Red Alert

TPPA : Will you make the TPPA process transparent? Labour Leadership Q&A #3

Posted by on September 11th, 2013

14 Questions for 2014

Virtual Hustings Meeting – Question 3

TPPA : Will you make the TPPA process transparent?

Explanatory Note: From September 10th to 14th 2013 as part of the official selection process for a new leader the New Zealand Labour Party is holding a “Virtual Hustings Meeting” hosted by Red Alert and organised by Scoop Amplifier. Over 7 days questions were solicited from eligible voters in the election. The questions and answers are now being posted as a set of 14 posts at the Red Alert Labour Party Blog starting yesterday (Tuesday 10th September), till Friday 13th September. At Red Alert all-comers are welcome to discuss the answers in the comment section of the blog. The three candidates are expected to participate in these discussions at times over the five days till Saturday 14th September.

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Question : What are your views on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement? Will you make the TPPA process transparent?

Submitted by : Cushla Dillon, Auckland

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LABOUR LEADERSHIP CANDIDATES’ ANSWERS

Answer from Grant Robertson

The TPPA is more than a normal trade agreement and needs to be treated as such, with caution.

I am a supporter of trade agreements that gain our exporters access to markets that will mean they can create jobs here in New Zealand. But we have to ensure that our rights to make laws, regulate and protect our people and environment is upheld.

In the case of the TPPA we must set clear bottom lines. No change to the PHARMAC model, protection of IP and copyright law, and ensuring our sovereign right to regulate and make policy is supported.

We do need more transparency in the way we deal with trade. I would set up an independent trade advisory group with representation from across the community to ensure there is public participation and understanding of our approach to trade agreements. We must be at the table for these sorts of negotiations, but it is vital that it is a Labour Government at the table.

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Answer from David Cunliffe

I am concerned about the TPPA. We cannot trade-away our ability to set government regulation. I am worried that John Key and his Government will continue to keep us all in the dark about the text and its implications and I fear they will then present us with the final text some time near the end of this year and insist that we accept it otherwise we will harm our trading relationships.

This will leave us with little or no opportunity to consult with our communities about its potential implications.

We must protect Pharmac, ensure intellectual property provisions are suitable for New Zealand business, and we must not accept limits on our sovereign right to regulate. Any agreement must be in New Zealand’s best interest.

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Answer from Shane Jones

A very challenging issue. It is vitally important we retain the capacity for our Parliament to regulate for public good.

It is essential that this deal does not hobble our technical industries through punitive patents. Ultimately however I do not want to see our Trade partners in a club without us.

ENDS


11 Responses to “TPPA : Will you make the TPPA process transparent? Labour Leadership Q&A #3”

  1. Ian Todd says:

    Jane Kelsey and many others have explained what we can expect if we join the TPPA. The three candidates are showing appalling ignorance about the biggest threat to NZ ever. None of them have even mentioned the IST (the right to sue clause). This is the way corporations scare governments with threats to sue for massive amounts and influence policymaking. The current record fine is $2 billion, to be paid by the tax payer. Look at NAFTA to see the hollow promises of jobs and a boost to the economy. TPPA is describes as NAFTA on steroids.

  2. Ryan Ferris says:

    Good to hear concern about the TPPA, but I have to agree with Ian Todd, the potential implications of the TPPA for NZ are very, very scary. No trade deal is worth loss of our rights and democracy.

  3. Anita Bocchino says:

    I agree with Ian but go a bit further and wonder if its willful ignorance?

    The TPPA is a huge threat to our sovereignty under the guise of a trade treaty This treaty gives corporations the power to sue a sovereign government if that government passes any legislation which limits their present or even future expected profits.

    Who are you kidding when say you will protect Pharmac, for example? You do know this agreement is irrevocable when signed, don’t you? You could tell us anything you like and say “oh sorry” when it’s signed sealed and delivered. You should know there are several thousand Kiwis who are gathering info regarding the TPPA. Many of us are no longer ignorant. For example, I belong to two Facebook groups developing strategies to combat NZ signing up to this insidious ‘trade’ agreement.

    ‘How will the #TPP affect our food?? Will GMO labeling be perceived as ‘trade barriers’ & nullified? Will Monsanto force GMOs on countries that reject them & sue? Would the TPP force us to import meat & poultry that do not meet US safety standards? The answer is ‘YES!’ to all of the above. What can we do about it? Stop the TPPA.

  4. Nita Boc says:

    I wonder if these responses willful ignorance spoken by ‘polititians’?

    The TPPA is a threat to our sovereignty under the guise of a trade treaty This treaty gives corporations the power to sue a sovereign government if that government passes any legislation which limits their present or even future expected profits.

    Who are you kidding when say you will protect Pharmac, for example? You do know this agreement is irrevocable when signed, don’t you? You could tell us anything you like and say “oh sorry” when it’s signed sealed and delivered. You should know there are several thousand Kiwis who are gathering info regarding the TPPA. Many of us are no longer ignorant. For example, I belong to two Facebook groups developing strategies to combat NZ signing up to this insidious ‘trade’ agreement.

    ‘How will the #TPP affect our food?? Will GMO labeling be perceived as ‘trade barriers’ & nullified? Will Monsanto force GMOs on countries that reject them & sue? Would the TPP force us to import meat & poultry that do not meet US safety standards? The answer is ‘YES!’ to all of the above. What can we do about it? Stop the TPPA.

  5. Jenny says:

    “Secretive Free Trade Agreement Puts Climate, Public Health at Risk”

    TPPA a backroom deal for the 1%

    As secretive talks over the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)—the pending free trade agreement slammed as “NAFTA on steroids” and “a quiet coup for the investor class”—continue, new warnings highlight the corporate winners and global losers at stake.

    “The corporate powers granted in the TPP can override domestic laws on environmental health and safety, and labor and citizens’ rights. Not only that, but multinationals can claim that those domestic laws hamper free trade and sue member countries for millions of dollars. The TPP is in many ways an attempt to revive the stalled expansion of the World Trade Organization.”

    Kristen Beifus Director of the Washington Fair Trade Coalition

    A quiet coup for the investor class

    It is good to see the answers of the three candidates to the question,“Will you make the TPPA process transparent?”.

    In light of the concerns raised, this should be at very least, the minimum demand for any serious contender for leader of the labour Party.

  6. Brittany Cunningham says:

    The TPPA is something New Zealand needs to steer well clear of. The impact this agreement will have on our so-called “democracy” is huge. Do we really want our country run, dictated to and governed by America’s big business? Who have no interest in New Zealand’s people.

    Yes I see the short-term economic gain (kind-of) but this is no ordinary trade agreement. This is a poisonous parcel, nicely packaged, being sent our way. And John Key can’t wait to open it.

    If Key passes this, without public discussion, like he has with so many other future-changing issues (like mining, or asset sales for example) then we need to critically ask ourselves if we actually live under democratic laws? Because one man, at the top, making life altering decisions that the country is against, sounds a lot like a dictatorship to me.

    What can we do about this? I am so worried, and scared of the implications this will have on New Zealand’s, people and our right to regulate our laws without fear of repercussions.

    This problem has so many levels, it is ridiculous. Firstly let’s make it a bit more transparent! Our governments shouldn’t be able to make these huge calls behind closed doors.

    The TPPA will ensure we will lose our clean green, nuclear-free image, our smoke-free future, our anti-GMO laws, our internet freedom, our IP and copyright laws, and our ability to democratically govern ourselves.

    And this is only the tip of the TPPA iceberg! This is not a conspiracy; this is a fact. Look up what happened with a similar agreement between the US and Columbia. They are seriously suffering in the wake of America’s controlling destruction.

    Even Australia is currently being sued by Phillip Morris (US Tobacco) for plain packaged tobacco products – being sued for looking after the health of their people!

    How can we allow our government to take away our future like this?

    New Zealand was supposed to be different – far away from this sort of corporate-ownership-of-governments-bullshit.

    People need to remember that America is not a “nice” country. They are a capitalist country, which means the people that have the money make the rules. Their interest is to make more money; not to look after their people.

    Do we really want to be in the death-grip of America?

    John Key, I implore you to ensure your people’s future – your people’s right to a future, your people’s right to freedom and democracy.

    Do the right thing, and if you can’t, then step aside and let someone who is a real leader, with the people’s interest at heart, make these tough calls. Because if you can’t look after us, then obviously you’re not up to the job.

  7. Crunchtime says:

    All the candidates expressed concern about the TPPA and the potential impact on our sovereignty, that is heartening.

    However, NONE of the candidates answered the question:

    Will you make the TPPA process transparent?

    That is unsettling. I suppose it’s quite possible they can’t even answer that.

  8. Red bear says:

    I am absolutely shocked at their tip toeing around this issue and inability to commit to a solid answer! They avoided answering the question as best as they could. They did’nt touch on anything that really concerns the public, like food, internet, medical cost and rights to choose,….. In fact to put it simply, to live without accusation of being a criminal for basically breathing at the wrong time. Have they done any research into this? I have read as much as is available and the TPPA has got me scared, not just for myself but for my children for future generations! This must be stopped, and in amongst all that diatripe those three ‘upstanding’ politicians said, i didnt hear one word that convinced me they would even think of it! No votes from me. I put them in the John Key catergory!

  9. Jum says:

    And just to add to the excitement:

    I wonder where Nestle fits into the multinational corporations that could be controlling New Zealand’s water supply under a TPP agreement?

    http://action.sumofus.org/a/nestle-freeloading-off-BC/4/2/?akid=2194.1117753.Ga7DF9&rd=1&sub=fwd&t=2

    Feel free to sign Sum of Us’ petition; New Zealand may need their help later.

  10. Jenny says:

    David Cunliffe is answering the above question in a forthright manner. As the new Labour leader, David Cunliffe is taking this fight to the government, challenging them to release the draft of their secretive negotiations around the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/9171415/Labours-Cunliffe-prepares-for-first-caucus

    I expect that we will get to see David Cunliffe challenging the Key Government to tell us what of our nation’s legislative rights they are preparing to give away, and that they are unconstitutionally trying to bind the hands of future governments with.

    If the Nats refuse to come clean. Then David Cunliffe has every legal and moral right to give public notice, that on taking office a Labour led administration has every right as a sovereign governement to tear up an agreement, done in secret, with no mandate, that gives away our sovereign rights as a nation, or makes our government subservient, or liable to foreign multinational corporations.

    John Key you are on notice. Give our sovereign legislative rights away in secret at your own peril.