Key’s TPPA Falsehoods – “We’ve never, ever been sued”

By   /   October 13, 2015  /   58 Comments

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Key’s timidity has already been shown with crystal clarity; we’ve never been sued before simply because National hasn’t the guts to be challenged.

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On 4 October,  our esteemed Dear Leader assured New Zealanders that, under the various free trade agreements we are party to, “there has never been a case taken against New Zealand…” and “we’ve never, ever been sued…”.

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4 October 2015 - TVNZ Q+A @ 13.04 "There has never been a case taken against New Zealand..." @ 16.24 "We've never, ever been sued..."

4 October 2015 – TVNZ Q+A:-

@ 13.04

              “There has never been a case taken against New Zealand…”

@ 16.24

              “We’ve never, ever been sued…”

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Key’s “assurances”   were made four days prior to MFAT (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) releasing “Fact Sheets” outlining New Zealand’s exposure to lawsuits from corporations. Two MFAT documents – Investment and ISDS and  Market Access for Services and Investment are dated by a Scoop Media press-release  which places their release at 8 October.

Key’s insistence that  New Zealand is safe from lawsuits from foreign corporations indicates  he was privy to the text of the finalised Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (which is still a closely guarded secret by Trade Minister Groser) and that  we, as a nation, are now fully exposed to litigation from Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) processes.

Despite Key’s insistance that “there has never been a case taken against New Zealand…” and “we’ve never, ever been sued…”, one only has to look across the Tasman to understand the full ramifications of ISDS provisions in trade agreements.

As Corin Dann reminded Key during the 4 October Q+A interview;

@13.07

“…If we look at the plain packaging [proposed legislation for tobacco] in Australia, you’ve always said, ‘Australia’s being sued over that issue of plain packaging … in that that Investor-State Forum’; you’ve always said ‘we’ll wait for Australia to see how they go, ‘cos they’re going cop a massive legal bill’, so that’s stopped that [proposed legislation for tobacco] happening in New Zealand.”

Indeed, Dann was spot on.

A little under two years ago we  had our own Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill, introduced by then co-leader of the Maori Party, Tariana Turia, on 17 December 2013.

With  15,682 submissions received  from interested groups and individuals, on 5 August 2014 the Health Committee recommended;

The Health Committee has examined the Smoke-free Environments (TobaccoPlainPackaging) Amendment Bill and recommends that it be passed with the amendments shown.

Despite cross-party support (with the curious exception of NZ First, for reasons that defy understanding), the Bill was put on “hold” by National.

This is what Key had to say about why  the Bill was put  “on hold”, until a court case between the Australian government and tobacco giant,  Philip Morris, is settled in an Australian court. He said,

“I don’t really see the point in us finally passing the legislation until we see exactly what happens in the Australian court case. We have a slightly different system, but there might just be some learnings and if there are learnings out of that, it would be sensible to potentially incorporate those in either our legislation or avoid some significant costs.”

Two points to consider:

  1. Remember that this is an industry that kills up to 4,600 people each year. If it were a bacterial or viral disease, the entire nation would be in a State of Emergency, and entire communities, towns, and cities quarantined.
  2. Is “learnings” an actual word?

John Key insists that New Zealand has never been sued under any free trade agreement.

Strictly speaking, that is correct.

However, we have already seen how even the possible hint of a lawsuit is sufficient to stay his hand and prevent the passing of a law that could potentially have  saved  up to 5,000 lives a year and saved the health system up to $1.6 billion per annum (est.).

In which case, the ISDS clause of the TPPA may never be tested under a National government – they would simply shy away from any legislation or other governmental policy provoking the merest suggestion of legal action. No matter how beneficial  a policy might be.

In an interview onThe Nation’, on 10 October, Trade Minister Tim Groser already seemed resigned to the fact that New Zealand could be sued if a government went ahead to introduce plain packaging for sugar-laden ‘fizzy’ drinks;

Lisa Owen: You could force plain packaging for fizzy drinks, say?

Tim Groser: I believe you probably could as long as you had a good health-based case and you’re ready to defend it.

Key’s timidity has already been shown with crystal clarity; we’ve never been sued before simply because National hasn’t the guts to be challenged.

Get some guts, Dear Leader!

Addendum1

During the 4 October Q+A interview, Key insisted that Phillips Morris initiated the lawsuit  under Australia’s Bilateral Investment Treaty with Hong Kong instead of the Australia-US FTA because the threshold for proving a case under the US trade agreement was “too high”. Key said,

@ 13.25

“Well interesting enough, Australia has a free trade agreement with, ah, the United States. And in fact, um, they looked, I think, Phillip Morris, or whoever’s taking the case, at taking it under Investor State [Disputes Settlement] and they recognised, that Investor State, the threshold was so high, they’re actually not taking it under the US-Australia FTA. It defeats the very case that Jane Kelsey’s been making. They’re taking it out of a very strange agreement they’ve got with Hong Kong, which is why actually they went and registered themselves with Hong Kong to take the action against Australia.”

So Key is suggesting that Philip Morris chose to use an Australia-Hong Kong FTA rather than an Australia-US FTA because “the threshold was so high”?!

John Key is deflecting.

He is either woefully ignorant, or willfully disingenuous, of the fact that the United States has been the main instigator of Investor State Disputes claims, as UN stats show;

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UNCTAD - ISDS claims - Most frequent home States (total as of end 2014)

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Even if tobacco company Philip Morris chose to employ a Hong Kong-Australia FTA to sue the Australian government, the fact seems immaterial at best.

As UN data shows, US-based investors are not at all reticent in using ISDS provisions to launch lawsuits against sovereign governments.

We have just entered into a trade agreement with the most litigious nation on Earth.

Addendum2

According to UNCTAD report Recent Trends in IIAs and ISDS;

By the end of 2014, the overall number of concluded cases reached 356 out of 608 claims;

Of  these, approximately;

  • 37%  (132 cases) were decided in favour of the State (all claims dismissed either on jurisdictional grounds or on the merits),

  • 25% (87 cases) ended in favour of the investor (monetary compensation awarded).

  • 28% of cases (101) were settled

  • 8% of claims were discontinued for reasons other than settlement (or for unknown reasons).

  • 2%  (seven cases), a treaty breach was found but no monetary compensation was awarded to the investor.

The number of cases (608) has ‘exploded’ since 1987;

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UNCTAD - ISDS claims - Known ISDS cases, annual and cumulative (1987–2014)

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The same UNCTAD report reveals who is being sued by corporations;

In 2014, 60 per cent of all cases were brought against developing and transition economies, and the remaining 40 per cent against developed  countries.

In total, 32 countries faced new claims last year. The most frequent respondent in 2014 was Spain (five cases), followed by Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, India, Romania, Ukraine and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (two cases each). Three countries – Italy, Mozambique and Sudan – faced their first (known) ISDS claims in history.

Addendum3

The Economist reported;

Multinationals have exploited woolly definitions of expropriation to claim compensation for changes in government policy that happen to have harmed their business. Following the Fukushima disaster in Japan in 2011, for instance, the German government decided to shut down its nuclear power industry. Soon after, Vattenfall, a Swedish utility that operates two nuclear plants in Germany, demanded compensation of €3.7 billion ($4.7 billion), under the ISDS clause of a treaty on energy investments.

This claim is still in arbitration. And it is just one of a growing number of such cases. In 2012 a record 59 were started; last year 56 were. The highest award so far is some $2.3 billion to Occidental, an oil company, against the government of Ecuador, over its (apparently lawful) termination of an oil-concession contract.

The Huffington Post reported;

Canada is the most-sued country under the North American Free Trade Agreement and a majority of the disputes involve investors challenging the country’s environmental laws, according to a new study.

[…]

About 63 per cent of the claims against Canada involved challenges to environmental protection or resource management programs that allegedly interfere with the profits of foreign investors.

The government has lost some of these environmental challenges and has been forced to overturn legislation protecting the environment.

In 1997, the Ethyl Corporation, a U.S. chemical company, used chapter 11 to challenge a Canadian ban on the import of MMT, a gasoline additive that is a suspected neurotoxin and which automakers have said interferes with cars’ diagnostic systems. The company won damages of $15 million and the government was forced to remove the policy.

A year later, U.S.-based S.D. Myers challenged Canada’s temporary ban on the export of toxic PCP waste, which was applied equally to all companies. Canada argued it was obliged to dispose of the waste within its own borders under another international treaty. However, the tribunal ruled the ban was discriminatory and violated NAFTA’s standards for fair treatment.

The Age reported;

Egypt raised its minimum wage at the beginning of last year [2014]. It wasn’t much by Australian standards, just $74 a month, but for a state employee on 700 Egyptian pounds a month ($102), a rise to 1200 pounds is not to be derided.

A French multinational with operations in Egypt, however, did not like this minimum-wage effrontery. A couple of months later, Veolia, the global services juggernaut, bobbed along and sued Egypt for the grievous disadvantage it had suffered thanks to the industrial relations changes.

Veolia’s claim relies on ISDS provisions in a trade treaty between Egypt and France.

Addendum4

The Philip Morris lawsuit is expected to cost Australian taxpayers $50 million to defend, and proceedings will be held in Singapore, before a secret tribunal.

Addendum5

Two MFAT “fact sheets” – Investment and ISDS and  Market Access for Services and Investment – offer a government view of the TPP Agreement. The actual text of the TPPA will not be released for several weeks, giving National Ministers a monopolistic opportunity to push the government position, unchallenged.

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References

TV1 Q+A: PM on TPP – ‘We’ve never ever been sued’

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Trans Pacific Partnership – Investment and ISDS

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: Trans Pacific Partnership – Market Access for Services and Investment

Legislation.govt.nz: Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill

TV3 The Nation: Interview – Trade Minister Tim Groser (transcript)

Daily Mail Online: Cigarette giant Philip Morris sues Australian government for billions over plain packaging law

Parliament: Health Committee Report – Smoke-free Environments (Tobacco Plain Packaging) Amendment Bill – 5 August 2014

Ministry of Health: Excise on Tobacco: Proposed Changes

McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer: Philip Morris Asia Challenge under Australia – Hong Kong Bilateral Investment Treaty

UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD): Recent Trends in IIAs and ISDS (pg6)

Yahoo-Channel 7 News: Tobacco giant sues Australia

Sydney Morning Herald: Australia faces $50m legal bill in cigarette plain packaging fight with Philip Morris

The Age: Trade deals acronym really translates to ‘we lose’

Additional

Radio NZ – Focus on Politics: A closer look at the TPP

Radio NZ – Focus on Politics for 14 February 2014

Radio NZ: Plain packaging bill passes first hurdle

NZ Herald:  Most MPs set to back plain-package smokes

Smokefree Coalition: The health effects of smoking

The Economist: The arbitration game

Huffington Post: NAFTA’s Chapter 11 Makes Canada Most-Sued Country Under Free Trade Tribunals

Previous related blogposts

Some thoughts on the Plain Packaging Bill

Public opposition grows against TPPA – Wellington

Public opposition grows against TPPA – Wellington

Annette King on the TPPA

Even Tim Groser was in the dark?!

Joyce, TPPA, and wine exports

The Mendacities of Mr Key # 13: Kiwisaver – another broken promise

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TPP-burger and dead rat

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= fs =

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58 Comments

  1. jane kelsey says:

    Several factual corrections.

    Philip Morris didn’t sue Australia under the AUSFTA because the Howard government in Australia had refused to influence Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) in that agreement. The ALP retained that approach in its agreements, but the Liberals have opted to take a ‘case by case’ approach, including it in the Korea FTA but not the FTA with Japan. Hence, there is real anger that they have caved on it in the TPPA.

    The plain packaging dispute is currently being heard in Singapore under a major shroud of secrecy, because that is the rules that apply under the Australia Hong Kong investment treaty process. The TPPA process, while still deeply flawed, will not be as secretive. Australia is reported to have already paid $50 million in legal and related costs, although that figure has been reported in the media and is not one officially given by the government so far as we can tell.

    The point remains that the industry threatened to sue NZ over the plain packaging law here and there are numerous agreements it could use.

    The TPPA now has a specific tobacco exception from ISDS, but not from the rest of the agreement meaning other states can still sue for breaches of the chapters on IP and technical barriers to trade, as Australia faces in the World Trade Organisation. There is also apparently some weasel wording in the ISDS tobacco exception that means it is not watertight.

    That exception would not, of course, provide protection for other health policies relating to alcohol or sugar, or stop the investors challenging Pharmac decisions on meds. We believe that the weak general exception for health and environment measures that applies to the rest of the agreement does not apply to the investment chapter.

    • Gosman says:

      I’m curious how you envision an actual challenge to Pharmac’s purchasing decisions would go. I rpesume the litigant would have to should that Pharmac is failing to take in to account the interests of the people of NZ not just their profits as I doubt many tribunals would agree with such a legal strategy.

      • Sam Sam says:

        Gooooooooooose. PHARMAC doesn’t have a profit mandate. The price at the point of entry doesn’t change, the insurance model does.

        The point isn’t screwing over one country or another, the point is enriching corporations at the expense of the average citizen.

      • Gosman, your post barely makes any sense.

        As Sam pointed out, Pharmac is not a profit-making government agency.

        • cleangreen says:

          Great stuff frank,
          Please also add NZ as a probable claim case as;

          Government has already admitted in Parliament (McCully) under fierce attacks from Winnie and Robinson over the Saidi investor’s payout issue as to why the NZ Government folded and gave Saudi Arabian Investor free sheep and millions, and it was then Government admitted it was because of an impending claim from Saudi Arabia if they didn’t pay now.

          “In total, 32 countries faced new claims last year. The most frequent respondent in 2014 was Spain (five cases), followed by Costa Rica, the Czech Republic, India, Romania, Ukraine and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela (two cases each). Three countries – Italy, Mozambique and Sudan” (New Zealand) #33.

          • elle says:

            Surely we have a case for prosecution of Key.he is liar a traitor and a fraud,no use to NZ at all.

            • Gosman says:

              Politician’s telling untruths is not unusual nor would be prosecutable usually. But if you think you have a case by all means take a private prosecution.

        • Gosman says:

          No, the profits of the Pharmaceutical company who would be bringing the case. The tribunal would be unlikely to place a high regard on that I suggest.

      • countryboy says:

        Have you been drinking @ Gosman ? If so, I do truly hope you weren’t alone. I’m being serious . x You take care man .

      • Theodore says:

        “I’m curious how you envision an actual challenge to Pharmac’s purchasing decisions would go. ”

        Quite simple really, Gosman (if it’s a serious question you’re asking). Constant threats of expensive litigation will soon blow out Pharmac’s budget, forcing the agency to cave in to demands from from “Big Pharma” corporations.

        The Phillip Morris lawsuit in Australia will cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars, $50 mill being one estimate.

        If Key is to be lieved, National caved in to a Saudi businessman’s threat of a $30 million lawsuit, and shelled out $11 million in taxpaters money to placate him.

        See where this is going?

        I trust this answers your garbled post above. If not, if it was just another of your silly rhetorical questions and you have no interest in actual answers, then my apologies for wasting your time and mine.

  2. XRAY says:

    All I know is the TPPA is SO secretive that like anything in life, such secrecy is bound to be hiding something very unpleasant. Especially with John Key if there was anything to be milked out of something to save his skin, secrecy agreements or not, he would have.

    It is a fact that anyone who has tried to find out what is going on through lawful means has simply been blocked by National, nothing new there but they always block the flow of information when its bad, the past 7 years have proven that fact beyond any doubt.

    We have had bread crumbs of information thrown to us from the arrogance that is the Key government and backed up of course by the usual MSM cheerleaders over the weekend, the patronising theme being, “nothing to see here, move along”.

    But we know little and your post shows too beyond any doubt that doing what we like for the good of NZ from now on in will very likely have to be measured by corporate profit or else it will cost us dearly.

    And surely then this system of investor state intervention and suing is a wealth creator for those investors, all of its own!

    • elle says:

      Xray theres more to it. Rules for signatories to restrict information if it is detrimental to the parties poitical and economic interest ,In other words the secretcy can be maintained to protect Keys and other willing leaders interests.
      THe EU was sold to UK as a trade agreement but turned into a political union changing laws and traditions.
      Juliane Assange says TPP TISA TTIP amount to a grand unified treaty partitioning the world into US and its allies versus the rest of the world,specifically China.
      Complete secretcy locking into place a form of a transnational Corporation overseen by US controlled arbitration courts with little public support.
      This is the secret Key wants to keep,the control of NZ by USA
      Corporations,similar to EU control over EU signatories, look how many countries that are ruined and put into poverty by that treaty.
      Banks And Hollywood are part of the treaty,Hollywood through Key have already rorted NZ and is trying to steal Dot Coms business.

      EX German president Roman Hertzog states 83 % of German laws originate in UE in Brussels,Hertzog claims Germany is no longer an independent nation.
      Key has borrowed so much money that if the lenders want our compliance we have to take their orders,the obvious lenders are banks,
      we would struggle to pay back S80 billion plus. This seems like a deliberate act to put NZ into jeopardy.
      Key is the spider we are the flies stuck in his web unless we act quickly and use the fly spray.Article in Wake up New Zealand, there is much more to read.

      • Quick Thinking says:

        There is a book written almost 2000 years ago that has been used to warn of USA dominance & dangerous weather events etc at the end times. Off course if we are going to believe that then it creates conflicts with lots of lifestyle choices. When you look at predictions that no-one can buy or sell it always seemed an impossible task yet with the advancing corporate control & concern about the future increasing the technical ability now exists to achieve that result. There is a range of conspiracy theories about world events & most people refuse to believe anything that includes God but how much evidence do they require?

  3. countryboy says:

    “We have just entered into a trade agreement with the most litigious nation on Earth.”

    … and with the largest and most advanced military, airforce and navy.
    The USA. The second state of Israel.

    Israeli arms dealers .
    http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/witness/2014/05/lab-20145475423526313.html

    We are, in fact, fucked. And all thanks to a hair tugging, mincing, little money fairy with old-family connections.

    • e-clectic says:

      Litigious – it’s the way they do business. Taking your business competition down through a strategy of damaging litigation tying up resources and money is seen as valid business practice in the US.
      We will be importing with no tariffs the “never give a sucker an even break” ethos.

  4. saveNZ says:

    Don’t forget the 11 million Saudi Sheep bribes to ‘prevent them sueing us) even though they were not about to sue us anyway and it was a bribe.

  5. GettingOn says:

    No, learnings is not a word but I’ve heard several National MP’s use it. I wonder whether it’s got traction because their leader uses it. Maybe he’s hoping it’s his legacy.

  6. Nick J says:

    Chomsky has it right: it is all about setting workers against one another to diminish wages. The assessments I read by economists of all stripes concurred there was little economic gain for NZ. So why do National and big business support it? Answer is profit maximisation by wage decrease.

    • XRAY says:

      @Nick J; Its been a very important unofficial policy of this government since first elected. The so-called immigration picture we are sold that conjours up pictures of financially equal migrant happy families flocking to our shores to join the Rockstar economy is false.

      The reality is a large number of these migrants (“students”) are from countries of extreme poverty and they are willing to sell their labour to the lowest bidder in the vain hope of gaining residency. And it’s worked a treat for Nationals backers because it has driven wage growth into the ground along with any hope of improving work conditions and flooded the market with cheap labour. Add in Nationals incremental and ever evolving nasty labour laws and it’s heaven for the very wealthy.

      These idiots cannot see the larger picture that it makes most of us collectively poorer and that harms New Zealand.

      • GettingOn says:

        The migrants are not necessarily coming from extreme poverty (we don’t take those ones).

        Immigrants know that they have to take a significant pay cut to come here. They also know that once they are in, they stick at the crappy job for a year and then they can leave to something better paid. So, while the employer is getting someone cheap, they have a high turnover in their business when skilled migrants move on, as they usually do. Hardly the way to run a successful business I would have thought.

        Skilled migrants, who might have a job in an area that is hard to fill, come with spouses who are looking for work too, so they are competing with kiwis in the job market.

      • saveNZ says:

        +1 – also often immigrants move onto Australia once gaining NZ Citizenship while the rest of the family (parents, spouse and so forth seem to be able to stay in NZ and get free health and benefits). Know of one Korean family doing that and they also own millions in property but pay zero taxes here, but by being in a relationship with an elderly Kiwi have managed to both gain citizenship and part of his pension while still being married to a millionaire in Korea (but I guess claiming abandonment ship) and the kids got their secondary and tertiary education here, paid back no student loans and both work offshore – likewise rest of spouses in family while the woman live in NZ and popping out babies.

        If you wonder why the Kiwi passport isn’t as welcome as it used to be overseas it could be that so many overseas migrants can gain NZ citizenship and the Kiwi passport.

        Also forget the idea that immigrants are all wealthy – you just need to borrow money send immigration the loan in your bank account and then pay back the money. It is an easy scam and been going on for so long – immigration must be aware than a lot of the immigrants do not have the money they claim to have but don’t bother cracking down on that scam.

        Immigration is really being used to keep NZ wages down, consumer spending up, house prices high and the illusion that our economy is booming, while disadvantaging generations of Kiwis that actually have no other country to go to.

        While I think immigration is a good thing for NZ, the way it is being used by the Natz and ease of gaining a NZ passport while actually having nothing to give this country apart from short term consumer spending is wrong and needs to be examined and cracked down on.

        At the same time great migrants with serious skills like internationally renowned Doctors are leaving NZ due to poor working conditions.

        Something wrong here!

  7. Sunny says:

    Well The Banksta has never been arrested either. Until he is.

  8. Gosman says:

    Does anybody here understand the purpose of international trade?

    • Aaron says:

      Gosman I thought you’d given up trolling here.

      Certainly if you’re going to make pathetic attempts like that you shouldnt bother as most of the people reading this blog are very aware that the majority of the TPPA is not about trade

    • Lara says:

      And where exactly did this article say it was AGAINST trade?

      Apparently (and I say apparently, because we still don’t have the full document released and so anything about it really is conjecture and based on what has so far been leaked) only five chapters of the TPPA are about trade. Leaving many more chapters (I think there are over 20 in total?) on subjects NOT ABOUT TRADE.

      If most of it doesn’t deal with actual trade, then most of it isn’t an actual free trade deal.

      We’re not against international trade Gosman, we like our gadgets too much. What we are against is the rights of very large and powerful corporations to dictate the laws we may choose to make in the future in a democratic manner.

      Democracy Gosman. It’s important too.

      We can have both trade and democracy. It’s not an either or.

    • elle says:

      Not you again Gosman ,do you not understand ?the TPP is a treaty set up by corporations to control Nz you included ,take your blue blinkers off and stop repeating tripe.

    • Mike the Lefty says:

      No, pray tell us! and at the same time explain how the TPPA does anything to increase our share of it.

      • Curiously, Mike, the TPPA seems to be anything but a “free trade” agreement.

        Free trade agreements are supposed to facilitate trade by removing barriers to trade.

        By contrast, the TPPA;

        (1) extends copyright from 50 to 70 years, at a cost to New Zealand alone, of an estimated $55 million per year,

        (2) Patents for medicines will be extended by an additional 5 to 8 years, costing us, the taxpayer.

        On top of which, a review process for Pharmac decisions will have to be set up at a cost of $4 million; then $2 million per year thereafter, where pharmaceutical companies can challenge PHARMAC for their decisions. That cost will come from PHARMAC’s budget.

        What medicines will PHARMAC have to stop subsidising to meet the cost of that review process? (I doubt if National will increase PHARMAC’s budget to offset those costs.)

        Those are the released details. There is more to come as the bulk of the TPPA becomes public.

        This is what our esteemed Dear Leader and Tim Groser , have signed us up to.

    • Sam Sam says:

      Oh laugh. No laugh harder goose mèn.

      Still haven’t figured out why selling more milk products to lactos intolorent populations like India and China is a bad thing.

    • Gosman, do you understand what year it is?

      (Just responding to your pointless, rhetorical question with my own.)

      Either make your point or don’t bother.

    • e-clectic says:

      Thank you @Gosman QED.

    • richarquis says:

      Gos, I’m pretty sure you’re asking because you need it explained to you, as is usually the case. Try Reddit’s “ELI5” (“Explain like I’m 5 years old”) forum, they’ll have what you need.

  9. Samwise says:

    Excellent research Frank! Shared on Facebook and Twitter!

    You somehow always manage to catch out Key’s duplicitous behaviour and utterances.

  10. Mike the Lefty says:

    You only get sued if you have the guts to say no. Therefore the National government is unlikely to be sued because it always says yes to any foreign or multi-national power that threatens. National says no to anyone with little power – like beneficiaries, the unemployed and the homeless because they have little chance of successfully suing the pricks in court.

  11. elle says:

    on RT Peter Lavelle on Cross Talk. One of the guests has been in Kurdish territory next to Turkish border,He states Turkey is a NATO country and they are not interested in peace for Kurds,or Assad.
    Sky news shows a Syrian claiming that Russia has bombed civilian houses and killed civilians.
    A guest on RT says its the agenda of Obama to blame Russia, because they want Assad out no matter what. Nato it seems is part of the New Order to control in the same way as Obama , Nato is part of the corporation war machine,nothing to do with peace.

  12. Sandfly Point says:

    So here’s what your material reveals:

    1. Only 25% of all cases were found in favour of the investor.
    2. ISDS cases are taking place already under existing trade agreements (and, btw, WTO rules).
    3. Under the various trade agreements NZ is a part of, we have never been sued, and we have never had a case taken against us, so your headline is false.

    ISDS clauses protect entities investing in a foreign country from punitive action by that countries governments. That’s it. This tin foil hat approach to what is a good deal for NZ is entertaining, but hardly sensible.

    • Your post studiously ignores the thrust of what I wrote.

      Quoting me that “Only 25% of all cases were found in favour of the investor” is dishonest and ignores the fact that “28% of cases (101) were settled” without knowing if there was an out of “court” settlement with monetary payment to the corporation.

      On top of that is the huge cost of defending these challenges under ISDSs. The cost to Australia from Phillip Morris’ lawsuit is estimated to cost the Australian taxpayer $50 million.

      As I pointed out, John Key has already caved in on plain-packaging laws here in New Zealand. He specifically pointed to the Phillip Morris lawsuit in Australia;

      “I don’t really see the point in us finally passing the legislation until we see exactly what happens in the Australian court case. We have a slightly different system, but there might just be some learnings and if there are learnings out of that, it would be sensible to potentially incorporate those in either our legislation or avoid some significant costs.”

      I’m uncertain why you’d make a comment in favour of corporate power. Your concern for them is certainly unreciprocated by them to you; they wouldn’t give a toss about your welfare, Sandfly.

      Just because “ISDS cases are taking place already under existing trade agreements (and, btw, WTO rules)” doesn’t make it right. You might just as well say that “burglary cases are taking place already under existing criminal laws”. A patently ridiculous circular ‘logic’.

      “Under the various trade agreements NZ is a part of, we have never been sued, and we have never had a case taken against us, so your headline is false” – ignores the entire point of what I wrote. Re-read it.

      • cleangreen says:

        you are so right frank,

        Key has caved in Warner Bros case, Tiwai Point Smelter, Saidi sheep deal, and many others.

        So Key caves before he is sued and under TPPA we will see this happen more frequently till we are broke and bankrupt.

        • Indeed, Cleangreen. According to Key and his mates, the Saudi businessman was paid $11.5 million of taxpayers’ money to prevent a lawsuit;

          “The lawsuit that the gentleman might have taken had nothing to do with the FTA [free trade agreement]. It was totally about what he believed were the assurances made to him by previous governments and whether he would lose money.”

          http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/political/274808/government-accused-of-bribery-over-farm

          Despite the fact there is no evidence that the businessman actually was considering any kind of legal action (and Key is yet to provide evidence of such a thing) – it did not prevent the PM from using it as a rationale.

          The Rio Tinto threat to close down the Tiwai smelter is more evidence that this is a gutless leader who will roll over on demand.

      • Let me repeat what I posted – you obviously haven’t absorbed it fully;

        On 4 October, our esteemed Dear Leader assured New Zealanders that, under the various free trade agreements we are party to, “there has never been a case taken against New Zealand…” and “we’ve never, ever been sued…”

        This is what Key had to say about why the Bill was put “on hold”, until a court case between the Australian government and tobacco giant, Philip Morris, is settled in an Australian court. He said,

        “I don’t really see the point in us finally passing the legislation until we see exactly what happens in the Australian court case. We have a slightly different system, but there might just be some learnings and if there are learnings out of that, it would be sensible to potentially incorporate those in either our legislation or avoid some significant costs.”

        However, we have already seen how even the possible hint of a lawsuit is sufficient to stay his [John Key’s] hand and prevent the passing of a law that could potentially have saved up to 5,000 lives a year and saved the health system up to $1.6 billion per annum (est.).

        In which case, the ISDS clause of the TPPA may never be tested under a National government – they would simply shy away from any legislation or other governmental policy provoking the merest suggestion of legal action. No matter how beneficial a policy might be.

        It was not a falsehood.

        Key was misrepresenting the truth by omission, spin, and manipulation. You can argue that till the cows come home (and you probably will), but Key’s own words betray him,.

        And you, sir, are defending the indefensible.

        • Sam Sam says:

          I’m not convinced multinationals can put people before looting the crap out of every economy on earth.

          Given the share number of shell companies registered in NZ. It would be ludicrous to give them an offshore tribunal in which to extend and pretend in.

      • Theodore says:

        Actually Mr Sandfly, Frank didn’t misrepresent anything.

        He’s pointed out a dishonest misrepresentation by our much-loved Prime Minister and called him on it.

    • And if you’re going to quote from the UN report I linked to, Sandfly, here’s some more sobering information for you;

      ISDS tribunals rendered at least 42 decisions in 2014. This includes an award of USD 50 billion in three closely related cases, the highest known award by far in the history of investment arbitration.

      Ref: http://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/webdiaepcb2015d1_en.pdf

    • Priss says:

      You’re a cheerleader of the neo-lib establishment, Sandfly, we get that. You probably work in a nice little corporate role when trade deals benefit you personally. You sure wouldn’t be a worker who’s lost her job because that role has been exported to a low-wage economy, am I right?

      You can cherry-pick all the details you want, but anyone reading Frank’s piece will get a more complete picture what is happening.

      Just because we have never been sued, doesn’t mean we won’t be. Or threatened with lawsuit as Key apparently claimed in the Saudi “farm-in-desert” deal.

      And what do you call backtracking on the plain-packaging for cigarettes issue? We might as well have been sued, the result was the same.

      Dwell on that before rushing to your keyboard in future.

      • You surely can’t argue against the benefits of the countries economic direction over the past 30 years?

        Actually, we can. The evidence points to the top 10% increasing their wealth whilst poverty and the wealth/wage gap has increased.

        On top of that is entrenched unemployment; growing under-employment; and wages suppressed by competition from low-wage societies.

        On top of which, private debt has ballooned and housing unaffordability has worsened.

        Your neo-lib experiment is a failure for all except the wealthiest families in this country, and their fore-lock tugging sycophants.

        Priss called it perfectly.

        [My apologies; incorrectly deleted and re-posted under wrong account. Sorted now. – ScarletMod]

    • Theodore says:

      “Only 25% of all cases were found in favour of the investor.”

      And just THREE OF THOSE LAWSUITS RESULTED IN A $50 BILLION VICTORY FOR CORPORATES, Mr Sandfly.

      You kinda forgot to mention that, didn’t you?

      It’s not just how many lawsuits are successful, but the cost to taxpayers to defend these in offshore tribunals, and whether or not your beloved Prime Minister would have the GUTS to stand up to corporate threats.

      So far Key’s track record is not very reassuring. Our PM gives away tax payers money at the drop of a hat.

  13. Winnie says:

    Dear Mods – please ban Gosman

    Either that or forward his comments to Whaleoil blog instead of posting them here.

    Thanks Winnie and her crew

    [Not sure if that’s meant in jest, Winnie, but that’s a ‘no’ to that request. While some people find Gosman to be irritating in his comments, I was recently irritated by the number of posters who flagrantly ignored requests not to break Court suppression on a court case involving an MP. I had to delete several postings and eventually ban at least one person. Deleting posts and the banning were not done because of my personal irritation, but because of the threat of legal consequences to The Daily Blog. Gosman has not crossed any line that I’m aware of. – ScarletMod]

  14. Michal says:

    Great stuff Frank thanks for putting this all together. Thank goodness for TDB that I can be properly informed and entertained here.

  15. Shirin says:

    Thank you Frank. It’s really good to read examples of how NZ has already been held to ransome over the threat of litigation – whether by tobacco, soft drinks, alcohol. I knew the examples were out there but it’s great to have them collated in one place. Given Canada’s experience, we’re also likely to face more attacks on environmental protection and any perceived anti-GMO or anti-biotec positions.

  16. elle says:

    Monsanto is losing business around the world with many countries banning the use of GM foods. (but Tpp might challenge that)

    Jane Kelsey has an article in WAKE UP NEW ZEALAND,shes one brilliant lady,she talks about the TPP and Groser and the cover up of info’.

    • cleangreen says:

      1000% Elle Thanks for that. Russia has banned GMO too and this makes NZ look like a toxic dumpsite thanks to killer keyster’s handiwork the criminal history will record.

      http://www.naturalnews.com/051242_GM_crops_Russia_non-GMO.html#

      “GMO crops totally banned in Russia… powerful nation blocks Monsanto’s agricultural imperialism and mass poisoning of the population”

      According to official statistics the share of GMO in the Russian food industry has declined from 12 percent to just 0.01 percent over the past 10 years, and currently there are just 57 registered food products containing GMO in the country. The law ordering obligatory state registration of GMO products that might contact with the environment will come into force in mid-2017.

      This puts Russia in a powerful position of producing nearly 100% non-GMO foods for both domestic consumption and export. Most consumers around the world, when given a choice, prefer to eat non-GMO foods. In the United States, the criminally-run food industry front group — the Grocery Manufacturers of America — is desperately trying to block all GMO food labelling in order to keep consumers in the dark about what they’re eating. Nearly the entire mainstream media, likewise, has also been bought off by the biotech industry and refuses to cover the truth about GMOs. (Which is why sites like GMO news are becoming so popular among independent thinkers.