Bill English’s Plan B for TPPA a political ‘own goal’ in election year – Professor Jane Kelsey

By   /   January 24, 2017  /   11 Comments

The idea from Prime Minister Bill English that New Zealand and other countries might proceed with Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement without the US is quite bizarre – especially in an election year’, says Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland.

‘Donald Trump would be delighted! US corporations would get the benefit of all the controversial rules on medicine patents, copyright, investment, state-owned enterprises that the US insisted on without the US have to give a single thing in return. Worse, countries that resisted these unprecedented demands for several years would become their new champions.’

‘Bill English suggested this morning that the TPPA was “probably” still a good deal without the US. Seriously? The economic modelling the government relied on to sell the TPPA last year had zero credibility and failed to account for the costs. Take the US out of that equation and any attempt to pitch the agreement as having net benefits to New Zealand is risible.’

‘Trying to sell the unsaleable during an election year would be a major political miscalculation’, Professor Kelsey said. ‘Because the text would be substantively different from the one that National rammed through the New Zealand Parliament last year the new version and a new National Interest Analysis would have to be tabled in the House and referred to the select committee. Not allowing submissions would inflame anti-TPPA sentiments; allowing them would provide a platform to expose the government’s stupidity’.

Kelsey noted that ‘Labour would also have to engage the TPPA in election year, which it is desperate not to do. Winston Peters would be in his element.’

This scenario assumes the other countries can reach the threshold of 85% of GDP to bring the agreement into force. That calculation would apply to the eleven original signatories who remain after the US withdraws its signature later this week.

According to Professor Kelsey, a TPPA-11 would require ratification by Japan, Canada and Australia, as well as either Mexico (86.6% of GDP) or four of the other larger countries (Malaysia, Singapore, Chile and either Peru or New Zealand) which total just over 85%.

‘Japan has completed its ratification. But the Australian Senate looks like it may reject the deal. The Canadian government has held a prolonged consultation on TPPA while awaiting developments in the US and will now be preoccupied with threats to renegotiate NAFTA.’

Professor Kelsey advised the Prime Minister to think again on whether he really wants to score such an obvious ‘own goal’ in an election year.

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  1. CLEANGREEN says:

    This PM is just a gatekeeper for the cabal who own NZ’s debt and have directed him (bill English) to stick to TPPA at all costs, so we must rid this evil lot this year.

    We don’t have a government only a caretaker for the Elite global corporates.

    Keep up the good work Jane, it’s great you are there to speak up for sanity.

  2. Jack Ramaka says:

    Bill wouldn’t know the first thing about trade he has been involved in banking and politics since he left high school and he hasn’t done particularly well in either of those two sectors reflecting on the state of the NZ Economy compared to the 1970’s.

  3. Jack Ramaka says:

    Jane don’t give Bill too many tips on his Election Strategy please, we have honestly had enough of this lot.

  4. Sam Sam says:

    Wow. Iv always wondered what it would be like locking America and China out of trade. It’s junk science that suggest the entire economic thesis has been discredited.

    Trade is those with the biggest gun. America has the biggest guns so they get to set trade policy and a little less With China. Before these to the British had the biggest guns so they set trade policy.

    Iv always been blown away by new trade theorists but not in a good way. They deserve no respect.

  5. Castro says:

    Perhaps now that TPP is done and dusted, Professor Kelsey can turn her attention back to the clear, present, and greatest danger to No Zealand… the Chinese mega-dictatorship?

  6. Sam Sam says:

    Does any one remember when the TPPA was the P3 through the Clark labour years?

    I mean there are still legitimate trading partners talking to us. It’s a great opertunity to renegotiate in different ways?

  7. Mike the Lefty says:

    Interesting to hear on Morning Report business news over the last couple of weeks how they lined up people who, after months of telling us how the TPPA was the best thing since sliced bread, now are feigning happiness that the US has pulled out.
    They tell us that they can get an even better deal now without the US.
    Sounds suspiciously like an admission that the US-led deal was totally ratchet, or more likely that they lied through their teeth.
    They wasted a lot of our country’s money and time on dirty little deals that they kept secret because they didn’t want us to know who got all the benefits.
    Bill English needs to be told to put away his whip because the dead horse he has been flogging for the last few years has now disintegrated into dust.
    The TPP is dead!
    Eat it you neo-liberal ponces!

  8. David See-More says:

    Trade with the US will ensure that proper wealth infuses the economy (yes I have been watching Masterchef!).

    It’s great to see a conservative POTUS and while he has thrown out the unpopular TPPA (a Masterstroke of political savviness to make a point of difference with ‘crooked Hillary’), it would be unusual for a POTUS, Republican President, to ignore the wishes of Republican constituency and ditch free trade.

    ACT and National, masterpoliticians of the right, support TPPA, TPPB, or any other version of TPPC through to TPPZ. It’s the way to let wealth trickle through the whole economy of New Zealand and the world markets. I look forward to Bill English making TPPA, TPPS or TPPW an election issue.

    You know it makes sense Bill! Well done (yes, I watched Masterchef!)

    • Wha Left says:

      You’re an absolute ACT moron See-More. The only thing that is trickling down through the economy is pain and suffering, poverty and uncertainty and dismantling of all the social safety nets that used to be a hallmark of the decent egalitarian society that used to be New Zealand.

      Your ACT lot, when they infiltrated Lange’s 1984 government, have set this country on a sick reality show into economic and social hell. Snake-oil salesmen like Prebble and Douglas, you and Brash have told us ever since 1984, that if we moved to indirect GST, we would all have 20% personal and corporate tax. Riches would trickle down like mana from heaven.

      Like your precious Masterchef, neoliberalism is a microcosm reality show, where there can only be one winner and a whole lot of sniveling losers.

      If TPPA was such a wonderful trade deal, why the secrecy? Why not celebrate every clause of the document?

      Because it isn’t a trade deal. It is the last phase of a corporate takeover of sovereign states weakened by 35 years of neoliberal scourge. State assets sold to private buyers and the profits lining the pockets of the rich. Those assets kept the country solvent, and egalitarian and caring.

      What have we got now that we’ve sold most of the assets? A debt-free New Zealand? Riches trickling down and every citizen wealthier because of ‘trickle-down’. No. It’s economic swindling, evidenced by people living in cars, poverty, misery and the debt clock:

      Labour and ACT in the 80’s and National, Maori Party, United Future and ACT this century, have sold, or want to sell every income-generating asset we have. It makes some Kiwis rich, but makes New Zealand easier to pressure into rabidly corporate trade deals. What happens if we don’t let corporates take over NZ? We become the PIGS of the South Pacific – like Europe’s Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain and our economy is ruined because we are forced to pay back the money we are borrowing, or face “austerity measures”.

      If we had kept the assets as state-owned, we wouldn’t have needed to borrow anything.

      I suppose you and your ACT Party See-More, will be pushing more assets sales, and for tax-cuts in the lead-up to the next election.

      Brexit proves that the little people can send an unequivocal message to the rulers. Let’s hope that English does make TPPB, TPPC or D an election issue. Then New Zealand can give him the same trouncing at the polls, that he got when he was Prime Minister in 2002.

      • Wha Left says:

        As a matter of fact Wha Left, you are wrong. ACT’s website outlines quite clearly, what is planned for NZ, if you can read.

        “Short to medium term goals should include reducing the level of government expenditure below 28 per cent of GDP and lowering the top tax rate to 24 cents. ACT’s Regulatory Responsibility Bill should be passed, and assets exposed to actual or possible commercial competition should be divested.”

        You claim that the tax rate by ACT is for 20%. It has never been 20%, but the left like you love to try and besmirch ACT’s wonderful policies that everyone knows are great for the economy.