EXCLUSIVE: The NZ Labour Party can no longer avoid the elephant in the room

By   /   July 7, 2016  /   53 Comments

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The era of neoliberal globalisation is ending. People – who are also voters – have had enough of governments that work for the rich. Precarious jobs, stagnant incomes, unaffordable housing, massive household debt, stripped out safety nets, elected governments that are arrogant and unaccountable, opposition parties who are captives of their past or too cowed by fears of a collapse in business confidence to embrace demands for real change.

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Do you hear the people sing. Singing the songs of angry (wo)men. It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again. When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums, there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes. (Les Miserables)

 

But are they listening?

A cataclysmic event like the Brexit vote focuses the mind on the future and leaves political parties who are supposed to represent the people with nowhere to hide.  

The era of neoliberal globalisation is ending. People – who are also voters – have had enough of governments that work for the rich. Precarious jobs, stagnant incomes, unaffordable housing, massive household debt, stripped out safety nets, elected governments that are arrogant and unaccountable, opposition parties who are captives of their past or too cowed by fears of a collapse in business confidence to embrace demands for real change.

The drumbeat is getting louder. Policy choices that once seemed impossible and unthinkable have become very real. Political parties that claim to be progressive need to respond. Not just overseas. In Aotearoa too. And not after we ‘wait and see’. They need to take a position now.

The New Zealand Labour Party can no longer avoid the elephant in the room: if elected, what is Labour going to do about the toxic mega-deals that have become a political liability in other democracies and are so deeply unpopular here? Continuing to dance on pinheads is not an option. Everything the parliamentary party has said to date is designed to differentiate between what’s on the table now and what Labour did in the past, drawing the most tenuous of distinctions. They won’t even condemn the investor-state dispute mechanism that gives foreign corporations special right to sue sovereign governments in dubious offshore tribunals. Even the cautious Australian Labor Party campaigned on a platform of no ISDS in future agreements.

It’s time to bite the bullet and admit that both the globalisation process and these deals are out of control.

By the time of next year’s election neither the TPPA, TiSA and RCEP nor any EU FTA negotiations will be a done deal. Assuming Labour forms the next government, it will have the power and responsibility to decide whether to remain in them or take us out. So will the Greens and NZ First (especially tricky if the rumour that pro-TPPA Shane Jones may join their ranks is true).

Exit will not see the sky fall on New Zealand.

The existing negotiations for TiSA, RCEP and the EU can be abandoned or left to drift without any political or net economic cost. As Labour itself said with the TPPA, the economics don’t stack up. The point was made persuasively by eminent economist Jomo Sundaram, a co-author of the Tufts University study that debunks the projected gains from the TPPA, when he was here last month: these agreements generate net job losses and deepen inequality. Hardly a winning formula for a Labour Party whose current message is ‘jobs’, jobs’, ‘jobs’.

Even without Phil Goff, Labour will doubtless hesitate to abandon the upgrade of the China FTA, which they consider an unmitigated success, or the China-led RCEP as the back door to the same. While digging us more deeply into the milk powder economy, the Chinese will be demanding more investment and procurement opportunities and protections, backed by investor-state dispute mechanisms.

Labour’s union allies should remind them how KiwiRail carriages were made in China while the Hillside workshops closed, and the problems finding out if the workers sent by the Chinese contractor to strip out the asbestos were governed by our labour conditions. Similar questions will arise as more Chinese companies are encouraged to fund and build new infrastructure, at the same time as Labour wants to crack down on sub-minimum wages and other employment breaches involving overseas workers. Hopefully, the contractors won’t be using the same substandard Chinese steel imported through procurement contracts for the Waikato Expressway.

When it comes to the TPPA, there is also nothing to stop Labour from walking away. The ratification process needs to be viewed from separately from the US and the NZ end.

Legally, the agreement can’t come into force unless the US is a party. There are three US scenarios, all of which mean the TPPA will not come into force before the next NZ election and possibly not before the one after that.

First, and least likely, Obama gets the TPPA implementing legislation through Congress in the lame duck period at the end of 2016, having secured whatever further concessions are required from NZ and the other countries to secure a congressional majority. Even if he achieves that the agreement can only come into force before April 2018 if all the other countries have notified completion of their domestic processes and the US has certified that each of them has satisfied the US interpretation of their obligations. (for details of the process see tpplegal.wordpress.com).  Second scenario: Clinton as president pushes the TPPA through, with or without changes. The consensus is that she would not dare to do that early in her presidency. Third, the TPPA dies.

At the NZ end, National will push the implementing legislation through this year. It short-ended the select committee review of the actual agreement so it could claim it had allowed plenty of time for parliamentary consideration of the (limited) legislative changes that are required. The report back date for the Bill is mid-November, which means it can pass before 2017 and not be hanging over an election year.

Presumably, the government will then notify the other parties that NZ has completed its domestic processes. However, that does not make the TPPA binding on NZ. It only becomes binding once the agreement is in force. A Labour-led government could withdraw that notification, and justifiably argue that the notification was made by the outgoing government in the knowledge that Labour opposed the deal. In the current climate, that is a perfectly tenable option. Labour can minimise any fallout by making its intention to revoke the ratification crystal clear now.

From what I am hearing of Labour’s internal discussions, this option seems to have become mixed up with withdrawal from the agreement once it is in force. Indeed, I understand that I have been quoted as saying that withdrawal is practically impossible. It is true that I have said that, when stressing that the best option for NZ is not to enter binding agreements in the first place. However, my comments about withdrawal need to be put in two contexts. First, they were in response to self-serving assurances from Matthew Hooten and others that any future government could withdraw from the TPPA at 6 months’ notice.  At the same time, I noted that governments have been withdrawing from stand-alone investment treaties and that my current Marsden Fund project is on options and strategies to exit these agreements.

Second, the US presidential primaries, followed by the Brexit vote, have turned the tide further and faster, making exit politically feasible. I don’t want to be romantic about this. A Trump presidency in the US would be catastrophic, and a Clinton alternative far from cause for celebration. Brexit is likely to be painful, prolonged and contested. A court challenge is pending if notice is given to the EU without the consent of the British Parliament. Blair is calling for a second referendum. Parts of the state that atrophied have to be reconstructed. But New Zealand’s exit would be nothing like so difficult.

It should also be very clear that withdrawal is a more practical and feasible option than renegotiating the TPPA or another mega-deal to address matters of concern to an incoming government. That would require consensus among all the other parties, who would be entitle to demand a significant price from NZ if they were prepared to countenance any changes.

By far the better option is still is not to negotiate these agreements, where they have been negotiated not to make them binding, and to begin rethinking how we engage differently at an international level.

George Monbiot summed up the depressing diagnosis of Brexit, and the positive opportunity it presents, in a recent blog entitled ‘Brexit is a disaster but we can build on the ruins’.

It’s not as if the system that’s now crashing around us was functioning. The vote could be seen as a self-inflicted wound, or it could be seen as the eruption of an internal wound inflicted over many years by an economic oligarchy on the poor and the forgotten. The bogus theories on which our politics and economics are founded were going to collide with reality one day. The only questions were how and when.

If it is true that Britain will have to renegotiate its trade treaties, is this not the best chance we’ve had in decades to contain corporate power – of insisting that companies that operate here must offer proper contracts, share their profits, cut their emissions and pay their taxes? Is it not a chance to regain control of the public services slipping from our grasp?  …  In this chaos we can, if we are quick and clever, find a chance to strike a new contract: proportional representation, real devolution and a radical reform of campaign finance to ensure that millionaires can never again own our politics.

New Zealand’s three main ‘opposition parties’ owe it to the majority of Kiwis who oppose the TPPA to have the political guts to state unequivocally that they intend to withdraw New Zealand from the agreement, and others of similar ilk, so that voters can align their preferences to the parties with the vision to create a new, progressive future for the nation.

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53 Comments

  1. Draco T Bastard says:

    …co-author of the Tufts University study that debunks the projected gains from the TPPA, when he was here last month: these agreements generate net job losses and deepen inequality.

    Ah, so working as designed then. Keeps wages down and by doing so increases profits.

    Brexit is likely to be painful, prolonged and contested. A court challenge is pending if notice is given to the EU without the consent of the British Parliament.

    Interesting that a minority of people think that they have the right to over turn the decision of the majority. I’m assuming that’s either Scotland or Northern Ireland who’s only option is to either go with the UK in Brexit or exit the UK and stay in the EU.

    By far the better option is still is not to negotiate these agreements, where they have been negotiated not to make them binding, and to begin rethinking how we engage differently at an international level.

    My own thought on this is that we set a minimum standard that other countries have to meet before we trade without tariffs on them. Same minimum wage, same worker protections, etc etc (far too many to list here). Those regulations would have to be strenuously enforced as well.

    I’d also set the exchange rate as function of the trade between the two countries. A trade imbalance would then correctly set the exchange rate rather than what we have now where it’s set more due to our high interest rates relative to the rest of the world resulting in an overly high NZ$ on the forex.

    I’d also ban foreign investment. It’s not needed (Why do people think that we need foreign money to utilise our own resources?) and only really results in us becoming serfs in our own land (That, of course, applies to all countries). Financing is really quite easy.

    At that point we’d actually have free-trade on a level playing field. The exact opposite of what these FTAs have been giving us.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      100% Draco T Bastard

      What concerns me is that no one within the yes or no camp seems to allow themselves to cast their own minds back to when we had our own solid “Commonwealth” trading block that was one of the largest global trading blocks the world ever knew & we all belonged to and prospered greatly inside of it for decades!

      We should simply restore this former “Commonwealth” trading block with Britain at the head as Britain is now free from her shackles from EU technocratic governance.

      Instead of all we hear from these “Cant do it” idiots just sitting there with a bankrupt EU system so get out of it!!!

      Instead of saying how disastrous it will be without any EU market to have a solid flow of trade

      • Draco T Bastard says:

        Don’t need a trading block same as we don’t need FTAs.

        • CLEANGREEN says:

          Draco T Bastard
          Agreed but with the Commonwelth we wont get a corporate controlled FTA that neutralises the Governents like the TPA and other “21st century FTAs are.

          e need an unbinding free trade agreement that is made alongside that of the old Commonwealth trading was, as it didn’t have over ridding rules as they do today with these latest Corporate secretive TPPA, TIIP,TiSA lot.

          We did not have any problems then and the country flourished.

          Best we stick to what we know of in this shaky world of today.

          • Draco T Bastard says:

            Agreed but with the Commonwelth we wont get a corporate controlled FTA that neutralises the Governents like the TPA and other “21st century FTAs are.

            If we don’t have any FTAs then we certainly won’t get a corporate controlled one.

            We did not have any problems then and the country flourished.

            When are you talking about?

            After WWII we had the Bretton Woods agreement, the GATT which turned into the WTO, The World Bank was set up and so was the IMF. All of these have helped lead to the present collapse of the world financial system.

            The Commonwealth itself has never been a trade zone. Sure, trade between Commonwealth Nations is up 50% over other nations but that has nothing to do with any trade agreement that is part of it because it doesn’t have one.

            See, you’re probably thinking of the time when Britain pretty much bought all our meat that we exported which ended in the 1970s when Britain entered the EEC causing us major panic as our terms of trade dropped. But, again, that had nothing to do with the Commonwealth.

            I’ll reiterate: We do not need free-trade agreements at all.

  2. Priss says:

    Time to vote on the TPP now!!

    Come on Mr Key, give us a chance to vote!!

    Dare you trust the New Zealand people??

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      PRISS;
      Throw in a rider that he should quit AS PM also if he looses the TPPA VOTE.

    • Winnie says:

      Yes Mr Key give us a binding referendum on something of moral substance, rather than a diversionary vanity flag project.

      If we Kiwis reject the TPPA 52% to 48%, then you do the right thing and resign like Cameron did.

  3. Geoff Lye says:

    Couldn’t put it better myself, which of the three main opposition parties are going to have the balls to wipe out the TPPA and collect all the anti TPPA votes.

    • Strypey says:

      AFAIK the Greens and NZ First have always staunchly opposed the TPP. The relevant questions are; a) will Labour join them, and b) how influential is a party’s policy on TPP on how people cast their vote?

  4. Afewknowthetruth says:

    There have been at least half-a-dozen ‘elephants in the room’ -energy depletion and falling EROEI, surging CO2 emissions and abrupt climate change, the Ponzi nature of the financial system based on creation of money out of thin air and charging interest on it, the control of society by corporations, the corrupt nature of the mainstream media, impending multi-metre sea level rise, the unsustainable nature of NZ’s major industries, overconsumption and overpopulation, etc.- for many years, and Labour, just like National, has done its best to ignore all of them and pretend the current system has a long-term future when it clearly does not.

    The day of reckoning for all status quo organisations is approaching fast and is more-or-less certain to arrive before 2020.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      JANE;

      “Labour’s union allies should remind them how KiwiRail carriages were made in China while the Hillside workshops closed, and the problems finding out if the workers sent by the Chinese contractor to strip out the asbestos were governed by our labour conditions. Similar questions will arise as more Chinese companies are encouraged to fund and build new infrastructure, at the same time as Labour wants to crack down on sub-minimum wages and other employment breaches involving overseas workers. Hopefully, the contractors won’t be using the same substandard Chinese steel imported through procurement contracts for the Waikato Expressway.

      When it comes to the TPPA, there is also nothing to stop Labour from walking away. The ratification process needs to be viewed from separately from the US and the NZ end.”

      YES THIS IS A “COSTLY COMEDY OF ERRORS” AND PROBABLY CAUSED BY SS JOYCE IN HIS MBIE PROPAGANDA BUNKER.

      HE & KEY MUST BOTH GO IN A LEAKY BOAT.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      LABOUR RESTORE OUR WHOLE COUNTRY/PROVINCIAL RAIL SYSTEM.

      WHERE ARE AT WITH PROVINIAL RAIL SINCE NZ FIRST & GREENS ARE BOTH OFFERING TO RESTORE ALL NZ’S RAIL AGAIN??????

      Take note here as we NZ public need to hear a press release at your 100year weekend meet similar plans to restore our failed rail.

      New poll says 85% agree Rail needs to be used in all regions of NZ!!!!

      Published on Otago Daily Times Online News (http://www.odt.co.nz/)
      ________________________________________
      NZ First looks to beef up railways
      Created 13/07/14

      A $300 million cash swap from roads to railways is at the heart of New Zealand First’s transport policy for the election, including restoring the Gisborne-Napier line, and looking at extending the Wellington line to Levin and into Wairarapa.

      Auckland would also be a priority, with electrification of the rail network south to Pukekohe, and supporting the construction of the City Rail Link, starting at the earliest appropriate time – but no later than 2016.

      New Zealand First leader Winston Peters announced the party’s election transport policy in Gisborne today, the centrepiece of which was a 10-year Railways of National Importance programme.

      “Funding for the Railways of National Importance Programme will be fiscally neutral and will be met by diverting money from National’s Roads Of National Significance programme – an initial allocation of $300 million will be made.”
      Investment in rail would ease road congestion, he said.

      “This will apply especially to heavy and bulk freight services, but also where passenger services can be redeveloped to attract sufficient demand over time.

      “The National Government’s agenda is to let rail in New Zealand die. They are starving rail to death. Our transport policy will give rail a real and valued role in the total transport mix.”

      He said the Gisborne-Napier railway line should never have been closed “on the flimsy pretext of a washout”.

      “National was looking for an excuse to close down another bit of the rail network and jumped on the excuse that the washout provided. The Napier-Gisborne line will be back in business with New Zealand First.”

      He said the existing railway line north of Christchurch could be used for an express commuter service to the North Canterbury town of Rangiora, which has had significant population growth since the earthquakes.

      He called National’s roading policy “massively extravagant” and in need of a review.

      A 2010 report found that overall every dollar spent on the Roads Of National Significance programme returned a benefit of $1.80.

      Winston said public transport needed more support, and every major new urban roading project would be subject to a test to see if there was a better public transport option.

      https://www.greens.org.nz/sites/default/files/policy-pdfs/SaferCleaner%20Freight.pdf

      Greens safer cleaner freight.

      There has been insufficient investment in rail and coastal shipping, forcing more and more trucks onto New Zealand roads. In just 10 years we can expect to see another 1.7 million truck trips on our roads, making roads more dangerous for all road users, and driving up pollution.i

      Every year, an average of 55 people are killed in crashes involving trucks, and over 850 are seriously injured.ii We know that a single train can remove 70 heavy trucks from the road.iii

      By investing in rail and shipping, we can make roads safer and the air cleaner, as well as create a safer climate for future generations.

      Instead of demanding that rail return a profit, which has set it up to fail, we’ll fund it from the transport budget in the same way roads are, providing the investment needed to move freight in the most effective and clean way possible.

      1. Fund rail infrastructure from the transport budget, on the basis of best overall economic and climate impact for New Zealand

      For decades our transport spend has been overly concentrated on highways, leading to a very unbalanced transport system with a lack of choice. This imbalance comes at a high cost: more crashes on the roads, expensive maintenance, higher costs for exporters, and higher carbon emissions. Although National has invested some money on rail in the past eight years, it has spent five times as much upgrading a few stretches of highway, and the economic benefits of these projects are low. We’ll rebalance the transport network by allowing the use of the National Land Transport Fund for investment in rail infrastructure, and to support coastal shipping.

      2. Set a target for 25% of freight to be moved by rail and 25% by coastal shipping within 10 years – 2027

      The NZ Transport Agency and KiwiRail will work alongside freight operators to get half of freight off the road and moving by rail and ship within 10 years. We estimate this would avoid at least 1.7 million truck trips every year.iv

      3. Electrify rail in the Golden Triangle (between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga)

      We will electrify the rail lines between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga. This will be an $860 millionv investment in the low-carbon infrastructure New Zealand needs to reduce transport pollution, and meet the climate commitments we made in Paris. Electrifying rail in the Golden Triangle will reduce freight costs and cut emissions in the regions with the fastest growing freight volumes in the country. New electric locomotives sufficient to cover the main freight routes in the North Island have been costed at $480 millionvi, and will be much cheaper to maintain and run than the current diesel trains. In the long-term, we plan to complete the electrification of the lines between Auckland and Wellington.

      To make our roads safer

      Unless we invest now in safer rail and sea freight options, our roads will be clogged with more large trucks and become increasingly dangerous. National’s long-term plan is to have more than 70 percent of freight moving by road in the next 30 years.vii Under this plan we can expect to see another 1.7 million truck trips on our roads each year within 10 years, as freight volumes are forecast to grow by 32 percent by 2027.viii

      This can only make our roads more dangerous. Trucks are already over-represented in serious crashes. Trucks make up only 2.5 percent of the vehicles on the road,ix yet were involved in almost one in five of all fatal crashes in 2014x. On average, 55 people die every year in crashes involving trucks and more than 850 are seriously injured.xi

      A growing number of large freight trucks are now travelling through our towns and cities, adding to congestion, creating noise and pollution, and putting people walking, cycling, and driving at greater risk. The frustration of being stuck behind slow-moving large freight trucks on rural roads is an increasingly common experience for Kiwi drivers.

      National’s solution has been to simply propose putting bigger, heavier, and wider trucks on the road.xii

      To prevent dangerous climate change

      In order to meet our commitment to stop climate change, our transport system needs to be carbon neutral by 2050. Electrifying rail will enable us to move freight using renewable, local energy. It’s a smart investment in the low-carbon future.

      Sea freight also offers huge climate benefits. Moving a tonne of freight by truck produces six times more pollution compared to moving that freight by shipxiii

      We estimate that shifting 50 percent of freight by rail and sea would cut projected climate pollution from transport freight by 15 percent by 2027.xiv This is the equivalent of replacing over 300,000 petrol and diesel cars with electric vehicles.xv

      The best overall economic benefit

      National has refused to invest properly in the rail network, choosing instead to spend over a billion dollars every year on a few low-value motorways – almost five times the amount invested in rail.xvi We’ll allow the NZ Transport Agency to invest in the projects with the best overall economic, social, and environmental benefits, whether that’s rail, coastal shipping, or roading.

      By creating competitive and reliable rail and coastal shipping services, we can also significantly reduce the cost of moving goods around New Zealand. Already, for example, moving a standard container from Auckland to Christchurch door-to-door is estimated to cost significantly less by rail and ship than by road.xvii

      The National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) will be made available for investment in rail and coastal shipping infrastructure and logistics, in addition to the road network. This will allow KiwiRail and the NZ Transport Agency to invest for the long-term, and avoid having to make short-sighted cost savings, such as the recent decision to buy interisland ferries without capacity for rail.

      Opening up the NLTF to rail investment may mean it makes economic sense to revive the Wairoa to Gisborne rail line, or extend rail to North Port in Whangarei, rather than further expand the road network.

      http://www.newshub.co.nz/tvshows/paulhenry/poll-should-we-invest-more-in-rail-to-get-trucks-off-the-road-2016052505#.V0ZxGVrVgww.facebook

      Poll: Should we invest more in rail to get trucks off the road?
      Wednesday 25 May 2016 5:45 a.m.

      Half of New Zealand’s freight would move to rail and sea under an ambitious Green Party plan to get more trucks off the country’s roads.

      It would go into the electrification of rail between Auckland, Hamilton and Tauranga — something transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter calls the “Golden Triangle”.

      They plan to invest $860 million into electrifying the rail lines between three cities which are the country’s busiest freight corridors.

      “This will help to move freight safely off the road, and create a zero emissions freight service,” she says.

      “Instead of demanding that rail return a profit, which has set rail up to fail, we’ll fund it from the transport budget in the same way roads are, providing the investment needed to move freight in the most effective and clean way.”

      Ms Genter says adopting more rail and ship freight will be safer, cheaper and better for the environment. It would also remove congestion from the roads and save lives — around 55 people are killed in crashes involving trucks and 850 are seriously injured each year.

      She estimates it would be the equivalent of replacing 1.6 million petrol and diesel cars with electric vehicles.

      Read more: http://www.newshub.co.nz/tvshows/paulhenry/poll-should-we-invest-more-in-rail-to-get-trucks-off-the-road-2016052505#ixzz49k6DUobP

      • Draco T Bastard says:

        Take note here as we NZ public need to hear a press release at your 100year weekend meet similar plans to restore our failed rail.

        Rail never failed. The policies that supported and subsidised long distance trucking did.

        • CLEANGREEN says:

          Yes Draco, And the fact that Rail was put into a SOE (unlike roading was not) all and forced to pay 8 % dividend to Government Theresa you say Trucking was subsidised not penalised as rail was.

      • I don’t think there is much hope for electric vehicles unless you can get rid of the perception that they need to be plugged in to recharge.

        It is just one part of the issue, but a core part.

        I think hybrids are the way to go. Although they use petrol, their economy is significantly better and they lack the need to be plugged in. The problem is the cost.

        • Strypey says:

          Electric cars use an existing energy infrastructure, and operating them has no carbon emissions (although there are still emissions in manufacture etc at present). Hybrids need either petrol from fossil oil, or bio-ethanol. We need to stop using petrol well before oil runs out (because of its carbon emissions) and we don’t currently have the infrastructure or the feedstocks to make bio-ethanol on a large scale.

          Yes, increasing electric car use will vastly increase the amount of electricity we need to generate. If that generation doesn’t come from renewable sources, electric cars are just shifting the carbon emissions from the engine to the point of generation. But that’s true of electric trains and buses too. Yes, need to massively reduce the number of private motor vehicle journeys we take each year, and do a lot more walking, cycling, taking public transport etc. But none of that’s is going to happen overnight

          Fully electric cars offer an zero-emissions for those who, for whatever reason (eg living in the country or being chronically ill), need a private motor vehicle. This is good for general air quality as well as climate change. Yes, if electric cars are actually to be sustainable, we need to figure out how to manufacture them locally, from renewable materials (eg tyres not made from fossil oil), with no carbon emissions. But all of that remains true for hybrids too, yet they still spew carbon pollution into the air every time they are used. Fuggetaboutit.

        • Draco T Bastard says:

          Electric cars are just as viable as present fossil fuelled cars, i.e, they’re not.

          Making them as hybrids doesn’t change that fact. It’s the massive over use of resources that makes all cars uneconomic.

  5. Castro says:

    Get ready for the civil war. Those with nothing to lose and nothing left will soon see their only valid goal as shedding some elite blood as we are all dragged into hell… progress? History repeats. Political power grows from the barrel of a gun.

    • Sally's Husband says:

      Castro, I don’t think we want to go down that Hell Road, what with events unfolding in Libya, Syria, and Iraq.

      I prefer peaceful resistance by mass-non-co-operation.

      • Draco T Bastard says:

        No, we don’t want to go down that road but the policies that increase poverty while making rich people richer will, eventually, force it upon us.

    • Steve King says:

      From the barrel of a gun? like Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King? Your view is a bit limited, I think. And unhelpful.

    • Stuart Munro says:

      Certainly nothing short of violence will dispose of a crook like Key. But Judicial violence is preferred.

  6. Kim dandy says:

    Thanks Jane for a deeper understanding of how the Tppa lies at the moment.
    I believe the US elections are going to play a major role in the way the agreement goes – there is still huge support for Bernie Sanders – and it isn’t going away… The democratic convention will be interesting, to say the least.
    We must continue protesting and fighting here in NZ too, so all political parties can ‘see’ how detested this agreement is.
    My vote WILL Go to a party NOT in favour of the TPPA – so anyone from Labour reading this – ‘grow some’ and announce you are not supporting this treasonist agreement.

    • Peter says:

      I could not agree more, but I do not think Labour will do the right thing
      they have not been true Labour since 1984 and will not get my vote until they go back to there core values.

  7. Brian F says:

    Now you can add to the list of neo-liberal casualties ex British PM Blair.
    What an appalling indictment on him and his neo-liberalism and allied pandering to George Bush – and their disgraceful, dishonest decision more than a decade ago. It still lingers on, taking lives, maiming people, making them homeless and refugees etc etc.
    Even John Key is increasingly looking uncomfortable on many issues, even if still somewhat slick of tongue and cavalier and arrogant in presentation.
    The end is hopefully nigh of this uncaring, uncompassionate, selfish, failed thing called neo-liberalism. Let’s hope we, at least, can bury it without bloodshed.

  8. Jack Ramaka says:

    The TPP is being falsely promoted as a free trade agreement it is exactly the opposite and plays into the hands of the multi national how can anyone comprehensively understand a 6000 page legal document.

    Fair trade, free trade is normally built on trust and long term relationships not on legal documentation.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      True that jack,

      TPPA is not a “free trade agreement” it is a “Corporate only free trade agreement” else why weren’t small business involved?????

      Simply because it was constructed at Bilderberg meeting’s between the elitist corporations years before and made to look like it was devised by a “common agreement” so we see more yet criminal deception here, so you are fully right jack.

    • Draco T Bastard says:

      Fair trade, free trade is normally built on trust and long term relationships not on legal documentation.

      QFT

      And that’s why I say we need to set standards (ethical, regulatory, and enforced) rather than have trade agreements.

  9. WILD KATIPO says:

    The paragraph of George Monbiot sums it up.

    A golden opportunity to reject globalisation and at the same time enhance national sovereignty – AND – the taking back of the democratic process into the hands of the populace free from subversive elements whose real ideology’s and loyalties only become clear after they are in power.

    That is the state of the unpopular neo liberal ideology of the last 3 decades.

    Whereby we have seen the degradation of social policy’s in order to privatise what once was the framework and safety net of a civilized , advanced society into one of 19th century poverty and servitude.

    And that is at the heart of the Brexit vote.

    We go forwards , – not backwards. We seek to promote advancements , – not regression into an archaic social strata. And that is why there is now a general worldwide revolt against neo liberalism.

    It doesn’t work. And despite the lunatic fanatical far right wings glowing reports of ‘ lifting people out of poverty ‘ , … what it is actually code for is creating a global underclass by plundering the commons wealth and creating an economic / political elite that entrenches the majority into systemic servitude. Those ‘ glowing reports’ just simply don’t add up. And that’s why the BREXIT vote went the way it did.

    Think of the film ‘The Matrix’. They had it pretty much right there.

    Not for the English to take things laying down. They just aren’t made that way after century’s of hammering out a system such as Westminster.

    And it was only a matter of time before they said ‘ ENOUGH !!!’.

    And now the political elite have been served.

    And they don’t like it.

    And so we see the predictable Blair saying the things we would expect him to say. It would be interesting if the man has studied the causes of the French Revolution. I suspect he would be aware of some of it but by and large chose to ignore it. Just like any fanatical right wing opportunist does.

    To their peril.

    They may not have to face the guillotine these days but most certainly they will have to face the wrath of the voters in the year 2016.

    They have pushed the bandwagon of neo liberalism and the populace’s tolerances to the limits. And they are now reaping what they have sown. For three long decades.

    And this translates directly to these so – called Free Trade Deals.

    Free for just whom?

    It is this globalism by stealth that has been exposed. It always did have a certain shelf life because of its inherent deceptions in implementation…

    And as with all fanatical right wing agendas , …the lessons of history elude them. Sometimes by ignorance – but more often by deliberate choice. Thinking only of the short term , thinking only of some rosy utopia in which the world is their plaything , they have foolishly ignored that there are in fact, … several billion other people who also inhabit this planet.

    They are not ‘ chattels ‘ ,… they are not ‘ units’ , they are not ‘ cattle ‘ to be used and exploited at their whims ,… they are a dynamic force that can – and will – exert their presence if any element arises that threatens their right to life, security and the pleasure of seeing their offspring succeed.

    It would behoove Labour MP’s and their leader to remind themselves of this fact each and every morning when they wake up and head off to the parliamentary chambers , that they ,… are in fact , … the inheritors of a party that once stood up against exploitation and greed and avarice at the expense of the population to serve those elites who only see ‘ the people’ as as a means to advance their own political and economic aggrandizement.

    As such… the old adage …’ if you play with fire , you will get burnt’ applies here.

    Endorse and negotiate ‘ Free Trade Deals ‘ that lock us into political servitude and loss of national sovereignty at your own peril.

    You WILL pay the price for that in the polls.

    • Draco T Bastard says:

      what it is actually code for is creating a global underclass by plundering the commons wealth and creating an economic / political elite that entrenches the majority into systemic servitude.

      Otherwise known as feudalism and serfdom. The road to serfdom is capitalism and the end result of it is the collapse of society – as it always has been.

      And this translates directly to these so – called Free Trade Deals.

      Free for just whom?

      The FTAs are there solely to serve the wealthy and that’s it.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      here here.

  10. Mike in Auckland says:

    “Everything the parliamentary party has said to date is designed to differentiate between what’s on the table now and what Labour did in the past, drawing the most tenuous of distinctions. They won’t even condemn the investor-state dispute mechanism that gives foreign corporations special right to sue sovereign governments in dubious offshore tribunals. Even the cautious Australian Labor Party campaigned on a platform of no ISDS in future agreements.

    It’s time to bite the bullet and admit that both the globalisation process and these deals are out of control.”

    Well, if we would at least have progressive parties around the globe work together, we may still have some solution to all this on a global scale, but we have little cooperation, and so many shades of “progressive” or perhaps rather “post progressive” parties in most countries.

    A return to nationalism cannot be the solution, but continuing with the ideologically driven, neoliberal “globalisation” of past decades, that can certainly not be the solution either.

    So far Labour are shit scared to cause too much upheaval, I fear the housing policy they will release on Saturday will just be another refreshed version of “Kiwi Build”, serving only the interests of the middle class and well earning, working first home buyers.

    Let us see from there, that is where they can send a first signal of new ideas, if not, forget election 2017.

  11. Tim O'Shea says:

    Thank you, Jane – reading that excellent piece was how I’d imagine it would be like opening the escape hatch of a submarine and breathing in fresh air for the first time in several months !

    Bravo !

  12. Words says:

    The Labour Party petition: Say no to the TPPA

    http://www.labour.org.nz/tppa_petition

  13. Huria Carr says:

    Jane, you are right, the opposition parties need to get together and win the next election. But the Labour party is not making the right impression on me – yet! I will loose interest in them if they don’t up their opposition. I wish for a NZFirst win with no TPPA/ISDS and a rejection of neoliberalism, and with the Green Party for the environment and sustainability.
    We get the governing party we can be bothered to get out and vote for. As WP would say ‘there’s the rub’, the citizens that are being hurt by neoliberalism and globalisation are not engaging in the voting process.

  14. Bert says:

    I concur with most comments here. The difficulty in making change, lies with media continuing to tow the National party line. Already this week we have Tevett and Soper written pieces denigrating Labour.

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/claire-trevett/news/article.cfm?a_id=74&objectid=11669214

    http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11670389

    Unless there is some form of parity in main stream media and a continuation of Steven Joyce’s dirty politics, I fear Labour will be consigned for another three years.

    The inequality we talk about in N.Z. clearly crosses over to donations for parties. The fact that National can rely on big money donations or money for bribes gives me a very uneasy feeling. I wonder how an election would unfold if donations were capped so every mainstream party had a level playing field.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Labour must step out of the corner at the 100 yr. meeting and commit to gathering opposition Party support to take back their half ownership us 50% voter of their band seize the half of RNZ/TVNZ back again ton .

      Here’s our letter to them today.

      2nd July

      TO; MP Clare Curran. – Labour shadow Broadcasting spokesperson.
      Andrew little Leader of Labour party.
      Please pass a copy of this letter to all members of the Parliamentary Party please.
      2016.

      Dear Clare, You participated in the following issue on skype

      http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2016/07/02/waatea-5th-estate-hosking-petition-public-broadcasting-and-the-impact-of-media-consolidation-on-democracy/

      As the discussion regarding NZ media on Waatea 5th Estate Thursday to discuss public broadcasting, and the impact on democracy of media consolidation

      In the studio with;

      AUT associate professor at the school of communications – Dr Wayne Hope

      Auckland University political scientist and media commentator – Dr Joe Atkinson

      Former editor of the NZ Herald and media commentator on Radio NZ – Dr Gavin Ellis

      On phone – member of the Coalition for Better Broadcasting – Dr Peter Thompson

      and on Skype – spokesperson for broadcasting, Labour Party MP, Clare Curran

      Clare, as Labour’s broadcasting labour spokesperson;

      What we ask now is your participation in bringing together all opposition parties who share all our wish to have a more balanced broadcasting programming in a “broadcasting forum”, and a discussion process to place an injunction in court to seize half of the current RNZ/TVNZ programming studios back under the control of a combined opposition voice for us as some who a part of the 50% legally half the voting public taxpayers who pay for the RNZ/NZTV broadcasting services.

      Thus in the public interest this may be providing all who wish for a diverse programming for a balanced programming service that is sadly now shown as lacking due to Government control, for the interest of the public good as we all need to have a solid platform to advocate for our public campaigning issues that communities demand we have to effectively advocate from

      We need to get that public voice platform NOW for all our opposition parties to voice our issues and provide us with critical journalistic investigative programming for offering the balanced other side of the story before the election especially.

      We have offered this as a way to a possible alliance for taking a strong independent voice for all voters & give some form of parity in main stream media to consider as we head to the most importantly crucial election in our country’s history.

      Your emailed response is appreciated.

      Yours sincerely,

    • Mike in Auckland says:

      Bert, it is even worse, we have them (Labour and even some Greens politicians) line up to get a seat on the Paul Henry Breakfast show, thinking that gives them an opportunity to also have their say and to reach people out there. But true progressives would not really bother watching Paul Henry, and Paul Henry dominates or dictates the narrative of his program, so most the time, the opposition politicians going on there only make a fool of themselves, or expose themselves to be taken to pieces by Henry.

      It is beyond belief that they have not got it yet, that such a show should be boycotted. But as they continue going there as guests, they also raise questions about their true integrity, why do they go on pro Nat dominated shows, when they are opposed to neoliberalism. In my honest opinion, they are not to be trusted, that is unless they are thick dickheads.

      Neither of which will help the cause.

  15. Mike the Lefty says:

    I would like to see Labour come out against the PRESENT TPPA and instead push for an alternative deal, one that is actually about trade only and not a front for mass surveillance, corporatism and US imperialism.
    That’s what I would LIKE to see, but I doubt Labour would do that. Labour is as you say, “dancing on a pinhead” and when you do that you have little room to manoeuvre and can easily fall off.
    In Britain we have seen the Labour Party seemingly paralysed by the divide between the membership and the parliamentary party, both of whom wish to take the party in different directions.
    We suspect it is similar in NZ but it is harder to be certain because the Labour Party’s membership base is reportedly not very big, but if that is true then the parliamentary Labour Party will continue to call the shots and it is no secret that many of the MPs do not really want Andrew Little as leader. He is there because there is no obvious alternative at the moment.
    I hope the 100 year anniversary of Labour will get them thinking about getting their act together so we can end this corrupt, plutocratic and inadequate National government in 2017.

  16. Kim dandy says:

    Thanks words – I am certainly hearing mixed messages from labour ( or the media ) on the TPPA. The petition by labour saying vote ‘no’ then I hear Labour saying ‘yes’ we will run with it but…
    Labour needs to make it LOUD and CLEAR where they stand on the TPPA – to the everyday kiwi on the street.
    Cleangreen was right about the need to for Labour to insist on returning ( at least some ) broadcasting back to public realm.
    In the present MSM Labour are NEVER painted in good light.
    LABOUR PLEASE – A LOUD CLEAR VOICE, SO PEOPLE SIT UP AND TAKE NOTICE.

  17. Adrian says:

    The elephant in the room is that Labour is as much of a problem as National, maybe more so.
    At least with National we all know who we are fighting, with the current centrist, third way NZ Labour we likely end up with the type of Trojan horse that we are all to familiar with in our Labour Party over the last three decades.

  18. countryboy says:

    ” progressive future for the nation.”

    I see. And how might we pay for such a grand comment?
    The words ‘ progressive, future and nation’ all stick in my craw along with the ubiquitous little bit of sick.

    You never once mention where you might think the money will come from to manufacture a ‘ nation ‘ ( Ulp ! ) with a ‘ progressive future ‘ ( Barrrffff ! )

    You never mention that while Labour has a rag tag few harried unions and sundry other desperadoes pretending they could augment change for themselves for the betterment of their ‘ Nation ‘ ( Oh God ! Here I go again ….. Blarrrgh…… ! ) by withholding their labour to force their employers to cough up better wages and conditions and didn’t that work out for the Hillside engineers ?

    While Labour has a dead horse workforce covered in desperate city fleas? National has the farmer.
    Why is that, do you think???

    I’ve asked that question many times of many other Posters here and as yet? Not one single comment from any of you.

    My mother gave her entire life, and I mean her ‘entire’ life, to working her farms ( 650 acres then 3000 acres ) only to lose her lifes work to 20% + interest rates after the vile, despotic and criminal shenanigans of the then manager of the BNZ in Timaru aided and abetted by remote control by the arch criminal don brash parked up on his flaccid arse cheeks in OUR Reserve Bank. He sat in there , fiddling and scheming like an old rat with time on its hands. And weirdly and ironically his wing man a one time National Party contender and Right Wing law professor buddy in Ch Ch ganged up on Honi Harawira recently. A kind of Boy on Boy tag team to oust the oiks. Never mind that oiks pay the largest amount if taxes and then their dysfunction caused by the horrible consequences of impoverishment feed a legal system charging around $300.00 and hour. Again. Oh, the irony ?
    Can I now dig my mum up and explain to her why it’s taken more than thirty years for the vaguest spark of justice beginning to shine out of the Darkness that roger douglas and his cronies traitorously sold us into?
    National’s been swindling farmers for many, many year. You and your mates will know that. So why now, that we must talk about TPPA’s and Trade and futures of Nations ?
    ( What’s going on here. I suddenly smell a rat even larger than big don ! ? )
    Can I ask my mum to pass on our best wishes to the other, most recent farmers to suicide in poverty and shame at the hands of the ANZ bank ?
    Can we explain to them all, that we’re only just beginning to understand the plight of our primary industry at the hands of thieves and liars ?
    In a soon to be starving world with the TPPA, looming like a gang on a street corner, while we Kiwis, by majority, still think Auckland feeds us, supports us and had built the infrastructure that was sold by the criminals excreted from the Labour Party ( Some of whom went off to start their own political tumours such as ACT ) that their time is upon us?
    Or do I have to watch on as Professional, Professor and Politician side steps weaving the NZ Farmer into NZ’s socio economic and progressive future for the nation by metaphorically welding Farmers to their down-stream service industries and infrastructure?

    What d’ ya think of them apples then Professor Kelsey ?

    What do you think might happen if, by some miracle, all NZ Farmers went out on a one year stop work strike? Because, ya know? They can’t see your progressive future for the nation. All they see is on-going financial insecurity coupled with a growing sense of powerlessness.

    No rams, bulls, stags, stallions or billy goats for the wooing of their ewes,cows, she-deer etc.

    No grains, seeds, vegetables, fruits, wines, cheeses, fishes, wools, timber, nuts, roots or leaves?

    Nothing. For one year. And after that one year off? Do you know how long it’d take to bring back the above produce and materials for you to eat and wear Professor? Yes, that’s right. One more year.

    Of course, you could always use Auckland’s economic house-power to pay to import foods ( Braw hahahahahahahah ! ) but then you’d have to get those foods past striking warfies, truckies and railway workers wouldn’t you?

    Now, ponder the above ? Then look at poor widdle Labour . Awww. Isn’t it like a little squeaky kitty kitten with nowhere to go. Awwwwwww….. ! ( I don’t know whether to cry or vomit. I could be a sight to behold if I get the shits from pondering “our progressive future for the nation ” . )

    • Draco T Bastard says:

      You never once mention where you might think the money will come from to manufacture a ‘ nation ‘ ( Ulp ! ) with a ‘ progressive future ‘ ( Barrrffff ! )

      And do you understand where money does come from and why it produces the imbalanced result that it does?

      • countryboy says:

        Yes. Actually I do. From little Fairies who live in La La land . Certainly not from beastly farmers making stuff that others sell off-shore for grotesquely inflated returns that we never see.

        What’s your take on that?

  19. Theodore says:

    On the one hand, Trump would dump the TPPA if he became President of the Fascist Republic of Amerika.

    On the other hand, his finger would be on the big red nuclear button.

    Either way, we’d be FUCKED!!!

  20. Save NZ says:

    Hear Hear, Labour needs to be totally clear they oppose the TPPA and they should also carefully look at the overall aftermath of the China trade deal.

    Under National, the Chinese have bought the farms not the milk powder. Bought in their own workers and reduced local employment. Partnerships have created milk scandals. It has Bankrupted on paper many farmers when fluctuating prices mean’t farmers over extended themselves financially and with stock, using supplementary feed rather than keeping a tight approach on costs.

    NZ business should be put on side by making it much clearer that they are going to be put at risk under these free trade deals.

    I have no problem with globalism and multinationals if they are benefiting the country by having high paid jobs and employing local people and adding to skill levels. This is not happening under many of the trade deals, instead they are being used to lower wages and conditions and increasing inequality and lowering the standard of goods and services to NZ consumers, while increasing litigation and complexity of contracts.