Photo credit: Sam R. Dyson/ActionSation

(Photo credit: Sam R. Dyson/ActionSation)

Overnight Monday, ministers, trade officials and corporate lobbyists concluded the highly controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement - a shady ‘trade’ deal that has been cooked up behind closed doors.

While the Prime Minister and Trade Minister Tim Groser throw 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”, this is far from a good deal for New Zealanders.

The way it is being reported overseas, the New Zealand trade team are said to be ‘disappointed’ at their 'unsuccessful' and 'failed' attempt to get a good deal as they accepted “ugly compromises”, it’s hard to see what’s in it for us.

In fact, it suggests we have much to lose from this.

That’s why the Prime Minister should release the full text immediately, so we can all see for ourselves what has been negotiated away in our name. Their continuing refusal only gives weight to those who believe this is a bad deal for New Zealanders, and a slap in the face for democracy.

All the indications are that the TPP has been concocted solely for the benefit of foreign companies and their sharp-suited billionaires, not for the people of New Zealand.

The inclusion of so-called investor state dispute settlement clauses gives special legal rights to foreign investors to sue our government. For example, if an oil company has a licence to drill in our oceans and a progressive, future government introduces tough new laws to safeguard our coastlines, that company can sue the hardworking Kiwi taxpayer for the loss of profit.

But it’s not just our ability to write our own laws to benefit New Zealanders that are at risk - so too are the affordability and access to life-saving medicines and our control over innovation and copyright laws.

It’s hard to see how this can be hailed as a success by anyone other than the massive corporations whose tentacles have now been extended into every part of our lives.  

This doesn’t feel like a good deal. It feels like nothing more than a bum deal which will affect us all.