TTP bat­tles seem likely to con­tinue

Kapi-Mana News - - CONVERSATIONS - JULIE BRYANT Pukerua Bay GOR­DON CAMP­BELL Talk­ing pol­i­tics

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 But what a dis­ap­point­ment to find that af­ter be­ing away on hol­i­day the pass was no longer valid.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.’’

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