This is one of those times when the Opposition says the government’s done a good job.
Which I think it did last week in chairing the secret talks on ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) and gently pushing for transparency. I think they’ve listened to the people who are raising serious concerns about the secret trade talks and the rights of citizens.
After more than a year of sustained pressure, the countries negotiating the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) decided that the time is right to release the draft text of their work.
The official announcement came yesterday after the conclusion of negotiations in New Zealand.
“There was a general sense from this session that negotiations have now advanced to a point where making a draft text available to the public will help the process of reaching a final agreement,” says the official announcement.
That’s good news for NZ, as our govt was pressing for transparency and the talks took place in Wellington. Tim Groser, in a media release, said NZ had taken account of strong public interest and the talks would now be more accessible to the public. The text will be available from www.mfat.govt.nz on Thursday 22 April.
The next meeting takes place in June in Switzerland and the aim is to complete talks this year.
Trade Minister Tim Groser also announced late last week that New Zealanders’ views will be taken into account when the Government makes any decision about whether to join ACTA.
The ACTA trade deal is to set a new benchmark for enforcement of intellectual property rights but critics of the secrecy have argued it will infringe on digital rights, particularly those of non commercial peer to peer file sharers and impose draconian rules aimed largely at protecting the interests of copyright holders such as movies and music companies.
The trade agreement is expected to include a “three strikes” policy, requiring internet service providers to block people who repeatedly breach copyrights. Labour opposes the disconnection from the itnernet which is proposed in NZ’s copyright law.
And finally, the publicACTA event a week ago before the Wgtn secret talks did make a big difference I think in raising public, media and general awareness among the negotiators of the public interest in these talks. Credit also to InternetNZ who organised them.
We will be looking at the text closely when it is released and watching progress.