For Independence and Freedom: March against the TPPA!

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WHAT I WOULD GIVE to get a look at the Government’s polling data on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). Coming out of the summer holiday torpor, my best guess was that the public, generally speaking, was pretty relaxed about the agreement. But everything the Government and its allies have done since early January suggests that the opposite is true: that the numbers reported in TV3/Reid Research poll of 20 November 2015 have not budged, and that a clear majority of New Zealanders remain opposed to the agreement.

Since then, the anti-TPPA forces have worked tirelessly to analyse the 5,000 page document and to marshal their arguments against ratification. In the weeks following the 5 November 2015 release of the TPPA text, a raft of expert, peer-reviewed research papers (available at https://tpplegal.wordpress.com/) were written and released. These have made a considerably greater impact on the news media than the rather perfunctory National Interest Analysis, thrown together by New Zealand’s team of TPPA negotiators, and released by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) on 25 January 2015.

The expert paper entitled “The Economics of the TPPA”, jointly written by University of Auckland economics professor, Tim Hazledine, Dr Geoff Bertram, Rod Oram and Barry Coates, impressed even the NZ Herald’s senior business writer, Brian Fallow. The rising level of vitriol deployed by the National Party’s best ideological skirmisher, Matthew Hooton, and echoed shrilly in the columns of the Herald’s Fran O’Sullivan, indicates strongly how disadvantaged in the propaganda stakes the pro-TPPA forces now feel themselves to be.

The greatest blow struck against the TPPA, however, was delivered by the Labour Party. On Tuesday, 26 January, from their New Year caucus retreat in the Wairarapa, Labour MPs dispatched their Finance Spokesperson, Grant Robertson, to Auckland. There, he informed the first of the four main centre town-hall meetings organised by the anti-TPPA group, It’s Our Future, that Labour would NOT be supporting the agreement.

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The full impact of Labour’s rejection was blunted by Leader, Andrew Little’s, maladroit handling of the TPPA’s two strongest caucus supporters, Phil Goff and David Shearer. Within days, however, the grim fact that the cosy, 30-year-old, bi-partisan consensus on Free Trade had ended, began to sink in.

The TPPA had turned out to be a bridge too far – even for the NZ Labour Party. This was not a free trade agreement in the mould of the China-NZ FTA. It was, in the words of the veteran New Zealand diplomat, Terrence O’Brien: “an economic policy integration agreement”. And the intent of such documents is, indisputably, to limit the sovereignty of nation states. As Professor Tim Hazledine explained in a Herald op-ed article of 3 February 2016:

“The fundamental idea or ideology behind the TPP is that national governments cannot be trusted to act independently on many issues, because they will inevitably succumb to local vested interests. Only the cleansing discipline of untrammelled global free-market forces will deliver efficient outcomes.”

By “local vested interests” the free-marketeers are, of course, referring to the citizens of the nations concerned. That is why the opponents of the TPPA talk about the agreement threatening democracy itself.

Exactly how far this message: that the TPPA is inimical to New Zealand’s national sovereignty, and poses a deadly threat to its democratic institutions; has entered public consciousness is what the Government, MFAT, the “intelligence community”, the Police, the NZ-US Council, the National Party, and the mainstream news media have no doubt been working like blazes to find out.

Because all of them know that if a substantial portion of the New Zealand population – maybe even a majority – can be convinced that the anti-TPPA message is true, and if that conviction can be given political force by the Labour, Green and NZ First parties, then a great deal more than the future of the TPPA is at stake. If protecting our national sovereignty and defending our democracy become the battle-cries of the 2017 General Election, then the entire neoliberal project will be threatened.

So, march tomorrow/today as if your independence and your freedom depends on it – because they do.

29 COMMENTS

  1. Well….this is it , then ….the gauntlet has been thrown down…

    And how can we resist answering the challenge…

    It will certainly be a catalyst and most certainly tomorrow will only be the first opening shots. There is several years before finalization , and this will only build in that time.

    I view this TTPA as the culminating grand show piece of the neo liberal agenda… there will be more , but this is the one that demonstrates where all this has been heading for so many years,…3 decades in fact, at least in this country…the guinea pigs of the world.

    Here we go , people, ….its time to MARCH !!!

  2. @ HIGHER/LOWER STANDARD ….

    Yawn…..

    Yes its 2016…

    And even more reason to put away the George Orwell books and your wet dreams of 1984.

    In case you haven’t noticed….. people are getting kind of sick and tired of sycophants like you trying to convince us that we are still bewitched by Rogernomics and Ruthanasia.

    Don’t you get it?….its not 1984 anymore, Roger Kerr is dead and isn’t the head of the Business Roundtable , and people have moved on and wised up to neo liberalism . Its over mate.

    Accept it. People are not as easily fooled as they once were.

    Open your eyes , bud, – Ronnie Reaguns dead , Maggie Thatchers dead and aint never coming back to wrestle the Falkland Islands from Argentina , and your Mont Pelerin society’s posterboy Milton Freidman is also pushin up daisy’s in some fake gilt gold lined cemetery for dead neo liberals who no one cares about anymore.

    All your dead hero’s lining the halls of the infamous and corrupt. Dead and gone.

    And people are a bit pissed off with the total failure and con job of the bullshit trickle down affect of that outdated lie to boot.

    Why?…cos it just don’t fucking work or deliver , that’s why , buddy.

    So stop fucking around and get with the program you bloody outdated fucking dinosaur.

  3. I feel that there is a change in tune from CT.
    BTW. Labour took the FTA with China to parliament and put it to a vote, and bipartisan consensus ended, not when Labour publicly denounced the TPPA,(and rightly so), but when the Key National government made the TPPA secret and refused to include Labour, and other parties etc in the discussions of it.

    Disagree with you re:Andrew Little. he has shown real leadership and strength of leadership in my humble opinion. Goff, who did ask for dispensation, and whose stance I believe is more to do with the mayoralty, is leaving, and doubt if on his own Shearer will make that mistake again. He was stupid for trying to have a go in the first place.

  4. In all seriousness and I have listened to many people on both sides of this debate. The pro TPPA are simply seem more sensible and credible. I am a swinging voter with no alliance to anyone. I appreciate that my view of the TPPA is not the position of many on this site, but am grateful this platform exists, and it gives me the opportunity to read and better understand the unedited view of others.

  5. Love the misinformation, and the inconvenient truths (there is no loss of ‘sovereignty’, no less than the China Free Trade Deal), this is going to monumental, in such a way that it will play into Key/National’s hands how delicious 🙂

    Riots at TPPA and trouble at the Marae

    A win/win for me as a National voter.

  6. Those in the Key Government pushing hard for the TPP seem to be following routes not generally acceptable within a democracy which leaves me wondering what’s in it for them? (It’s usually – putting it nicely – financial):
    Found a rather absorbing site and that part dealing with “free energy” ties in with the current on-going teachings given by Dr M T Keshe in his Keshe Knowledge Seekers Workshops: http://themeasuringsystemofthegods.com/html/strawman_identity.html
    I guess we wont see free energy here with the TPPA but we have the opportunity to construct the units ourselves following the workshops thus reducing and eventually eliminating electricity bills.

  7. Lets bring this neo lib house of cards down ………… This is the beginning of the end ………. Stand up for your rights NOW.

  8. Let’s do it comrades. Today is the day for us to get out and challenge FJK and his rotten TPPA. Make our voices heard.

    See you there my friends 🙂

  9. In essence it doesn’t matter what people currently think about the TPPA:

    It WILL be signed today

    Life will continue as normal

    In a month’s time it will be forgotten by the average person

    If, as expected, there are some gains to be made in increased trade, Labour will have some awkward questions to answer come election time.

  10. Protesters blocking intersections and inhibiting the movements of hard working people. Great way to alienate people from your cause you retards. Well done , I probably should not have expected anything else.

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