Labour risks being bulldozed on TPPA-11

By   /   October 31, 2017  /   10 Comments

Labour risks being bulldozed on TPPA-11, ignoring own view that the deal lacks merit

‘There is an imminent risk that trade ministry officials and the agriculture lobby will bulldoze of the new Labour-led government into taking a position on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) this week and foreclose the fundamental rethink of the agreement that it previously said was essential’, warns Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey.

‘The government needs keep that space open at the meeting of TPPA-11 officials today and tomorrow in Tokyo, which will set the agenda for the APEC meeting in a week’s time’.

A year ago, the Labour opposition said in the select committee report that National’s TPPA ‘will have ramifications for generations of New Zealanders. For their sake, we should not so lightly enter into an agreement which may exacerbate long-term challenges for our economy, workforce, and society’.

Labour attacked the ‘wildly optimistic’ assumptions that underpinned the economic claims for the agreement as ‘not credible, nor are they a basis for any responsible government to proceed in signing a binding agreement with consequences as far reaching as the TPPA’.

It said a comprehensive review was needed on the impacts on jobs, income distribution and public health.

Yet the new trade minister David Parker is now telling the media “there are undoubted trade benefits in TPP11. They are obviously not nearly as significant as they were when the US was part of the deal but nonetheless a residue is still important, particularly into Japan.”

The Minister also seemed to suggest that Labour might resolve its only firm sticking point of restricting foreign buyers of residential housing without even re-opening the TPPA text.

‘Someone needs to ask the Minister how an agreement that lacked the necessary credibility for Labour to support its ratification, even when the US was still involved, has become a deal of “undoubted benefit” to New Zealand, after the US has quit’ Professor Kelsey said.

‘The minister and Prime Minister also need to reflect on the deep sense of betrayal such a position will create among those who expected it to keep its pre-election word’.

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10 Comments

  1. CLEANGREEN says:

    Yes Jane and tyou need to be on that “negociation team so you can help us to save our contry in all maner including this threat that the labour seemed to have cooled on also.

    Remember the jacinda said that night in Auckland own hall, “Climet change is the nuclear event of ur generation”?

    TPA are not serious about tackling this are they?

    31 October 2017
    “Carbon dioxide levels grew at record pace in 2016, U.N. says potentially fuelling a 20-metre rise in sea levels and adding 3 degrees to temperatures,”

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/carbon-dioxide-levels-grew-record-pace-2016-u-100129353.html

    We are toast, as no there s no political will for us to change our ways now so we are doomed.

    31 October 2017

    This is what we are now facing.

    PM Jacinda Ardern said “climate change is the nuclear event of her gerneration” so they had better get serious about it now.

    https://www.yahoo.com/news/carbon-dioxide-levels-grew-record-pace-2016-u-100129353.html

    Carbon dioxide levels grew at record pace in 2016, U.N. says

    ReutersOctober 30, 2017

    By Tom Miles
    GENEVA (Reuters) – The amount of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere grew at record rate in 2016 to a level not seen for millions of years, potentially fuelling a 20-metre rise in sea levels and adding 3 degrees to temperatures, the United Nations said on Monday.
    Related SearchesCarbon DioxideWhat Is Carbon DioxideCo2 LevelsCarbon Dioxide Levels In BloodCarbon Dioxide Poisoning
    Atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), the main man-made greenhouse gas, hit 403.3 parts per million (ppm), up from 400.0 in 2015, the U.N. World Meteorological Organization said in its annual Greenhouse Gas Bulletin.
    That growth rate was 50 percent faster than the average over the past decade, driving CO2 levels 45 percent above pre-industrial levels and further outside the range of 180-280 ppm seen in recent cycles of ice ages and warmer periods.
    “Today’s CO2 concentration of ~400 ppm exceeds the natural variability seen over hundreds of thousands of years,” the WMO bulletin said.
    The latest data adds to the urgency of a meeting in Bonn next month, when environment ministers from around the world will work on guidelines for the Paris climate accord backed by 195 countries in 2015.
    The agreement is already under pressure because U.S. President Donald Trump has said he plans to pull the United States out of the deal, which seeks to limit the rise in temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial times.
    Human CO2 emissions from sources such as coal, oil, cement and deforestation reached a record in 2016, and the El Niño weather pattern gave CO2 levels a further boost, the WMO said.
    As far as scientists can tell, the world has never experienced a rise in carbon dioxide like that of recent decades, which has happened 100 times faster than when the world was emerging from the last ice age.
    Scientists know prehistoric levels from tiny air bubbles found in ancient Antarctic ice cores, and they can derive even older data from fossils and chemicals trapped in sediment.
    The last time carbon dioxide levels reached 400 ppm was 3-5 million years ago, in the mid-Pliocene era.
    “During that period, global mean surface temperatures were 2–3°C warmer than today, ice sheets in Greenland and West Antarctica melted and even parts of East Antarctica’s ice retreated, causing the sea level to rise 10–20 m higher than that today,” the WMO bulletin said.
    Since 1990, the global warming effect of CO2 and other long-lived greenhouse gases has risen by 40 percent. The two other main gases – methane and nitrous oxide – also grew to record concentrations last year, although at a slower rate of increase than carbon dioxide.
    (Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

  2. Richard Christie says:

    As usual, Labour’s spine appears to be melting when doing anything hard or truly principled looms.

    Frightened of being scolded by Hosking probably.

    Kirk would have had it off the table by now.

    I would regard signing up to a TPP which includes the IDS procedures and prevents us exercising sovereignty over our own land ownership as a betrayal of Labour’s base every bit as bad as the 1984-89 years. What a way to start the term.

  3. Andrewo says:

    I don’t know which party you support Jane, but it has long been Labour Party policy to pursue trade agreements.

    Wasn’t it Helen Clark who signed the free trade deal with China? A deal which has boosted our fortunes greatly in the last decade.

    Every single one we’ve signed has benefited NZ!

    • A deal which has boosted our fortunes greatly in the last decade.

      Every single one we’ve signed has benefited NZ!

      No, Andrew. It’s benefitted some peoples’ fortunes. Those whose jobs have been exported to low-wage societies have not benefitted. If you don’t under this – and it’s a prime factor in Trump ascension to the White House – then you haven’t been paying attention.

  4. Black Lemming says:

    David Parker said on RNZ morning report today that both the banning of foreign non resident House/Land buyers and ISDS reform were still on the agenda for TPP 11 .

    I suspect a modified stance on ISDS has come from pressure put on by both NZF and the Greens under the coalition deal . One can only pray they will stick to this.

    Failure to modify ISDS has the potential to torpedo all Labours new measures to protect the environment , public health and workers rights .It needs to come out .

    All that change Labour are keen to make , counts for nothing if any of those changes impact on corporate profits and they then decide to sue our Govt, or force the Govt to back down for fear of protracted legal battles .It needs to come out .

    ISDS is a time bomb we just don’t need .

    Simply banning non resident house buyers is not enough . Labour must hold the line on ISDS .

    If they fail , we might as well call them National Lite .

    A vote for Labour is a vote for the TPP ? That’s not what I voted for .

  5. savenz says:

    So true, really hope Labour and NZ First do not let Kiwi’s down on this. They campaigned to be against TPPA, got the public support and for both parties to renege now, would be a betrayal.

  6. Mary Dearsley says:

    If I heard Jacinda correctly in the last hour, (when announcing foreign buyers ban on existing housing in NZ ) she said that NZ negotiators would be instructed that NZ would not sign up to ISDS clauses in TPP.

    • Jane Kelsey says:

      Yes, the post-Cabinet press conference was much more encouraging than all the previous statements. The strongest position was in relation to ISDS in future agreements, which hopefully includes those currently under negotiation, such as the RCEP (involving ASEAN, China, India, South Korea, Japan).

      But the TPPA-11 is less certain – there will be a lot of kickback from MFAT and scaremongering about this delaying the conclusion of the TPPA-11. There will need to be sustained pressure to ensure that NZ withdraws from ISDS, rather than lesser options, such as the right to refuse on a case by case basis (as in the Singapore NZ FTA).

      Exclusion from the ISDS would certainly be significant – made easier by the fact that Trump is seeking to do the same in NAFTA, so the argument they have to keep it in case the US comes on board is weak for now. But there are still all sorts of special protections for foreign investors in the investment chapter, which other governments could enforce.

      There are also lots of other toxic elements in the TPPA that needs to be addressed, including for Maori.

      The point i find most vexing is that David Parker is saying how the TPPA-minus the US is still economically important for NZ when Labour previously said the sums don’t stack up, even when the US was included. The promises of a genuine analysis of the implications of the agreement, including for jobs and health, have evaporated. That’s partly a consequence of being trapped by National in the current situation; but it also creates a bad precedent.

      • Sam Sam says:

        I’d actually like a set of quality control provisions included. I don’t know what the solution should be. But we do have design flaws in certain products and services coming through. For instance. Chinese dump steel, baby formula, IP. And the small thing of people dying over it. But what we don’t want is the same people pushing these dead ends to push the problem into hidden courts outside public scrutiny. People need to know if a product is going to kill them or not. And a system of signals that indicate that.

  7. Chris Warren says:

    Labour’s announcement that they will be classifying all existing houses as sensitive is a sign they are not going to try to alter the text of the TPP. I think that means caving on the ISDS and IP clauses. The problem with changing the overseas investment act rather than having it in the TPP is that it is a weak protection that can be undone by a future government.

    The IP clauses may have significant consequences for our health system due to the cost of biologics with extended patents.