Trotter: TPP will win the 2017 election for ‘the Left’

Chris Trotter seems to be going all out campaigning for the 2017 election, seeing the Trans Pacific Partnership as a way of unifying ‘the left’ – Labour, Greens and NZ First – to defeat National, businesses, journalists and academics who he says will run a campaign against them.

Trotter goes full throttle in a column at The Press and online at Stuff.

Chris Trotter: Labour’s TPP choice could swing election

OPINION: Labour’s stance on the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) could end up determining the outcome of the 2017 General Election.

If Andrew Little aligns his party with the other parliamentary opponents of the TPP – the Greens and NZ First – then the legislation giving effect to the agreement will barely scrape through the House of Representatives. Such open and substantial parliamentary opposition will clear the way for Andrew Little to lead an anti-TPP coalition into electoral battle in 2017.

If, however, Labour ends up supporting the TPP, then it will be a fractured and fractious Opposition that takes the field against John Key in two years’ time.

Trotter doesn’t consider that hard out Labour opposition to the TPPA could easily result in a fractured and fractious Labour Caucus. Some of that Caucus have a history of not just supporting trade agreements but initiating them. Phil Goff played a significant role in getting the TPP going in Helen Clark’s government.

With Labour firmly opposed, the National-led Government’s best outcome would see the TPP’s enabling legislation passed by a margin of three votes. But if, as seems likely, the Maori Party acknowledges the rising anti-TPP sentiment within Maoridom, by either abstaining or voting against the bill, then the nearest thing to a TPP ratification process that New Zealanders are going to get will be carried by just one vote – Peter Dunne’s.

Nobody in the pro-TPP camp wants that to happen. A Parliament split down the middle (61:60) presents the public with a powerful symbol of discord, disagreement and dissent. A one-vote (or even a three vote) majority says: “This isn’t over. This matter will be decided at the ballot box.”

Sounds like a repeat of the grand hope for a united Left riding to victory in 2014 using asset sales as the stick to beat National with. Labour had their worst result in nearly a century and Mana crashed with the Internet Party.

What the Right fears the most is two years of rising political temperatures and sharpened social antagonisms, during which the controversial content of the TPP supplies the Government’s opponents with all the ammunition they need to bring down the National-led coalition of right-wing political parties.

I think Trotter and other hard left activists actually talk themselves into believing that ‘the Right’ fears their cunning strategies.

So who is the fearful ‘the Right’?

Over the next few weeks the New Zealand people should, therefore, be on the alert for two full-on political campaigns. The first will be a government-funded PR campaign designed to sell the alleged benefits of the TPP to as many Kiwis as possible. The second will involve dozens (if not scores) of journalists, businesspeople and academics doing their level best to persuade Labour to return to the bipartisan fold.

The Government (National), businesspeople, journalists and academics – dozens if not scores of them – are all up against Trotter’s socialist revolutionary zeal.

The 2017 election, if Labour, the Greens and NZ First box clever, can thus become a contest between competing visions. The TPP’s vision of an economy that’s managed for powerful business interests; and the progressive Opposition’s vision of an economy that works for people.

That sounds very much like Andrew Little’s latest lines, claiming he is working in the interests of ‘the people’ against big business and the USA.

Probably not coincidentally:

Anat Shenker-Osorio on the creation of left metaphors

Communications Anat Shenker-Osorio has some simple messages for Labour in its quest for Government.  The left’s strongest advantage is its care for people rather than the economy and the message that will resonate is a positive one emphasising the care of people and the environment.

But there’s some potential problems with this Corbynisation of Labour, tying to control dissent within the Labour Caucus being one.

What if the TPPA doesn’t end civilisation as we know it?

What if in two years time there are signs that trade with the eleven other countries in the TPP is improving for New Zealand exporters.

Those exporters would be large, medium and small businesses that employ people.

What if these people don’t buy into the doom and gloom of trade as per Jane Kelsey or Chris Trotter or Andrew Little?

I’ve just heard Andrew Little on Breakfast saying there’s likely to be benefits from the TPPA for some exporters.

His main line was that “for the people’ a Labour government would ‘test the boundaries’ of the agreement by deliberately breaching it over foreign buyers of New Zealand property and wait and see if any of the Partnership countries take legal action against us.

They may not take legal action, they may just take Labour’s lead and breach the agreement too, to New Zealand’s detriment. Has Little and Trotter thought of that possibility?

Other countries with trade agreements may then think that the spirit of the agreements doesn’t matter to Labour and push their own boundaries.

But the glorious revolution promoted by Trotter will happen regardless of reality. Or not.

Leave a comment


  1. David

     /  13th October 2015

    Littles stance on the TPP is just not sustainable, what he has now achieved in a muddle headed way is annoying all those nutty vocal party members because he will support the deal, ruined his credibility with business by opposing it first of all and then everyone else will be looking at this clown who is advocating breaking an international agreement because he doesn’t like people who look/sound a bit Chinese buying a house.
    Little has achieved annoying everyone and looking like a fool.

    • 4077th

       /  13th October 2015

      Thereby securing his position as a dead man walking (politically speaking). Others lay in wait feeding his foolishness.

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  13th October 2015

    A bunch of idiots nailing their Stupidity Certificates to the wall. So isolated within their echo chambers they have no idea that in the real world people’s lives and jobs depend on exactly what they are opposing and ranting about.

  3. Firstly, Trade is the life blood of NZ – market access and tariffs are damn important. The noise around ISDS has dropped off a lot as that meme hasn’t stuck, similarly around Pharmac. I have yet to see what about the IP Chapter is so damaging to NZ – only a leaked document purporting to be the final chapter is out there, and who knows its provenance.

    The vectors for attack now seem to be land purchasing by foreigners and we didn’t get enough for dairy…..So land purchasing can be just taxed to the wahzoo for non residents which as I understand it is not restricted by TTP and the dairy angle just exposes the hypocrisy of the Left who have for the last 8 odd months whined and whinged about over reliance on dairy and been running the Corp Frazier “We’re dooooomeed” line re drops in dairy prices

    Opposing trade when NZ is totally dependent on trade for anything above a simple agrarian economy is a bit stupid…..

    2ndly, NZ First in coalition with the Greens? Hmmm that will be an interesting watch! Getting Labour, Greens and Winston all playing in the same sandpit happily with Little as the headman is border line drug induced fantasy….. Winston is THE MAN and being in anyones shadow is not his lives ambition….

    I would expect a soften of Nats approach to Winston and some behind the scenes accommodations to happen. If you see some pork barrelling happen in the Northland electorate which is not trumpeted to loudly bu National then you will know Winston is being buttered up…

    3rdly, Labour openly saying international trade deals agreements will be flouted is so dumb 9 can’t believe I saw Little say it in a record TV interview…. as Pete points out we do then others will. And where would that leave our exporters when they had a grievance to pursue under an international trade agreement – absolutely stupid thing for Little to say

  4. Zedd

     /  13th October 2015

    Looking forward to todays Q-time, first.. there alot of water to go under the bridge, before 2017 :/

  5. artcroft

     /  13th October 2015

    Nonsense is never in sort supply when Chris Trotter is around.

  6. Unitedtribe

     /  13th October 2015

    Be kind to Chris. He’s going through a bad patch.

    • traveller

       /  13th October 2015

      😈 That’s one way to describe what seems like an interminably long sabbatical in lalaland


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