Nowhere for Labour to hide on TPPA in election year

By   /   May 16, 2017  /   38 Comments

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As Prime Minister Bill English heads off to Japan with trade minister Todd McClay in their quest to revive the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) minus the USA, ‘the silence from Labour is deafening’, Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey observes. ‘In an election year, they had hoped the TPPA was dead and buried. Now there is nowhere for them to hide.’

As Prime Minister Bill English heads off to Japan with trade minister Todd McClay in their quest to revive the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) minus the USA, ‘the silence from Labour is deafening’, Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey observes. ‘In an election year, they had hoped the TPPA was dead and buried. Now there is nowhere for them to hide.’

Earlier this week Australian Labor Party leader Bill Shorten confirmed in his budget reply speech that his party will not back the Coalition Government’s efforts to revive the TPP without the United States.

The New Zealand Greens and New Zealand First have also both rejected the government’s move.

Labour voted against ratification of the TPPA in the Parliament, saying the economic case did not stack up. Now, the prize of access to US markets that National used to justify the trade-offs for the right to regulate on many other issues has gone. Minister McClay has admitted the government has no analysis to back their pursuit of the deal without the US.

According to Professor Kelsey, the latest reports from Japan say a statement has been drafted that commits the remaining trade ministers to implement the TPPA by the end of this year. New provisions for entry into force and for original signatories to become parties are designed to expedite the US return to the fold. Trade ministers from the eleven countries will be asked to adopt the joint statement when they meet for APEC in Hanoi on 21 May, and finish the process in time for the leaders’ meeting at APEC in November.

‘Unbelievably’, she says, ‘they plan to retain the existing text, with all the toxic rules the US insisted on that undermine affordable medicines, grant foreign investors special rights to enforce offshore, prohibit requirements for data to be held onshore, and more.’

‘But why would the US want to re-join if its corporations have already got the benefits of the rules without paying anything for them?’

Minister McClay has conceded that this would be a new agreement to be put before the House, but that only means another process of impotent submissions and staged debate. The legislation has already been passed. Nothing seems likely to happen before the election, meaning Labour will have to deal with it as government or as opposition.

Professor Kelsey called on Labour to take a position now, so voters know where it stands – and, as with Australia, so the National government knows that it cannot claim any bipartisan support for its ideologically-driven attempt to keep the deeply unpopular agreement alive.

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38 Comments

  1. Strypey says:

    This TPP is a zombie that just refuses to lie down and die. Can somebody *please* stick a knife in its brain and finish it off, Investor-State Dispute Settlements and all?

  2. garibaldi says:

    This just proves Labour is still in bed with big business. Trouble is the Greens are falling over backwards to join them.

  3. TB says:

    Labour is against the TPPA. What’s so hard to understand?

    • kejomu says:

      Like Phil Goff was against selling Auckland Port Co !!!!!

      • WILD KATIPO says:

        Phil Goff the left over neo liberal from the Roger Douglas era…

        Not really a good example…

        One step up from Shearers advocacy of private army’s…

        Never liked the pair of them… glad Labour’s shod of them.

  4. Jack Ramaka says:

    The TPPA is an extension of Zombie Economics which has infested this country over the past 30-40 years, a 6000 page Legal Document is not a Free Trade Agreement.

    In the 1970’s we owned our Banks, Insurance Companies, Power Companies, Telecommunications, Railways, Airlines, Stock & Station Agents etc,etc, etc

    In the 2010’s we own virtually nothing and we are $90 Billion in Debt, is this really good economic management ?

    • jay1 says:

      Reminds me of South Africa:

      When the white man came we owned everything and they owned the Bible.

      Years later: We had the Bible and their religion and they had all the land! 🙁

      • WILD KATIPO says:

        Ha ! – not really that way post 1984.

        Post 1984 changed everything for everybody – if you were not in the ‘ in circle ‘ , that is…

        Milton Freidman and the good old Mont Pelerin Society in league with the Business Roundtable did a real good hit job on this naive little country.

        And I assure you ,… that had NOTHING to do with the Bible.

  5. Dave says:

    The TPPA is worth a go if you you remove the politics from it and get your head around it.

    • bert says:

      That is until a country sues your own country for billions but I suppose like robbing a bank, it was “worth a go”.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Dave,

      Just ask Canada about the amount of Corporations that have sued them since the NAFTA deal that they joined with USA/Mexico during the 1990’s well they were sued so may times and guess what USA was not sued even a small amount in comparison.

      It is because of the deep pocket of Corporations and friendly Governments that rolled over for the Investor-State Dispute Settlements!!!!

      Get the facts right Dave.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Only if your a corporate globalist Dave , … who views national sovereignty as an impediment…

  6. Castro says:

    The silence from those who think they are on “the left”, such as Professor Kelsey, on the tearing up of our Free Slave Agreement with the Chinese dictatorship, is also deafening.

  7. Samwise says:

    Labour better be upfront with us on globalisation and the TPP, or else it will find itself consigned to the dustbin of history,

  8. WILD KATIPO says:

    By Crikey !… if that goes ahead there will be sheer bloody hell to pay , if its Labour or National who forms the next govt..

    But it wont be Labour because if they want any coalition with either the Greens or NZ First they will reject it. Any hows, National will lose this election despite the doomsayers and the RWNJ’s lead balloon one liners.

    Almost every week now we are seeing some distasteful word or action from National MP’s or the PM himself, this episode with Ngaro is the latest example… its almost as if they have a political death wish…

    • Jack Ramaka says:

      Might be a NZF/Greens Coalition if they can get 35% together ?

      • WILD KATIPO says:

        I think your ‘Labouring ‘ the point there matey …

        🙂

      • Iain Mclean says:

        Jack;

        If that happened I would bet on the possibility of a Grand Coalition between
        National and Labour.! To ‘save NZ’, so to speak, from it’s misguided views.

        That both, (in the end), have the same Puppet Masters is something we
        all should have firmly in our heads by now due to the dreadful state of the MSM, our observation of past history (same agenda progresses) and
        ample information from the Internet.

        TPTB have always tried to stack their cards on both sides of the fence.
        (eg; the funding of both sides in WW2 is an historic fact)

        We witness this in America with both sides fighting against Trump.

        In my opinion, NZ has only one chance to ‘break the mold’ from this
        Globalization Tyranny heading our way and that is if NZF outpolls Labour
        and becomes the Government in a coalition. Then to lean on Labour to
        correct their ways.

        If that happened,what’s the bet the Grand Coalition would go ahead anyway.

        It would be the end of Labour forever.

        Cheers.

  9. saveNZ says:

    The Natz are so desperate to sell out NZ and create a USA style of poverty. Words fail to understand their ideology of stupidity.

    Labour should be strongly against TPPA and voice it clearly. Bumbling along is not going to get them elected as it’s pretty clear that worldwide the Labour party that wanted student fees, neoliberalism, Iraq war and free trade agreements has meant that they are out of power for years and are not gaining much traction.

    Labour need to voice a different path or the Natz will win.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      I agree.

      ” the Labour party that wanted student fees, neoliberalism, Iraq war and free trade agreements has meant that they are out of power for years and are not gaining much traction.”

      The crux of the issue.

      And people are waiting on Labour to move far away from that neo liberal disease. They would have a riotous landslide of votes if they did. it seems under Little it is happening slowly… at a snails pace, but not nearly fast enough, but I guess he has to contend with those neo liberal elements still remaining.

      But it is clear it is that , that needs to be dealt to . And to do that , they need to get bold and aggressive and stop being so passive and walking on eggs. Kick out the remaining neo liberals and their influence and Labour would flourish.

  10. Jack Ramaka says:

    Labour still can’t let go of it’s neoliberal ideology and the great wealth it could potentially bring to the country, they are still following this flawed ideology, very similar to chasing the pot of gold in the ground at the end of the rainbow.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      Its a difficult one because then Labour would incur the criticism of ‘doing it first ‘ … where in fact it wasn’t traditionalist Labour people but Roger Douglas and his Mont Pelerin Society direct connections.

      The reality was , both Douglas and Ruth Richardson were both members of the Mont Pelerin Society board of directors – so no matter which major party ( Labour or National ) people voted for , – all they were going to get was a continuation of the same basic format.

      Douglas conducted his subversion of the Labour party and then headed off to form ACT. It was Norman Kirk who told Douglas ” If you ever mention that again ( neo liberal economics, basically ) I will expel you from the party ” …

      So now we see, … that it was not so much either Labour or National that caused the destruction , but an ideology.

      Before 1984 , we followed Keynesian economics, not neo liberalism . And both National and Labour were in general accordance with adhering to that. It would take a power of apology’s for being the party that first fostered neo liberalism ,… and to admit that they were had royally from within.

      It’s going to take some time before that generation retires / dies off before we see Labour fully released from association of that unfortunate time. But until then , as Prof Kelsey states… Labour needs to draw a line and be bold and speak with clarity against the TTPA.

      Certainly the Greens and NZ First have.

      That is the least Labour can do.

  11. Jack Ramaka says:

    This Zombie TPPA is like a 7 Headed Monster that keeps appearing out of the ground to consume us all ?

  12. Jack Ramaka says:

    This Zombie TPPA is like a 7 Headed Monster that keeps appearing out of the ground to consume us all ?

  13. Jack Ramaka says:

    Labour still can’t let go of it’s neoliberal ideology and the great wealth it could potentially bring to the country, they are still following this flawed ideology, very similar to chasing the pot of gold in the ground at the end of the rainbow.

  14. Kim dandy says:

    Easy – I would strongly consider voting Labour if they outrightly opposed the ‘corporate dream’ TPP agreement…and not likely if they don’t. – every vote counts right?

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      I would say it would be their Waterloo if they didn’t oppose it.

      1) Both the Greens and NZ First oppose it. And have stated so unequivocally.

      2) They would instantly lose a massive voter appeal for being sell outs.

      3) Any hoped for coalition govt would instantaneously be put in jeopardy.

      Without wanting to spill the beans but still being an honest bastard ,… I’d say they are not wanting to spook the business community who are hoping for greater trade access… and that’s a risky thing to say…

      🙂

      The price of being honest.

  15. Sigh says:

    This whole thread is bizarre. Labour opposes the TPPA because it undermines New Zealand sovereignty, not for the reasons Kelsey says. It’s stated clearly on their website and they voted against it when it came to parliament.

    • Louis says:

      Agree with you and people should read Labour’s website before they put their feet into their mouths.

      • WILD KATIPO says:

        True , … but there is now such a cynicism among people after 33 years of subversion and broken promises and outright lies due to the very nature of the perversity of neo liberalism…

        People want straight up answers. I recall Labour opposing the TTPA , – after the Greens and NZ First boldly opposed it earlier on… it just was a bit of a delayed reaction in peoples minds from Labour,… I’m confident that Labour wont let us down though,… but its always good to hold them to their word.

        Any version whatsoever of a reconstituted TTPA deal is off the cards for those wanting to preserve our national sovereignty.

        And that message has got to be clear and seen to be acted on for those who would vote for a Labour led govt this coming September.

  16. Mike the Lefty says:

    I thought Labour had already said that with the United States withdrawing from the deal, it was now a dead duck and they wouldn’t support it.
    Is this not the case?

  17. Louis says:

    Difficult to understand this attack on the Labour party. Labour tweeted a response to a comment someone had made just the other week reaffirming that they oppose the TPPA and voted against it. Labour’s view had not changed from that. What’s with that derogatory cartoon? What’s housing got to do with the TPPA? It’s the National government that’s flogging that dead tppa horse.

    • WILD KATIPO says:

      ‘ It’s the National government that’s flogging that dead tppa horse.’

      Indeed it is.

      And its National that has created the housing speculators dream in NZ over the last 9 years.

      Not Labour.

      But I think the point of the cartoon was to hold Labour to account and remind it again of its (commendable) stance of opposing the TTPA. It doesn’t hurt to remind party’s of their promises and their obligations to the voters ,- in some ways that’s a good thing – it gives feedback directly that certain things are not just a passing ‘ stage’ or ‘ fancy ‘, but
      something that is critical for that party to be seen to follow through with.

      I don’t think it is an attack on Labour , more than it is a quiet warning to not mess with public opinion , – opinion that could be vital for the next Labour led govt.

      And perhaps that includes following through and making good with the housing issue as well.

      I hope we have a Labour led govt after this September general election.

      We cannot afford another term of the subversive National party.

      A Labour led govt is our best and only hope.

      • Louis says:

        No disrespect intended, but I still see this as an unnecessary attack and fail to see how that derogatory cartoon has any relationship with the TPPA being a reminder not to mess with public opinion and a warning to follow through. Labour governments generally don’t break it’s word, not like National perpetually do anyway. Clark’s Labour government built thousands of state homes, and a massive mix model build in Hobsonville had been signed off and set to go when Labour got ousted. John Key took no time in binning it. National’s intention, which is always about greed, is the housing crisis and shambles we have been left with. Andrew Little’s Labour is not like that. I am firm in the belief that if Andrew Little says Labour is going to something, then they will, if given a chance.

  18. Louis says:

    Another strange point about this thread. Why is this article written in 3rd person?