Trump did NOT kill TPPA – WE the people did!


Yes, I am happy the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is dead. But let me spell out in one syllable words – Trump – did – not – kill – the – TPPA. It was already dead. Obama could not get it through the Congress before the election. If he could have, he would have. As I have said before, it became such an election issue because of Bernie Sanders, then both Hilary Clinton and Trump jumped on the bandwagon. Blaming TPPAs collapse on a xenophobic megalomaniac allows the media to continue to ignore the real dynamics behind Trump’s victory, Brexit, the rejection of TTIP and resistance to CETA in the EU. The model is broken.

We need alternatives.

Trump has only withdrawn the US from the TPPA. There is no reference to TTIP or the US China Bilateral Investment Treaty – both bilateral negotiations that he prefers – or the multi-party Trade in Services Agreement that would do most of the things he rails about, such as offshoring of businesses, jobs and investment, but is sought after by many of the billionaires in his Cabinet.  Nor has he exercised executive power to withdraw from NAFTA as he did the TPPA. Instead, it will be renegotiated.

If Trump is serious about making agreements work ‘a lot better’ for working people and their communities, rather than the corporations, that could genuinely create a space for new thinking. Progressive thinkers in the US and Canada are already advising Trump on what needs to be done about NAFTA. Letters to Trump from the Public Citizen Trade Campaign, the AFL-CIO and Democratic Party Representative Rosa DeLauro have set out some specific starting points:

  • Eliminate rules that incentivize the offshoring of jobs and that empower corporations to attack democratic policies in unaccountable tribunals.
  • Defend jobs and human rights by adding strong, binding and enforceable labor and environmental standards to the agreement’s core text and requiring that they are enforced.
  • Overhaul NAFTA rules that harm family farmers and feed a destructive agribusiness model.
  • End NAFTA rules that threaten the safety of our food.
  • Eliminate NAFTA rules that drive up the cost of medicines.
  • Eliminate NAFTA rules that undermine job-creating programs like Buy American.
  • Strengthen “rules of origin” and stop trans-shipment so as to create jobs and reinforce labor and environmental standards.
  • Add strong, enforceable disciplines against currency manipulation to ensure a fair playing field for job creation.
  • Require imported goods and services to meet domestic safety and environmental rules.
  • Add a broad protection for environmental, health, labour and other public interest policies.

Why can’t that be done, not just in the US but here? There are obvious barriers in the US that people committed to progressive alternatives would have to overcome. The corporate lobbies who have privileged access to the text as cleared advisers and largely got their way in the TPPA would not tolerate it. Nor probably would the billionaires from Wall St and the oil industry in Trump’s cabinet. Would Trump’s racist diatribes against Mexico and Mexicans allow anything but the meanest of power politics in a renegotiation? Can he get past the border to see part of the reason Mexicans cross it is the impact of NAFTA on their own jobs, communities and future prospects? As Lori Wallach from Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch said: ‘The trade debate is not about the United States versus the rest of the world, but rather about multinational corporations versus the rest of us.’ 

That challenge is as relevant to us as it is to the US, Canada and Mexico. Some ideas that are embraced in the US may not warrant the same support, while others, such as rights pf indigenous peoples and dealing to climate change, would be on our list. But there is no reason why a New Zealand government could not embrace that kind of alternative. It’s exactly the kind of debate we need to have.

Instead, we have the spectacle of Bill English, along with the political leaders of numerous other TPPA countries, desperately seeking to rescue an agreement that is toxic in most of their countries. Having spent six years of political capital and taxpayer resources closing a deal that never stood up to scrutiny, their Plan B would squander more resources and political capital trying to defend the indefensible – in our case during an election year.

It is hard to believe they are really serious about proceeding without the US. Trump would rub his hands in glee. Unless they renegotiated large chunks of the text, US corporations would get the benefit of all the controversial rules on medicine patents, copyright, investment, state-owned enterprises that the US on without the US have to give a single thing in return.

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The alternative of renegotiating would take years and more resources, to achieve what?

The economic modelling National relied on here to sell the deal had zero credibility and failed to account for the costs. Take the US out of that equation and any attempt to claim it would have net benefits to New Zealand is risible.

Because the text would be substantively different from the one that National rammed through the 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. Surely National can’t want that.

Labour would also have to engage the TPPA in election year, which it has been desperate not to do. But maybe if they got brave (?!) that would give them a point of difference that appealed to their constituency of working people. Winston Peters would be in his element – although the pro-TPPA Shane Jones might be a bit uncomfortable. The Maori Party and Mana would have genuine common cause.

The prospect that we might convert TPPA-scepticism into debates on a positive agenda for new models of international agreements almost makes election year sound interesting!


  1. Oh dear, I was once a supporter but your diatribe leaves me aghast. If you had been following Trump’s policy proposals instead of the spewing of the MSM, top of his list is to bring jobs back to America, jobs for the American people – the workers and the middle class. If he was indeed jumping on the band wagon, surely the next step would have been to ignore his ‘promise’ to get rid of TPP, AND not cancel it, as one of his first moves. Yes there are many things Trump does that I strongly disagree with. BUT I don’t minimise and belittle his actions out of hand. And especially don’t dress him as a dictator. Have you heard what the Clintons and Obama did to innocent women and children of countries with so called dictators? You think Clinton was a better bet for world peace, women’s rights, jobs for people etc? Anyhow here is another view of what Trump offers the US people and the world, who the real enemy is that NO liberals know about and/or protest against. [heard about what’s happening in Yemen by the way?] And yes the article does go on about Putin, who suffers the same Liberal malaise as does Trump. But it is worth a read. Just to read a another opinion.

  2. Trade, however it is negotiated, is a major contributor to overheating of the Earth, and a major contributor to pollution of the atmosphere and oceans. The more trade there is, the faster the planet will become uninhabitable for humans and most other species.

    Current levels of trade are totally unsustainable, and will collapse some time over the next decade as a consequence of resource depletion and increased levels of pollution, too late to prevent global environmental catastrophe.

    The current ‘civilisation’ it little more than a mass suicide cult.

    • Local low tech resilience with self sufficiency is the only longer term future possible and will involve a smaller population able to live in some remaining resource rich but much more confined areas.

      Global trade is a literal nonsense.

  3. The prospect that we might convert TPPA-scepticism into debates on a positive agenda for new models of international agreements almost makes election year sound interesting!

    You’re making the assumption that we actually need international agreements for trade.

    We don’t. In fact, such agreements seem to make matters worse by enforcing standards that prop up corporations while undermining the actual societies involved in them.

    What we should be doing as a country is setting standards that other countries have to meet before we’ll trade with them.

    Don’t need international agreements or institutions such as the World Bank, the IMF, or the WTO.

    Oh, and we need to outright ban offshore ownership. Let trade be about trade and not colonisation by rich foreigners.

    • New Zealand can raise tariffs because productive capacity is running around 50% so inflation will be muted to a point. After this point we will need some kind of commen quality control that doesn’t currently exist in any trade agreement.

      You are showing your complete lack of understanding for trade and geopolitics again DT Bastard

  4. Well we may not have gained as much traction if Obama had another term and if it wasn’t the USA’s election year,.. there’s no doubt the TTPA just might have finally been pushed through if more time was available. It wasn’t, so we were fortunate.

    Perhaps it was the impetus given by Sanders that really set the ball rolling , but I believe Trump also saw the TTPA in a dim light , for his own reasons … but the long term and lions share of the credit would go to the mass rallies and academic voices speaking out years before that,… no doubt about that.

    It is interesting that in one of Trumps speeches he states that ‘ the only people who have the power to stop these global self interest groups is you … the people ‘… interesting because he was right. And it shows he was right because ultimately – it was the mass will of the people that DID stop it.

    It is an interesting thing to see this Bill English ,… quietly scrabbling away to salvage some semblance of a hollowed out TTPA.

    It doesn’t come up often in political blogs such as these but I believe it is provable and far more than a mere ‘ conspiracy theory ‘ that there IS in fact a globalist cabal called the Illuminati … not some mickey mouse cartoon version of hooded , robed individuals conducting clandestine and bizarre rituals in secluded locations away from the public’s gaze…. and yet !… Alex Jones did a marvelous job in highlighting Bohemian Grove and the Skull and Bones fraternity’s… ( short video ) ( documentary )

    I would say the real drivers of these type of deals are these sort of characters… and they trace their pedigree directly back to their political roots – a 200 year old secret society that subverted and assimilated European Freemasonry at the 1782 Congress of Wilhelmsbad – the Illuminati.

    This group has influenced every major war since the French Revolution, are intimately linked in with the Rothchilds banking elite , have developed think tanks and policy makers such as the Bilderbergers, Trilateral Commission , Council on Foreign Relations , United Nations and finance houses such as the Bank of International Settlements , IMF, World Bank , Federal Reserve to name just a few…

    And one of their goals is to divide the globe up into 10 major political and trade regions… and it is THIS ,… that is the origins of these Free Trade Agreements.

    Anyone who doubts any of this and their ultimate end goals is ignorant of at least the last 200 years of history and of the agents who have been shaping it. Or in denial . When George H W Bush senior mentioned in his speeches over and over again about a ‘ New World Order ‘ before, during and after the first Gulf War,… he was NOT talking figuratively.

    This is where we get the term ‘ Globalist’.

    Its economic system is neo liberalism. And one day to a be a cashless system.

    It has a corporate disinformation system in the Global Media – with a particular mandate to silence dissenters.

    It is concerned with uniting the major religions of the world under one banner and forming a Global religion . ( World Council of Churches etc are forerunners )

    It seeks to subvert and destroy traditional national sovereignty and the very concept of it by rendering the national sovereignty of any one country subservient to multilateral , military , and economic trade deals and treaty’s .

    Because people have a finite lifespan , … with a limited ability to adsorb chronological events as they happen as eyewitness to those facts ,… .. it is far easier to believe that we are nothing but leaves blown by the wind from one circumstance to the next throughout history without any semblance of general order or reason being applied save but the most rudimentary of explanations…

    Yet those very same people would be the first to allude to old and traditional institutions as evidence of some form of continuity… physical evidence in the form of buildings , organizations , customs and traditions… but still not being able to correlate that those who lived before their time had motives and ideals just like they have now, and that some of those motives and ideals were not compatible with society’s or humanity’s general best interests.

    Some of the most destructive and evil philosophy’s and doctrines were formalized and developed in the 19th century , – and had their destructive culminations in the 20th century’s wars.

    There was no instance of happenstance here.

    Nor were many of the sadistic events of the last few decades, and nor were the global trade deals such as the TTPA.

    Included here is a compelling documentary showing in graphic detail and plain view just how it is being done. It is essentially a chronological account of historical events both recent and past and demonstrates with clarity the true aims of globalization into the near future.

  5. Thank you, Jane. Trump hasn’t finished yet. His got his sights set on the Center for Disease Control and Big Pharma. Trump is egotistical and moves that bring applause from the people are the motivating factor. He can’t be bought by corporations and has surrounded himself with rich ex-corporate heads. The people of New Zealand would not have been the winners with TPPA but the slaves of corporate bosses who, if those with eyes to read and one functioning brain cell would know, would have controlled the country with our PM and Cabinet as nothing more than over paid puppets.
    What is now interesting is that the US Congress is making moves to leave the UN which was always intended as the NWO Headquarters.
    Interesting times. If only we could have an interesting leadership, preferably one that doesn’t wait for its directives to come from offshore.

  6. TPPA wasn’t a Free Trade Agreement it was a document handing over our sovereignty to the Multi Nationals that control global trade and influence Governments.

    • There’s no difference between a dumb idea and a really well thought out dumb idea. Only notions of UBI can overcome notions of job creators

    • I read that link , Castro….

      It pretty much sums up the fiery anger of those who have been betrayed for 3 and more decades by an impotent , self aggrandizing and deceitful Left that was beaten by neo liberalism so descended into ‘ substituting social justice movements for economic opportunities to acquire economic security and capital. ‘

      Here’s just a few extracts :

      * ‘ To mask the collapse of the Left’s economic defense of labor, the Left’s apologists and PR machine have substituted social justice movements for economic opportunities to acquire economic security and capital. This has succeeded brilliantly, as tens of millions of self-described “progressives” completely bought the left’s Great Con that “social justice” campaigns on behalf of marginalized social groups were the defining feature of Progressive Social Democratic movements.’

      * ‘ This diversionary sleight-of-hand embrace of economically neutered “social justice” campaigns masked the fact that social democratic parties everywhere have thrown labor into the churning propellers of globalization, open immigration and neoliberal financial policies–all of which benefit mobile capital, which has engorged itself on the abandonment of labor by the Left.’

      * ‘ Meanwhile, the fat-cats of the Left have engorged themselves on capital’s largesse in exchange for their treachery. Bill and Hillary Clinton’s $200 million in “earnings” come to mind, as do countless other examples of personal aggrandizement by self-proclaimed “defenders” of labor. ‘


      • Sickening indeed. The freight train at the end of the tunnel is that New Zealand is heading towards civil war at a rate of knots, and some of these traitors and colonial overlords will be brutally murdered by the peasants that they created and then pissed on.

      • Katipo, are you or any other Trump supporters able to prove Trump’s legitimacy WITHOUT vilifying another human being to make him “look good”?

        Because so far, Trump’s suitability seems predicated on “But he’s better than Clinton” or “He’s better than XYZ”.

        Not exactly what I’d call a stirling endorsement of a man who so far is little more than a bigotted demagogue.

  7. Damn right, We The People stopped the TPPA.

    Just as we stopped the MIA (Multilateral Investment Agreement).

    Trump The Populist simply jumped on the bandwagon, just as he’s jumped on the anti-war movement that opposed opposed the invasion of Iraq.

    However, be that as it may, we have to maintain vigilance. The New Right is a dying ‘beast’, but still has sufficient political clout to wreak havoc on our social sector and democratic institutions.

    • Can “you” the people stop the Chinese dictatorship now? Careful, you will need to be armed to the teeth, because if stand in front of their tanks, they will just mow you down without batting an eyelid.

  8. Trade, however it is negotiated, will ‘kill the planet’.

    Almost every day that passes we see mounting evidence of the immense harm that trade does, and most people turn a blind eye to it all because trade allows them to acquire all sorts of things they would not otherwise have, and in doing so take a personal role in destroying their own progeny’s futures.

    Daily CO2
    January 24, 2017:  407.69 ppm
    January 24, 2016:  403.45 ppm

    And Antarctic sea ice is at by far the lowest level ever for the time of year, with obvious implication for the future.

    All that said, we can be certain that the saboteurs that inhabit the Beehive, along with the idiots that make up the bulk of the NZ bureaucracy, will be working fervently on the next deal to screw everyone so a few opportunists can make some more short-term fiat currency to spend on stuff that will screw everyone a bit more.

    Industrial civilization, as practiced in NZ and the bulk of the world, is little more than a mass suicide cult. I guess people will get it when they start to suffer a bit more. or when the system collapses, as it most certainly will.

    • Deniers are of course in the first stage of grief.

      Those who have moved to anger followed by bargaining to find solutions and finding none, then move to where the more advanced are in depression before coming to terms with the mess.and accepting there are very limited solutions and none that are very likely for humans.

      There are certainly no solutions for carrying on what we are doing now.

      So skip the details and knuckle down to moving on, or you will continue to make it worse and reduce possibilities even further.

      Much of the bargaining is really thrashing around while reality sinks in slowly. Well motivated often but there is little hope for a pleasant future.

      Work out which stage you are at.

  9. When the Bush’s, Clintons and Obama’s are involved in anything, then corruption, deception, and destruction of both people and resources follow in their wake and with the support of their subservient mainstream media outlets like CNN and MSM, interest groups and lobbyist then havoc and misleading information is also let loose on the world. The Bush and Clinton families have personally been involved in the creation of NAFTA and TPPA well before Trump considered running for POTUS. Now, as the newly appointed President of America, he has inherited this mess in which he had no involvement in terms of their design and implementation. On the contrary, I can tell you unequivocally that Trump, Jones, & Stone have been pounding the TPPA & NAFTA for the last 18 months and earlier and NOT Sanders who only jumped on the bandwagon in a feeble attempt to win over his followers and boost his votes which failed disastrously for him. Hillary tried to do like wise but the people were not falling for her deception. She also failed. It is true, however, that the TPPA is dead but only in American and that Trump signed the executive order to deliver the final death blow in one of his first official acts as president. This should have set the example for NZ to follow but unfortunately the powers to be have other plans. So, what message should this send to Bill English who wants to push on with it if America has withdrawn. What does Trump see (through the lens of a successful billionaire businessman) that English can’t see but thinks it will still be a step in the right direction for NZ and international trade. By the way, the TPPA is NOT ’free-trade’ but ‘managed-trade’ dictated and controlled by multinational corporations based on ‘treaty-like’ principles and not so called ‘agreement’ guidelines. Actually, TPPA-like principles are already operating in NZ, such as the Coca-Cola corporation stealing iwi water from their awa (river) for decades under the guise PUMP NZ and generating millions in revenue and offshore profits, and do I hear any complaints about that. On NAFTA, Trump actually said he would renegotiate it (yes, this is correct) but he also said if all fails then he will totally withdraw from it. When quoting him, remember full disclosure of his statements are critical in order to get the whole picture and not one side (referring to the omitted second phrase in this article). In academia, this a fundamental code of conduct to report the facts correctly and without any biased misinterpretation. Furthermore, NAFTA is between the USA, Canada and Mexico, therefore, why trouble us with it if NZ hasn’t been a part of it. Ok, let me just say that reading this article, one can’t help but hear the almost silently invisible but loudly present influence of CNN and MSM derogatory terminology and statements used to describe Trump: xenophobic, megalomanic, racist, diatribes (influenced by anybody are we?). The phrase “Trump’s racist diatribes against Mexico and Mexicans…” is a deplorably misinterpretation and gross generalisation of his policy to stop and vet “illegal” immigration into the USA. Unfortunately, it just so happens that the majority of these illegals are crossing the border from Mexico and, therefore, are Mexicans comprising murderers, escape convicts, terrorists, drug dealers, including good people as well, but still illegitimate citizens of America. This specific group of people has been Trump’s focus from the outset and refers to any and all foreign person(s) living illegally in the States. To single out Mexicans in general is an intentional misrepresentation of information by American mainstream media to obscure and influence the thinking of the population (does this include you). Here, in NZ, we call illegals ‘over-stayers’. They take jobs, drive down wages, commit crime and their identity is not known to the public or authorities. It is unfair and unethical to those Mexicans and any other foreigners who have come into the USA through lawful procedures to become legal citizens of that country. Would you be ok with illegal over-stayers here in Aotearoa? This has been a BIG ongoing problem for America over many decades (look at the UK, Germany, and the Netherlands), and is long overdue for redress, the Bush, Clinton and Obama administrations did little to nothing to address this problem. Trump rightfully considers this a high priority with a plan of action to tackle the issue. It is not an attack on the Mexican people as a race, but rather on people dwelling in the states as illegals (get it?). Now, if Trump, has employed many people and has many friends of different ethnic backgrounds, and his wife being Slovene, then it doesn’t make any sense to call him racist albeit I don’t agree with all that Trump advocates, but he is unique in the fact that he’s a nationalist, a populace, a total outsider of the system, a non career-politician and classical liberal who is self funded with no lobbyist, or interest groups controlling him through financial support. An independent leader & statesman free of global elitist influence. A man of the people and for the people. This is what we desperately need in Aotearoa and put a stop to the multinational corporation control and theft of our lands and natural resources.

    Mō koutou ngā mema tōrangapū Māori kia whai taringa ki aku kupu tēnā me whakakotahi taatou ināia tonu nei arā, patua te rino wera kua mutu te wā a Key mā tae mai te wā a te Māori ka riro mā taatou tō tātou whenua me ōna taonga whai rawa e whakahaere.

  10. Wow, does it pain people that much that this figure they hate also happens to be their saviour when it comes to the TPPA that they feel the need to rewrite history? The TPPA would’ve passed if Clinton won, end of story. National didn’t give a stuff about any of the TPPA protests.

    • So the US system is so fucked up that choices between two very bad out comes is the discussion.

      Anything more reasonable has been wiped off the stage.

      The US psyche is in extremely poor health and even more sane candidates such as Bernie Sanders are allowed to be trashed.

      But the US is controlled by a powerful wealthy cabal with the system changed piecemeal to give the virtually free reign.

      We do not have to think like the US mindset so arguing detail within their conversion is a trap.

    • “Saviour”?!

      Blimmin heck, they called Hitler the “saviour” for a while, right up until very end.

      He’s only a “saviour” if you’re not LGBT, a woman needing an abortion, prisoners undergoing forced rendition and torture, Mexicans, Muslims, et al. Even US workers are slowly waking up to the fact that Trump may not be their friend after all.

      Federal labor leaders were ready when President Trump froze government hiring Monday. It was a campaign promise they criticized before the election and did so again shortly after he made good on the pledge.

      “President Trump’s action will disrupt government programs and services that benefit everyone and actually increase taxpayer costs by forcing agencies to hire more expensive contractors to do work that civilian government employees are already doing for far less,” said American Federation of Government Employees President J. David Cox Sr. “This hiring freeze will mean longer lines at Social Security offices, fewer workplace safety inspections, less oversight of environmental polluters, and greater risk to our nation’s food supply and clean water systems.”


      That’s too much a high price to pay for his populist move on the TPPA. I, for one, refuse to tread over the rights of others so my rights can be preserved. Otherwise, my friend, that would be fascism.

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