribution, and public health impacts, but did not do so. That can only be because the Government knows the results will show nothing but negatives.
The secrecy and the lack of time given to hearing submissions is also a reason for Labour to reject the Government’s proposals on the TPPA. Labour say:
“ The failure of the Government to preserve New Zealand’s ability to legislate in its future interest, and the inadequacy of modelling supplied to the committee means that we cannot be confident that the TPPA agreement put before the committee meets these [democratic] objectives’”
Labour ends its minority report by saying 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.”
Labour isn’t the only party to have placed its objections in the report. The Greens and NZ First minority reports are also scathing of the undemocratic, one sided nature of the TPPA.
There are core similarities between the positions of the three parties, which is heartening for two reasons. Firstly, the opposition will continue to fight the worst of the TPPA. And secondly, it’s an issue all three can work together on if they choose to support each other to form the next government.
The fight to save NZ from the worst of this secretive, shonky and shabby deal isn’t over. It looks very much like Labour will be leading from the front in the fight for our independence.
– Jenny Kirk