Little on defying the TPPA

Here’s the interview of Andrew Little on Radio New Zealand where he says he would defy the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.

Labour says it will defy TPP

The Labour Party leader Andrew Little says his party would defy the Trans Pacific Partnership in Government.

Introduction:

The Labour Party leader Andrew Little says his party would defy the Trans Pacific Partnership in government.

An international agreement on the trade deal was reached late last year and now has to be ratified by each country’s government. There are reports it could be signed in New Zealand next month, two days before Waitangi day.

Note that signing is a step before ratifying – see TPPA process corrects claims of lying.

Mr Little says National has the numbers to pass the legislation without Labour. Andrew Little doesn’t intend to abide by the agreement if elected to government next year.

The interview:

RNZ: Once the ink’s dry on this how would a Labour government actually be able to flout it anyway?

Andrew Little: One of the provisions in the TPPA that most concerns me, I raised this in all the meetings I had  in Washington DC at the end of last year, is the part of the agreement that says that countries who are party to it will not be able to pass laws to restrict land sales.

So of we decided that there were too many Americans or too many Australians or too many Chinese or whoever buying up New Zealand farmland and we wanted to put restrictions on that then we wouldn’t be able to pass laws to do that.

The USA and Australia are party to the TPPA but China isn’t.

Andrew Little: That seems to me just an absolute contravention of our sovereign right to have a Parliament that passes our laws.

The funny thing is of course when you look at it, when you look at the agreement, at least three countries have got exemption from that provision, Australia, Malaysia and Singapore, and when I asked about the issue when I was in Washington DC I was told that actually New Zealand didn’t even ask for an exemption to that provision.

So we’re stuck with an agreement that would prevent a future New Zealand Parliament from passing a law that the New Zealand public might want to have.

The same must apply to many international agreements New Zealand has made. If a future New Zealand government wanted to pass a law that was in breach of an agreement then they would breach the agreement and would have to be prepared for any consequences, including the possible need to withdraw from the agreement..

RNZ: But if Labour was elected how would you actually defy this, how would you not go ahead with the bits that you don’t agree with?

Andrew Little: So the point I’m making, I’m getting to, is the Labour Party has a policy  that we would restrict or put in place restrictions on land sales, because we know that New Zealanders are concerned about the amount of land that is falling into non resident foreign ownership. And so we will proceed to do that.

But what I I guess they’re making clear (that part wasn’t clear) made clear in my meetings with officials of the administration at the end of last year and what I think is important for New Zealanders to do both around the time of the signing next month that happens then and during the course of legislation in our Parliament here is for New Zealanders to make very clear that they don’t agree with those parts of the TPPA that compromise our sovereignty.

I don’t know what Little means exactly by “compromise our sovereignty” but any international agreement made by New Zealand can affect what we can then do if we want to abide by those agreements.

It may be a ‘sovereign right’ for a future Government to pass legislation that breaches the Geneva Convention, or any other international agreement that we are signatories to, but it may not be very smart.

We need to send that signal very clearly so that when there is a change of government it won’t be a surprise to other members of the TPPA and we will proceed as if we will do what’s in the best interests of New Zealand.

Labour may be faced with a decision to decide whether it’s in our best interests to abide by international agreements or to breach or withdraw from the agreements. If they want to further restrict foreign buyers of land here it could involve more agreements than just the TPPA.

RNZ: Why such a strong opposition from Labour now?

Andrew Little: Ah well our opposition to anything that compromises our sovereignty is nothing new, we’ve made that pretty clear. I was pretty clear in my speech to the Labour conference at the end of last year is that  you know it is simply something we would not contemplate or would not agree with and we would defy it and I’ve made that clear to various American authorities I met with at the end of last year. I’m making it clear now.

You know I just I am stunned, I was stunned to hear when I was in Washington DC that they are where lining up the 4th of February as a date for the Ministerial signing of the agreement, and I said to some of them, I said are you nuts?

If Little knew last year about the plan to sign the TPPA on February 4th why is it suddenly big news now?

This is two days before our national day, the day we celebrate our national identity and our national authority. Why on earth would you set that aside as a date to sign an agreement that is so controversial and is not particularly popular in New Zealand. And was met with a sort of dumb silence.

So you know they will go ahead and do what they want. It just demonstrates a level of arrogance around this whole thing.

I think what’s important for New Zealanders um you know because there is a level of concern about it, that we send a very clear signal and take every opportunity to do so, that those things that undermine the sovereign right to our New Zealand Parliament, um we have to you know tell the other parties of the TPPA it’s not acceptable and we won’t abide by it.

What Little should be asked is if this not abiding by agreements that he or Labour don’t find acceptable could apply to any international agreement made by New Zealand.

If Labour is establishing a precedent of breaching agreements (or threatening to breach agreements) they don’t agree with I think this should be made very clear. And Little should say whether it could apply to any agreement they don’t think is acceptable.

RNZ: Is the Labour caucus behind this? Goff? Shearer? Are they with you?

Andrew Little: Ah, well, they it Labour Party policy is the policy of the Labour Party, both the you know the rank and file and the caucus and we’ve had discussions in caucus about it and indeed the party at conference and at all levels have discussed this and they’ve been pretty clear um and so you know that’s the stance um that that we’re taking.

I’ve made it very clear as leader the the approach I intend to take and that will no doubt be the subject of ongoing discussions but I’ve been very clear and I think that’s the approach we need to take.

Little has made it clear he wants to take a stance on defying or breaching the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement but has not made it clear to what extent he would take that, on the TPPA or potentially on any other international agreement.

And what seemed clear from his lack of clarity in that last response is that he may not have the full support of the Labour caucus and that expects discussions to be ongoing.

I’m not sure that Little or his advisers have thought through the implications of appearing to take a strong stance on a small part of the TPPA might have.

This has the potential to undo the dampening down of caucus dissent that Little appears to have achieved last year.

It also has implications for Little’s credibility as a potential Prime Minister, both on a national scale and particularly internationally.

Threatening to defy international agreements is no minor matter.

Leave a comment

45 Comments

  1. Iceberg

     /  10th January 2016

    He seems determined to be a laughing stock.

    Reply
  2. Blazer

     /  10th January 2016

    ‘Threatening to defy international agreements is no minor matter.’….really tell that to Israel and the U.S.A!Threatening doesn’t even come into it!

    Reply
    • Timoti

       /  10th January 2016

      Care to expand on your comments?

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  10th January 2016

        a starter for you…

        Encyclopedia of the United Nations and International …
        https://books.google.co.nz/books?isbn=0415939232

        Reply
        • Timoti

           /  10th January 2016

          What I’m I looking for…….a shot in the dark?

          Reply
          • Timoti

             /  10th January 2016

            “Threatening to defy international agreements is no minor matter.’…really tell that to Israel and the U.S.A!Threatening doesn’t even come into it”

            Strong words usually come from strongly held opinions which come life experience and knowledge. Yet you can’t give one example, just reflex rhetoric and a link to an encyclopaedia.

            Have another go.. Better still, let me do it for you. The following I haven’t checked for accuracy. But it does support your argument.

            http://www.fishpiss.com/archives/29

            Reply
            • Blazer

               /  10th January 2016

              you are the one requiring validation not me.Well done,wasn’t that hard was it.So now you understand.

      • kiwi guy

         /  10th January 2016

        Got to agree with Blazer there.

        It was the last Bush administration which “unsigned” an agreement/treaty or two it found inconvenient.

        Whats good for the goose and all that…

        Reply
  3. Patzcuaro

     /  10th January 2016

    Little & Labour seem to be intent on finding something in the TPPA to oppose as a matter of course. It looks like the government has negotiated the best deal it could get, what is the alternative?

    We used to be an isolated country in the South Pacific but with air travel & the internet the world has got a lot smaller. As Helen Clark said, you have to be at the table or you will get ignored. If Labour had been in government I’m sure they would have part of the negotiation process.

    Take the flag debate for example, Little & Labour support the idea of a new flag but not if National propose it. Then the cost of the referendum is too high but they had no problem with the cost of the Asset Sales referendum.

    Who would vote for a party that is hollow?

    Reply
    • kiwi guy

       /  10th January 2016

      National being led by Teflon Boy monkeying around with dropped soap is just as hollow.

      What real choices do the voters have?

      Reply
    • Blazer

       /  10th January 2016

      the alternative is to not sign it.The world would keep turning ,we could retain our independence and strike accords on a nation by nation basis.The benefits of signing it are hard to justify.

      Reply
      • Helen Clark on the TPPA:

        “What always haunts one as a New Zealand prime minister is, will there be a series of trade blocs developed that you’re not part of? Because that is unthinkable for New Zealanders, an export-oriented, small trading nation.”

        “So of course New Zealand has to be in on the action with a [TPPA] and go for the very best deal it can.”

        https://yournz.org/2015/10/01/helen-clark-strongly-supports-tppa/

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  10th January 2016

          yes Helen has ambition that involves a U.S dominated institution.Hardly likely to antagonise the yanks and their ambassador down here JK.

          Reply
          • There’s a good bet some Labour MPs will have similar views on the TPPA to Clark. Little’s stance is potentially quite a major move from trade agreement positions under Clark.

            Reply
  4. Pete Brian

     /  10th January 2016

    It’s about time Labour got some balls. I know who I’m voting for next election.

    Reply
  5. Pantsdownbrown

     /  10th January 2016

    So in summation of Little’s interview:

    *He has an anti-Chinese bias/culture of blaming Chinese as he included China in his rant on overseas buyers even though they have nothing to do with the TPPA.
    *The above comment shows he lacks knowledge of the TPPA and when called out on it (as he was later on twitter) he resorted to bullying and lying. His comment during the interview of already knowing the proposed signing date on his Washington visit seems to be another lie. Why did he not mention this on his return from Washington if it was such an ‘outrage’?

    Either he lied about being told the signing date some time ago OR he faked (i.e. lied) his surprise when the proposed date became public knowledge.

    *He doesn’t have the support on his stance from more pragmatic members of his own party or the previous leader Helen Clark.
    *He is willing to flag bits of the TPPA agreement he doesn’t like therefore happy for any other party to do the same in any other agreement we are part of making those (and any future) agreements redundant.
    *He somehow thinks that signing an international agreement 2 days before Waitangi Day is ‘inappropriate’……….would 3 days beforehand be better, 4 maybe?? Unless it was on the same day as Waitangi day why does this matter?? Especially as the signing is not the last part of the process.
    *Again he proves he is anti-anything for the sake of being anti-something.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  10th January 2016

      the Chinese do not allow NZ’ers to buy their housing stock….do they have an anti kiwi bias?

      Reply
      • Pantsdownbrown

         /  10th January 2016

        ….and like Little this has what to do with the TPPA??

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  10th January 2016

          China is a major trading partner of NZ.The TPPA may be seen by some trading partners as prejudicial.

          Reply
        • China is notably absent from TPP, along with South Korea.

          I believe the issue of China pertains to the question, “What is the real intent of TPP”? And, are there “hidden agendas”? I think this is where the sub-state fear eminates from?

          Is it an American Corporatist initiative to recalibrate investment and markets in their favour, starting with this portion of the globe? This may benefit NZ a little or a lot? But the question must be asked, what might it cost us? (The same US Corporatist Empire is simultaneously negotiating TTIP – TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership – and TiSA – Trade in Services Agreement – from which, once again, BRICS countries are notably absent)

          Is TPP as much “about limiting regulation, helping corporate interests and imposing fiercer standards of intellectual property (to, again, largely benefit corporate interests)” – Noam Chomsky

          http://www.salon.com/2014/01/13/chomsky_tpp_is_a_neoliberal_assault/

          TPP might be, “designed to carry forward the neoliberal project to maximize profit and domination, and to set the working people of the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages to increase insecurity”? (ibid)

          The free trade provisions may just be “a spoonful of sugar” …?

          The Public Services International (PSI) organization described TISA as:

          “a treaty that … would provide all foreign providers access to domestic markets at “no less favorable” conditions as domestic suppliers and would restrict governments’ ability to regulate, purchase and provide services. This would essentially change the regulation of many public and privatized or commercial services from serving the public interest to serving the profit interests of private, foreign corporations.” – Wiki

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trade_in_Services_Agreement

          Reply
  6. Pantsdownbrown

     /  10th January 2016

    Maybe Little could ask Phil Goff about the Chinese not allowing NZers to buy housing stock in their country as he signed the Chinese free-trade agreement……….

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  10th January 2016

      Well we are now well on the way to becoming tenants in our own country…must be part of this govts ‘Plan’…or part of being on the cusp of something….special!

      Reply
      • Pete Brian

         /  10th January 2016

        The British took NZ from that Maori and now the Chinese are taking it from the New Zealanders. The treaty of Waitangi/TPPA. It’s the circle of life, big fish eat little fish.

        Reply
        • Unfortunately Pete, there may be more to that than meets the eye.
          “It’s the circle, the circle of life”! Disney Land …

          I guess at least the Chinese (and other foreign investor-speculators) are paying top dollar for our “property in the soil”?

          Once they own the bulk of it and other means-of-production things ain’t looking good for wages though?

          Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  10th January 2016

          What utter, pitiful rubbish. People who work hard and invest for the future get assets. Those who don’t, don’t. Ethnicity is irrelevant.

          Reply
        • lurcher1948

           /  10th January 2016

          PETE you are full off shit, pete sounds like a funny chink name???

          Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  10th January 2016

        @Blazer, speak for yourself. I own just as much property as ever as do most NZers with the gumption to work and invest in the future more than they talk.

        If you’ve been selling to the Chinese rather than your children perhaps you should wear the blame yourself. Likewise if you have never bothered to scrimp, save and borrow to buy yourself and your family a home.

        Reply
        • kittycatkin

           /  10th January 2016

          If I ever decided to sell my house, I’d sell it to whoever offered the highest price and their race would be irrelevant.

          Reply
  7. Goldie

     /  10th January 2016

    Little makes a number of claims which are simply wrong.

    1. The TPP in no way overrides NZ sovereignty. A future government is still free to pass whatever laws it likes. That said, if it passes a law that breaches the TPP, then NZ gets booted out of the TPP.

    2. TPP does allow a future government to restrict land sales. However, it must be done according to legitimate public interest criteria and without preference. I would love to know what that public policy case actually is (and “their are taking our land!” would not meet that). There is already an Overseas Investment Office, so I am puzzled as to what more Little thinks he wants.

    3. China is not a signatory to the TPP.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  10th January 2016

      From what we know it looks like a crappy ,shitty deal with little benefit for NZ.More about trade restrictions and IP than anything else.25 chapters that are not trade specific.

      Reply
      • Pantsdownbrown

         /  10th January 2016

        Except all the significant benefits for NZ exporters in the Wine industry, all forms of horticulture, sheep & beef, dairy, forestry and others wanting to break into the markets of other TPPA countries………

        Reply
        • @ Pantsdownbrown – You will need to define “significant”? There’s no doubt there will be benefits but are they “a spoon full of sugar”?

          It looks to me like TPP results in a 1.5% (or more bjm1) increase in GDP, fully realised in 2030, above-and-beyond normal growth which last year ran at 3.5% with 1% inflation.

          If this growth actually does, “carry forward the neoliberal project to maximize profit and domination, and to set the working people of the world in competition with one another so as to lower wages and increase insecurity” and serve “the profit interests of private, foreign corporations” ahead of domestic suppliers and “the public interest”, it frankly may not be worth it? (quotations = Noam Chomsky)

          Reply
          • Goldie

             /  10th January 2016

            PartisaNZ:
            An increase of at least 1.5% in GDP is equivalent to $3.6bn annually in 2015 dollars. (Remember that that is a very conservative estimate based only on the tariff reduction, and doesn’t take into account new markets). That means several thousand extra jobs, higher wages, and more taxes to pay for things like school teachers and hospitals.

            That you have a problem with that is unhinged.

            Reply
            • @ Goldie – it is equally remarkable to me that you appear unable to follow a train of thought ending in a question and can only interpret it as being that I “have a problem” with the first part of the premise or train of thought?

              I’m not saying “unhinged”, because that’s your put-down insult derived from your mistaken conclusion.

              But is my comment too complicated for you?

              It goes: If X is the case with TPP, and given that Y might result, and might cost Z, is TPP ultimately worth it? (Question mark)

              Let’s say, just for simplistic argument’s sake, that TPP results in your increased earnings for the dairy and other sectors and they largely invest it in mechanisation, resulting in minimal job increases for Kiwis and maximum profit for overseas suppliers of mech-tech because they can supply the mech-tech cheaper than Kiwi companies?

              At the same time, TPP provisions allow foreign corporations to win almost every public and SOE tender contract available, mechanize wherever possible, and where not reduce services, minimize labour, bring in immigrant labour or force Kiwi wage rates to the absolute minimum, securing massive profits which are then mostly shipped offshore (after tax or after minimized tax is paid?).

              All I’m saying is, there’s a set of scales here and they may end up not looking all that favourable for NZ. It leads me to ask, “Are we sure it’s worth it”? I guess maybe I should just trust politicians, right?

              Provided they are ….. nah, I won’t go there ….

          • Partisan Z, your continual use of quotations from the well known US academic tends to show that you are adopting an extreme “anarcho-syndicalism and libertarian socialism” political position as proselytised by Noam Chomsky.
            “The basic principles of anarcho-syndicalism are solidarity, direct action (action undertaken without the intervention of third parties such as politicians, bureaucrats and arbitrators) and direct democracy, or workers’ self-management. The end goal of anarcho-syndicalism is to abolish the wage system, regarding it as wage slavery. Anarcho-syndicalist theory therefore generally focuses on the labour movement.”
            “Libertarian socialism (sometimes called social anarchism, left-libertarianism] and socialist libertarianism is a group of anti-authoritarian political philosophies inside the socialist movement that rejects socialism as centralized state ownership and control of the economy, as well as the state itself.”
            Do you really identify with Noam’s ideologies? If not, why do you quote such an extremist wh was placed on Reagan’s enemy list (probably a plus to most!)?

            Reply
            • @ Beejay – Forgive me, I am going to find it difficult to take this reply very seriously. No offence meant. Just commentary-lite.

              1) Any enemy of Ronald Reagan’s is a friend of mine. Did you see KG’s graph about the plunge in male employment in the U.S. since 1980? It began its decline in the Reaganomics years.

              I believe that based on measurements like that and several others like income differentials and inequality, Reaganomics and Rogernomics are ethically indefensible.

              2) I only used Chomsky to qualify what I think-feel about TPP. I don’t really know his ideologies very well at all. The brief descriptions you provide are fascinating though. Amazing. I’ll have to study them some more to see if they fit with where I’m at, modify or change it.

              3) If I became the ruler of the world (I can hear the “God forbids!” from here), I would do it without a firmly fixed political ideology. I believe in growth, evolution and change. The moment I wrap an ideology around it and tie it up with absolutisms my mind becomes a dead thing I reckon.

              If the thing is categorised we can discuss the category, not the thing …

              I know my political philosophy is based on Warner’s ‘Natural Ethics’ and begins “The maximum of freedom for each combined with the maximum regard for the life and freedom of every other”. Lately I’m thinking along the lines of a two-tier system of UBI and Free Enterprise with, of course, social responsibility.

              “We might conceive of a new kind of money, allotted equally to all, but only current for a certain time … There will be other ways of giving to each a share of the goods of life which, though in keeping with his needs and personal wishes, remains at bottom equal for all. Work will be a service to humanity … (in addition to individual enterprise) … and the necessities of life for all will be provided by the work of all the capable” … (with the luxuries provided by individual enterprise, which is very often a group activity anyhow, existing in the realm ‘society’) … – Warner (Me)

              I see a place for democratic government and “the state” – although the method of forming and organising it might be altered – without much centralised state ownership and control, although there is a very cogent argument for “natural monopolies” like electricity generation and distribution to be state owned, and I think I go along with that.

              Your reply pleasantly reminds me of the Monty Python sketch –
              Knight – “Take me to your leader”
              Peasant – “Leader? Leader!? We don’t have a leader! We’re an anarcho-syndicalist commune …”

              Cheers

      • Goldie

         /  10th January 2016

        Blazer – in a previous post, you stated this, and I referred you to the actual text on the MFAT website.
        Yet you keep repeating this lie.
        You are obviously just trolling. Please go away.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  10th January 2016

          I remember Blazer once made a sensible comment so he is only about 99% trolling. Perhaps that 99% could go away?

          Reply
        • Blazer

           /  11th January 2016

          I saw the reference,and it confirms 80% of the TTPA is NOT about trade.

          Reply
  8. David

     /  10th January 2016

    “It also has implications for Little’s credibility as a potential Prime Minister, both on a national scale and particularly internationally.”

    He’s never going to be Prime Minster, so I don’t see how his credibility is relevant. His comments are strictly to get the cultists charged up and stop anyone looking at his poll numbers.

    Reply

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