The zombie TPPA is back!


OK, it’s (almost) official. The zombie TPPA has been restored to life and Winston Peters will support it. Both Labour and New Zealand First will sell out the principles that led them to reject the ratification of the deal before the election.

They claim the TPPA 11 (I refuse to call it the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership) is much improved and that adopting it is in the national interest. No-one believes the spin. But both parties clearly calculate there’s enough political brownie points in supporting the deal to justify burning off the loyal constituencies who voted for them and expected them to keep their word. Only the Greens retain their principles.

What’s the latest move and is it irreversible? Last night in Japan, New Zealand and the other ten countries reached a deal to resurrect the TPPA, a year to the day after Trump notified the US withdrawal. The text remains unchanged, except for provisions about entry into force and similar institutional rules, the wording of which we have yet to see.

As most people who follow this know, some items will be suspended, pending the US re-entry. These include most, but not all, the really toxic rules that would expand the profits of Big Pharma, Hollywood, Google etc. Changes to foreign investors’ rights to sue the government have been trimmed around the edges but the main legal risks and corporate rights remain untouched.

All this was settled by the last ministerial meeting in Vietnam in December. There were four outstanding issues, including Canada’s demand for a stronger cultural exception.

The Canadian government was seen as the main stumbling block. Like our new government, they inherited a toxic deal. Unlike our new government they refused to become a party unless the others agreed to politically important bottom lines. Last night Canada cemented a deal that involves side-letters on culture, as well as on the local content of automobiles (something NOT on the list of the four outstanding items announced in Vietnam). That’s still not going to be an easy sell for the Trudeau government at home, but at least it played hardball and won some additional concessions.

In other words, Canada’s government showed political backbone and it succeeded. Ours caved at the first post-election meeting and rationalises that as the best they could do.

TDB Recommends

The signing is set for Chile on 8 March. We still haven’t seen the new text, and the Japanese have suggested it may not be released until after it is signed – including the side letters that Canada and some other countries have negotiated. The travesty of democracy lives on!

There is still time to put the feet of Labour and NZ First to the fire before 8 March, but it will be very hard to get either party that has put political capital behind the TPPA-11 to admit they are wrong. The longer-term game is the domestic ratification process, and rising the political price to a point where the current calculus no longer holds.

That needs to start now. Waitangi Day around the country should be an early test, although Labour, MFAT and pro-TPPA Shane Jones have been doing a hard-sell to Maori economic interests. There will be public meetings in Auckland on the evening of 12th February and in Wellington on 14th. Details will be on the Its Our Future website.

And yes, I know there are people who want to get out on the streets. We need to think about when and where that might have maximum effect. But we can’t go off half-cocked. People need to be confident that they know why the TPPA-11 is as bad as the original, and believe that their voices collectively can make a difference. And we can.


  1. Jane thankyou again for your excellent criticism of this rotten trade deal.

    It is disgusting to have to realise that labour who promised us all “complete openness,inclusion and transparency has now finally resorted to pure secrecy again.

    They loose my vote here as we must take them at their word and honesty above all here and hold them to a higher standard than this sloppy back room dealing without our inclusion and input.

    This is Labour’s second major error since the first debarkle at Parliament on day one when they give in to National blackmail over voting for speaker Trevor mallard.

    They are full of amateurism today again over the sloppy manner in which they announced this “trade deal”

  2. Only the Gereens will possibly benefit from Labour and NZ First doing a U-turn on the TPPA. Listening to Peters this morning on Morning Report, I was incredulous that he hadn’t even read the final draft!! Who the hell signs an agreement, sight unseen???????

    • Yes PRISS,

      From what i gather the PM said yesterday “they are awaiting advise from their Government advisers”

      The Labour government need to get away from Aristocratic bullshit and fix the whole national inbreed right wing ideologies these bureaucrat’s all have now.

      Grow a pair Labour.

  3. The travesty of democracy lives on!

    Representative Democracy was designed to prevent democracy. To ensure that the rich maintained power over the resources of the nation so that everyone else remained poor and had to work for the rich.

    Our whole system is actually anti-democratic.

    There is still time to put the feet of Labour and NZ First to the fire before 8 March, but it will be very hard to get either party that has put political capital behind the TPPA-11 to admit they are wrong.

    They won’t admit that they’re wrong as they still believe that they’re right, that capitalism and the enforced trade of FTAs works despite all the evidence to the contrary.

    • “Representative Democracy was designed to prevent democracy.”

      Bang on. ‘Representative democracy’ is like ‘conditional sovereignty’; a contradiction in terms. ‘The Democracy Project’ by anthropologist David Graeber is an excellent read on the two contradictory meanings of “democracy”, self-rule or elected dictatorship, and how the latter was created to suppress the former.

    • It would be prudent for us in New Zealand to have CTPPA11 countries as full partners as fully engaged in our economic growth as China or Australia. The aim of CTPPA11 must be to reduce any turbulence between U.S. China relations on the South Pacific and for CTPPA11 countries it can also benefit significantly from South Pacific growth.

      To succeed in the South Pacific CTPPA11 countries must co-op Kiwi talent and create alliances with New Zealand businessmen. They need to become multicultural organisations to compete successfully in knowledge based sectors. Corporations who get there ideas from one culture will lose out in innovations. Free trade partners should tap New Zealand business ventures to joint ventures and alliances. New Zealand’s indigenous enterprise should benefit from the infusion of technology and know how through such joint ventures.

      Even if the banks survive these upheavals by refusing to invest in culture and innovation, we will have to abandon all thought of liberalisation towards plurality and more democratic freedoms, because severe and repressive government is the other side of austere or negative economic growth.

      An over strong dollar causes trade deficits. A volatile and speculative foreign exchange market has exaggerated the factors working towards a strong dollar. A CTPPA must give ground to optimism that the overvalued Kiwi dollar can be brought down by CTPPA finance ministers and there canal bankers. Parliament may want to steady there hand and allow efforts to work.

      I do not believe New Zealand should be sweet talked into opening up her markets.

  4. And the previous anti PPTA marches were not ‘half cocked’? and almost everyone interviewed on the marches when asked ‘ what part of the trade deal are you protesting about?’ could not answer, just “because its not right” or “I hate Key or I hate National” but now you want restraint in any marches? Is it because Labour are now in charge? Wouldn’t want to upset a pregnant Jacinda eh?

    • “what part of the trade deal are you protesting about?’ could not answer, “

      Probably, I’mRight because no one knew the contents of the TPP because of secrecy. But we heard enough of the ISDS provisions and past examples of other FTA law-suits to scary us shitless.

      As for your comment about Ardern, you’re disgusting. It takes a self-confessed rightie to make such a gutter-level attack.

    • but now you want restraint in any marches? Is it because Labour are now in charge? Wouldn’t want to upset a pregnant Jacinda eh?

      Scraping the bottom of the barrel, Imright?

      No one is calling for a “restraint in any marches” – it’s happening only in your fetid imagination. By over-exaggerating what Jane wrote, you’re creating a meaning that doesn’t exist.

      But you’ll be more than welcome to attend the first protest march as it’s announced.

      As for your reference to her pregnancy – you remind us how personal those on the Right (and some on the Alt-Left) can get when their beliefs are challenged, deconstructed, and analysed.

  5. I just love your naiveté

    The Labour leadership was never really against the TPP in principle. Previous Labour governments were in favour of such trade deals. Remember it was Clark who did the China deal.

    You may not like National but their policies and actions are generally well aligned.

    Not Labour though. Like Winston they will do or say anything to get into power and then backtrack on it. They have no principles.

    You were used.

      • With the Trump admin (circus) appearing intent on starting a trade war with asia could this slightly mitigated trade deal (without the worst aspects of US corporate influence) be considered a security against a trading reduction?…we do after all need to be able to access many products we are incapable of producing (either at a widely affordable price or at all)…..though i agree the lack of transparency and spin continues which is disappointing though not wholely unexpected.

    • All this shows is that the NZ government has about as much influence in global political-economic decision-making as the Dunedin City Council does in NZ parliamentary decision-making. Bugger all. Changing the government has already won us some important domestic changes, and well organised networks of citizens can win more under this coalition than they ever could under the NatACTS. Getting the government to lead in new directions internationally is far from impossible, but it’s a long game.

    • TO Andrew; disscussion of ‘Principals’

      After nine years of National’s (undeclared) austerity with widespread selloffs of every asset they could garnish;

      Are you saying National was principled to retaining the “national interests” of the people of NZ?

      Our crown assets now held in Government for the taxpayer of NZ (who bought them) has gone down from 42% in 2008 to now just 24% today while under national 2009-2017, so is this a ‘principled’ stand for the security of the people of NZ?

    • Andrewo – Jane Kelsey “used”? No, mate, she stood up for principles that you seem to be unfamiliar with. Your sly suggestion is to do nothing; roll over; and accept whatever is dished out?

      No thanks.

      I’ll go with dissidents who question and challenge and analyse the official line every time.

      Thank the gods for people like Jane Kelsey. A country without free-thinking critics would not be a country that smug characters like Andrew would enjoy living in.

      • 100% Frank,

        Wonderful insight as usual.

        Jane is a gift to us all; -It is therefore pertinent to be taken as a warning from Jane as she knows more about global finacial vehicles than most suggests that very nasty surprises are in store for us all.

        Even those with rose coloured spectacles should now be very cynical that this rushed ill fated global corporate cabal deal is just so toxic for our fledgling small economy that if/when this so called trade deal” goes ahead we may be mortally wounded beyond recovery.

        “If it sounds to good to be true it probably is a lie”

        When a money making opportunity seems to good to be true most probably is a lie/scam?

        be careful as we need to be good stewards for our kids futures and not sell there future to foreign speculators.

        • Yeah, Gary. Everyone knows ONLY pro-free market stooges should be paid the BIG BUCKS to spread their propaganda.

          The rest of us should STFU, bend over, and take it with a grin.

          I thank the heavens above for Jane Kelsey and her in-depth analysis. Otherwise we wouldn’t know what the fuck is going on. The MSM sure as hell wouldn’t know, they’re too busy picking their noses and farting while reporting the latest house fire, road crash, or bombing outrage in the Middle East.

          But you don’t want that, do you, Gary. Hell no. Keep the Masses dumb and give’em as much Reality tv porn as they can consume. Except, reality tv ain’t real. Not like Jane Kelsey who keeps it REAL for all of us.

          Go back to Real Housewives of Whereverthefuckski, Gary. No thought required.

              • Is that the best you can do……no one trusts you Gary….Good God, my first time on this blog, pointing out Kelsey for what you lot choose to overlook and I rubbish arguments like that….

                • Jane Kelsey is accredited with decades of academic achievements instructing young minds in the ways of the law. You’re just Gary come lately.

                • “…and I rubbish arguments like that….”

                  Actually, no , you haven’t, Gary. You’ve engaged in a smear campaign. You haven’t addressed any of the actual argument. Not a single point. All your comments have been about Prof Kelsey – not the TPPA.

                  For example, you’ve not raised any concerns about this aspect of the TPPA;

                  As most people who follow this know, some items will be suspended, pending the US re-entry. These include most, but not all, the really toxic rules that would expand the profits of Big Pharma, Hollywood, Google etc. Changes to foreign investors’ rights to sue the government have been trimmed around the edges but the main legal risks and corporate rights remain untouched.


                • Welcome to The Daily Blog the friendliest blog in NZ for all.

                  Now Gary watch, read and learn, as we welcome all who who come here, but we are free thinkers and more liberal and tolerant than other sites (most are right wing but we are a mix of both sides.)

                  Your points are taken, but Jane is a deeply worthy advocate for saving our country from global pillage so Jane is a hero for the nation seriously, she should have our un-dying respect.

          • I love your words Otto,

            They are arranged so cool it made me giggle but yes you are bang on there.

            National use the public taxpayer purse to spout all their Propaganda on every media private and public and get heaps from MBIE too so they can make up phony cherry picked ‘studies and financial reports’.

            Then while when our side get just one or two grants all shit breaks loose.

            Yes Gary wake up and see what National were up to over the last nine years will you please.

            I am being generous here with you.

        • Why shouldn’t she? Are you advocating funding only for pro-TPPA groups like NZ Initiative, NZUS Council, et al? Why should those opposing neo-liberalism and globalism be constrained by lack of resources when pro-free market groups and spokespeople have call; on unlimited funds?

          Are you suggesting criticism should be predicated on ability to pay for it? Be careful what you wish for…

          • As usual you put your words in other peoples mouths. I am not advocating anything, but just pointing out Kelsey was paid the equivalent 20 years income of some of the readers of this blog. (and probably to their surprise) Not really working class hero stuff.

            • Well, let’s put tht to the test, shall we, Gary?

              162,443 people voted for the Greens. The Green Party is opposed to the TPPA on principle.

              Divide $600,000 by 162,443 comes to $3.69 per voter.

              I’m happy to pay that.

                • Character assassination, Gary? Is that the best reposte you can come up with?

                  So first you don’t like her being paid. Then you object to her living in a house. What next – that she owns a car? Wears shoes?! (Oh god, forbid!)

                  When you exhibit the same concerns to the likes of NZ Initiative, Taxpayers “Union”, National Party, et al, then we can take you seriously. Until then, you’re taking sly digs at someone for things that involve her work and personal life.

                  Because what you’re really opposed to is a fair debate, with good information and analysis, taking place. Instead of debating the issues, you’re attempting to smear the messenger by implication. You certainly haven’t addressed a single point she’s raised.

                  Not very honest of you.

                  But it does show two things;

                  1. Jane Kelsey is a threat to the Right – so you’re willing to use a smear campaign,

                  2. You have no actual answer to the issues under discussion.

                  She has won the argument, in other words.

                  • No Frank, just showing her to be a Marxist who has a lot of money and assets.

                    Again, you love putting words into other peoples mouths, have YOU read the whole agreement (no not the new modified and yet unreleased one) or are you just blindly following Kelsey?

                    The TPPA will go through and labour will hail it as a victory, but there will be no marches with labour or green MP’s opposing it.

                    Just stating facts Frank…

                    [Your “facts” are questionable Gary. You’ve made your point about Prof Kelsey. No further posts from you regarding any personal aspect of her life will be published. If you persist, your posting privileges will be rescinded permanently. Stick to the issue at hand: the TPP. – Scarletmod]

                    • No, not “facts”, Gary. Just an ongoing smear without any supporting evidence.

                      Oh, so now she’s a “Marxist who has a lot of money and assets”? Even if that were true (which I doubt, as you’re just continuing your smear campaign) marxists aren’t allowed to have money and assets? Only the wealthy capitalist One Percenters?

                      Let’s be upfront what you’re saying here, Gary; you want Prof Kelsey with no assets and no financial ability to be able to scrutinise the TPPA. That’s what it boils down to.In plain words: you want anyone with a vaguely left-wing perspective to be powerless.

                      The TPPA isn’t the issue for you, is it, Gary? Your fear is ongoing scrutiny and criticism of this document.

                      Why is that?

                      PS: You still have not commented on the ISDS clauses. Or any other aspect of the TPPA.

        • I have no intention of engaging with this personalised diversion except to set the record straight about how Marsden Fund grants work. The grants go to the University of Auckland. About 60% are used to pay for University overheads for 3 years of research. The remainder is buyout of teaching time (equivalent of one course a year for each of three years), two LLM students’ fees with a stipend to them on topics related to the research, and field research costs. Not a penny goes into the pocket of the researcher.

  6. To Jane Kelsey

    You stated and restated in your piece that Canada had backbone. But New Zealand did not.

    At no point did you discuss the errors of the NZ Government. Just hurled undocumented diatribe.

    I am disappointed in you.

    From what I have read of the Government’s approach to the revised Comprehensive TPPA (which title you insultingly deride), the Five Points required by Andrew Little et al, have been met.

    You have perched yourself well above others. No wonder you are not consulted.

    • At no point did you discuss the errors of the NZ Government. Just hurled undocumented diatribe.t

      Tokoroa – I’m curious. How can Jane (or anyone else) “document their diatribe” when we have not been able to read the fucking document?!?!

      Even Peters admitted on Radio NZ this morning that he had not read the final draft;

      Mr Peters said he had not the seen the final text that was likely still being drafted, but he knew the details of the principle changes his party now intended to support.


      • best response to hand from frank;

        We are being treated like gormless lost sheep by these Global cabals who hatched this toxic plan to carpetbag the weakest of countries in this secretive “business plan” without allowing us first to see what we are signing up for!!!

        I am no fool,

        We have been had here; – like Greece we will be stripped of any chance to recover if this elitist cabal get their way here.

    Rothschild … the maker of Wars, Poverty and Despair.
    It doesn’t matter which Party you follow or which Party is “in”, from a certain level up they are all Rothschild’s servants. Blackmailed or bribed, both go. We just keep being treated to theatrical tactics to throw us off guard. Ownership of all country’s above and in ground assets will soon be taken over by the U.N. Owned by Rothschild. Solutions to poverty and lack of housing will be solved thru genocide. Depopulation is very real but given the yes sir talent in our Media you wouldn’t know it and by 2025 New Zealand population is projected to be 3,289,660
    Will Jacinda’s out of wedlock child go unvaccinated and therefore be included in the count? Probably. Most probably your grandchildren wont be in the count. Autism is skyrocketing and the brains of dead children diagnosed as “autistic” by those with no knowledge of or degree in “autism”, show high levels of aluminium. Why?
    The “average” New Zealander is over weight, under educated, over vaccinated and fed propaganda. As an example of effective propaganda, we eat bacon and eggs because we’re told to:
    Depopulation is ongoing now big time and we have just seen it with weather manipulation in the Caribbean and on both U.S. coastlines. Hundreds of thousands of people are dead or missing … but you don’t know unless you make your business to follow up on these things.
    And how are the DEVIL’S BANKERS GOING TO TAKE THE LAND? By using the weather, of course! Great examples are on and
    The Devil’s Bankers can control the weather, create droughts, cause earthquakes and wash your home away with floods.
    Give up reading newspapers and watching T.V. Television was purposefully designed to KILL YOU and there’s a patent to prove it:
    Wake up people!

    • 1000% Wonderful response Helena;

      Shades of Greece we see happening now to us by the same ‘guttersnipes” who ruined Greece, are out to destroy NZ now.

      “beware of false gods wearing gifts”

    • You have written some fairly crazy stuff there, Helena (no human can control the weather…’s a chaotic system determined by the interaction of a huge number of physical phenomena) but you are absolutely right about the bankers controlling western societies: it started, as far as I know, when the Bank of England was established as a private bank in the late seventeenth century on the basis of a fractional reserve and the charging of interest on government money.

      Since then banks have extended their ‘stranglehold’ on westernised societies to the point they decide not just interest rates and mortgage payments but which nations will be attacked for their resources, which governments (socialist or communist) need to be taken down, which trade deals need to be promoted and which ones can be allowed to languish.

      All NZ governments are servants and agents of international banks and the unseen families that control them……which is why NZ governments continually promote everything that destroys the resilience and sustainability of society and ultimately will destroy the very habitability of the land mass and the waters that surround it.

      There is no stopping what is underway because, as you say: ‘The “average” New Zealander is over weight, under educated, over vaccinated and fed propaganda.’

      Of course, the whole purpose of ‘education’ is to convert children into compliant adults who will look to authority for direction……people who know very little of what they actually need to know and generally cannot think for themselves. But they do know how to consume -as required by the system, which is essentially all about converting fossil fuels into waste and maintaining the bankers’ Ponzi scheme as long as possible by doing so.

      A tiny portion of the populace does become educated and can see what the game is, despite the efforts of the empire to stamp out access to important facts and denigration of alternative thinking.

      Depopulation will occur, not as a planned process (banks always want more debt-slaves and more consumption) but because the Earth is physically incapable of sustainably supporting the population overshoot and the gross overconsumption that characterise the times we live in: around 90 million barrels of oil go up in smoke (atmospheric CO2) and an untold quantity of coal do the same every day!

      The bankers are more than happy to promote that which completely destroys the long term habitability of the Earth because they have huge investments in the fossil fuels sector and in industrialism in general: profits before people.

      Atmospheric CO2 is now around 180 ppm above the 800,000-year average, and is rising rapidly).

      Arctic and Antarctic ice covers are at record lows; Arctic ice is failing to form in the middle of winter, and Antarctic ice is melting.

      The NZ government could not care less about the meltdown of the planet (despite Adern’s pre-election narrative about “taking climate change seriously”).

      The global energy system is on its last legs (mass consumption of fossil fuels having the basis for everything for the past 200 years, and peak conventional oil, 2007, being a decade into history). And the NZ government couldn’t give a damn that it’s all unsustainable and going to fall over some time in the next few years (possibly within three years). The NZ government will continue to promote the mass consumption of fossil fuels (NZ vehicle imports have never been higher) until it can’t.

      So, we will continue to witness the ‘progressive’ deterioration of everything that matters at the hand of the controllers, until the systems does collapse….after which we should expect mayhem.

      • AFEWKNOWTHETRUTH…thank you…I will take a bat at your first statement “no human can control the weather” by showing an example of one of the cleanest fires I have seen:
        There is no evidence for the hurricane winds in the Caribbean, which totally destroyed some islands and left others completely crippled:
        Are Direct Energy Weapons/lasers being used against humanity?
        RichiefromBoston makes many observations about “man made” weather (just one picked at random) :
        I’ll end my follow up by saying that my eyes were opened when U.S./U.K. you tube truthers started posting comments about man made earthquakes and fires in N.Z. Now with suspect water supplies being identified by various “officials” I’m beginning to think I need new sunglasses: (LOL)

        • [Comment declined for publication. Helena, The Daily Blog has expressed its policy not to engage in conspiracy theory stuff. You’ve made your point in previous posts. We’ve allowed you sufficient coverage, enough. – Scarletmod]

              • May I respectfully ask one favour of you Frank … when things move from theory to fact, will you let us know? Cheers

            • Please do not be afraid to speak your truths Helena and do not let TDB and their obvious bias and ignorance about the term CONSPIRACY THEORIST
              affect you. They use that term to discredit and dismiss and that is exactly why the term was coined.

              In this case, TDB is no better than those who coined the term to make light of and put down those who are trying to expose them. Good job Helena and keep up the fight to expose the truths.

              COMPLETE FREEDOM OF SPEECH IS PARTIALLY COMPROMISED HERE AT TDB and they are unwilling to hear this or accept it.

        • “Weather control weapoons”? Direct Energy Weapons?

          Cassie, I refer you to the difference between science fiction and reality.

          Anyhoo, if the American Empire had access to that kind of high tech weapons shit, don’t you think they would’ve wiped Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Nth Korea’s Kim Jong-un off the face of the Earth by now?? Those guys would be smears over the walls of their offices if what you say is remotely true. But it ain’t.

          Science fiction. Reality. Two different things.

          • (Lol Otto Man, you called Helena “Cassie”)

            You’ve never heard of it, and such a thing is inconceivable in your mind …
            – therefore
            IT DOES NOT EXIST

            What extraordinary intelligence and powers of reasoning you display LOL

  8. To the ingrates who have criticized Jane Kelsey ,you have my deepest contempt. Throughout the TPP process Jane would have put in hundreds of hours digesting a very complicated subject, and then presenting a summary to us so we know what it represents, as opposed to what its proponents say it represents. Her contributions have resulted in a better informed citizenry . And then you make nit picking criticisms, while your personal contributions have been sweet bugger all ! Suitable punishments are unfortunately no longer available. A dunking in the horse trough, your breeches filled with pig manure, and horse whipped three times around the village square, would have been your lot in the “Good Old Days ” !!!

  9. “In other words, Canada’s government showed political backbone and it succeeded. Ours caved at the first post-election meeting and rationalises that as the best they could do.”

    Canada is a country with huge land and sea areas, a fairly bit larger of a population, and very strategically placed on this planet, hence it can play its cards more successfully.

    New Zealand is a smallish nation of now 4.8 million, often even confused with being just another ‘state’ of Australia, if people in other continents know of its existence at all, and has a tradition of selling out, certainly since Roger Douglas et al changed the face of this country.

    I am not surprised, I would be happy to attend protests, but as Jane writes, these need to be carefully and smartly planned, if they go ahead.

    Labour have always been a bit dishonest with their ‘opposition’ to the TPPA and whatever it is known for now.

    NZ First are the bigger sell outs now, given their past staunch opposition. Only the Greens have stuck to their principles on this matter.

    • Canada is a major supplier of oil to the US, and is deeply integrated into ‘trade deals’ that decimate the Canadian landscape (and the long-term future) whilst propping up business-as-usual.

      What is arguably one of the most environmentally unfriendly processes on Earth takes place in Canada: trees are cut down, and the top layer of earth (of the order of 75 metres) is removed to gain access to low quality petroleum reserves.

      The so-called tar sands are dug up using some of the most massive machinery on the planet, and transported to processing plant where the low grade petroleum is extracted using water heated by burning natural gas (or some of the oil ultimately extracted). The product is so gluggy that refined petroleum (imported from the US) with a low molecular mass is mixed with the ‘tar’ to make it pumpable. The sand is so abrasive machinery is regularly maintained or replaced.

      Interestingly, there have been numerous train derailments, some resulting in huge fires. when Canadian ‘shit’ is transported to refineries in the US via decrepit rail systems that are at the point of falling apart because executive bonuses are ‘more important’ than safety.

      Overall the energy involved in extracting energy is horrifically high (very low EROEI), and the greenhouse gas emissions are enormous.

      Toxic waste is collected in manmade lakes, from which it leaks into the water system and into the Athabasca River, contaminating everything downstream and causing monumental health ‘problems’ to the few indigenous people still alive in the region.

      All the ‘promises’ to restore the landscape to its original condition are blatant propaganda: restoration has been attempted on less than 10% of the desecrated land are (now approximately the size of England) and that restoration has been ineffective….which is exactly what one would expect when global corporations are involved.

      When oil prices were low tar sands extraction was not economic (and it can never be environmentally economic); when oil prices are high tar sands extraction is very profitable. The current price for WTI of around $66 is more than enough to cover financial costs -all environmental costs, including the inordinate contribution to planetary overheating, being completely ignored by the [corrupt] political-economic system, of course.

      The whole topic is more-or-less taboo as far as mainstream reporting is concerned but it does not take much effort to become informed via the Internet.

      With Asia now seriously running pout of cheap energy:

      China has been investing heavily in extraction of petroleum from tar sands, and the decimation of the landscape does not affect China directly in the way that local energy project do, of course.

      The Canadian government is more than happy to see a large portion of its landscape utterly devastated if there is fiat currency to be acquired. And rapacious China has to have hydrocarbon energy to maintain its dysfunctional economy (50 years ago China’s demand for petroleum was miniscule).

      Without energy nothing happens. And the world is now dependent on extracting the last dregs of hydrocarbon energy from the most inaccessible places using the most environmentally unfriendly methods because there is all the easy-to-access-high-quality oil was burned decades ago. For the current system to be propped up, there is no alternative but to utilise petroleum sources that are difficult to extract and difficult to transport and which cause [largely] untold environmental damage.

      Needless to say, the NZ government (blue or red or yellow or green or any combination, it makes no difference) is all in favour of sacrificing the next generation’s future in order to prop up current living arrangements for as long as possible. And the government (whatever its colour) will lie incessantly to the masses in the process.

      The looting-and-polluting of the commons will continue until the whole system goes ‘bang’ at some stage in the not-too-distant-future as a consequence of the energy depletion and planetary overheating which are a natural result of operating the idiotic economic and financial system we inherited.

    • “NZ First are the bigger sell outs now, given their past staunch opposition. Only the Greens have stuck to their principles on this matter.”

      Nailed it 100%, Marc.

      The Greens get my vote in 2020.

    • “NZ First are the bigger sell outs now, given their past staunch opposition. Only the Greens have stuck to their principles on this matter.”

      With all due respect to our NZ First supporting allies who frequent this blog, we did warn you. If the Greens had got more votes than NZ First, and were inside the coalition instead of tacked on as a third wheel, the TPP would have been toast. Please remember this betrayal of core principle by Peters and his crew (particularly the virulently pro “free trade” Shane Jones) when the 2020 election rolls around,

  10. Thanks Professor Kelsey for your usual measured and helpful comment. I’m a centrist and consider the Tee Double Zombie Pee Eh highly problematic. Lefties are good at mobilisation, what works best (it must be lawful of course)?

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