Today I noticed in the press (Monday 9th May) that the NZ Labour Party has announced it will not support the TPPA. Irrespective of whether members fully understand the policy stance it is gratifying to note they oppose this agreement as does The Greens and
Winston New Zealand First. Is it possible that the New Zealand parliament will thwart this deal?
The National Party, particularly John Key, are fudging facts in their determination to pass this deal into law even while the TPPA and it’s sister Atlantic agreement the TTIP are coming under heavy fire both in the USA and in Europe itself as politicians realise that the ISDS clauses in these agreements sabotage country sovereignty. TPPA is not a ‘free trade agreement’ as obediently touted by the juvenile Trade Minister Todd McClay; it is a treaty and outlines the manner in which sovereign law can be challenged and usurped via tribunals outside the jurisdiction of New Zealand (or any other signatory country) and presided over by lawyers appointed by the corporates wishing to challenge sovereign law and filing damages claims for loss of profits against the local governments and people.
Everyone wants free trade Mr McClay but the benefits guessed, even in best case scenarios, are pitifully small over the 15-20 years time they were calculated for the price to be paid.
Paul Craig Roberts states: These so-called “free trade agreements” are not trade agreements. The purpose of the “partnerships,” which were drafted by global corporations (in secrecy), is to make corporations immune to the laws of sovereign countries in which they do business. Any country’s sovereign law whether social, environmental, food safety, labor protections—any law or regulation—that impacts a corporation’s profits is labelled a “restraint on trade.” The “partnerships” permit corporations to file a suit that overturns the law or regulation and also awards the corporation damages paid by the taxpayers of the country that tried to protect its environment or the safety of its food and workers. The law suit is not heard in the courts of the country or in any court. It is heard in a corporate tribunal in which corporations serve as judge, jury, and prosecutor.
Let no one be under ANY ILLUSION. The ISDS clauses are there for a purpose. To empower corporations. The fact they are the largest sections of TPPA and TTIP dwarfing the ‘free trade’ part of the agreements means that we should expect them to be used by the corporations in the future. Yes, EXPECT the clauses to be involked! But then it’s too late. These ‘partnerships’ give global corporations the power to overturn democratic outcomes.
Not reported in our press or US mainstream which is all we get here now in New Zealand is the fact that TTIP is meeting significant opposition in Europe, with France now saying they will not sign because it gives French agriculture over to US corporate domination. Hollande is a puppet of the US and will no doubt fold and similar to Key will come out saying that the agreement is the best thing for France. They will say things such as it allows (New Zealand) to ‘earn a living’ and any opposition to the agreements is ‘anti free trade’ or ‘letting exporters down’ and other such politically polarising statements as that. Well the calculated benefits over the next 20 years are pitifully small and aren’t we already earning a living from exporting overseas? Is not the trade agreement with China working fantastically well for New Zealand without TPPA?
Roberts concludes: No government representative who has the slightest bit of integrity and patriotism would have approved these agreements, and no legislative body that is not completely corrupt would hand its power and function over to global corporations.
Britains former Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1990-92, under Margaret Thatcher and John Major) and current Conservative MP Peter Liley has blogged on the Conservative webpage: ‘I believe in free trade. Always have always will. As the only serving MP to have negotiated a successful free trade deal (the Uruguay Round – as Trade & Industry Secretary during the 1990’s), I automatically supported the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal, assuming it was a free trade agreement. The more closely I look at it, the more parts of it worry me…. TTIP is not primarily about removing tarriffs and quotas. The very core of both Obama’s ‘trade’ deal with Europe (TTIP) and his ‘trade’ deal with Asia (TPPA) is precisely this, to sign away legislators power to protect the electorate from harmful additives, toxic water and foods and air, unsafe cars and to preserve the environment for themselves and future generations.
Flabbergasting! To have a politician who was intrinsically involved in trade discussions at the highest level come out and go against his own party leadership is worth noting down.
The stance of Kiwiwatch is not to say that we know everything about TPPA because we have not read the full agreement but we do read views and opinions from very learned and astute people who are much closer to the truth than what is portrayed in our news rooms and press. This is why we think the Labour Party on this issue deserves praise for it’s stance.
I would hate to see the local push to declare Hawke’s Bay province a GM Free area and fabulous food producing region destroyed by TPPA but this is what I think will be the outcome. Rise up orchardists and farmers!
Malcolm Eves 09/16/2016