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.
Question : What are your views on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement? Will you make the TPPA process transparent?
Submitted by : Cushla Dillon, Auckland
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.
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.
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.