Jane Kelsey responds to Labour’s TPPA announcement


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Labour’s attempt to spin this announcement to appear to take a principled position that meets its members’ concernsm is disingenuous at best. There is only one red line in this list. The rest you can drive a bus through.

That one red line reflects David Parker’s obsession with the right to regulate foreign investment in land – a crucially important right of governments, but it has already been given away in relation to China through the recent Korea FTA, because China is entitled to the same treatment as NZ gives Korea. True, not including it in the TPPA would mean the US and Japanese investors don’t get it, but investors can re-locate themselves easily enough to take advantage of the existing FTAs.

Is Labour not equally concerned about protecting the right to introduce a capital gains tax (a question not answered by officials in relation to the Korea FTA and not mentioned by Labour)? Or not pouring more of the health budget down the trough of Big Phrma or its local offshoot (not some vague promise that ‘Pharmac must be protected” – what does that mean????)? Or ensuring the SOE chapter will allow Labour to establish their state-owned KiwiAssure or rebuild a genuine public broadcaster?

As for balancing the economic gains, they know the economics don’t stand up.

Moreover, Labour seems to be sticking to the ‘we can’t reach a final decision until we see the fine print’ – by which time they know they can’t change anything.

What really matters to National is to legitimise the TPPA by claiming bi-partisan support. Labour’s leader Andrew LIttle needs to have the guts to say to Phil Goff, Mike Moore protogé Clayton Cosgrove, health minister Annette King (who has been super silent on the health impacts) and David Parker that this deal will place unacceptable handcuffs on future Labour governments and that Labour is going to oppose it – and he needs to do so before the TPPA ministers meet in Maui on Tuesday.


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  1. Labour is just as right wing today as it was 20 years ago. They are no answer to our problem. In fact they are part of the problem!

    The quicker this Nat-Lite party dies the better!

  2. As I said recently in one of Chris Trotters articles…now is the time for certain among Labour….starting with Little…to have a ‘ blood and guts ‘ attitude and stop pandering to these old guard Rogernomes .

    And this could be the opportune time to set that in motion.

    They’re not the boss – he is. And as leadership comes in many styles ,…from the alpha wolf autocratic to the group facilitating consensus mode…I think it is time for Little to chose the former.

    The reason is that this country has suffered enough under the Rogernomes and the total lack of any discernable difference between National and Labour…

    And so…on the eve of this TTPA becoming a reality for this country ….now is NOT the time to be passive and impotent.

    We need real leadership – dynamic leadership .

    Leadership that isn’t afraid to stare down those who carry out this agenda with ulterior motives – motives that will almost certainly curtail the democratic sovereignty of this nation.

    We do not need any more ‘don’t rock the boat ‘ ,’ softly , softly ‘ types who have NEVER delivered either what the people wanted or asked for.

    And mark my words…if this TTPA goes ahead and all we get from Andrew Little and Labour is some half hearted ‘ going through the motions ‘ to give the impression they are trying …yet knowingly are NOT ….then they will go down in history as the ‘ worth less than nothing ‘ weak sell outs that aided and abetted this National hijacking of our country for the benefit of foreign corporations.

    Its been two thousand years since Judas Iscariot and Pontius Pilate did what they did…and people still haven’t forgotten the associations of what those names represent.

    I would say that Andrew Little and his supporters better get cracking on this TTPA business or they will be remembered for the same sort of negative mental imagery that springs to mind as those two infamous individuals above.

  3. As this whole matter has been so secretive, is it legal under the Rule of Law? Just reading under the Heading on the Constitution of New Zealand / The governor General it says…

    The Queens Reigns
    but the government rules
    so long as it has the support of The House of Representatives
    Real Power in Legal Form is taken by the Governor General.

    It does address the obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi.

    Hopefully, if it’s not in our best interests, it will fail to go thru.

    • Another point I forgot to mention is that the New Zealand Government is a United States S.E.C. Registered Corporation.
      Corporations may not govern.

  4. I’m not sure what’s wrong with Labour’s statement. If a deal won’t undermine Pharmac, upholds the Treaty, won’t ban foreign land sales, won’t let corporates win law suits against the govt for regulating in the public interest and gives billions of dollars of access for our agricultural products how on earth could they feasibly oppose the TPPA?

    No one knows for sure what is in the deal. You can’t credibly oppose something if you don’t know what’s in it. What you can do is set down conditions and that’s what Labour’s done – and they’re good conditions. I don’t know why you’re so busy directing your fire at the Labour Party.

    • FFS, read the small print, that is of similar treaties already in place. Do you seriously believe, little NZ and the few companies here have the same bargaining powers and resources as their counterparts in the US, Japan, China and so?

      Living on remote islands seems to cause something to people’s mindset I start to think. They say the same about the Brits in Europe. Some believe they are safe from whatever economic or other consequences that can be very harmful, simple because we live on somewhat remote islands.

      John Key and his government are sellout masters, and sadly Labour did the same in some ways with the China NZ FTA. Who seriously believes that China happily continues buying endless high price dairy and other products, to make New Zealanders rich?

      They play off producers one by one, and take their pickings, they also have the large buyer power, to influence the global market, and take actions that force prices down, to levels that suits them. The supermarkets in Europe do the same with dairy farmers there, so that many small to medium size dairy farms in many European countries are going bust, as the costs are not covered by the price they get paid.

      If only some people would start waking up to all this madness.

  5. I know this is going to sound bizarre, but I was told today that this deal may well be something akin to a strong-arm action whereby if one doesn’t go along with the deal there will be serious consequences. Hence the secrecy.

    I think this may well be the reason for Andrew Little’s light footsteps.

    This comment will probably be edited out, but I pass on in good faith what was told to me.

    • Of course it’s strong arm tactics. I’d bet money on direct threat tactics. This has nothing to do with creating trade opportunities but rather withholding trade until we conform to their corporate desires. Suits Key, he’ll be right up their corporate bums on a big salary — as soon as he signs, he’ll leave here so fast the air will catch fire.

  6. Labour have suddenly cherry picked five conditions from the hundreds or maybe thousands that people opposing this secret deal have talked about. This anti democratic TPPA that the Govt has promoted as giving us $5 billion dollar dairy access to the bloated US dairy market, in light of the current Dairy Auctions nothing but an empty joke. Labour have done this by avoiding reading any of the leaked Wikileaks documents and information available from published TTIP sources (which mirror TPPA) and extrapolated by very learned sources from many many similar trends. As an opposition party for the last couple of terms Labour have not acted like one at all – but very much like a party that has lost its purpose and directions. This sudden and very small effort is a distraction that carries no weight at all. If they had any commitment they would have been in their full numbers supporting NZFirst and Fletcher’s reading of his bill. Where were they? Labour are taking up space and energy as spectators to the John Key Show. I can not support Labour but I can dispair as the lack of Opposition weigh has left our Democracy in tatters and let the National Govt run free.

  7. Quote from above: “That one red line reflects David Parker’s obsession with the right to regulate foreign investment in land – a crucially important right of governments, but it has already been given away in relation to China through the recent Korea FTA, because China is entitled to the same treatment as NZ gives Korea.”

    New Zealand is already screwed, and the Prime Minister bluntly admitted this on Q+A yesterday, that the FTAs with Korea and Singapore already disable New Zealand governments to stop foreign investment, including in residential housing.

    The China NZ FTA is based on a similar principle, that China must not be treated less favourably than any other trading partner of New Zealand, when it comes to buying real estate or whatever here.

    So there we go, that is basically what I had expected for quite some time, having read the investment part of the China NZ FTA.

    There are billions of dollars ready to roll, from wealthy Mainland Chinese tycoons, from billionaires and millionaires, some with shady backgrounds, and also corporations and companies from there, who seek havens with “opportunities” to invest in.

    John Key has signed our future away, Labour did sign our future away, with signing that part of the China NZ FTA in 2007 or 2008. New Zealand First and the Greens were right with their reservations and criticism, but the two larger parties have fallen for the idiotic ideological belief, that a tiny nations such as New Zealand, with limited economic and financial clout, can deal and trade with the largest and now second or third most powerful nation on this planet on “equal” terms.

    Now we face a similar tragic act, with the TPPA, where more of our sovereignty will be handed over, will be traded, to benefit especially globally active corporations, and large players, who will come here and buy this place, and bring their terms and conditons, at least through the backdoor, and in future, we will be even more working slaves, and tenants in our own land.

    How damned stupid is the silent majority out there, do they not read the small print, do they not listen, have they fallen for the Prince “Lucifer” of grand finance and merchant banking, aka John Key, and fallen prey to his spell, so they are totally numb and blind, and no longer able to think for themselves?

    I start to think the people here deserve it, to be forced to sell the last rag from under their bum. That was done to Tangata Whenua, with a cunning “treaty”, now all these other modern day “treaties” they are coming to bite your backsides, very nastily and hard, dear friends.

    Now I understand those sell-out politicians of past years, Bolger and Shipley and Richardson, when some of them claimed, this country will be an “Asian nation”. It was decided a long time ago, by the elite, to simply sell this place off to the next best bidder on the block, and they already saw the rise of the new economic powers, so they simply shrugged their shoulders and thought, I look after my perks, and make the necessary deals, stuff the common people, stuff the next generations, perhaps the US or Europe will adopt them as economic refugees.

    But the corporations from there have their own alternative agendas too.

  8. On signing the TPPA, Climate Change & it will be totally intertwined. Corporations will have no restraint on discharge to air or water. Introduction on a huge scale for ge & gmo & chemical usage. Mining in our parks. Water extraction out of Fiordland, tanker traffic. Drilling for oil, gas both onshore & off. Any hinderance, brings in isds, only have to look at Central & South America for reference. Be a very sad country after its introduction. Climate talks in Paris are a farce as TPPA overrides it all. Good luck.

  9. The TPPA would be perhaps the most fundamental constitutional change to our constitution since the 17th Century or even Magna Carta.

    Also, it would require the consent of the Treaty of Waitangi Partners.

    Why are our leaders not calling for a binding referendum on such radical constitutional change?

    Even if the tangata tiriti approve TPPA in a binding referendum, the consent of the Treaty Partners other than the Crown is still required.

  10. huffingtonpost.com gives a reports on how the U.S. is viewing the TPP. They have concerns especially about the closed door discussions.

  11. Hi Jane.

    I believe it MUST be illegal for a democratically elected term limited government to circumvent democracy FOREVER by signing a deal that gives power away to international 3rd parties infinitely beyond their term, to say nothing of the extraordinary secrecy other clauses and a cock-eyed blue sky estimate of a 1/10,000 increase in GDP by 2025.

    It is anathema to the concept and practice of democracy, but IF somehow it isn’t illegal YET on some basis of being a breach of the structure that gave them their term (Democracy)…

    Then we MUST make it one: https://www.toko.org.nz/petitions/stop-the-current-government-from-giving-away-our-democracy-forever

    But you are the law expert, opinion? Support?

    To not do so is to kiss good-bye to democracy at the whim of a couple bought and sold politicians, or simply slow ones that don’t read/comprehend what they agree to (or take some compromised experts word for legal jargon they don’t understand).

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