URGENT ATTENTION ALL ANTI-TPPA ACTIVISTS

By   /   December 4, 2017  /   33 Comments

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We discovered less than a week ago that MFAT is hosting ‘consultations’ around the country, with David Parker, this week on the TPPA-11. It appeared to be a last-minute decision to do something before Xmas, and somehow they forgot to send invitations to critics who have attended previous ‘consultations’. Presumably the business sector was given priority notice. There is no information on the MFAT website, but we know at least about these:

We discovered less than a week ago that MFAT is hosting ‘consultations’ around the country, with David Parker, this week on the TPPA-11. It appeared to be a last-minute decision to do something before Xmas, and somehow they forgot to send invitations to critics who have attended previous ‘consultations’. Presumably the business sector was given priority notice. There is no information on the MFAT website, but we know at least about these:

Dunedin: Monday 4 December, 5:15pm – 7:15pm, Otago Southland Employers Association, 16 McBride Street, South Dunedin: Register now

Auckland: Tuesday 5 December, 6.00 to 7.30pm, Europe House, Auckland University of Technology, 56 Wakefield Street – Register now

Tauranga: Wednesday 6 December, 8:45am – 10:45am: Smart Business Centre, Bay Central Shopping Centre, 65 Chapel Street Register now

Hamilton: Thursday 7 December, 4:00pm – 6:00pm, PWC Building, Level 4, 109 Ward Street Register now

The obvious reaction is WTF? There’s no urgency to do this, as the ministers are apparently not now going to meet during the Buenos Aires WTO ministerial on 10-13 December. That suggests the government has been running focus groups or polling which tells them that people are not buying their spin on the old/new TPPA-11 (please let’s NOT call it the CPTPP). Or that they still hope to get a deal they can settle the remaining four issues and sign in February or March. Consulting now would mean the government could do this, claiming it has consulted, and not try to rush something over January which would create more of an outcry. Then they will have the proper ‘consultation’, when it’s too late to do anything.

 

The government is also holding a separate consultation on Tuesday in Auckland with claimants to the Waitangi Tribunal challenge to the TPPA. There is some time sensitivity for this, as the Crown has to report to the Tribunal by 8 December on its consultation process, but their approach has been derisory to date. But MFAT says it won’t pay for the claimants to take the day off work or even their fare to Auckland – instead, they are offering to meet with individuals in their home town.

 

This sudden burst of action comes on top of the admissions at the select committee last week by the top MFAT trade official that the government can’t implement more of its election promises – an export tax on water. Parker how agrees.

 

But an export tax is not the only problem. Water royalties also an investment issue, because it affects foreign firms that are exploiting free water for profit. The TPPA, and some other agreements, say reservations apply to ‘Water, including the allocation, collection, treatment and distribution of drinking water’. But they didn’t say – “This reservation does not apply to the wholesale trade and retail of bottled mineral, aerated and natural water”. Further, those reservations don’t protect a government from an ISDS claim where an investor says the new measure is unfair or inequitable treatment, contrary to its expectations or its investment has been effectively taken away by the deal (indirect expropriation).

 

The water argument was part of the Waitangi Tribunal arguments as well. The Crown’s expert said that wasn’t a problem because it could still take measures relating to processing and manufacturing of bottled water, but that doesn’t deal with the investors rights on ‘wholesale and retail’ trade of water. Again, the Tribunal didn’t know enough to be able to see through the spin.

 

There is a pattern – the government/MFAT/Crown say there’s no problem and critiques analysis is wrong, and then later admit it’s actually correct.

 

I kept saying the NIA was not telling people the truth. But the government spin doctors, advised by MFAT, get away with it because it’s an official document. It was the same with their economic analysis that Labour itself said was fundamentally flawed. The media still run with numbers that are utter fantasy and Labour hasn’t come up with any more credible figures for its old/new TPPA-11.

 

The government should be pissed off enough about this to demand proper independent analysis. They were fed inaccurate information by the Nats, which was endorsed by MFAT, that they couldn’t restrict foreign owners of residential housing. The space to do so is very limited (as my memo mentioned below explains). But the point is that those selling the old deal lied.

 

Winston must also be pissed off. First, he was asked to swallow the ISDS rat he has railed against before. Now he’s being told he can’t have the royalty on water that is part of the coalition deal – and says he’s going to introduce the bill anyway, because he doesn’t agree with MFAT’s opinion!

 

What we have been told in the past and are being told now is full of Orwellian double-speak. I have decoded the government’s spin on the changes to investment in the new/old TPPA-11, which you can find at https://tpplegal.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/real-story-on-fdi-final.pdf

 

Another memo shows how other countries, and even other NZ deals, have done investment agreements differently, from no ISDS to allowing governments at least to say no in individual cases (as in NZ’s FTA with Singapore) https://tpplegal.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/investment-precedents.pdf.

 

The government knows about these options. The heavily redacted Cabinet paper that was released last week shows they did raise some of them in the TPPA-11 meetings just before APEC, but the officials basically said it would be too late to get any real change.

 

Well actually, it’s not. Canada is still having discussions, so there is still time if the government has a backbone.

 

If the pending ‘consultations’ are anything more than a cosmetic box-ticking exercise the Labour-NZ First government needs to be prepared to demand real, dramatic changes or walk away.

 

If they aren’t, they are expecting us to be complicit in authorising their u-turn on a deal they previously said they wouldn’t ratify. And we are not about to do that.

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33 Comments

  1. Historian Pete says:

    The more I hear from David Parker, the more I want to see him tar and feathered and ran out of Town on a rail! It worked in the old days when you came across someone selling snake-oil !

  2. savenz says:

    Shocking that in NZ under a so called left coalition government TPPA -11 is rammed through.

    These agreements are all double speak – there to protect wealth and international interests for when resources get more scarce and people then realise that the government sold them out. When you can’t even stop people exporting a countries water for free, something is wrong!

    Better Labour understands that certain people forego a new car now than have no house or can’t afford to drink water in 30 years time under these trade agreements that essentially control future generation government’s hands.

    As for Maori – how many times do they have to be duped before they kick up a fuss? I guess the bribes and weasel words do wonders.

    We already have litigation being won by the most wealthy for the most wealthy in their own elite court system.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      A bloody sellout is what we see here clearly as the politicians are workinng behind ouur backs secretly here for christ’s sake!!!!!!

      It smells so bad now that I am teetering on loosing all faith in politicians here.!!!

      I so much want to believe they are working in our interests but right now we now today have RNZ with a full 5pm news program saying how bad all our water supplies wioll be this year and I read that Labour are allowing the wholesale rorting of our water by foriegn companies for free !!!!!

      SHIT I AM SITTING HERE SWEARING NOW.

      My own town water supply in Napier is running dry now it is all over the news today.

      So Jacinda, – take control before there is a bloody riot in the streets as in HB.

      There are two seperate foriegn Companies here in Napier hastings now taking our water out of the ground now while our water supply is almost empty now!!!!!!!!!! FFS

  3. Samwise says:

    We’re in full support, Jane!

    Parker is letting down the side very badly.

  4. Michal says:

    This is a bloody disgrace, I can’t see anything scheduled for Christchurch.

  5. Im right says:

    Get out and organise protest marches Jane! you were happy to, and attended many, they took place many times and in many locations, none as yet under Labour Govt! Funny that eh?

    • Nothing remotely “funny” about it, Imright.

      Aside from the fact that this government is just over a month old, why aren’t you doing something about it? Oh, that’s right, you’re just trolling…

    • bert says:

      Luckily the puss was lanced when National failed to be re-elected. They could not be moved when in power, so a civilized approach toward a positive Labour led Government, which has already shown they are prepared to listen to sound advice.

      • SpaceMonkey says:

        I’m getting the impression, on the TPPA at least, it’s more of the same BS. It looks to me like the neolibs in the Labour party (who are still firmly in control btw) are determined to ram this through for the powerful.

  6. joseph vincent gilbert says:

    “TPPA”, its the CPTPP. scary acronym still scary? maybe discredits your opinion?

  7. ropata says:

    I can foresee a future when all of NZ dairy farms are foreign controlled and allowed to extract unlimited water at no cost, and pollute our waterwys with impunity. Same with bottled water — foreign corporations will fight tooth and nail to steal as much as possible and leave nothing for Kiwis and our environment. It will only get worse under climate change. The Kauri extraction industry is already totally corrupt and NZ forestry is massively overseas owned. We don’t actually own much of Aotearoa any more.

    The Coalition govt needs balls to stand up against big corps and tell them to fuck off. For the sake of our future.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Best post of the day goes top you ROPATA 10000%

      I HOPE THE NEW LABOUR LEAD GOVERNMENT HEEDS OR CONCERNS OR FACE A DISMALL POLITICAL FUTURE.

      MOST IMPORTANTLY;

      YOU JACINDA SAID IN YOUR FIRST SPEECH AT AUCKLAND TOWN HALL

      Jacinda Ardern – “ALL PEOPLE WILL HAVE A VOICE AND BE HEARD.”

  8. SpaceMonkey says:

    It makes me sick to read this. The TPPA is like a f**king incurable disease that just won’t go away!

  9. Thomas says:

    As Frank Zappa said once: “Government is the entertainment division of the military-industrial complex.”
    When was the last time a top politics has been charged in NZ? So they all must have done a good job doing what they were elected for.
    Left/Right/Green/WhatEver, as soon as in power, too many forget their promises and get easy away with it.
    Start with holding politics responsible for their actions, until that nothing will change. Ever.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      100% well said it is time to march against thjios corporate attempt to subvert our country asnd Government, Jane send the call for a march.

      • Im right says:

        Why so you need Jane to organise?, get your 73yr old arse off the couch and organise something yourself Cleangreen…if you feel so strongly about it!

        • CLEANGREEN says:

          To you,
          just go jump in a polluted lake your National mates have ready for you Imright-ly bent

  10. Kim dandy says:

    The timing is what gets me – no time for anyone to prepare, right in the middle of ‘silly season’ – Come on Labour/NZ FIRST what happened to the transperancy? Do as you promised and let ordinary NZers have a fair hearing on something that will greatly affect generations to come!
    And hear, hear to getting greedy foreign ownership of New Zealand’s precious assets out!
    New Zealand is so good at cutting its nose off in spite of its face.
    I voted for change! Let’s have it.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      This is what TPP 11 will bring us in mass thjrough al our comodities so we must stop this maddness NOW.

      Here are the real facts of Napier water shortage, – it is not because of residential over-use, it is because of two separate bottling plants over-extraction of water from our aquifer read below please, I called the news desk earlier on this issue.

      The extraction of our water is so large now that 250 trucks a day are being used to move export water through the port of napier for export and not one cent is given back to us for this taking of our water.

      “Free foreign water bottling extraction policy” – is now coming home to roost.

      FACTS;

      Two overseas owned large bottling companies Two years ago these global companies were given consent to use “deep well aquifer extraction of tax free water.

      My name is Ken Crispin a resident of Napier since 1951 and property owner since 1974, and have never had any water issues like this before during this time, 1974 to 2017.

      The blame for municipal low water uptake is because these overseas companies now are draining our HB plains aquifer systems using “deep well extraction’ now municipal water supplies are suffering depleted “shallow well extraction” as a result.

      Blame the municipal Council and their regional council’s both for this current issue of a lack of water now so Napier Mayor Bill Dalton should not be blaming the residents for the shortage, but start blaming the bottling companies he allowed to take our free water in the first place.

  11. elle says:

    Looks like Jacinda is a sheep in wolfs clothing. Nz was fooled by Key now Jacinda.
    Labour knew NZ didn’t want TPPA,but skirted around it to get elected.
    Labour under Jacinda will do what they want and to hell with the people who voted.
    Now Labour are trying to get Tppa signed by stealth and behind closed doors.Bleak future for NZ.
    Who designed Jacinda and Labour’s agenda,time for some investigative journalism,USA was Keys backer who is Jacinda’s?

  12. Bruce Hudson says:

    According to Kelsey, the ISDS provisions are unchanged.

    Here are the suspended clauses:
    9.1 Definitions – suspend “investment agreement” and “investment
    authorisation” and associated Footnotes (5 – 11)
    9.19.1 Submission of Claim to Arbitration – a(i) B and C; (b)(i) B and C
    (investment authorisation or investment agreement), chausette,
    footnote 31
    9.19.2 Submission of Claim to Arbitration, footnote 32
    9.19.3 Submission of Claim to Arbitration – (b)delete investment
    authorisation or investment agreement
    9.22.5 Selection of Arbitrators
    9.25.2 Governing Law
    Annex 9-L Investment Agreements
    Here is the source:https://www.mfat.govt.nz/assets/FTAs-in-negotiations/TPP/ANNEX-II_LIst-of-suspended-Provisions.pdf

    Respectfully, Ms Kelsey, you are in error. The ISDS provisions have changed.

    • Jane Kelsey says:

      Respectfully, Bruce Hudson, I suggest you read my paper and you will see that I am not in error.

      The deeply flawed ISDS process in Section B has not changed and remains intact.

      What has been suspended (not removed) in the annex you cite is a mechanism by which investors from TPPA countries could seek to enforce their contracts for infrastructure (eg PPP tunnels) using the ISDS mechanism in the agreement – separate from an alleged a breach of the pro-investor rules in the actual TPPA investment chapter. That does not change the ISDS process at all. It just removes an additional legal tool that foreign investors could use, for now – it could be reactivated in the future.

      Likewise, there was already an annex in the old agreement that said NZ’s vetting mechanism was not subject to ISDS – same with the side letter between Australia and NZ agreeing not use it for disputes between them (because there is no ISDS in the CER agreement).

      The ability to bring an ISDS dispute for financial investments, in the financial services and investment chapter, has also been suspended (not removed, and can be revived). However, a range of other finance-related regulation is still subject to ISDS.

      As I said, please do me the courtesy of reading the memorandum before telling me that I have the law wrong.
      I repeat, the ISDS process has not changed.

      • Bruce Hudson says:

        What I was reacting to Ms Kesley, was your statement “By keeping ISDS unchanged in the TPPA-11 the new government has squandered an opportunity to make the agreement genuinely more progressive.” which appeared in the link provided above: https://tpplegal.files.wordpress.com/2017/11/real-story-on-fdi-final.pdf – and unless you are referring to some other paper, to imply that I was reacting to something I hadn’t read was a little silly. You seem very keen to state that I’m asserting that you have the law wrong, however what I am stating is that your statement that the ISDS is unchanged is incorrect. Perhaps you be mixing up what I said (“ISDS provisions”) with what you would have liked me to say (“ISDS process”). Ms Kelsey, you have simply made an error in fact.

        If the CPTPP goes forward with the agreement as provided with the suspended provisions, the ISDS provisions will have changed because some of its provisions have been suspended. Please note that this is nothing to do with whether or not you like the provisions or the process, simply that you have made an error with your statement.

        In double checking my facts, I noticed you have made another error in fact. You state “The text of the revised agreement is not
        available, and apparently will not be available until four outstanding matters have been concluded.”

        The text is available, in the form of the original agreement to be read with AnnexII, which provides the specific provisions which are suspended.
        https://www.mfat.govt.nz/assets/FTAs-in-negotiations/TPP/ANNEX-II_LIst-of-suspended-Provisions.pdf

        The annex also notes that the four areas which are yet to be finalized, which are to be negotiated, drafted, agreed upon then circulated.

        Are you stating that that the four items that have yet to be created are being withheld or kept secret? Or are you stating that the latest iteration is not available? Either way, again, you are in error.

        Best regards,
        Bruce Hudson

  13. […] is almost incomprehensible that a meeting about the TPPA is being held in a tiny room like Europe House at […]

  14. Thomas says:

    Just ask: “Who will benefit from this agreement?”
    Don’t accept this vague ‘NZ will benefit’ because this is bulls***.
    There are only benefits for groups of people or certain people and groups of companies or just a few companies.
    You will learn soon, that these kind of agreements are beneficial for just a few large companies only, maybe even most of them foreign, and for their lobbyists of course who get paid for pushing that stuff through.
    In my opinion, if a politics can not give a very clear, comprehensible and transparent explanation of the benefits, corruption has to be assumed which could be money, mutual favors, courier advantages or what ever.
    So everything finally comes down to a few people’s insatiable greed for money and power. Who believes that their doing can be influenced by our discussion about the issue?

  15. Nobody says:

    CALL US OUT JANE.

    CALL A PROTEST LIKE WE HAD AT THE SIGNING IN AUCKLAND AND WE WILL BE THERE.

    MAKE THE CALL.

    • CLEANGREEN says:

      Imright wants to pay for me a disabled 73yr old msan to travel safely to Auckland to march and I will go if he/she pays for lodging/air travel from Napier, but I wont hold my breath cause Imright is a paper tiger like his mates are.

      I recommend for Auckland folKs (as you are many) to firstly stage a march there, verty quickly and have a camera crew and madia present for RNZ to place it on the nightly news for better impact. IMRIGHT, ARE YOU ATTENDING IN SUPPORT OF TPP11 OR AGAINST IT?

      I have attended two TPPA marches last year or so in Gisborne even as I am disabled.

      • Im right says:

        Disabled (poisoned) in Canada or NZ?, you spent many years in Canada, as you tell us in your posts, you have been on a sickness benefit from early 90’s up to you hit 65 and recieve super….is the amount of super reduced as you were not resident in NZ for many years of your working life?

  16. Jan Rivers says:

    I have submitted 2 OIA questions via fyi.org.nz to get the background on why the National Interest Analysis did not include the bottled water issue. Neither did the Waitangi Commission report describe the situation as Jane has now said.

    Is anyone keen to help work up some sample examples of things a democratic government may wish to do – but it appears if the TPPA is passed they could not? These could be very compelling I think as part of the campaign from now.

    • Marc says:

      Exporting the water being exported is not deemed as threatening national interests, I suppose, because of the small amount of it.

      While it may get some people worked up, it does not seem to bother others.

      What is of concern is that there is NO royalty or any charge on water, on a particular resource, while petroleum and so seem to justify royalties being charged.

      That needs to be remedied, so royalties must be charged, if need be across the board, also to local sellers of water.

      The issue seems to be that there cannot be any discrimination between local sellers and exporters, that is due to trade agreements.

      And it was LABOUR who pushed for the China NZ FTA, supported by the Nats, that left loopholes, so Labour have stuff to answer to. The Greens and NZ First opposed that deal.