TPP disquiet grows
From all reports, the agreement binding 12 Pacific Rim nations in a secretly negotiated sovereignty and trade deal looks likely to be signed in New Zealand.
The 6000 page text of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement or TPPA was released late last year. A small army of experts have been poring over its 30 or so chapters to find out just what is in it for us, and what New Zealand has to give up to get ‘‘it’’.
Local TPPA opponent, Sue Pugmire says Prime Minister John Key is being disingenuous when he says the many clauses will be open to parliamentary scrutiny.
She says the ratification of the agreement, which is part of the process that kicks in after the formal and largely ceremonial signing expected to be in Auckland on February 4, will have no democratic input.
‘‘It’ll be done through the executive through a loophole in our trade law – we don’t get a say.’’
Sue says as more is known about the agreement, disquiet is growing.
‘‘Despite silence from much of the mainstream media and PR spin in favour of the TPP, there are groups of experts – lawyers and economists – working on the 6000 pages of legal text to tell us what it really means.’’
Among those experts in opposition to the agreement are Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey and Barry Coates from the University of Auckland School of Business.
So, if the agreement is going to be signed, what’s the point of protest? It’s a done deal isn’t it?
‘‘It’s important to realise that the signing is not the end. It’s the ratification that counts, and that’s unlikely to be before the US Presidential elections.
‘‘Ratification means that US officials will get to change our laws. This could affect labour and environmental protections, our health and safety provisions, education, state owned enterprises and climate change.’’
Addressing climate change is conspicuous by its absence from the agreement.
She says lawyers and corporations are going to do very well out of the deal, but most New Zealanders including small business owners, won’t.
The signing, Sue says is an opportunity to raise awareness about the secretly negotiated provisions.
Those opposed to the multinational sovereignty and trade pact have been trying to convince their fellow citizens that the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement is not a good deal for New Zealand.