Stuart Nash conflicted on TPP opposition

Steven Joyce has highlighted the fact that a number of Labour MPs actively supported and spoke at Trans Pacific Partnership protests on Saturday. He also poited out that this may conflict with Labour’s interest in promoting regional development.

NZ Herald: Labour MPs’ TPP protests under fire:

Mr Joyce, the Economic Development Minister, said Labour tried to suggest it was generally in favour of TPP and trade deals as a way of backing regional New Zealand but then attended anti-TPP rallies, including in Hawkes Bay.

“I think they are certainly split on it but it also shows they haven’t got any discipline on it either.”

He was most surprised at the attendance of Mr Nash, of Napier, one of the few MPs Labour has from regional New Zealand.

“These trade deals are about the meat industry, the apple industry, the wine industry, the horticultural industry, all those food areas getting access to some of the biggest populations in the world and lowering their tariffs and he is wandering along to an anti-TPP rally.”

I think that’s a fair point, especially for a Hawkes bay MP.

Mr Nash was one of at least six Labour MPs who took part in nationwide marches on Saturday, as was Labour’s trade spokesman, David Parker, who spoke at the Dunedin rally. Others were Phil Twyford, Ruth Dyson, Megan Woods, and Clare Curran, while Jacinda Ardern apologised for her absence.

And Labour’s trade spokeperson David parker was also supporting protests agaist a trade agreement.

Nash defended his involvement.

Mr Nash said he had been an importer and trader for eight years.

“I support free trade, without a question of a doubt, but it is not free trade at any cost.

“I know how valuable trade can be … but I have real concerns about this free trade agreement.

“Because we have no idea what is in this agreement, it is impossible to support it.”

He has no idea what’s in the agreement but has real concerns about it and says it is “impossible to support it.”

I’m not sure whay he’s so ignorant about it, I’ve heard quite a bit about what might be in the agreement, should it be signed.

But why is his default position (if he really has ‘no idea’ what might be in the agreement) to oppose the TPP when it could potentially be of significant benefit to the region he represents?

Shouldn’t he be arguing for an agreement that’s favourable?

Nash and Labour seem to have a strategy of opposing anything the Government is working on, even when they would almost certainly be supporting the policies and initiatives if they were in Government, the TPP and flag change beig current prominent examples.

They might be credible if they opposed specific aspects of the agreement that have been publicised, but claiming total ignorance and appearing to totally oppose the TPP looks like a party entrenced in Opposition.

Leave a comment


  1. Mike C

     /  17th August 2015

    If Nash keeps this sort of behaviour up, then there is a very good chance that he may not get voted back by his constituents in 2017.

    His own personal point of view has to come second to that of the people who gave him his job. Nash needs to look after his Voters first and foremost, not the Labour Party.

  2. Howick Boy

     /  17th August 2015

    “’m not sure whay he’s so ignorant about it, I’ve heard quite a bit about what might be in the agreement, should it be signed.”

    Please advise what you’ve heard. I’ve heard that medicines “may” be rising in price.

  3. Why would Labour be opposed to an agreement they “have no idea what is in this agreement”?

    The anti-TPPA people seem to be the usual anti-capitalism Hard left nutters. Labour MPs need to think carefully about joining with them. In the UK, under Miliband, Labour sought to cozy up to the Hard Left, mistaking the enthusiasm/zealotry of the Hard Left in social media for the views of the general public. Instead of trying to become a future progressive government, they found it was easier to make their own supporters happy. They not only lost the election, but now they are faced with having Jeremy Corbyn as their leader.
    Or maybe Labour MPs are actually happy being in opposition? Opposition MPs don’t have to work that hard, and it is good money and free travel. Maybe Labour MPs no longer care about becoming a future government?

  4. So the key things the Lefties are harping on seem to be:

    1 – Investor State Dispute Settlement [ISDS] process. I haven’t seen the relevant chapter, apparently its on the web in some draft form having been leaked. The criticism is it allows Multi Nationals to sue Governments IF a Government changes its policies and this adversely effects the Multi Nationals profits or right to trade. And that is an undermining of sovereignty.

    2 – Intellectual Property rights. The Lefties say this is being pushed by Big Pharma and Hollywood/Media interests in the US to extend copyright/patent protection particularly duration.

    This is where the rising pharmaceutical costs comes from – long patent durations prevent generics coming on the market in NZ for an extra X years, generics are cheaper hence pharmaceutical costs for Pharmac would rise.

    For me these are a concern particularly ISDS IF it truly constrains the NZ Government working in the best interests of NZ citizens. but the flip side is it protects NZ companies trading in TTP signatory countries under the same provisions

    The longer IP rights: I can see why big Pharma would want it – it does cost a fortune to develop some new medicines, vaccines etc. Seems fair enough they can reap a profit from the R&D they invest in. And I see a flip side were an NZ company patents something valuable – improved patent durations would play in our favour.

    Bottom line is TTP seems unbalanced at a glance, if the Lefties are right which is debatable, as we are not getting enhance agricultural rights in the US, Canada and Japan while giving them advantages under IP chapter and ISDS provisions as it seems to currently stand….

    I don’t think we have much option but to trust MFAT diplomats and negotiators aren’t selling us out and that Key, Groser et al won’t sign us up to something very negative for NZ as a whole.

    but as with anything when there is not total disclosure its an easy target for FUD and we all know the Left do FUD extremely well.

  5. I’m pretty right wing [ I also quite like Stuart Nash’s style (contradiction???)] and I object to this trade deal on sovereignty issues. My objection is based only on what I’ve heard but then I don’t have much else to go on.

    If this deal is anything like the ‘deal’ negotiated with the Saudi’s I expect the New Zealand People to get their pants pulled down


     /  18th August 2015

    I always though Nash might have been a candidate to run the Labour Party – he and Kelvin Davis would be an interesting mix.

    • Mike C

       /  18th August 2015


      That will never happen while all the Unions have their hands right up the Labour Partys arse, and are continuing to utilise them as a ventriloquists dummy 🙂


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