Labour-New Zealand First government should be ashamed of hollow TPPA promises


The Labour-New Zealand First government will be hoping that New Zealanders have got short memories as it celebrates the entry into force of the rebranded Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, minus the United States.

It’s just over a year since they did a u-turn on their opposition to the TPPA and proclaimed a new improved “progressive” deal. No-one really bought the spin, but the politicians clearly calculated the fallout from business if they backed off the deal would be more politically damaging than betraying their support base.

The earlier criticisms of the TPPA are as valid now as they always were.

Despite the hype about changes that protect future regulation from potentially crippling investment disputes, the governments of Japan, Canada and Singapore refused to sign side-letters that would exclude New Zealand from the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) regime.

In Opposition, Labour called the economic case that was made for the original deal “flawed”, when the US was still part. The justification is even shoddier now.

The new government promised us a more balanced, future-focused alternative. Instead, it is celebrating a failed 20th century model that locks New Zealand into low value-added export economy.’

New Zealand needs a trade policy that builds on a national economic strategy for the 21st century that support sustainable local businesses and a living wage.

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That was the core economic message from a two-day hui that a number of organisations hosted on an Alternative and Progressive Trade Strategy in Auckland in mid-October.

A new JusTrade website, with presentations from the hui and other research, will be launched in early January. It aims to kick start the debate on genuine alternatives to the TPPA model as the government’s Trade for All Advisory Group belatedly begins its work.

While it may be too late to stop this agreement, we can avoid digging ourselves deeper into this counter-productive hole. More importantly, we can create positive momentum towards a new paradigm that addresses the pressing challenges of climate change, precarious work, digital technologies, power asymmetries within and between countries, and the erosion of democracy, sovereignty and te Tiriti.


    • I hope that isn’t your only contribution. It’s a bit hopeless in its delivery. Like has any one asked why you hate China so much.

      • Castro’s quite right – China with its developing dictatorship and repression and human rights abuses is far more dangerous to our well-being than any other country bordering the Pacific!

        • “China with its developing dictatorship and repression and human rights abuses is far more dangerous to our well-being than any other country bordering the Pacific”

          Really Tony??

          How many countries has China bombed, invaded, occupied, made regime changes, etc, etc? Aside from aTibet, its a pretty short list.

          The American Empire, which borders the Pacific, on the other hand…

  1. I don’t think many people here actually understands the point of trade let alone foreign trade. Without understanding that how can you critique Trade policies?

    • Easy, actually Iv litterally explained this to you a thousand times. But anyhoo. We’re the best at rugby. What are you good at? Make it good because the All Blacks aren’t for sale.

      • Most people think the point of trade (foreign or otherwise) is to make money. Having money is pointless unless you want to do something with it.

        The real point of trade is to get something that you would not necessarily be able to get or at a price you wouldn’t be able to get elsewhere. The only reason you need to exchange something is because the other party won’t usually just give you this something from the goodness of their heart but will want something in return.

        When you realise that THAT is the point of trade then the question becomes why would you make it harder for you to get what you want. Why would you impose restrictions on you being able to get something from someone else? The only person you are really hurting is yourself.

        • Gosman – you are sooo polite!

          A happy New Year to you.

          And it’s great to see others following your courteous example, even if they disagree.

          This year could see a Great leap Forward in civility. 🙂

        • What a complete load of tripe. Im guessing you dont have any problem with trade restrictions against tobacco and alcohol in the form of taxes and advertising restrictions based around health. “Wanting” lots of alcohol or tobacco isnt reason to make it easy to get. Maybe you dont accept this need. Well what about restrictions against trade in military hardware?

          You may think that “free” trade is a simple and obvious good but you would be wrong. “Wanting” any thing is not reason enough to make it cheaper and easier to get it. “Wanting” cheaper and easier to get stuff is not reason to tip the playing field in favour of foreign corporations. If you stop making stuff at home just because its cheaper and easier to import it you end up becoming a nation of Crafar farmers because its cheaper and easier to not give a f**k about your calves slowly dehydrating to death

      • The idea of “trade agreements” is effectively that countries are forced to specialise to their strengths, at the expense of everything else. It’s really that simple when you distil it down.
        And it all works pretty well until we get, for example, sanctioned by the US and Europe without compensation due to their military/trade spat with China (because our economic health has now become intertwined/dependent on our Chinese trade agreement). In other words, trade agreements forces those involved to “choose sides”, which effectively means you have relinquished your sovereignty due to their inherent economic dependency.

      • I’d add that a con is that it means your economy can be dependent upon another economy, leaving you hostage in a sense to the decisions of that country. On the pro side, it means you’re less likely to want to go to war with them.

        Regardless of what reality says, protectionism is becoming more popular in New Zealand. New Conservitives and Simon Says keep climbing in support by blaming foreigners (both via immigration and via free trade) for everyone’s economic problems.

    • Here a napkin Gossy,

      your dribbling again.

      Once again you show your ignorance. When the great majority of people who have offer well constructed arguments against this agreement, have actually read it. You however, have show once again – all you have got is your ideological purity.

  2. Well said Prof Jane — Makes one wonder what the point is of having Labour, NZ First (when Peters said capitalism has failed NZ), and Greens in power. Hope one day they build on their $75 kids’ lolly scramble, and incremental hikes in the living wage. More than one year in, and as far as I can see their achievements can be counted on one hand; second year in the term, as always, will be used to “consolidate”; third year to start campaigning again.

    • Where were the mass protests? The angry chants on the steps of parliament? The dildo throwing antics?

      No where to be seen. It proves the hypocrisy of many of the anti-TPPA brigade and they weren’t actually interested in what they were protesting against

      • I have been saying that for a year now BG, the ‘protests’ were just anti-national rally’s using PPTA as an excuse! If any proof of this statement is needed… When was the last major anti-PPTA marches around the country, certainly not whilst Labour have been in power and Prof Kelsey has already pointed out (and Martyn) that this ‘new and improved’ PPTA is no different to the one National was supporting, only difference seems to be Labour is now the Govt. And National in opposition as to why the marches have stopped, funny that eh ??…..perhaps someone can suggest another reason!

      • Globalisation theory? It’s finished. The New Kids on the Block, The New Conseevitives with there pushy immigration and sociol policy.

        So when the test came to the left to change the way politics is perceived, the gweenies and Jacinda took it up. The party that

        Simon says belongs to dropped the ball through the 90’s and 2000’s through advising the people, they did nothing about it.

      • Exactly
        The rabid bleating has disappeared, the thinly veiled TPPA ‘protests’ resigned to history and revealed to be just another anti National whinge.
        The left – its ok when we do it.

  3. If Labour and National haven’t received the ‘memo’ about Brexit and the rise if Trump, then they havent been paying attention. If they ignore the rusing tide against globaliaation, neoliberalism, which results in jobs exported overseas and stagnating wages , the lessons of extremist Nationalism may bite them on their red and blue backsides. As it is, Simon Bridges is alrwady beatiing the proto-nationalist drum with his anti UN rhetoric.

    The backtracking by Labour on the TPPA or whatever the fuck its called these days, reinforces why the pubkic see politicians as a dishonest, self-serving bunch of careerists.

  4. Come on Prof. Kelsey, are you for real?

    NZers have SHORT MEMORIES, and short attention spans, that is the vast bulk of the population here.

    To presume something different raises concerns about your sense for reality. You have lost your battle, sad, but that is the truth.

    The Sheeples carry on as per usual, following the ‘guidance’ by ‘the market’ and their leaders, who were bought a long time ago, no matter what name their party may have.

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