Say no to the TPPA

Say yes to choice



The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement has now been signed with Ministers, trade officials and corporate lobbyists from 12 Pacific-rim countries finalising this shady ‘trade’ deal behind closed doors.


Ever since the Prime Minister and Trade Minister Tim Groser have thrown up the carefully crafted, detail-free words of their spin-doctors that it’s “overall a very good deal for New Zealand” or that “when you sense the bus is going to take off you jump on board”, details are emerging that this is far from a good deal for New Zealanders.


The full text of the agreement should be made available some time in November 2015. Since the deal was agreed, the High Court in Wellington served a humiliating judicial slapdown for Trade Minister Tim Groser and his anti-democratic moves to hide the TPP text from the people of New Zealand.


Leading academic and campaigner Jane Kelsey, along with other groups including Greenpeace, had taken Groser to court after he refused to release documents concerning the shady deal under the Official Information Act.


The judge ruled that Groser’s actions were unlawful and a breach of his Ministerial responsibility. The judgment is surely a warning that they cannot continue to do so and is a victory for the supporters of transparency and openness.

TPPA is a trade deal in name only. While it has many aspects of the average trade agreement, this one goes a lot further and sets up chilling constraints on how each country manages their domestic regulation.

All of the negotiations on the deal are secret but leaked documents have shown that within the agreement there are clauses that will allow overseas companies to sue the New Zealand Government. One in particular – catchily known as the investor state dispute settlement - gives special legal rights to foreign investors to sue our Government (or any future government) if New Zealand law is changed in a way they think undermines their profits.

If for example New Zealand wanted to introduce better legislation to clean up our rivers, limit the amount of waste we produce or reduce pollution, the TPPA will allow investors to challenge these decisions in offshore private tribunals with no public accountability but which potentially require compensation from the New Zealand taxpayer.

This would seriously hinder our ability to manage our own affairs. And it is not just environmental regulation that would be impacted. The TPPA’s tentacles also extend to things like workers rights, health care and intellectual property. In short our democracy and self determination are all on the line.