The fact many people think the TPPA is a done deal and there’s nothing we can do shows how effective the government’s propaganda campaign has been. That’s what they need people to believe so they can kill off one of the most effective public campaigns to oppose a core government policy for several decades. And they have done so despite conceding the deal would deliver almost none of the gains they made a bottom line, and keeping the text secret so no-one can categorically rebut the content or omissions in their ‘fact sheets’.
The truth is that the TPPA can’t be signed for at least another three months. Until then New Zealand has not been committed in any formal legal manner to the political deal. Even then, the country won’t be bound irrevocably to the TPPA for probably another two years.
This is no time for surrender or fatigue. Other countries are fighting to ensure the political price is too high for their governments to do so and that opposition parties make an uncompromising commitment to reject the still-secret deal. We need to do that here, starting with a mass turnout to the protests around the country, especially in Auckland and Wellington, on Saturday 14 November.
The Fast Track legislation said Obama must give 90 days’ notice before he can sign the TPPA. The text becomes public no longer than 30 days into that 90 days, which means two months to debunk the pro-TPPA lobby’s spin.
Obama has not given that 90 days’ notice yet. The officials have been in Japan doing what we call the ‘legal scrubbing’ of the text. That should be a purely technical task, but reports suggest there are many problems emerging about interpretations and some countries are only just finding out what others have agreed between themselves in side-letters.
The legal officials’ meeting has finished. They will try to sort out the remain issues by internet, but they are likely to have to meet again. The longer this takes, the further away those 90 days become and the more time we have to make it clear to the Key/Groser government that we don’t believe their snow job and will make any attempt to sign it politically toxic, and to the opposition parties that they have to take a stand.