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EXCLUSIVE: OPEN LETTER FROM JANE KELSEY TO LABOUR PARTY CONFERENCE

By   /  November 7, 2015  /  44 Comments

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TPPA Fails all 5 Labour Causes Bottom Lines – Labour Must Tell National Not to Sign the TPPA!

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Dear Labour Party Conference

Labour caucus’ five non-negotiable bottom lines for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement were pathetic enough, especially when compared to the comprehensive remit from the Party conference in 2012.

Andrew Little, 23 July 2015: “we will not support a TPP agreement that undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty”.  Well it does. Even its supporters admit there is a trade-off of sovereignty for what they have been desperately trying to spin as net gains. Labour has therefore already committed to oppose the signing of the TPPA.

Now even the 5 non-negotiable bottom lines have turned to blancmange. I’ve spent the past 36 hours pouring over the massive technical text to understand some of the complexities and what they mean for current and future policy space in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Yet, within a day the Labour leadership seems to have decided the text is fine aside from the narrow issue of the right to restrict sales of residential property to foreign owners. No problems for Pharmac and Treaty of Waitangi is ‘upheld’. Unbelievably, corporations cannot sue the government for regulating in the public interest! And of course there are meaningful market access gains for farmers.

Andrew, you’ve got to be joking! Is this simply what National’s Trade Minister Tim Groser and chief negotiator David Walker, and TPPA-cheerleader Helen Clark told you, and what you desperately want to believe?

Reality check for the Labour Party conference floor. The following is why the TPPA fails to satisfy the other four non-negotiable bottom lines, in addition to the one the caucus concedes..

 

Bottom line 1: “Pharmac must be protected”. This was always a weasel-worded principle: No one has ever claimed the existence of Pharmac was under threat, just the effectiveness of its purchasing regime.

We have to assume that the caucus was acting in good faith in devising these principles and it really meant that the effectiveness of Pharmac, with its capped budget, was not undermined by higher medicine prices. The threats were two-fold: process and industry monopolies over medicines and medical devices.

Thanks to a massive campaign here and internationally the government had to stand firm on some of the more extreme proposals. But the threats remain.

On process, there is now a review mechanism that will give the Big Pharma companies added leverage to lobby and object to Pharmac’s decisions.

Access to cheaper generics will also take longer under various changes to the patent regime. Most significantly the new generation biologic medicines remain at high risk of being subject to longer monopolies, dragging out access to generics as these become the most effective – and most expensive – medicines.

Australian health academic Deb Gleeson has written a compelling technical explanation about how that is likely to happen there, which is basically the same as NZ. She concludes: “The provisions relating to biologics are problematic and ambiguous. They appear to commit countries to providing either eight years of clinical trial data protection, or five years of clinical trial data protection along with other measures to deliver comparable outcomes. While the Australian Government has said that the regime for biologics in Australia will not change, the language leaves room for continued pressure by the United States to ensure that TPP countries prevent biosimilars from entering the market for eight years. The definition of biologics is very broad and likely to limit countries’ flexibility in determining the scope of the obligation. A review by the TPP Commission of both the length and scope of protection after ten years provides a further mechanism for US pressure to expand and extend monopolies on expensive biologics.”

Bottom line 2: “The Treaty of Waitangi is ‘upheld’.” Presumably Labour thinks all is well because National has included the Treaty of Waitangi exception Labour developed for the Singapore NZ FTA in the face of massive Maori criticism. I have always said it is inadequate. The exception requires

(a) the government to think there is a Treaty issue or another issue that impacts particularly on Maori (plenty of examples where that hasn’t happened even when the Waitangi Tribunal says there is);

(b) the government to be prepared to act on the issue (ditto);

(c) the action to be to provide preferential treatment, rather than changing a generic law (such as mining);

(d) the government’s interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi cannot be challenged, but the action can still be contested in a state-state or before an investor-state tribunal as being a means of ‘arbitrary or unjustified discrimination’ against persons of another TPPA country (an Italian mining company challenged the post-apartheid black empowerment rules as unjustified discrimination and the South African government settled). Maori have no right to participate in any dispute, just as they have been excluded from the process of negotiating the TPPA itself; they would have to seek permission to provide an amicus curiae brief.

The Crown has implicitly conceded the exception provides less than full protection by adding a last minute special exception in the TPPA intellectual property chapter to a requirement that it adopt a plant varieties treaty that Maori have heavily criticised and was a major issue in the WAI 262 claim on traditional knowledge.

At the very least Labour’s leaders might have waited for the Waitangi Tribunal’s inquiry into the TPPA, which is now likely to be expedited following the release of the text. An independent expert is expected to analyse the scope and effectiveness of the Treaty exception.

 

Bottom line 3: Corporations cannot sue the government for regulating in the public interest. This is THE most unbelievable and ignores the compelling international evidence and analysis of a crisis in the investor-state dispute settlement system.

Of course investor-state dispute settlement will be used to sue the government for such measures. That’s what indirect expropriation, minimum standard of treatment, and non-discrimination rules are about.

The general exception rule (which itself has only succeeded as a defence in 1 of 44 disputes in the WTO) does not apply to the investment chapter. In some cases, the special ‘protections’ for public policy in the chapter are weaker than existing NZ agreements and will become available to other countries with which we have FTAs (such as China, Korea and Taiwan). Even the special tobacco exception from ISDS is an opt-out, making it a prime target for industry lobbying (and doesn’t apply to disputes brought by TPPA states to enforce this and other chapters of the TPPA).

The real doozy is Article 9.15 on ‘Environmental, Health and other Regulatory Objectives’ – it says nothing in the chapter stops a government from doing what the chapter allows it to do anyway!

The TPPA text tries to limit the scope of such claims, but the words are vague and investment tribunals have a proved track record of giving them whatever meaning they like, even if they are supposedly bound by the parties’ own interpretation. And that doesn’t stop an investor from threatening to, or bringing, a dispute with the goal of getting government to back off.

In addition, the investment chapter gives investors from TPPA countries a raft of new rights and protections not available to local firms and not in existing NZ agreements. For example, even if a PPP toll road, a privatised water contract, an agreement that allows oil exploration or a damn project requires a dispute to be settled in New Zealand’s courts, the investor can take it through ISDS instead.

There are a few procedural changes that try to give the investment tribunals some more credibility. But the ‘judges’ are still largely practising investment lawyers with no conflict of interest rules (just a promise to develop a code of conduct before the agreement comes into force). The hearings are still ad hoc hearings with no predictable rules or precedents and no right of appeal. Amicus briefs require permission. Hearings will be public, but documents can still be withheld as confidential. Punitive damages can’t be awarded, but there is no limit on compound interest (which at times comprises half the amount awarded). And more …

 

Bottom line 4: commercially meaningful market access gains for agriculture. Come on – not even Groser is claiming that – just that it will get better as the TPPA bus rolls on. A mere $259 million a year in tariff cuts ‘once it is fully implemented’ – they almost never say that means by 2047!  Of course tariff cuts do not simplistically convert into economic gains even if that was the economic model for an advanced, high-innovation economy New Zealand needs for the 21st century.

The government refused to release the economic modelling it relied on when projecting $2.7 billion gains to the economy in twenty years until posting it the night before last. Economists are now decoding the methodology and assumptions, which are always unreal.

David Walker conceded to me the other night that the study does not include quantitative or qualitative costs, such as the expected $55 million p.a. for extended copyright terms, the potential stifling of innovation through new IP and e-commerce rules, exposure to investor-state disputes (Australia has reportedly spent $50 million so far on costs defending plain packaging tobacco and it is not yet at the substantive hearing), damage caused by inability to rein in too big to fail banks and the shadow banking system, and a range of other substantive and regulatory constraints we don’t yet know about.

 

IN SUM – The Labour causes can’t hide any longer behind the claim it has to wait until it can see the text.  The text shows that the TPPA fails all five of the ‘bottom lines’.  If these principles are truly ‘non-negotiable’ then the parliamentary Labour party has no option but to oppose If TPPA.  

To do otherwise it not only to sell out the Labour party and its principles, but the people of New Zealand who expect it to keep its word and to show it understands the increasingly invasive nature of this form of corporate-led treaty whose function is to block progressive governments making real change

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44 Comments

  1. Sam Sam says:

    And there in lies the rub. If the Labour caucas can not decipher the intricacies of the TPP. How could any government department hope to challenge future ISDS proceedings brought against them. At a time when corporations are sucking up all the talented lawyers with huge bonuses. It’s hard to imagine a government appointed lawyer on 40k a year having the intellect to describe major and extremely complex fraud in easy articulated terms any one can understand.

    • madtom says:

      True but irrelevant. These tribunals have already shown (acting under earlier treaties) that they can and will simply fail to recognise provisions of law or treaty – or even facts – that they find inconvenient. There is no appeal, so they can do whatever they please and that is the final word.

      For more information and expert comment from an American viewpoint, Naked Capitalism is a good source. Its founder has been anti-TPP from the start, and the readership provides excellent commentary.
      http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/11/full-text-of-tpp-including-annexes-and-boy-is-it-nasty.html

      Right now it is looking so bad that it looks good: may not pass the US Congress, because it is so extreme and damaging.

      Instead of claiming vaguely that the TPP destroys democracy, it might have more punch to point out that the ISDS tribunals have been elevated above the Supreme Court and above Parliament, having the final word on any issue brought before them.

      • Sam Sam says:

        Hey if the negotiators could have made the TPP text 20k pages they would have. Just to make the dam thing even more complicated.

        There are so many refer to this and that section in the investment chapter it kind of undoes any good or bad. I’m not surprised ISDS rulings are haphazard.

        These kind of keep it in the court games are really only played well by billionaires. They just throw enough money at a problem them magic, the court rules in your favour.

        Ergo, NZ democracy was already broken before ISDS came around.

        • madtom says:

          Yes, but the game is changing. Shockingly.

          Those impenetrable mountains of words once served to confuse less-skilled lawyers and to favour big expensive teams that could find lots of words to support their arguments and serve as a basis for appeal if they didn’t like the decision.

          Now the word-mountain is there to distract the public from the fact that there *is* no appeal process available, no matter how just your position is, or how baseless and offensive the ruling of the tribunal.

          Personally, I’d be afraid to be involved in ANY action before such a tribunal, no matter how much in the right I might be. I would know that the judges are already heavily biased against me, based on the big $$ they can expect from a ruling for the other side, and their total immunity from negative consequences.

          Whatever they decide, there is no help available, no further process or place to go to complain about what they decide.

          No wonder so many ISDS cases get “settled” quietly and privately, on terms we don’t get to see (which is part of most settlements).

      • madtom says:

        My apologies for an excessively negative first sentence on this comment. I didn’t intend to diss what SAM posted.

        I was fuming about the fact that it really hardly matters how skilled or otherwise the lawyers on either side are.

        This is because the tribunal can freely issue whatever judgement it pleases, irrespective of the arguments presented, the wording of the Treaty, the facts presented, or any other damn thing.

        They can rule that war is peace and the rich desperately need more money, and there is no appeal, no challenge available.

  2. tony says:

    I was handing out Labour Party leaflets outside Parliament when David Parker repeatedly refused to state that the 5 bottom lines were absolute, and I heard the groan all around me when he explained “We have to see the small print” when we had barely been entrusted with the chapter headings or the large print.

  3. Kerry says:

    Ha good luck with that, Labour is as dirty as National on this issue, their show of caring about it is only a facade.

  4. The whole “Pharmac must be protected” thing is indeed weasel-words.

    If it costs Pharmac more to obtain pharmaceuticals and if POharmac has to spend $4 million to set up a review process, and $2 million annually thereafter, then I fail to see how Pharmac “is protected”. The costs will come from Pharmac’s budget.

    And if anyone from the Right dares tell us that National will increase Pharmac’s budget to cope with these additional expenses – hah! Past experience shows us otherwise!

  5. Allan says:

    As a life-long Labour supporter, i find the “five non-negotiable bottom lines”, especially #3, not nearly strong enuf to keep me from switching to Green.

    • Cara says:

      This is the reason we have national in power right now, people not switching their historical votes based on a I always vote national, labour, though they are possibly out of touch with current situations and reality. The older people in this country, who had it pretty damn easy then bought houses with a Few rentals for retirement…..while promoting their children took a debt to get tertiary qualifications, to become slaves in an extremely highly taxed low waged police state…to only but dream of a house, these parental figures, we will scorn later as the failure of nz sinks us into the usa umbrella, from the hills we have taken leave to, under duress, with our Tesla power walls and our babies. Our seeds and our determination to live in the manner we can feel proud. Jane Kelsey is a magnanimous hero, more deserving of a ‘knighthood’ than Richie macaw, sorry Richie.

  6. Wisdumb says:

    It is politically tragic that Jane Kelsey should have to be making her statement in the face of a Labour party conference. As she says, it beggars belief that the Labour leadership can read and interpret the 6,000 pages of text within 24 hours and proclaim that it meets four of the five Labour “bottom lines.” Even then, the remaining bottom line is more of an Auckland issue than for NZ as a whole – why is there no Labour fuss about doubling the cut-off from $100 to $200 million before the Overseas Investment Office investigates the sale of New Zealand land or a business to a foreign entity?
    Looking at Pharmac as one of the now erased bottom lines, it is actually ROOTED by the TPPA. This was already perfectly clear from the Pharmaceutical Fact Sheet. See Pharmac Rooted Many Ways, which dissects Pharmac activity and reveals many exceptions and exclusions to claimed protections. The TPP requires Pharmac to provide sensitive, confidential and commercial analyses and data to foreign drug suppliers, and under compulsory urgency. Big Pharma might as well be sitting in on Pharmac decision meetings and it will be entitled to challenge those decisions. In addition, there are the increased costs due to longer-lived patents, the costs of data transfer, and the costs of defending its decisions. Labour blithely (or blindly?) accepts this evisceration of Pharmac.
    Jane validly challenges the other Labour “bottom lines” but the problems of the TPPA are deeper and more pervasive threats to our sovereignty and economic efficiency. Take, for example, IP/copyright, IT, governmental transparency, and the implied threat to government fiscal policies. I was surprised at the minimalism of the Labour bottom lines but I am staggered at how easily Labour has walked away from them.
    So, to all you delegates to the Conference who are pondering your leaders’ feeble complaisance with the TPP, do not back down. There are many others elsewhere in New Zealand who will support you in opposing this Treasonous Treaty.

    • Rosemary McDonald says:

      “As she says, it beggars belief that the Labour leadership can read and interpret the 6,000 pages of text within 24 hours and proclaim that it meets four of the five Labour “bottom lines.” ”

      Unless, Labour have been privy to much more of the finer detail of the TPP than they have claimed?

      Souls of many colours have been sold on this issue.

      Clue? Annette’s ‘stunning’ health speech at the conference promising ‘evidence based’ solutions to the ‘obesity epidemic’.

      She talks about Coleman pulling his punches…then fails to announce a tax against the Fizzy Kings….despite health professionals practically begging the gummint to tax what they see is a substance as addictive as nicotine.

      Why?

      A tax to discourage baby bottles being filled with fizzy drink would be an excellent start to turning the tide on sugar addiction.

  7. Kim dandy says:

    Are government and opposition complete idiots…or just being paid off. Why would anyone want to sign this – it is not any countries best interest. It is in the interest of american corporations and lawyers. No benefit to New Zealand what so ever. Jane the TPPA discussions have been going on for years now – I went to one of the first protests, almost 4 years ago. All I can say is you must have the patience of a saint!
    Say NO labour, for all our sakes!

  8. Hi Vis. says:

    I feel disheartened. I am not a cattle beast but I feel like one, standing in a crate entering the slaughter house smelling the stench of death, the death of New Zealand’s self determination.
    I ask why NZ Labour is conceding, as though the TPPA is a forgone conclusion. It is another JUSTA and I don’t do JUSTA !

    I see it as I see the referendum on our Flag. JUSTA another DEAL signed and sealed and that is the KEY problem.
    Prof Kelsey’s expert opinion needs to be well heeded.

  9. saveNZ says:

    Go Jane!

    Will Labour stand with the people and with the opposition or are they going to support National on TPP?

  10. Mike in Auckland says:

    Because so many New Zealanders like smiling John Key, and because the dodgy polls tell us that the government is sooo “good”, and because the mainstream media say the TPPA is such a good deal, Labour cannot oppose it.

    It seems to be the fear of the mainstream media attacking Labour again, should the party decide to firmly oppose the TPPA, based on such arguments as Jane Kelsey delivers above. So they rather duck and cover, and try to find the right wording for the right time to say, well, after all we will support the TPPA, we will just try and renegotiate the foreign investor terms allowing residential home and also farm purchases by non New Zealanders.

    Oh, what power that MSM still has, oh that power, Gower, Hosking, Henry et al, all planted there by the favourable media outlet bosses that lick the boots of Key and his gang.

  11. elle says:

    To know the real storyof the criminalty of TPP read todays articles in Wake up New Zealand.
    Groser and Key will sign our freedom away, only the wealthy will benefit as usual.
    Key will allow Iwi to control fresh water in NZ,maybe as a bribe to get them to accept TPP.
    National rely on Maori party to keep them in power,is there anyone in parliament we can trust?

    • saveNZ says:

      Hey Iwi can control fresh water for as long as they want, under TPP they will have to compensate foreign companies for the privilege. More weasel words again!!!!

      Sound fair???

      BTY compensation to the polluters lies not in NZ courts so hope the Iwi have 50 million for lawyers and plenty more to compensate foreign companies who have the RIGHT to expect profits from this country and our taxpayers under TPP.

  12. Eldred Southwark says:

    Exclusive? A Jane Kelsey commentary on TPP? You’re dreamin’

  13. Lois Griffiths says:

    My gut feeling is that the TPP is basically about transferring power and sovereignty from the people and their elected representatives, to corporations. I recommend people go to the truthdig.com website and see what Chris Hedges has to say. He is worried and angry. We should be too. The title of his article, by the way, is The Most Brazen Corporate Power Grab in American History

    • Blake says:

      Exactly right – Lois and thanks for referring others to Chris Hedges. He is spot on and really understands the issues and their connections to these powerful corporations.

        • saveNZ says:

          Another good link from Chris

          Hedges Bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges sits down with Ben Makuch at the Toronto VICE office to discuss what it takes to be a rebel in modern times. Hedges discusses his new book Wages of Rebellion, an investigation of the social and psychological factors that cause revolution, rebellion and resistance.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUgaqJZLwOg

      • Rosemary McDonald says:

        http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_most_brazen_corporate_power_grab_in_american_history_20151106

        “Citizens will be forced to give up control of their destiny and will be stripped of the ability to protect themselves from corporate predators, safeguard the ecosystem and find redress and justice in our now anemic and often dysfunctional democratic institutions. The agreements—filled with jargon, convoluted technical, trade and financial terms, legalese, fine print and obtuse phrasing—can be summed up in two words: corporate enslavement.”

        • saveNZ says:

          +100 Rosemary McDonald and I will add another one word.

          Voluntary Corporate Enslavement.

          by our governments.

          It’s crazy.

          all I can put it down too, is group think mentality.

          Apparently if a person gets attacked in the street and nobody does anything then it is based on a group think mentality. They are all waiting for someone else to act so nobody does anything. It is a pretty well known behaviour.

          In the case of TPP, it is group think based on other countries signing an agreement that doesn’t work for anybody but they have been trying to get it through so long they literally don’t understand or even care what it is about anymore to ‘join in’ with the other countries to show some sort of progress and solidarity with each other

          Even though to sign an agreement that is so complicated and stupid that it does not make sense for any sane government to agree to the terms, but they do so because everyone else has.

          Likewise Labour doesn’t want to be out of the group think either. Can they break free of the salivating words to Kiwi government ‘free trade’ or will the words turn them all into blind zombies no matter the risks or the lack of free trade in there?

  14. Chooky says:

    If Labour signs the TPP I wont be supporting or voting Labour…(it will be NZF or the Greens)….I am most concerned about the thought control agendas of the TPP and erosion of democracy :

    ‘TPP revealed: Pact details ignite debate over privacy, internet freedom, whistleblowers’

    https://www.rt.com/usa/321002-tpp-details-revealed-trade-privacy/

    “With the release of the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a sharpening of arguments on both sides outline a debate about privacy, corporatism, internet freedom and intellectual property, and even the plight of whistleblowers…

    …the agreement requires internet service providers to help take down websites that are violating copyright laws, but does not allow the websites to dispute copyright accusations. This potentially opens the door to service providers taking down websites in one country over copyright accusations from a company based in another nation.

    The pact also criminalizes the “unauthorized and willful disclosure of a trade secret including via a computer system.” According to FFTF, this is a clear effort to discourage whistleblowers and journalists from exposing sensitive issues.

    Intellectual property protections in the agreement include biologic drugs – advanced and expensive drugs to manufacture. All countries in the TPP would have to enforce five to eight year minimums of exclusivity, preventing other companies from making cheaper generic forms called biosimilars. The United States protects exclusivity rights for 12 years. Critics say this would drive up the cost of life-saving medicines for developing countries.

    Another concern related to intellectual property is the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) process, which FFTF opposes on principle as an anti-democratic system. Corporations can sue governments under the system if a country’s policies are perceived as cutting in on intellectual property values and profits…

  15. Expat says:

    Please note that the TPP is not a done deal, both sides of politics in the states are coy about the benefits of the deal and is highly likely to fall over.
    Hilary has stated quite clearly that she opposes the TPP and won’t be a party to it.
    Quoting Helen Clark, that the TPP should be agreed to as a free trade agreement seems to have missed the complete statement, ” if it’s good for NZ”, is the most important aspect, however, who will determine what is good for NZ? The bunch holding the purse strings would sell NZ down the toilet as quick as look at you.
    The best outcome, is, if politics in the states kill the whole agreement, and then the country (NZ) can get on with far more pressing issues, unemployment, health, poverty etc, etc, the things that are holding the country back from a prosperous future, not to mention the current govt.

    • Blake says:

      Who cares about quoting Helen Clark. What a hypocrite sell out!
      Her priorities are what is best for the UN not NZ.
      She talks a load of almost believable BS but her allegiance is not where most think it is.

  16. Blake says:

    TPPA is Monsantos wet dream trade deal and we all know that Monsanto is on the top three list of the worst and most unethical corporations. Wake up Labour and stop stating that you are all about ” Free Trade ” . Tppa is not about “free trade” or much about trade at all. IT IS ABOUT GREEDY MEGA-CORPORATIONS trying to secure their profits and legal controls and these industry’s and their huge corporations are not in the best interest of the people, workers or the environment.

    I agree with a previous commentator that Natz and Labour are much the same muchness and we desperately need an alternative similar to what Bernie Sanders is talking about. He is gaining massive support as many are waking up to the benefits and positive aspects of Socialist Democracy.
    Who is that leader here in NZ and when will he/she speak out and stand up and do what is right ? Labour is not the answer and we all know it now.

  17. Anabel says:

    SDR for procuring the NZ govt.
    The TPP is both illegal and unlawful.
    Its never going to be lawful as it was not disclosed to the people of NZ that are THE effected party before the negotiations closed .
    It is not consented to.
    People should know the law on this matter instead of looking to slimy MP’s to “tell national not to sign”.
    Treasonous creeps, why do people here expect corporate employees to act in the people’s interest?

  18. madtom says:

    One very serious legal point has been discussed far too little, imo, both here and in the US.

    As far as the USA goes, the TPP is unconstitutional and even their corrupt Supreme Court might just rule it to be that.

    There it may commonly be called a “treaty”, and in New Zealand it may have the force and legal status of a treaty, but in the US that is the wrong word. It is an “administrative agreement” that has not satisfied several constitutional requirements to become a treaty. This places unequal burdens on the unfortunate junior “partners” who give it the legal force of a treaty, and the USA, which does not.

    If it had the force of a treaty in the US, it would stand coequal with the Constitution as the law of the land. But at least the ISDS provisions are a clear violation of several parts of the existing Constitution, an internal contradiction that would create a Constitutional crisis.

    Which is why it is acknowledged in the US (under pressure) that the TPP is an executive agreement rather than a treaty.

    And which is why only a fool or a traitor would put his country in such a compromised position as giving the TPPA the weight of a legal treaty in his own country when it has a much lower status in the American legal system.

    I know, tl;dr. But if anyone is still reading this, the specifics relate to:

    (1) the “advise and consent” clause means that the US Senate is Constitutionally required to be a participant in the formulation of a treaty: NOT DONE, SECRETLY WRITTEN

    (2) a 2/3 vote of the Senate is required to ratify a treaty, but WON’T EVER HAPPEN – this “treaty” could barely get a slim majority favoring the “fast track” to acceptance

    (3) This is why the House of Representatives is involved at all, and must also provide majority support, when they are no part of the Constitutional process of treaty writing and passage. Their assent is necessary for this administrative agreement (that is NOT legally a treaty) to be accepted by Congress.

    (4) If the TPP were in fact a treaty, both the Executive (President) and the Legislative (Congress) branches of government would by its terms be setting up courts (ISDS tribunals) that are superior to the US Supreme Court, and are in no way accountable to the ordinary judicial system of America, when the Judicial Branch is written into the Constitution as a separate and coequal one of the three branches of government. No two have the power to rule the third. This has always been known as “checks and balances” and regarded as fundamental to the entire governmental system.

    Finally, isn’t it amazing that every last signatory to this “agreement” has agreed to give foreign corporations access to a business-friendly court system that will operate independently of any local laws, and which is an exceptional advantage enjoyed by many foreigners but not by any local individual or business?

    Amazing that this has progressed this far. The government of every last signatory would fall tomorrow, if the transnational corporations didn’t already outweigh any local business or local people in its influence on their governments.

  19. Sandi says:

    It is indeed enlightening and alarming reading all these comnents from clear thinking intelligent people. The indicators on where we are moving towards are there for all to see. The Wellington Chamber of Commerce having the gall to sue the Council is a meer titbit on what is about to happen and neither you nor I will have any say nor power. We can protest everyday. The coroprations will have our signatures signed on our behalf. It is the home strait for one world government, which is not how you thought it would look, but this is, how it actually looks. This is not inky being signed here. The same treaty is also in Europe. All beautifully coordinated and orchestrated. Ska Keller a Green EU MP has loudly condemned it too.
    http://www.skakeller.de/en/topics/trade-development/news-from-the-committee/news-from-the-committee-on-international-trade-october-2015.html?tx_universalcontentlists_detailview%5BcurrentPage%5D=1&cHash=c88cc3ca7477ba070fde218eaeb3bcdd

  20. david says:

    Keep going Prof…..just saw this https://theintercept.com/2015/11/06/ttp-trade-pact-would-give-wall-street-a-trump-card-to-block-regulations/…….do our politicians actually understand the implications of enacting this agreement?……We need to tell them no no no!

  21. Hi Vis. says:

    Now that Monday has arrived , and all have returned from Palmerston North, the political stance of Little and, by default, his Caucus has been lauded in the Herald.
    I am ABSOLUTELY astonished.
    The Leader of the Opposition had a clear mandate which came from the First Labour Government of New Zealand to continue the war against the TPPA. and he has lost a perfect opportunity. He has betrayed the principles of the late Michael Joseph Savage and today he has betrayed the working families, the environment, and the Sovereignty of New Zealand.
    I feel VERY upset. Please Mr Little refrain from further comments about who you might form a coalition with as the other parties may not be interested. The boot might just be on the other foot.
    I suggest you hold the 2016 Labour conference in Palmerston (South) if you know where it is.

  22. Chris says:

    I’m concerned about how this will affect the growth of NZ business. We’ll be playing by rules written by US business.

    A Canadian businessman who is in charge of Sustainable Development Technology Canada estimates that this may cost Canada hundreds of billions of dollars.

    Some quotes from the article – link below

    ““I think in 10 years from now, we’ll call that the signature worst thing in policy that Canada’s ever done…”

    “It’s such brilliantly systemic encirclement. I’m just in awe at its powerful purity by the Americans…”

    http://globalnews.ca/news/2326744/tpp-deal-worst-thing-that-harper-government-has-done-for-canada-balsillie/

  23. Hi Vis. says:

    I wish to moderate my anguish. The Rt.Hon. Andrew Little is, in my opinion, a very fine man. He is not a man who would pull a fast one like our key problem, the ” wall street dealer”. ( note the lack of capitals) who will pull a fast one, or pull a young lady’s pigtail

    The Leader of the Opposition delivered a a handsome address, from the heart and with sincerity. I studied it closely and I wish to acknowledge that he DID address the issue of the ECA 1991, and the TPPA.
    I wish to point out however, that he should still rescind his tacit support of the TPPA.

  24. […] line of allowing restrictions on non-resident house ownerships. She also said the agreement meets none of Labour’s other bottom lines […]

  25. Hi Vis. says:

    I an writing this near a demo site in Queen St. The following is the sentiments of a new found friend, a steel/concrete demo worker in his fifties. His name
    is Reuben Te Raana from the Naki. Over coffee we chatted about our Nation and the TPPA.
    He said and I quote….” I feel like I am just a barcode and life is going get worse. More doom and gloom”

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