The Greens say no way TPPA
The new-look TPP looks set to be signed but not with the support of the Green Party.
OPINION: The Green Party isn’t convinced Labour’s ‘‘damned sight better’’ Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is actually that and has put the kibosh on lending its support to the Government.
The now renamed CPTPP (Comprehensive, Progressive Trans Pacific Partnership) looks set to be signed after a series of intense high-level meetings at APEC in Vietnam where leaders of the 11 countries involved met to revise the original TPP-11.
Labour had been critical of the trade deal when it was being pushed forward by the thenNational-led government and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Trade Minister David Parker headed to Vietnam determined to get significant changes.
While the government hasn’t got everything they wanted they have secured clawbacks for New Zealand on key areas, including the contentious Investor State Dispute clauses.
‘‘This is not a perfect agreement but it is a damned sight better than what we had when we started,’’ Ardern told reporters after the leaders’ retreat at the Apec summit in Da Nang, Vietnam.
There were moments during the talks that it looked as though the deal was of, especially after Canada boycotted one of the leaders’ meetings and media across the globe reported the deal had completely stalled.
So where to from here?
Now that the 11 countries involved have agreed in principle on the CPTPP it’s a case of ironing out the final details before leaders sign the agreement.
The government doesn’t need to put the deal itself before Parliament but any legislative changes required would have to go through the House to be voted on and a public consultation process through select committee.
Is there a majority?
Yes, but not thanks to the Greens, who are a supply and confidence partner for Labour.
While NZ First will back the changes it’s now up to National to help get it across the line.
Leader Bill English has already said they’ll back the agreement as they too want to reap the rewards after years of trying to get the deal across the line.
The Green Party have never
‘‘This is not a perfect agreement but it is a damned sight better than what we had when we started.’’ Jacinda Ardern
supported the TPP, which dates back to 2008.
Despite the changes that have been made the Greens don’t think it goes far enough and Greens trade spokeswoman Golriz Ghahraman says the new iteration was still ‘‘an outdated form of trade agreement’’.
‘‘We don’t want ISDS in there at all, that binds our current or future Governments to act on progressive agenda.
‘‘We need to know exactly what is in there before we decide anything, but as it stands, things are concerning for me like the fact that we’re hearing multi-nationals can’t sue our Government for contract breaches, but actually that doesn’t apply to the investor chapter, which is where the power lies,’’ she said.
Is this a sign of splits and divisions?
In short, no. The Greens have always been upfront about not wanting the TPP and have maintained there would need to be significant reforms in order for them to vote for it.
However the Greens choosing to leave Labour to rely on National could give the Opposition movement to drive a wedge between governing parties.
Whether that happens or not remains to be seen.
* This column first appeared in our email newsletter, Politically Correct. Sign up to get it in your inbox.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has been tasked with pushing through an agreement she and her party protested against while they were in opposition.
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