Andrew Little still seems to have mixed positions on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.
So Little is loudly saying he is opposed to the TPP one minute, and then the next minute he’s quietly admitting he’d vote for the good bits. It is a Jekyll and Hyde show where Little is Jane Kelsey one minute and Phil Goff the next.
He tried to gloss over the Goff/Shearer/Helen Clark/et al elephant in Labour’s TPPA room in his ‘State of the nation’ speech yesterday:
I’d also like to acknowledge Phil Goff.
It’s funny, Phil seems to be at every gathering in Auckland with more than three people for some reason. Phil, this is going to be a big year for Auckland, and I know you’ll do a fantastic job as Mayor.
Little may be looking forward to Goff resigning from Parliament if he wins the mayoralty, so he doesn’t figure in next year’s election lead up.
He addressed the TPPA directly later in his speech.
The truth is, this government has given up on the future.
They’ve been selling us short.
There’s no better example of this than the TPP agreement the government will sign next week at Sky City.
You know, over the summer, I managed to work my way through large parts of that agreement.
It wasn’t the breeziest of summer reading, I’ll say that much.
But what the text of the TPP makes very clear is that this Government has traded away our democratic rights.
Under the TPP, our democracy is under threat.
New Zealand’s parliament will be constrained in its ability to pass laws in our — your, mine, our kids’ interests.
In fact, on issues like labour laws, and environmental laws, our government is now obliged to give the governments of eleven other countries — and their big corporate players — a say on the laws we make.
New Zealand MPs will no longer be solely responsible to the people who elect them.
And I cannot accept that.
Labour has been a champion of free trade for decades. But we have never been asked to pay the price of the erosion of our democratic institutions.
Binding future parliaments, making our government accountable to politicians and corporations overseas instead of voters here at home?
That’s not free trade.
That’s special rules for the powerful and privileged at the expense of the voters of New Zealand.
Last week Goff and David Shearer made it clear that they have quite different views on the TPPA, publicly confirming their support. Shearer will have to apologise to the Labour caucus for breaking their collective responsibility. Goff had been given a pass by Little.
However after the speech journalists asked Little about the TPPA and he revealed that he was still not totally against it.
Patrick Gower reports:
In his speech, he talked up Labour’s opposition to the TPP to cheers from the party faithful. Then he came over to journalists and admitted Labour would support certain laws that put some parts of of the TPP into action, confirming Labour would vote for legislation that reduced tariffs for Kiwi exporters, which the official advice shows will be required.
So Little is loudly saying he is opposed to the TPP one minute, and then the next minute he’s quietly admitting he’d vote for the good bits. It is a Jekyll and Hyde show where Little is Jane Kelsey one minute and Phil Goff the next. It is a political con-job aimed at keeping his own supporters on side by opposing it while emotions are running high with the signing next week, but not wanting to get caught out as being against New Zealand exporters when the benefits kick in down the track.
If Little really opposed the TPP, he would refuse point-blank to vote for any legislation that enables it. Until he does that his position lacks credibility, and that means the TPP is quickly becoming a big problem for Little. He’s got MPs Goff and David Shearer going rogue with their public support but — unlike him at least they are up-front and easy to understand.
Little and Labour still have a big problem over their mixed messages and clash of support on the TPPA.