The Greens say no way TPPA

The new-look TPP looks set to be signed but not with the sup­port of the Green Party.

Marlborough Express - - COMMENT&OPINION -

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.


It should come as no sur­prise that chil­dren are just minia­ture ver­sions of us.

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