TPP protests beckon
Fait accompli it might seem to be, but like Democrat presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, those opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement are not yet prepared to throw in the towel. It’s notable that all three leading American presidential candidates are against the TPPA in its current form.
So, is the TPPA ‘‘at over 6000 pages... the longest surrender document in New Zealand history’’ as claimed by Dr Romuald Rudzki, founder of the NZ School of Export, or does it offer New Zealand a bright new trading future?
Still to be ratified, the TPPA trade for sovereignty deal between 12 Pacific Rim states was agreed to on in October 2015, and signed in Auckland in February 2016, following eight years of negotiations.
The text was released on November 5 and immediately there were fireworks. Critics such as Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, quickly picked up that the TPPA will have wide-ranging impacts on the environment (nowhere is climate change mentioned); on intellectual property and internet freedom, the price of medicines; job creation, and the ability of future governments to regulate on behalf of their citizens.
Opponents point out that only six of the TPPA’s chapters are about trade; the remainder reinforce the rights of transnational corporations, and expose the government to Investor State Dispute Settlement tribunals where corporations can sue if legislation is seen to impede profits. There is no right of appeal.
Only after the event has the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) embarked on a mission to explain the deal to New Zealanders.
Announced late last week, Palmerston North gets its visit this Friday, June 17.
MFAT says the roadshow will present the outcomes of the TPP negotiations and help businesses prepare to take advantage of the new opportunities it presents. Despite the returns to the country falling far short of expectation, advocates say that New Zealand’s continued viability as a trading nation depends on being a signatory.
Long time TPPA opponent, Sue Pugmire says following the truncated Parliamentary Submission procedure, the short roadshow lead-in and its weekday timeslot between 9am – 12:25pm when many people are unable to attend, is another slap in the face for the democratic process.
‘‘It’s a public event, but people have to register by June 15 to attend, and question times are tightly controlled.’’
See firstname.lastname@example.org to register.
A ‘‘Carnival-Style’’ protest is being organised for Fitzherbert Ave outside the venue ‘‘to remind people of our peaceful and proud, social, cultural, economic and political independence’’.
Sue says an anti-TPP roadshow presenting independent, peerreviewed, expert assessments of the agreement will visit Palmerston North shortly.
Yet another anti-TPPA protest is planned, this time outside the Copthorne on Friday when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade roadshow explaining the agreement, pitches its tent in town on Friday morning.