MUST READ – Flagging the TPPA



Never before had I seen this.

In the middle of the anti-TPPA march down Queen street was a stooped pakeha woman carrying the New Zealand flag. A few paces in front, groups of Maori marched under the Tino rangitiratanga ensign. These domestically opposed symbols of national identity were,for the moment, standing together against a common threat – the transnational corporation.

The shortlisted designs from the flag referendum were nowhere in sight. This was a time of visceral allegiance rather than brand loyalty. Amidst the jostling placards depicting the TPPA one in particular stood out; a Trojan horse without lettering, an apt metaphor for the subterfuge of corporate power.

As thousands filled Queen street between banks and office buildings, faces peered through windows. Clusters of suited men and professional women, clearly disapproving were unable to look away from the momentous events outside. On the footpath, near Fort street, I saw a conservative business journalist looking up the street as thousands kept coming. Displeased but definitely engaged seemed to be the prevailing mood among onlookers. They would have seen not just seasoned protestors but ordinary people, middle New Zealand, many from out of town. And, the Maori presence gave the event a huge , unanswerable bicultural heft.

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Inside the throng we chanted, passionately but not obsessively. Our numerical presence and unity of purpose was powerful enough. I saw unsmiling motorists behind windscreens surrounded by marchers. `Cheer up` I thought `take your hands off the steering wheel and look at what surrounds you, a shift in political consciousness is ocurring`.

Such were my experiences and observations during Thursday`s anti-TPPA demonstration.

There has indeed been a mood shift against the TPPA. That the Prime Minister has not cited figures to support his case speaks volumes. National`s private polling may well be revealing unsatisfactory results. In my view a fissure has opened up between two groupings.

On one side we have transnational corporations and their ideological representatives among local corporate elites, the senior civil service and the executive arm of government, including the Prime Minister and Cabinet. They are supported by editorial writers, tame journalists and well known media figures with clear political alignments.

On the other side, viewpoints opposed to, or sceptical of the TPPA can be found throughout the Labour rank and file, the Greens, New Zealand First and an array of Maori organisations and leaders. Suspicion of the TPPA is clearly evident among doctors, lawyers independent economists and some business analysts. These latter groups are moving public opinion, especially around issues of legal and democratic process.

The key issue here was evident during the march, namely the Investor-State Dispute Settlement process (ISDS). This is not, despite government claims, a simple continuation of mechanisms available within the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and existing free trade agreements. The proposed tribunals are qualitatively new and allow no provisions for appeal rights. As Barry Coates, Rod Oram, Geoff Bertram and Tim Hazeldine point out in `The Economics of the TPPA` the investor-state process `is clearly designed to `chill` government policies that might threaten private corporate profits`.

The government`s pro-TPPA strategy now reveals a major contradiction. Their enthusiastic promotions of the agreement were compromised by the parallel insistence on secrecy. Consequently, Wikileaks revelations about the ISDS provisions along with the tireless efforts of Jane Kelsey alongside other anti-TPPA activists fuelled public concern. The government`s scornful reaction to this course of events reveals the inherent weakness of their position. John Key, Stephen Joyce, Todd McClay and fellow protagonists are,effectively, standing on behalf of transnational capitalism and its inter-state machinery against our legal and political sovereignty.

Where then does this leave the Labour party leadership?

This is the central question arising from last Thursday`s historic march.

Will they support the national ensigns of Maori and Pakeha nationhood against the TPPA? Or will they, ultimately, lend weight to the Trojan horse of transnational capitalism?


  1. Part of the core purpose of the TPPA is Privatization.

    The Corporations want to get their hands on Government tax money that is spent of Health, Education, Prisons etc etc etc .

    Serco is a pretty good representation of TPPA in practice ……

    Wayne raises other good points in his post and I feel their is potentially a huge crossover between the anti Key flag rag movement and the TPPA.

    Because our Soldiers did not go to war to defend our flag ……..

    They went to defend our sovereignty and independence which our flag represents ……………….

  2. “United we stand” against the tyranny of this sell-out bought by corporates Government.

    They are little more than crooks, and must be removed.

    Thanks Wayne for the input.

  3. Labour are spineless. They will do mnothing but witter and whine. They haven’t the gumption to leave the TPPA,that is the only position for any political party that claims to represent working people. And Labour will not go there. They long ago lost out to greed like the rest of middle class NZ.

    • IMO the problem is our democratic process, the last few years since rogernomics , we seem to have a collective of neo libralism in both left and right parties
      We vote thinking change would come but it’s the same policy with a slightly different ideology (much like American politics )
      This is the failure of democracy, politicians bought ,by corporate interests descreetly or not ,we are “given options “were really none exist
      Our democratic system is being manipulated by those who have money and Power for the greedy and ambitious who are easily bought.
      Maybe a binding Citizens Referendum on policies may be a changing point but the voters would have be responsible for our democratic future
      Maybe that is too much to ask

      • If everything were subject to Citizens Initiated Referenda, not much would ever happen. Most people do not have the time required to endlessly study submissions and the views of others and detailed items of legislation and regulation (not to mention the carry over ramifications that change has on all manner of other laws and practices). That’s why we entrust politicians and the public services to devise, test and implement law reform and policy for us. And it’s why we elect Governments to give effect to their manifestos. There are other checks in place too, such as judicial scrutiny.

        The issue is not with our constitutional system, it’s with the maintenance of accountability within the system we have. In my view, supporting a truly independent and well resourced media that is strong enough to undertake proper investigations and hold the Government to account where it finds impropriety (as if to peer review what the Government is doing & report on such to us in a simple and comprehensive way) has to be the priority.

        With the media, the problem is that with the current business case, undertaking comprehensive research on issues & reporting on such is not a financially viable exercise. I think the solution is for us to realise that there is a cost to this work, and that we should actually cough up for it by paying subscriptions.

        It’s important to think about this issue practically.

    • Me thinks your anger is misplaced. It’s roll over National who are spineless. Why didn’t Key/Groser negotiate a better deal and have NZ exempted from the ISDS like other countries have done?
      John Key has signed on the dotted line what is an effectively a blank piece of paper that his foreign corporate/government friends can fill in later on. key has continuously lied lied and deceived us, and has tied the hands of future governments, it won’t be easy to get out it despite the withdrawal clause. And the other opposition parties have not said they would withdraw from it either.

      People need to remember this is not the full text, the background documents have NOT been released, and won’t be until 4 years after it is ratified, who knows what the extent of the fish hooks are that are still being kept secret.

    • I think the spinelessness belongs more to the economic establishment – the business analysts, business reporters, rural reporters and other divisions of the MSM.
      With a few exceptions: most have been willing to basically just regurgitate what Joyce, Key, English and the rest of the junta have to say on the TPPA. The message being it will be good for you, but we can’t actually tell you how or when .
      Trust me! Would I lie?
      When they get off their chuffs and put together some objective criticism with the facts then the “benefits” of the TPPA look even more unobtainable, whilst the bad points – the diminishing of New Zealand’s ability to make its own laws without direct interference from mega rich American corporations looks a heap more likely.
      Whatever Labour said is bound to be marginalized by a hostile MSM who don’t want informed comment and debate because it contradicts decisions they have already made.

      • The majority of our journalists are the antithesis of what their profession was:they are lazy, biased and shallow.
        Case in point: Guyon Espiner on RNZ yesterday haranguing the ceo of AFFCO (fair enough – they have been bastards) about how much profit the company was making. BUT he obviously hadn’t bothered to actually check it out himself so had to report it after the interview !?!

        I repeat

        This mainstream media is the enemy of our democracy

  4. The government agenda has always been sabotage, dressed up as forthcoming prosperity.

    Unfortunately, Labour leadership has had the same agenda as National for decades and did not take a stand when a stand needed to be taken, so has no credibility.

    The global unravelling of the banksters’ Ponzi scheme, the collapse of trade and the collapse of the environment leave criminals like Key without a leg to stand on.

    It is the people versus the betrayers. Too few people realise it yet.

    • “Unfortunately, Labour leadership has had the same agenda as National for decades and did not take a stand when a stand needed to be taken, so has no credibility.”

      It’s even worse than that. National have a position on the TPP, like it or not. Labour have more than one position, depending on the day Andrew Little is interviewed. To express such opposition to the TPP, and yet not commit to withdraw, is a recipe for political self destruction.

      • So Oxyood, you are deflecting acrimony away from National (who signed the TPPA at Skycity corporate headquarters instead of at Parliament), onto the Labour Party?

        Sound propaganda, almost like blaming Jews for the Versailles Diktat, instead of 1920’s merchant bankers. Faulty logic and scapegoating.

        Next we’ll be blaming Mickey Mouse Maori for Key attending the Auckland Nines, instead of celebrating Waitangi ?

      • Labour do have a position on the TPPA, they oppose it in its current form, like the other opposition parties are saying. Andrew Little hasn’t changed his mind, and neither has the Labour party.

        John key shouldn’t have signed on the dotted line on what amounts to a blank piece of paper. Already powerful lobbyists in America are seeking changes, but here’s John key ramming through legislative changes to our laws to accommodate it when all the other TPPA partners haven’t even hammered it out through their parliaments yet, and it’s doubtful if all countries will ratify it anyway, but here’s John key changing our laws that once protected us for his foreign corporate/government friends. Ask yourself why won’t John Key put the TPPA to a parliamentary vote like all the other TPPA countries?

        But why the big rush on John key’s part? Is this the last part of his treasonous sell out plan to be concluded before he makes his exit from NZ politics, thus ensuring that whatever fallout and damage is a result, it would be someone else’s problem? And after changing our laws, John key has left us wide open to unknown international forces, which was the real plan wasn’t it? because even if the TPPA fails and I am pretty sure they know there is a strong likelihood that it will, foreign corporations/governments already waiting to exploit New Zealand and it’s resources would still be able to do so without the TPPA because John Key has already changed our laws for them, and that puts Andrew Little’s Labour Party’s stance into perspective, doesn’t it? There is a very good reason why Andrew Little made a point of speaking to each and every TPPA partner letting them know that the Labour government will retain this country’s sovereignty at all costs regardless of whatever John key has signed us up to, and Labour, as are the other opposition parties, are prepared to fight for it.

        You know the full text has not been released, don’t you? So what else is Key hiding that he is so afraid of that secrets are still being kept? So is it really that easy to withdraw when you don’t know the true extent of the fish hooks, and won’t know until 4 years after it is ratified? You appear to know everything, fill us in then, how it is to be done.

      • Oxyood, it must stick in your throat that so many Kiwis oppose the TPPA? In fact, more oppose the TPPA than your precious Act party. Bummer, huh?

        • [The contents of this post has been deleted, as the author is not the usual contributor known as CLEANGREEN. We have recorded the time, date, and IP number of this person (whose identity is suspected), and will be passing it on to his ISP. – ScarletMod]

    • Even Corin Dann has recognized that National and Labour have parted ways re TPPA. And Labour did take a stand, Labour is on the side of retaining this country’s sovereignty.

  5. Germany reject the ISDS outright – they had more nouse than our lot – and more integrity. Key is a Judas-goat for other country leaders: designed to trick them into betraying their countries to the US agenda.
    Better than we deal with him now, than fight the US and his puppet-sucessor.

  6. ‘ The government`s pro-TPPA strategy now reveals a major contradiction. Their enthusiastic promotions of the agreement were compromised by the parallel insistence on secrecy. ‘

    ‘ The government`s scornful reaction to this course of events reveals the inherent weakness of their position. John Key, Stephen Joyce, Todd McClay and fellow protagonists are,effectively, standing on behalf of transnational capitalism and its inter-state machinery against our legal and political sovereignty. ‘


    THIS,…. is the prime reason that I and so many others find the TTPA offensive. THIS ON ITS OWN threatens to reach out and affect every other aspect the anti TTPA camp are demonstrating about.

    From pharmaceuticals , Te Tiriti o Waitangi , intellectual property rights, environmental concerns , wages and more – ALL are affected by ISDS.

    Let alone the pathetic percentage’s quoted by the govt that is supposed to ‘benefit’ this country. Even that is a dead duck.

    But to have a binding agreement and by that I mean an agreement that will cause difficulty in extricating ourselves from without incurring economic and political consequences – is sheer insanity . Unless of course ,….you have vested interests in the TTPA as it has now been shown that John Key does.

    To have a situation whereby there is a nameless, faceless foreign alliance – and that not even of sovereign nations such as the United Nations are – but merely nothing more than a conglomeration of private interest multinational corporate’s presiding over the future legislative , economic sovereignty of a country is incredibly offensive.

    Without any form of monitoring , but simply having sole arbitrary recourse to blackmail of any non compliant independent nation – is tantamount to being treasonous for any govt that willingly signs up to it. Particularly when done in secret and unilaterally as this govt has attempted to do.

    So for the reasons outlined above we can discern two divergent yet intimately related causes of offense. The loss of sovereignty because of the whole framework and nature of the TTPA – and the other being the incredibly anti democratic nature of its political signatory’s , and these latter know it would have been an unpopular – and rejected almost simultaneously – matter if true and democratic disclosure had been made to the general public.

    Key in particular has an arrogance that justify’s his stance. He has said many times ‘ the public really doesn’t care about politics ‘…

    Well he has been proven wrong . In this and many other past instances there has been public backlash , but this trying to surreptitiously manoeuvre past the democratic process has highlighted the caliber of politician he ACTUALLY is – and not what his minders have carefully tried to craft.

    The anti democratic signing of the TTPA in this country on the 4th February 2016 is in fact , – and will be remembered as such – , as a day of infamy for this country.

  7. As much those who took part in the protests (not just in Auckland but around the country) can bask, deservedly so, in the warm glow of being part of something massive and momentous, we need to be aware that as the government sees protest taking hold and disaffection growing, so too will they ramp up their efforts. As Ghandi said, “First they ignore at you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, and then you win.”
    We are now entering the stage where “they”, ie, the government, will fight. Whatever that means.

  8. You’re dreaming

    I watched them go past:

    The standard lineup of professional protesters
    Some bewildered old hippies
    A bus load of permanently angry and unemployable Maori from Northland
    A bunch of art students

    5000 maybe

    This the size of your constituency.

    • [ Some of the neo liberal right wing have sought to derail the issues at hand by using diversions and cliches – we have many such coming on forums such as these spouting off about ‘unemployed , layabout arts students and hangovers from the 1960’s ‘….
      These mental images and cliches are the only thing many of them can fall back on to resist the fact there was NO public consultation or discussion whatsoever on an issue of such magnitude as the TTPA.]


      And here we have it , ladies and gentlemen – exactly to a word of what I posted earlier on another post issued recently.

      The worn out cliches are clown – like and predictably , as usual ….. wrong.

    • I don’t normally agree with those on the left, but I did see the numbers opposing the TPPA and at a rough guesstimate there were around 28,000.

      As a loyal ACT supporter, with this sort of anti-National and anti-United Future vote, it is worrying for a centrist party like ACT. I believe we will have to re-evaluate our support of the TPPA, if there is so much opposition to it and consider an alliance with Labour again, like we did in the late 80’s. I believe ACT, would be willing to work with the Maori Party and Labour to move New Zealand forward through a tricky time in its relations with the TPPA.

      The only sure vote in the centre of the New Zealand political spectrum is ACT, so we will be looking to shaw up our centre block coalition, with, or without National, who have moved too far to the left. A vote for ACT will give New Zealanders a clear way forward through the more of TPPA.

      • Piss off See more. Just weasel words aimed to embolden your own agenda.
        What is your goal in politics? To serve all NZers and their interests or the global corporate elite?
        Your sitting on the fence Humpty.

    • Blah blah blah ho hum. Getting boring Andrew. You must work for the media as your always so far off the facts, your out past the Keppler belt with the rest of the autocue readers masquerading as informed journalists.
      Well done exposing your racist streak though, must cost your family a fortune cutting eyeholes in all them pillowcases.

    • Hahahaha ! @ Andrew . I have to say, that was funny . Doesn’t change the fact , you’re a cunt . No disrespect to actual cunts.

    • Andrew/Andrewo strikes again will his usual disinformation, projecting himself because I’m pretty sure he’s a professional troll.

    • Put some glasses on andrewo, you couldnt view all the protesters.
      Do you imagine for one minute your crooked words mean anything ?
      You are just a soundbite for Key.
      I saw proffessionals, drs ,teachers ,business people, everyone a NZs with a genuine cause. 25,000 people in Auckland, more in other centres. Busloads from the North.John Key on tv looked sick and wrinkled and cowed.
      The old chestnut “Rent a mob”wont work anymore, up yourself people like you need to realise National are on the back foot, lies wont work anymore.

    • “The standard lineup of professional protesters” – Andrew

      New Zealand has 25,000 “professional protesters”?

      You’re not the full quid, Andrew. You can’t dismiss sizeable chunks of the NZ population so easily. The TPPA is flawed; was negotiated in secrecy; and now the Nats are having a devil of a time trying to sell it to a sceptical public.

      The fault lies not in the stars, Andrew, but in the black hearts of your National Party mates.

  9. The use of the word ” key ” should be done with care. We have ” key division” and ” key derision “. There is absolutely nothing positive in using the word, that is ” key “. The word ” key” should be applied in the negative and NEVER in a positive argument, in my opinion.

  10. Let me warn all of you who keep celebrating this great turnout on an anti TPPA signing protest march, plus other activities that took place on 04 February 2016. Yes, there are signs of more persons getting worried, of more starting to question not just the TPPA, but also the government’s direction in other areas, economic, social and so forth. But that in itself is not yet a strong signal of a wider mood change, of a disillusionment with the present government and the status quo of a neliberal system that already has most firmly in its grip.

    Almost all of us, working, not working, doing business or studying or whatever, we are stuck in a complex system that binds us into total dependency. We need incomes or benefit support to survive, and those that provide this to us, they are truly locked into an economic system that grinds us, that forces behaviour and thinking on us, that has us in virtual bondage.

    The new technologies do not change this much, they rather even reinforce this complex interdependence we all face. Who dares challenge their boss, who dares go on a strike, who dares argue with a WINZ case manager, who dares question the way stuff is taught to us during training, or even at university.

    We all have bills to pay, we all face housing, transport, electricity, water and endless other costs, many are in debt, have loans, mortgages hang around their necks. Banks are linked up with the international financial system. Stock exchanges can send shivers or excitement through the nerves of many doing business, investing or even just working for “successful” companies.

    So we may have shown the force of the disapproving lot amongst the people, but there are at least as many who firmly keep supporting the TPPA and the system that operates, and other agreements and the interdependencies.

    The MSM is also part of it, they swiftly went back to normal after the march was over, to report a lot of drivel and weather and sports news, and neglect the really important stuff.

    In reality, nothing has changed (yet). Hence it is wrong to rest on our laurels, to think, we have reached many, maybe enough, to throw this government out. The real silent majority will like so often simply bend under the pressure, follow the usual signals, appeals, orders and urges, and just continue with the status quo.

    To achieve real change, we must persist, must do much more, launch other actions, not just re the TPPA, we must rattle, we must be shouting, discussing, be seen and be heard. We must also continue to inform ourselves, to read, learn and become more independent from other peoples so called “expert” advice.

    Then we may finally break this horrible slave system down, and have at least a bit of control back. I feel sorry for those that fall for appeals like “give a little” to “save” a beautiful natural beach and inlet on the South Island from some private buyer. The solution is not falling for the system and donate and hope to buy it before a rich prick does, the solution should be to simply claim back what is the people’s, to simply OCCUPY and take control.

    But so far few have realised this is what is needed. Perhaps more will wake up soon, we should also prepare to occupy the stock exchange, as part of civil unrest, further down the track, I suppose. That may wake more up, rather than nice appeals, that go largely unnoticed and are just part of the problem.

    Kia Kaha!

  11. I use the word ” key ” with care. There is nothing positive about the the about using the word ” key ” in written discourse, in my opinion.
    The PM with the surname of Key , has been provocative, divisive by his actions of late and with the advice of his writers/ advisors/agents/COS he has been ” bringing it on”, seeking a fight which has not transpired.
    There are no “key issues “, but rather just “key problems”.
    The ” fourth of February ” is the ” justa ” But it is, perhaps the end of the the beginning’ ” .q. CHURCHILL.
    The ” key ” problems of our Nation , of our working families and our destiny may soon be seen to be ” pruned “

  12. Streets in Mexico are commonly named after days of historical significance . I see a street in NZ being named ” fourth of February ” in honour of the day of protest.

    • Hmmmm……interesting concept…

      Dildo Drive

      Waitangi Chickens Cross Road

      Booed @ Nines Ave

      The Traitors TTP Scenic Tourist Route

      Impeached 4 Treason Boulevard.

      The last one could be placed in Tory electorates …in fact , now that you think of it… they all could.

      • Wild ” K ” After a days work on earthmoving ” lizards ” , sitting on K Road . Thank you for the very cool mirth . I am still laughing.

  13. Key was positively hysterical in Parliament yesterday. The anti-TPPA movement must really be getting to him. If he wasn’t bothered so much, he sure spent a lot of time attacking Andrew Little with frothy-mouthed hysteria.

    The Nats are on the back-foot. Time to keep up the pressure. Not relent.

    As for Phil Goff, the traitorous little SOB can go fcuk himself.

    • I could say the same about the Maori Party as well ALH84001, if they continue to support National, ACT and Peter Dunne.

      National refused to consult with Maori before the signing of the TPPA and Key manufactured a rift by calling Maori “Mickey mouse”. Hardly the most conciliatory of ways to korero about the TPPA with the tangata whenua.

      When neolibs Phil Goff and David Shearer cross the floor to vote with National, ACT, and Peter Dunne, the Maori Party should cross the floor and vote vote with Labour, Greens, NZ First.

      If Maori Party do not cross the floor they do not represent Maori, they represent corporate Key and his cabal.

      If Maori Party do not cross the floor they do not represent Maori, they represent US takeover of New Zealand which will be complete when the New Keyland flag runs up the flagpole.

      If Maori Party do not cross the floor they do not represent Maori, they are Uncle Toms, in it for the baubles of office.

      They’ll all be gone by lunchtime the day after the next election.

  14. Mike in Auckland is on to it. This is just one battle in a long, drawn out war. A war in which those who control the purse strings, have the upper hand.
    “I don’t have time for all that….I’ve got mouths to feed” is a powerful weapon, for those who would control and bully you. Keep the masses struggling and we’ve won most of the fight, would be the neocons strategy….it’s when they go too far and leave enough people with nothing to lose, that they are in deep poo poo, and, in NZ, they haven’t got there yet. It’s important to at least keep the pressure on, and make the most of the continual fuckups these clowns in charge continually make.

  15. +100 totally agree.

    Only thing is that many ‘suits’ are also against the TPPA! People are tired of being constantly ripped of in this country – some corporations and individuals are becoming greedier and greedier.

    I think there should be some analysis of corporations – and would like to see it mandatory and within a ranking of companies.

    The spread of employees, how much between CEO and lowest worker or contractor (including wages)

    How many people the company employ and how much the median worker makes etc.

    How many ‘outsource’ to contractors and what they pay and so forth.

    How many are on zero hour contracts.

    How much tax they paid last year on their turnover.

    A lot of this is public already but requires analysis and would be good as a ranking.

    How many migrant workers they bring in etc

    I don’t think it is as easy as “NZ company good”, “Overseas company bad, I don’t care about the nationality of the company as long as they pay their taxes, employ NZ people on fair wages and so forth.

    Tallays are a good example of a bad company. Ports of Auckland etc. It would not surprise me if NZ companies are some of the worst – look at our rabid politicians on the TPPA – they will sign anything to destroy the country.

  16. Excellent piece. Great observations. The crucial purpose of a protest is to raise public awareness that there is an absence of Full Disclosure, which makes people curious to find out. Our task is to educate people how propaganda in the media works to brainwash people everyday in subtle ways.

    For a scathing account of the Kiwi douchebags from Aotea-Mower’s media, see …

    Aotea-Mower: The Land of the Loony White Media Woosies

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