TTP battles seem likely to continue
PROBLEM WITH CONTEST
Porirua City Council recently ran a wonderful competition where you visited all the playgrounds in the area and collected rubbings of animals.
It was a great activity that I did with my grandchildren. We did them all after driving many miles ... and it took quite a few weekends.
The prize was a family swim pass. But what a disappointment to find that after being away on holiday the pass was no longer valid.
How unfair to be able to use it for only one month, and with Christmas and holidays falling in that time. A great council idea has been spoiled. Council parks manager Olivia Dovey replies: We’re happy to extend the expiry date on the swim passes.
If you still have your pass, take it to the Aquatic Centre before the end of April. If you’ve thrown it out, go to the reception of the council administration building in Cobham Court with your completed Passport and we’ll reissue you a pass.
In a classic case of putting the cart before the horse, New Zealand will this week officially begin discussing the merits of the Trans Pacific Partnership deal, as part of the parliamentary formalities of ratifying it.
The problem isn’t merely that the Government has already signed the deal the country is now being invited to debate.
TPP fatigue has set in. After wrangling for what seems like forever, the public must be heartily sick of the TPP.
The heated atmosphere has largely been a byproduct of the secrecy in which the negotiations were cloaked – something New Zealand observed to an extreme, even over matters published on the website of the US Trade Representative.
Last week, local battles were still raging on two fronts: The gains the TPP would bring to this country, and the risks the deal would pose to our sovereignty.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has used an economic model that projects benefits of $2.7 billion by 2030, a gain of 1 per cent of gross domestic product.
Only a minority of the gains are from tariff reductions and market access, usually central to normal trade deals.
A team at Tufts University last week issued a report criticising the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s chosen model, pointing out it excludes factors such as job losses, wage cuts and increased income inequality from a competitive ‘‘race to the bottom’’ between the deal’s member nations.
The Tufts team predicted smaller gains for New Zealand from the TPP, and the loss of 5000 jobs.
As a rejoinder, TPP proponents have pointed to the increased trade between China and New Zealand in the wake of the bilateral, tariff-cutting free trade pact between the two countries, and argued similar gains will result from the TPP.
It is always difficult to gauge the extent to which such deals solely generate the gains in question.
Australia’s export trade with China, for example, grew from $7 billion in 2001 to $100 billion by 2013, before the countries ever signed a bilateral trade deal.
If it is difficult to specify the economic benefits from the TPP, and it is even harder to quantify how it may infringe our sovereignty in future.
TPP critics detest the Investor State Dispute Settlement mechanisms that allow foreign investors to sue governments over policies affecting their profits – but, as TPP advocates point out, that is nothing new.
Similar provisions exist in our
Investor State Dispute Settlement litigation is experiencing a steep increase worldwide.
China and Korea trade deals and furthermore, some surrender of sovereignty occurs in all international agreements.
However, Investor State Dispute Settlement litigation is experiencing a steep increase worldwide.
To TPP critics, that’s reason enough to limit the proliferation of such powers.
Local courts, after all, can provide compensation for genuinely aggrieved foreign investors, and without the need for Investor State Dispute Settlement measures.
As The Economist magazine ruefully conceded, if you want the public to suspect the worst, ‘‘give foreign firms a special right to apply to a secretive tribunal of highly paid corporate lawyers for compensation whenever a government passes a law to…protect the environment, or prevent a nuclear catastrophe.’’