Flouting The Rules: Why has Andrew Little rejected a winning TPPA strategy for a guaranteed loser?

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THE STRATEGY SEEMED SO OBVIOUS: Seize upon the one issue around which the three principal opponents of the Key Government could unite and win the 2017 election. The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) was not only philosophical Kryptonite to Labour, the Greens and NZ First, but, once ratified, it would constitute a position from which National and its allies could not retreat. John Key, the master of the policy flip-flop and the 180 degree emergency hand-brake turn, could not resile from or repudiate the TPPA. Not without losing face – and credibility – in front of the whole world. Meanwhile, Labour, the Greens and NZ First would march to victory on a road paved with the TPPA’s odious concessions and unreasonable expectations.

Labour and the Greens are reforming parties and, in its own strange fashion, so is NZ First. The TPPA is designed to prevent political parties from reforming anything. That is why, philosophically-speaking, the agreement is Kryptonite to all but those parties dedicated to advancing the Neoliberal cause.

When John Key and the Trade Minister, Tim Groser, reassure New Zealanders that they can’t envisage any circumstances where the Investor/State Disputes Settlement (ISDS) provisions would be enforced against a New Zealand government, they are, in a dishonest sort of way, telling the truth. A National-led government is never likely to renationalise the banks and insurance companies; establish a NZ Residential Construction Authority, strengthen organised labour; introduce tough new measures against climate change; clean up our rivers and streams; or revitalise public broadcasting. So what possible reason would the big transnational corporations have to invoke the ISDS provisions of the TPPA against it?

But a Labour-Green-NZ First coalition government, pledged to implement every one of the above policy initiatives, would constitute a clear and present danger to the profits of transnational capital. Resolving the resulting ISDS claims, brought against it under the TPPA, would cost a reforming New Zealand Government tens – quite possibly hundreds – of millions of dollars. In other words, you can have a Labour-Green-NZ First government dedicated to meaningful social and economic reform, or, you can have the TPPA, but you can’t have both.

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The question Labour Party members need to ask themselves, now, is both quite simple and quite scary: “Is our party still committed to meaningful social and economic reform?” Because, if Labour remains a party dedicated to the uplift and empowerment of the marginalised and exploited members of our society, then it cannot possibly accept the TPPA in its current form. And yet, Labour’s current leader, Andrew Little, speaking on Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report on Tuesday, 13 October 2015, declared the TPPA to be something that Labour “is not in a position to oppose”. The National Government, he said, had “committed” New Zealand to the TPP. So, it simply “doesn’t matter what we say and do” because “we’ve got what we’ve got”.

It is difficult to interpret those words in any other way than as a declaration that Labour does not intend to fight the 2017 General Election on the issues of national sovereignty; the health of our democracy; citizens’ rights in the workplace; environmental sustainability; the state provision of affordable housing; or a comprehensive reform of the news media. Nor does Mr Little appear to either understand or endorse the obvious strategy of building a united electoral front around these issues. A strategy which would, simultaneously, highlight the role the TPPA would inevitably play in attempting to stymie such profit-threatening reforms.

Not that Mr Little was without a strategy on Tuesday morning. His proposed way of dealing with the TPPA was to see it ratified; to assist the National Government in bringing New Zealand’s laws into conformity with its provisions; and then, upon becoming the Government, simply “flout” those TPPA rules which conflict with his government’s plans.

As a gift to Labour’s political opponents, this strategy is hard to beat. No responsible political party loudly announces to the world that, if it wins office, no other nation should place the slightest trust in their country’s solemnly given word. Such behaviour would turn this country into an international pariah.

Not that it’s likely to happen. From now until the 2017 election, National will use Mr Little’s words to shred Labour’s political credibility. Not only that, but Little’s decision to “flout” will also allow Mr Key to present New Zealand’s adherence to the TPPA as a matter of national honour. Labour will be made to look like an untrustworthy bunch of thieves and liars.

Among the many problems associated with Mr Little’s performance on Tuesday morning was the fact that it took place several hours prior to the scheduled meeting of Labour’s parliamentary caucus – the first at which the previous week’s settlement of the TPPA could be debated. On the strength of discussions held the night before with his own advisors and the group (Phil Goff, Annette King, Grant Robertson and David Shearer) who’d accompanied him to a special, 2-hour, TPPA briefing session, organised by Trade Minister Groser, the Caucus’s agreed position on the TPPA (that it would not be endorsed if it failed to meet five carefully worded and non-negotiable conditions) was effectively overturned and the new policy of “flouting” the TPPA adopted.

Aspects of Groser’s special briefing raise several more worrying questions. Why was it not arranged to take place at a time when Labour’s shadow Attorney-General and spokesperson on trade and export growth, David Parker, could attend? Why was Andrew Little, on holiday for the previous week, not given time to catch his breath before being thrown in to such an important meeting? Was there contact between Goff, King and Shearer and Groser’s team in the run-up to the Tuesday briefing? And, finally, was any attempt made to involve the NZ Council of the Labour Party, or members of the party’s Policy Council, in discussions preparatory to the Tuesday briefing – or the change of policy that followed it?

Labour members have a right to know why it was that the obvious (and potentially winning) strategy of joining with the Greens and NZ First to campaign against the TPPA was jettisoned without the slightest input from either the Caucus or the Party, and replaced with a policy guaranteed to submerge the Labour Opposition in a self-inflicted deluge of derision and shame.

77 COMMENTS

  1. The media is involved with dredging out the words they can use, not unlike what happened in NY with the media picking Helen Clark’s supposed support for TPPA that some later said she was “Misrepresented”.

    Was this the same media types trawling to get the exact words to turn into political capital also as they have done with Little?

    Little can later follow the Keyster and do similar u-turns as keyster does all the time, and survives every time afterward?

  2. Can a process with such a secretive, non-inclusive genesis spawn any kind of truly transparent, democratic response?
    This is a power game, for keeps.

  3. Finally, someone from TBD posts about the wreckage that is the hopes of those of us desperate for a change of government.

    Most definitely correct Mr. Trotter, this was a perfect opportunity for Labour to step up and lead the way.

    Stand up to the National Government on behalf of those who John Key wrote off as being “politically irrelevant” and “misinformed”.

    Well, it would appear that Our Leader was correct…probably the first correct statement he’s made in a while.

    So…what went on behind closed doors the other day?

    Was information was passed on to the Labour MPs that makes any opposition to the TPPA impossible?

    • Well, it could quite reasonably be that any kind of opposition will be purely symbolic and pretty much futile, as there will be no parliamentary vote on it (gee how democratic) but I think that should not change what they must do. Symbolic or no, they must put up the fight, as when it comes to the time to do something about the sell off of NZ to foreigners, they will need all the credibility they can get. If anyone kicks up a stink from overseas I would imagine that Labour basically having supported the TPPA could well be used against them.
      Bombard them, let them know in no uncertain terms where it is the people who will eventually elect them demand they do.
      We must not give up.

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

    • So…what went on behind closed doors the other day?
      Was information was passed on to the Labour MPs that makes any opposition to the TPPA impossible?

      Something doesn’t add up.

      On 7th October Chris Trotter wrote a post Securing “Buy-In” For The TPP: The Deep State Takes Over. First paragraph of that post (emphasis added):

      IT IS NOW CLEAR that Helen Clark’s Trans-Pacific Partnership advocacy in New York was just the beginning. The opening move in a chess game that will end with the Labour Party knocking over its King and returning to the bi-partisan fold on the issue of “Free Trade”. To achieve this turnaround will require the mobilisation of all of the non-elected elements of the New Zealand political system.

      So, a week ago Chris predicted Labour would roll over. And why?

      Behind the scenes, however, Labour MPs will find themselves on the receiving end of one-on-one briefings from old friends and colleagues (senior civil servants, leading academics) “deeply concerned” that Labour has positioned itself in the wrong place, on the wrong issue.

      And…

      Even further behind the scenes, a mounting surveillance effort will engage the resources of both the SIS and the GCSB. Relying on the legal clauses that empower these agencies to protect the “economic well-being” of New Zealand, leading figures in the Anti-TPP movement will have their communications intercepted and their movements tracked.

      And…

      Were Labour’s opposition to the TPP allowed to stand, an opportunity would open up for voters to elect a government committed to its rejection. The election of such a government would not only put at risk all the secret material pertaining to the negotiation of the TPP, but it would also force into the open all of the deeply undemocratic assumptions underpinning the deal. Such exposure would seriously compromise the reputations of the politicians and civil servants involved in negotiating the TPP. Even more seriously, it would expose the true intentions of New Zealand’s “friends” and “allies”. It is the duty of the Deep State to make sure that such potentially catastrophic political revelations never happen.

      And finally…

      To paraphrase Henry Kissinger: The Deep State doesn’t see why it should stand by and watch New Zealand’s membership of the TPP put at risk because of the irresponsibility of its own people.

      14th October Chris Trotter, in the above post, writes:

      THE STRATEGY SEEMED SO OBVIOUS: Seize upon the one issue around which the three principal opponents of the Key Government could unite and win the 2017 election. The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) was not only philosophical Kryptonite to Labour, the Greens and NZ First, but, once ratified, it would constitute a position from which National and its allies could not retreat. John Key, the master of the policy flip-flop and the 180 degree emergency hand-brake turn, could not resile from or repudiate the TPPA. Not without losing face – and credibility – in front of the whole world. Meanwhile, Labour, the Greens and NZ First would march to victory on a road paved with the TPPA’s odious concessions and unreasonable expectations.

      What? Is Chris saying that the TPPA is a lame duck waiting to be shot down by an alliance of NZF, Greens & Labour? Those three parties barely communicate with each other.
      But wait, there’s more…

      From now until the 2017 election, National will use Mr Little’s words to shred Labour’s political credibility. Not only that, but Little’s decision to “flout” will also allow Mr Key to present New Zealand’s adherence to the TPPA as a matter of national honour. Labour will be made to look like an untrustworthy bunch of thieves and liars.

      Who advised Little to take that losing “each way bet” Claytons response?
      One more swift kick to the goolies to finish it all off (emphasis added)…

      Labour members have a right to know why it was that the obvious (and potentially winning) strategy of joining with the Greens and NZ First to campaign against the TPPA was jettisoned without the slightest input from either the Caucus or the Party, and replaced with a policy guaranteed to submerge the Labour Opposition in a self-inflicted deluge of derision and shame.

      In the space of a week, the TPPA went from an artifice that had the full weight of the Deep State behind it and was therefore unstoppable with the predicted “Labour Party knocking over its King” to a weakness that the well-formed coalition of Labour/Greens/NZF could exploit to win the next election.
      Transformation doesn’t do justice to that switch. Volte face doesn’t do justice to that switch.

      Something doesn’t add up.

      • Cocked up my end blockquote – and no opportunity to edit the comment.

        Here’s the conclusion – separately:

        In the space of a week, the TPPA went from an artifice that had the full weight of the Deep State behind it and was therefore unstoppable with the predicted “Labour Party knocking over its King” to a weakness that the well-formed coalition of Labour/Greens/NZF could exploit to win the next election.

        Transformation doesn’t do justice to that switch. Volte face doesn’t do justice to that switch.

        Something doesn’t add up.

        • The more I read or listen to Labour Party policies I cannot help but see more of Roger Douglas and his dirty rotten traitors destruction of the Labour Party. HAS ANYTHING CHANGED?

          We want a party that represents the workers of this land, a party that has a plan to make NZ self sufficient, a party that will create work for NZ’ers, a party that will tell the US, China and any other foreign powers – the workers of this country do not want your Free Trade Agreements that are created to solely destroy the workers of the world.

          Wake up Andrew Little – show us your plans.

      • The problem is that there is no parliamentary “winning strategy” in a tiny semi-colonial country where foreign capital dictates state policy.

        A Labour-Green etc government would not ‘flout’ the TPP because they are capitalist parties that observe the rule of law, the rights of private property (even when concentrated in a few monopolies world wide), and would not dare to advocate repudiating the debt and re/nationalising the key sectors of the economy.

        Trotter is desperately trying to stake out a future for morally bankrupt and defunct Social Democracy, blinded like possums in the twin headlights of US and Chinese imperialism.

        The only answer to the TPP as with all imperialist policy that reduces its “partners” to no more than flunkeys of US imperialism (Japan and Australia included) is the rebellion of the masses in these countries, united with the masses in the US and Japan, to throw out all capitalist governments and replace them with governments that represent the interests of the working masses to survive the destruction of civilisation and nature.

        http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2015/09/capitalism-on-fire.html

  4. Machines play a bigger part in society than is relised. All that machine wealth gone to the TPPA designers.

    We may achieve what ever GDP growth targets we like. That wealth will never reach McDonalds workers.

    TPPA or not, Labour is screwed.

  5. Why were they chosen for the meeting?

    Why do you fucking think?

    They are all the leghorns that would cross the floor; they are all the filthy neo-libs deliberately subverting the proper position of Labour for their own nefarious ends; if you want to keep these shifty cunts in the party be prepared to take the consequences. It’s simple cause-and-effect mate.

    Just remember Chris, these are the knobheads whose “loyalty” have kept Labour out of the government benches for the last seven years.

    If Labour will not act as an opposition why the fuck should we believe it’d be any better at government.

  6. Yes, Little and Labour LOST yet again, also the now new discussion on welfare reforms, where cancer sufferers are “work tested”, even if they have terminal sickness. FFS, this was commented on over and over again, but it does NOT appeal to the comfy upper end of “the centre”, who are the upper middle class that Labour want to chase votes from.

    This is a totally losing strategy by Labour and Little, as in the US (Sanders) and UK (Corbyn) the trend is heading into a different direction. Time to wake up, Mr Little and sleepy Labour, and get rid of your hypocrites and shallow operators, who are up to NO good, I fear we face another Nat term unless you finally see the light.

    So where do you stand on cancer sufferers having to jump through endless hoops to get WINZ support, your comments in Parliament were unconvincing and ambiguous.

    http://www.radionz.co.nz/news/national/286914/jobseeker-benefit-for-cancer-patients-'ludicrous

    We know the damned truth by now, those that bother reading this:
    https://nzsocialjusticeblog2013.wordpress.com/2015/10/04/how-the-n-z-health-and-disability-commissioner-let-off-a-biased-designated-doctor/

    Or is the hesitation to turn this into an issue due to Labour having started all this UK imported crap in 2007? (I remember the appointment of Dr Bratt then, the hatched Principal Health Advisor WINZ now have).

    It is time to come clean, Ms King and Mr Little, take a stand, show what you stand for, thank you.

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

    • I think I would be relatively comfortable being in a trade arrangement with a country run by someone like Bernie Sanders, even maybe the USA

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

      • Two things:
        1. It’s not a trade agreement. That’s just a facade.
        2. It’s about transferring power from government to corporations. The US figurehead be it Sanders, Trump, Clinton, Bush or whoever is irrelevant.

        • I agree with you E-clectic except at this stage I have an immense amount of faith in Sanders!
          I feel the Bern!
          The Labour party is dead!

    • “Or is the hesitation to turn this into an issue due to Labour having started all this UK imported crap in 2007?

      Folk have very short memories MOA.

      Weasely words from Labour on this issue today, although I was wondering if someone in Labour had this issue thrown out there today to deflect from the more serious problem that we now clearly HAVE NO OPPOSTION TO NATIONAL.

      When the revolution comes….

      Good work on this Mike Of Auckland.

    • Couldn’t possible read all the last link mike of auckand but got the gist.
      Many people go to designated drs and get their biased decisions.

      A son of a friend almost 60 yrs old,was sent by WINZ to a designated dr, he was in front of dr for 5 mins ,the dr never looked up from his desk and papers he was studying,then said ok that’s it ,you must wait for decision.
      Decision came “fit for work”,dr never even ask questions or examined him.
      When advised by WINZ staff he told them of the drs so called examination Winz person said oh yes weve had a lot of complaints against that dr.
      WINZ reduced him to job seekers allowance,but didn’t make him look for work because it was obvious to anyone he couldn’t work,he was told an appointment would be made by specialist , he had to wait 7months for this appointment.
      Specialist decision “no way could this person be expected to work”
      he has to wait for benefit to be adjusted,with no guarantees he will get the deducted money replaced,he had to borrow money to pay exspences. So the government get money any way they can.

      WINZ was not to blame ,they agreed with specialist but had to follow the rules.THE government pays designated drs to cancel as many benefits as they can,even when not justified. That’s called looking after people.When people are really unwell they don’t have the stamina or will to argue .Paula Bennet said shes proud the way the welfare budget has been reduced,its like saying a mother managed her budget by starving the children.

      • Was that doctor based in Avondale, Auckland by any chance? I am curious, as I heard a lot about one, who got heaps of referrals from WINZ, that made up an extra revenue stream for him. Quite disgusting it is, what is going on. You are onto it!

        • Better to target the designated Dr than WINZ, the greedy pig who is selling sick people down the river for extra money for themselves. Even a small picket outside their practice would shake them up. Wouldnt want their bread and butter patients to know their real character…..

        • There are quite a few designated drs that get money for nothing Mike in Auckland, it was out west but don’t know what dr, the chap lives out there but not Avondale,WINZ are well aware of the lazy drs,this complaint was followed up and hopefully being put right. Blame Paula Bennet in her urge to get brownie points from Key,the WINZ staff are mostly sympathetic,but have to do what they are told,angry people attack the wrong people in most cases,but some staff are arrogant and look down their noses at some clients.

  7. Anyone who even gives the semblance of a toss needs to get emailing or tweeting Little and Labour, maybe Goff, King and a few others and remind them where they are liable to end up if they meekly along with the TPPA.
    This shamozzle of not being able to say who can or can’t buy our houses must be sorted, Labour are suggesting they will do it, but if they just keep putting their hands up in support of the TPPA, no one will believe and if they thought they were struggling now to gain some ground, wait till after that. They need to shore up their credibility and they will have none saying they will flout part of the TPPA whilst at the same time, supporting it. Goff and co have to understand that.
    I see Key has commented on Little’s plan to change the rules around foreign ownership of housing, saying, he can’t decide for future governments. WHAT? He’s done just that, he knows that, but he thinks people are stupid enough to swallow that, sadly, many are.
    The current policy settings are going to see NZers socially engineered to accept renting for life, possibly from a foreigner, will be perfectly normal. Where are all the people who expressed utter outrage at the shower heads and the light bulbs now. God, they pale into insignificance beside this.
    Andrew Little, if you happen to be reading this and if you and Labour want to have any chance of political survival, now really is the time to grow a pair and do what Average Joe is demanding, he is, after all, the buy who votes for you! Listen!

  8. Hugely disappointed in Labour. You have nailed it Mr Trotter.

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

  9. First class analysis from Mr Trotter, bravo.

    Labour’s mask has well and truly fallen from its neoliberal face.

  10. In this case, the TPPA appears to be Gold Kryptonite – the extremely rare, but utterly dangerous isotope that could rob Superman and other Kryptonians of their super-powers*, permanently.

    Appropriate.

    (* Yes, I’m a geek from waaaaay back.)

    Little needs to work on Labour’s message about the TPPA. Simply “flouting” aspects of it we don’t like is ad hoccery and less than honest.

    Here’s one example; if we can’t rid ourselves of the TPPA and the clause which denies us the right to ban foreigners from buying our land and houses – go to Plan B.

    Plan B is an announcement from Labour that we would implement the clause in the TPPA that allows a New Zealand government to tax foreign owners of our land and houses.

    A 100% stamp duty and 100% tax on any capital gain should do it nicely.

    Sorted.

    • Probably a little harsh, many Chinese buyers have been misled into thinking their activity is welcome – but a divestment tax would be a good solution. !% of value in year one. 4% of value in year two. 9% of value in year three… property defaults to NZ ownership within ten years but there is an opportunity to sell it normally without unusual cost.

      • “Harsh”? Perhaps, Stuart.

        My thoughts are with youing New Zealanders, who’ve been locked out of the housing market.

        I bought my first home in 1978, during Muldoon’s “miracle economic stewardship”. Despite mortgage money hard to get and high interest rates, it was still a lot easier to buy my place than what I’m hearing these days.

        It’s like we’ve gone Full Circle back to high LVRs – and instead of scarce mortgages, it’s now scarce or over-priced housing…

        To make it fair on those who’ve bought in good faith, any Stamp Duty or CGT could be imposed on a fair rate.

        But after Day Two – 100% on everything.

        • I read somewhere (MFAT’s ministerial summary of the TPP on there website)m a line was pulled straight out of the Financial chapter of the TPPA, that governments could not change banking laws.

          If taxes is the only leaver the government can pull under TPPA to modify bad market behavior. Not like that would be a future governments fault.

        • While I sympathise with the non-homeowners (I’m one myself), good regulation usually doesn’t crash markets or seize property as such. It can be a bad habit for governments to get into, just as wrecking state assets and fire-selling them has been a bad habit for the Key regime. It was a pretty odious sign that he began his reign with the confiscation of Hubbard’s properties – a great windfall for KordaMentha – at the expense of SCF and of course, the rule of law.

    • The problem with TPP is it is not just about property, it is about medicine, it is about economy, it is about copywrite, it is about who decides justice if there is a dispute.

      Just tinkering on property is not going to make all the other problems with TPP go away.

      That is why they needed to just say no.

      Instead like sheep they are signing or ignoring a bad deal so they don’t have to keep trying for a better deal or (shock horror) not follow the masses into bad deals that only benefit the top 1% of individuals through companies on the back of the taxes of the other 99% of the public who don’t have the money and connections to get a fair deal.

  11. Another coup d’etat within the Labour Party, organised by Shearer, Goff, Nash and King.
    They are the heirs of Douglas, Caygill and Prebble.

    • Spawns of Satan Douglas and Beezlebub Prebble – disgusting neolibs, they need to cross the floor and vote with Nats or shine sunlight on their treacherous presence, then drive a wooden stake.

  12. The left need to finally FINALLY let go of Labour.

    They haven’t been left since 1984 when they spawned the Act party, the most far right party on our political scene.

    I think this latest development is good in that it shows again the true colours of Labour.

    And they’re NOT red.

    Greens or Mana. That’s our choice. Not NZ First, because Winston has proven by his actions he’d do a deal with National.

    Greens or Mana. Pretty much it.

  13. Since I can’t find the quote I’ll paraphrase what Hone said a few years ago: ‘Mana isn’t extreme, we’re what Labour should be’. But for two elections Mana was ignored by the left (admittedly, the KDC demonisation didn’t help in 2014, but Mana had no traction and were ignored from 2011-2014).

    The question we need to ask ourselves is why do the left still bother with Labour? Who do they represent?

    Here’s a reminder of Mana’s policies at the last election (many of which were offered in 2011). They’re what a Corbyn would offer NZ today if Labour had one.

    -Build just trade and investment relationships
    -Terminate all current negotiations for free trade and investment agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
    -Follow the precedent being set by other countries and re-negotiate or terminate investment provisions in all existing free trade and investment agreements.
    -Explore alternative models for international collaboration based on the economics of solidarity, starting with the South Pacific.
    -Require any foreign investment to satisfy a Te Tiriti o Waitangi impact assessment and approval from mana whenua.
    -Introduce a tax on financial speculation, called the ‘Hone Heke’ tax, to restrict speculation on the New Zealand dollar which makes investors rich while destabilizing our economy.
    -Withdrawal of New Zealand military from all countries where they are engaged in combat or supporting roles for externally instigated wars.
    -Terminate all spying arrangements where New Zealand participates directly or indirectly in spying in Aotearoa and elsewhere.
    -Conduct an urgent review of the quota and funding for refugees, including convention refugees, with a view to make significant increases by 2015.
    -Support the struggle for Indigenous rights in West Papua.
    -Support the campaign of boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with United Nations resolutions and international law by ending its occupation of Palestinian land, stopping discrimination against Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel, and accepting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties in Israel.

    • @ FATTY – I’ve said this before. Hone Harawira is the Corbyn/Sanders of NZ. It is so important to find a way of getting him and his team into Parliament.

      Let’s hope TTT goes with Hone at the next election (the sooner the better) and is not swayed by devious dirty politicking from perceived “alliances”!

  14. It aaaallll comes down to this .

    Who earns our primary income ?

    Farmers do .

    What unbelievably bitter pill can no politician swallow, no matter how they sugar it up ?

    The Farmer makes the stuff that earns the money pill .

    Why?

    Because farmer money’s been swindled away, now everybody’s in deep shit with massive household debt etc and no one wants to poke that sleeping giant.

    How does one fix that swindle ?

    That’s now the question. The swindle boil’s taken more than 130 years to fester up and now it’s getting ready to blow !

    Labour must find it less a bitter pill and more like a sun cooked, road-kill rat wrapped in fish hooks and they can’t find the tomato sauce. Jonky and his hoards are ok because they have those missing billions and could never, and currently don’t, give one small, flying fuck. When the boil blows, we’ll have to try to extradite the bastard from Hawaii and I don’t see that happening , do you ?

    Is there a big brave Troll out there who want’s to pick up the debate on this by the way?
    Any Andrew ? Steve ? Don ? Dan ? Dick ? Put your money where you spout logical fallacies and general lite logic from. I’m just picking at the boil boys. C’mon? Take a swing?

  15. After thirty years of this shit from Labour it’s time to let the party die.

    Death is as much a part of life as birth.

    • I have raised the option of forming a totally new social democratic party, that upholds traditional left policies, for some time. It seems more are being converted by the day.

      We must get rid of Labour and the bad baggage they carry since 1984/85. Perhaps ‘Advance NZ’, also adopting some sound policies from NZ First and the Greens would be the answer, an new name, good policies and robust and honest representatives, ready to stand, be counted and voted for. That seems to be the only answer now, we should act the sooner the better, or all is lost.

        • By preaching to the converted.

          Could have been more inclusive.

          People say Kimdotcom had a lot to do with why Hone lost his seat. I’m not convinced of that cause Hone got more votes than he did in 2011.

          Every other candidate received more votes than Mana received in 2011.

          Explaining Mana policy to people that don’t care for demand curves and tax reform is very difficult.

        • Take a look at where Mana were on the political compass. What we really need is another Left-wing party about half way between where Labour sit on the Center Left and where Mana and the Greens sit on the Far Left. Funnily enough, that’s where I sit on the political compass. Vote for me! Progress Party, 2017!

          • Greens far left?

            No, no, no.

            The Greens ain’t left and they never have been. They are what the middle class call far left, which is marginally to the left of Genghis Khan…

            Muddle class wankers… 🙂

  16. The ABCs are at it again.

    Determined to keep the Left in opposition, so they can keep collecting their salaries, but never having to be put on the spot.

    “We will flout the TPPA”

    Yeah right!

    Spare me.

    How about this instead:

    We will announce a campaign to ditch the TPPA. Starting right now by calling on all Labour Party members and affilliates to join protests against its ratification.

    Followed up by a concerted Left electoral campaign against the TPPA in 2017

    • Well daily blog, we got Key as a plant from America ,why not a Jeremy Corbyn from UK, we don’t seem to have anyone suitable in in NZ.

  17. from the outside it does look like another mini coup assertion from the rogernomes going by the Labour reps who met Groser’s delegation–rejecting the TPPA was the only policy issue that Labour Green NZ First and Mana could have agreed on–except we will never know, now it will be a shit fight all the way as Nats do their usual deals in Epsom and Ohariu

    Coulda–Woulda–Shoulda
    the Auckland 10,000 march “TPPA Walk Away” showed the TPP has now gone beyond activist circles and Labour has rocks in its strategists heads if they could not see holding out for their 5 bottom lines till at least the TPP text was released and preferably till the US Congress votes was the way to go

    • It would be interesting to check bank accounts of Labour party Mps , they ruined the election by pushing Greens and Mana out of the race,
      Seems a lot of money is buying elections, the back room boys seem determined to keep changing leaders till they get the one that’s suits Nationals agenda. We cant trust National and we cant trust the opposition,time for a new general election right away,im surprised Key has lasted so long, time for a change .

  18. i would like to formally apologise and express my personal regret for at one time supporting little for leader (out of the options then on offer..)

    ..he has turned out to be worse than useless on so many fronts…from his painfully inept performances in questiontime..

    ..to his seeming to have all the political strategic nous of a doorknob..

    ..but worst of all..because he leads the regressive/neoliberal/rightwing faction in labour..

    ..and is a total sellout for any hoping for a progressive/reforming labour party..

    ..this all leads to the obvious conclusion…that little must be rolled..and soon..

    ..in fact..now would be good..

    ..little is clearly not the right person for the job..

    ..and of course this all brings into clearer focus those murmers of approval from the likes of boag and o’sullivan at the idea of little leading labour..

    ..that’s ‘cos he is one of theirs..that much at least..is very clear..

  19. National actively selling out our country and Labour passively selling out our country.

    Memo – you don’t need a vote to oppose something – you can oppose anything at any time!

    Wish politicians would put themselves of performance pay and then the public (as their managers and shareholders) could vote on their wages and if they were doing a good job and fire them with 90 days notice if they are not up to par! Even better put Little and Key on zero hours, since they are a waste of space they can not be rostered on. Put someone better in!

    Lets see how happy MP’s would be with their neoliberal ideals if their lifestyle was subject to the whims of others and undemocratic laws being put through parliament while our MP’s have cosy little meetings with each other and mock fights, but ultimately are puppets and influenced by other sources and all come to the same conclusions like TPP (although being a bad deal for NZ better NOT go at it alone – far too difficult).

  20. You’re all still refering to it as a trade agreement.

    You have been seriously misinformed.

    IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH TRADE.

    THIS IS U. S. GUNBOAT DIPLOMACY.

    You trust your American chums at your peril. Read some history for God’s sake!

  21. It’s like it hasn’t dawned on Chris yet that Labour and National are both different wings of the same bird…

  22. It truly amazes me on how everyone is so critical about labours stance on the TPPA deal, especially when the full text of the TPPA has not been released yet. No one in their right minds can make a truly informed decision when all the facts are not available. Would those who are so critical of Labour ever sign a deal if they didn’t have all the facts? I very much doubt it.

    • Ah Neil but their 3rd way, of saying they have 5 bottom lines, but without seeing the agreement, saying they think they will stay in the agreement even without seeing the agreement and so forth.

      Not credible. The idea that you sign something when the public don’t see the agreement should automatically make ANY democratic party say NO to TPP.

      All other parties made a clear call on it. But not Labour.

  23. Some more concerns on TPP from a US perspective.

    Here is an interview with merican Congressman, senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Brad Sherman on his TPP views and ‘theoretical modelling’.

    Sophie Shevardnadze:American Congressman, senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Brad Sherman, welcome to the show, it’s great to have you with us. Now, President Obama says the Trans Pacific Partnership reflects American values and will greatly benefit U.S. workers. If it is really so, and if it is so beneficial, why keep the details of the agreement secret, when it’s been finalized? What does he have to hide?

    Brad Sherman: Well, that’s just one of the many questions we in the U.S. have had – a phenomenally bad trade policy for the last 30 years. We have gone with this “free trade model” which is really not free trade. We have tried to impose that model everywhere else in the world, and we have run up the largest trade deficit in America’s history, in history of the world, in fact. If we could just reduce by half, maybe even just reduce by a third the trade deficit America faces, we would have a labor shortage, or a job surplus, if you will, and we’d have rapidly rising wages. This policy on trade is a real disconnect between the elites in America and the average american.

    SS:So, like you’ve said, you’ve had this bad trade policy all along, there was NAFTA, the North-American Free Trade Agreement, and the CAFTA, the Central-American Free Trade Agreement – and both agreements cost American workers hundreds of thousands of jobs. Why is America repeating the same mistake here?

    BS: There are couple of reasons: first, these trade agreements are very much in the interest of Wall St., and the powers of the society. Seconds, a lot of students want the professors to think they’re smart, and a lot of professors live in a professorial world, where they can design theoretical models, and, you know, frankly, if we lived in one of these “theoretical model” universes, I’d support these trade deals, The fact is, they don’t work in practice, and the reason they don’t is that while the U.S. is very much a rule of law, capitalist competition society, most other societies in the world are considerably less so. Perhaps, if we had a free trade agreement with Canada, as we did and still do, or Britain – it would work out to our advantage, but the idea that we’re going to get free access to Vietnamese market is absurd. They don’t have freedom and they don’t have markets!

    SS:So, Congressman, I want to play devil’s advocate here a bit. The Trans-Pacific Trade Agreement will help American exports, it will, apparently, remove thousands of tariffs on U.S. goods. Isn’t that beneficial for small businesses and citizens ultimately?

    BS: It will help our exports a little bit, and increase imports by a lot more – and the reason for that is, the only barrier to exporting to the U.S. is our tariffs. And so, we eliminate those, whereas other countries have tariff barriers and non-tariff barriers, so they reduce or eliminate their tariffs and they keep their non-tariff barriers. That’s why the U.S., with its trade policies, has been able to go from the largest net exporter in the world to the largest net importer in the history of the world.

    SS:Now, you’ve called the TPP not only a bad economic policy but a bad geopolitical policy as well. Why is that? I mean, surely, the U.S. needs to be on good terms with such a rapidly developing region like Asia…

    BS: It’s being sold as kind of a China-containment policy, because, frankly, the economics are so bad, that they can always shift and tell people “well, it may be bad for your family, but it’s good for American security”. The fact is, China benefits from this deal in two very important ways: first, it establishes the principle that currency manipulation is allowed – that is a device America doesn’t use. It’s the number one device China does use, and while China’s not a party to this agreement, it entwines approach to trade. Second, there’s a thing called “rules of origin”. You would think “okay, we’re going to have imports from Japan or imports from Vietnam” – what about goods that are 60, 70, 80 percent made in China? Well, they can go to Vietnam, they can get a “made in Vietnam” sticker put on them and be shipped into the U.S. tariff-free. So, China gets tremendous additional access to the U.S. market, and of course, since China isn’t a party, they do nothing to reduce their barriers to American exports. So, they won’t show us the rules of origin provisions, which define whether the good has to be 60% or 70% or only 50% made in one of the twelve countries. But, whatever those rules are, they won’t tell us. But the stated rule is going to be different from the de-facto rule. So, you may have a rule that says: “You’ve got to certify that this good is at least 60% made in Vietnam” – but who will enforce that? How do you tell the difference between goods that are 60% made in Vietnam and those that are 28% made in Vietnam? The companies involved are not going to tell you, and so, whatever the rules of origin are, de-jure they are going to be very different from what they are de-facto.

    SS:Now, China is not a member of TPP, and when promoting a deal, Obama stated: “We can’t let China write the rules, we should write the rules”. China is competing with the U.S. as the world’s leading economy. Can America really hope to go into Asia-Pacific and ignore China?

    BS: Oh, I wouldn’t ignore China for a second; but the idea that we’re going to sacrifice American jobs on the altar of “we’re writing the rules”…No! The representatives of working men and women are not writing the rules, most of the rules are written on Wall St. and then, the single rule that is most important to China, is written in Beijing. So, there’s a lot in it for Wall St., there’s a lot in it for China – and there’s nothing in it on a net basis for workers in the U.S.

    SS:Now, you go as far as to say that this agreement can undermine U.S. sovereignty – how so, and why would American leaders push for something like that and call it “historic”?

    BS: Well, corporations have awful lot of power here in the U.S., and they don’t like when the government of any country tries to control their behaviour. And, so, they are looking for multi-national commitments that would give them a way around national governments, and the investor state provisions are designed to allow companies to say: “We don’t have to comply with this law or that law” because international tribunal says “It’s bad for investment” or “bad for trade”. The once exception that they did get in this is that a tobacco company trying to avoid health and safety regulations will not be able to use this, which, of course, exposes the fact that every other company trying to use this system to avoid health and safety regulations is certainly allowed to do so.

    SS:But, from what I understand, corporations have the right or the ability to sue governments under the TPP – so, let’s say, government bans Exxon from drilling, right? Then Exxon can then take the government to court, and if they win, then they get exactly what they want – isn’t it right? Will this power start affecting public policy, basically?

    BS: Well, it’s not clear that they get what they wanted, which was to drill in this particular location or to engage in this particular activity that hurts the environment. Most of these deals provide that if they don’t get what they want, they get a big check from a national government. But, of course, once you write one or two of those checks, the message gets down to local environmental regulators to make sure not to do anything that a multinational corporation can recover funds from the U.S. government – so, whether it’s a check or whether it is an unchecked power, the multinationals get an awful lot of what they want under this deal.

    SS:Now, here’s another thing. This provisions for the legal protection of corporations against countries have been a common part in trade agreement for over 50 years – why are they making so much controversy now?

    BS: I think it’s because the provisions are getting stronger, and the ability of corporations to make use of them is getting more clever and more nuanced. So, we see more lawsuits by corporations using these provisions – and of course, this deal creates more investor state lawsuit protection then all the other trade agreements that the U.S. is part of.

    https://www.rt.com/shows/sophieco/318340-tpp-us-congress-jobs/

  24. the question posed in the headline was answered emphatically by andrew little in his bus-interview on the nation..

    ..quote:..’i’m on the free-trade bus..!..’

    (said with the most passion i have ever seen him display..)

    ..he is a rightwing/neoliberal/clarkist-trout..thru and thru..

    ..for there to be even faint hope of labour being the progressive/reforming party so many want..

    ..ideologically little is actually standing over there with the likes of his fans boag/hooton/o’sullivan/the neoliberal establishment..

    ..he is one of ‘theirs’..they would all be quite relaxed about their man steering labour..

    (in case you doubt me..recall how one of littles’ first statements was to diss/ditch the faint tinges of ‘left’ in the ’14 campaign..(where were they..?..i missed them..i was so focussed on/dazzled by their ’14 promise to keep all benefit rates @ the same as set by national..and to only increase them by the rate of inflation..(as national had done..)..(once again..that policy down to the neoliberal-right within labour..and their control of the election-spending/focus..that wasn’t cunnliffes’ ‘fault’..tho’ how much he bucked against that switching of the workers’ flag from red to a more teal colour..i don’t know..)

    ..that firm staking of that neoliberal flag in the ground from/by little was followed by his promise to ‘take labour back to the centre’..

    ..remember..?

    ..little must be rolled..there is no other solution to labours’/our woes..

    ..and any post-deposing leadership contest must see candidates clear about their ideological-beliefs/directions..

    ..labour has already screwed that one up far too many times..

    ..with little just the latest example..

  25. What it boils down to is that John Key can say any lies or rubbish and the MSM simply clap and yell for more. Whenever Andrew Little says anything at all the same MSM work overtime trying to turn it against him and Labour.
    No wonder John Key has an arrogant smirk on his kisser most of the time, you can’t do anything wrong when you are a demigod and the town criers are all your servants.

  26. Labour is the party of inclusion and integration. The old paradigm of bashing he bosses to benefit the workers has been replaced by a recognition that investors, employers and employees are all in the same waka and need cooperation and mutual respect to create goods and services that consumers will freely choose to buy in a competitive marketplace.

    Let’s discuss the core issue of trade. The New Zealand Labour Party has never been anti-trade. Its concern has always been about creating effective ways to generate wealth and fair ways to distribute it. International trade agreements can be a better means of achieving this than protectionist policies.

    New Zealand cannot realistically produce all the products required for a healthy growing society so its makes sense to do what we do best and trade the resulting products and services for those that others do better. What matters are the values that underpin this arrangement and the value we place on the output of honest work.

    I look forward to being informed enough to participate in a good discussion on the merits, or not, of the TPPA.

  27. Seems to me people are more interested in attacking and pulling Labour apart while the real culprits, the National government are being left untouched and let off the hook. Key and Groser’s dirty TPPA deal hasn’t been ratified yet, cannot understand why concerted efforts by all those opposed to the TPPA aren’t being brought to bear against the National Government, after all, it is National that is selling us out.

    • I agree. Many seem content with pulling Andrew Little and Labour apart and do not understand nor thoroughly see who the real demons are.

      This is all about greed — corporate greed and this non trade TPPA agreement is far worse than the devastating NAFTA. Many say that TPPA is more like ” Nafta on steroids. ” These corporations are suing countries right now and it is a lie and naive of Jonkey donkey to state that we may never be sued. People will loose their jobs and the price of meds will go up no matter what this out of touch elitist train wreck of a govt. affirms.

      I support all those concerned to send tons of emails and calls to Labour and Andrew Little and voice your concerns and your worries.

      • The TPPA is not a trade deal between countries, it is a business deal between corporations, with the negotiators set to personally profit from it.

  28. ‘a comprehensive reform of the news media’ . . . and exactly what form would that take?

    Government funding for newspapers perhaps. Or more pertinently, funding for bloggers!

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