TPPA petitions

There are two separate petitions trying to stop the New Zealand Government from signing the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, an online petition and a more traditional paper petition.

As reported yesterday by Radio NZ: TPPA petition gets thousands of signatures

A petition against New Zealand signing the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement has gathered over 11,000 signatures in just two days.

Barry Coates from the ‘It’s Our Future Coalition’ set up the petition and said he expected more people to sign it.

“If we continue at that rate we’ll be in the hundreds of thousands of signatures. This petition particularly says to the Government ‘don’t sign the TPPA’. It’s a crucial point when our government signs it and we don’t think that they have a mandate to sign the agreement and this petition gives people a chance to say no.”

Barry Coates said the deal was designed to serve the interests of large corporations rather than those of people or the planet.

The petition doesn’t actually say to the Government ‘don’t sign the TPPA’. It says:

We, the undersigned, do not consent to the Government of New Zealand signing the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

It currently has 15,000 ‘signatures’.  It will probably get a lot more signatures over the next week or two.

Online petitions have been used to campaign against a number of things but they have generally been ineffective.

It’s confusing who is behind the petition. Here Barry Coates is named as having set it up.

But on the It’s Our Future website (that Coates is involved with) it states:

Our friends at ActionStation are hosting a petition opposing the signing.

Perhaps that’s because Action Station has the facilities to run the petition – and collect email addresses.

TPPAPetition

Action Station have been active in a number of social media campaigns.

ActionStation is here to enable the large community of Kiwis with shared progressive values to take powerful, coordinated action on urgent issues we care about.

They claim to be independent:

Independent and member-led, we are affiliated with no political party, and answer only to our members.

But people involved in establishing Action Station were also involved with the Green Party.

And Coates is also closely associated with the Greens. He was placed at 17 on the Green list in 2014 which was a position thought to have had a good chance of making it into Parliament. Should another Green seat become vacant Coates is next in line to become an MP.

Coates was a candidate for the Mt Roskill electorate and is still listed as a Green candidate on their website.

The paper petition was launched last month:

TPPA Free and Action groups petition the Governor General – “Save our Democracy”

TPP Free Wellington today launched a petition calling the Governor General to Command the government to put the question of proceeding with the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) to a binding referendum.

This petition press release was posted on the It’s Our Future website. Signed paper petitions take a long time and a lot of effort, so it’s possible Coates and It’s Our Future and Action Station decided to try the much simpler and faster online approach.

The online source for this petition seems to be here:  No Mandate Do Not Sign TPPA – GG Petition

We’ve launched a petition calling the Governor General to Command the government to put the question of proceeding with the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) to a binding referendum.

We have produced a number of resources to support the No Mandate – Do Not Sign TPPA campaign. 

The petition available here:

https://www.facebook.com/download/1643735472546615/Petition%20of%20the%20People%20of%20Aotearoa%20-%20Copy.pdf

I think there’s no chance of this petition getting sufficient signatures before the signing which is in early February (possibly February 4).

Petitioning the Governor General is a novel approach but it would be a major change in how we do democracy if the Governor General became involved in Government processes due to a petition.

Here’s the explanation of why we take this approach.  

The Governor General is the appointed Guardian of our representative democracy.

The petition asserts that the Government has no democratic mandate for TPPA. The Government kept the text secret from voters at the last election.1 Without information, we have not mandated our elected representatives.2
Treaty negotiations Minister Tim Groser in July 2012 stated: “trade agreements involve concessions over the sovereign rights of countries”3
The enormous and unprecedented scale of TPPA requires a democratic mandate.4
Once in force, withdrawal might be impossible in practice, so the deal could not be undone.5
The petition states as follows:
We, the UNDERSIGNED citizens and residents of Aotearoa New Zealand, PETITION Your Excellency:
  1. to COMMAND the Government to put the question of proceeding with, or withdrawal from TPPA to a BINDING REFERENDUM; and
  2. to PROHIBIT the Government from signing any final agreement, or taking any binding treaty action UNLESS the People vote in favour; and
  3. to REFUSE Assent to any enabling legislation UNLESS the People vote in favour.

Our petition requires that the Governor General use his Reserve Powers6 to protect the democracy.

 That looks bizarre as far as democratic process goes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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34 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  15th January 2016

    Fatuous fools on a bandwagon of ignorance. As the article I linked to a few days ago pointed out, the internet is empowering stupid people – from ISIS to this nonsense.

    Reply
    • How do I know, I wonder, that someone on the internet – a stranger to me – clearly a highly opinionated person – who says “the internet is empowering stupid people” and writes-off the genuine concerns of his fellow citizens as “a bandwagon of ignorance”, and them as “fatuous fools”, isn’t himself a fool?

      His derisive quips sometimes – note “sometimes” – strike me as being a bit like people saying in 1981 that the anti-tour protest movement was against the “freedom” of the Rugby Union to play racially segregated sport with Aparthied South Africa. To which I reply, “So? What if it was?”

      Reply
      • Joe Bloggs

         /  15th January 2016

        You’re feeling your oats today, PartisanZ 🙂

        I felt much the same as you when I saw ‘his’ comments but forebore to say anything… sometimes arguing with highly opinionated people can be like playing chess with a pigeon…no matter how good you are, the bird is going to shit on the board and strut around like it won anyway

        Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  15th January 2016

        I’m always willing to debate the issues if you think I am wrong. Then you will discover your answer. Since you offer no counter I presume you don’t actually want to discover that.

        Reply
        • The issue being …? Anti-TPP is “a bandwagon of ignorance”? The petitioners are “fatuous fools”? Or is it “the internet is empowering stupid people”?

          This story runs: I’m so superior I can vaguely and derisively allude to “issues” – insulting all and sundry people along the way – but you must counter me to get “your answer” or presumably ‘the real story’? To have the great privilege of being enlightened by the supreme anarcho-capitalist intellect.

          Okay, I’ve changed my mind, this isn’t distainful or foolish, it’s just plain pathetic!

          “We want freedom. We want democracy. But not for everyone. We don’t want to hear from ordinary, less articulate or less ‘intelligent’ people because they’re stupid”.

          We want elitist democracy, the name for which is Oligarchy.

          There are enough concerns voiced by the U.S. administration alone in the summary bjmarsh1 posted on here – the strategic and trade ‘realignment’ stuff, possible job losses, SOEs etc – to make me feel wary. I happen to know I’m not stupid.

          I’m also not stupid enough to think there aren’t some benefits and I think it’s too late regardless. It will be signed and ratified. In 15 years time if we’re much better off TPP will take the credit. If we’re not I doubt it will take the blame.

          Meantime, I have all sorts of questions and hopes. I hope it doesn’t affect trade with China and other BRICS nations. I hope our Pacific Island neighbours and cousins can and will come on board. (Where are they in TPP?) Are they being excluded? I hope South Korea, Indonesia, Taiwan, the Phillipines etc can all join? Could any of these be being excluded to maintain their cheap labour pools? Russia, which has a Pacific border? And so on …

          Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  15th January 2016

            Ah, the splatter defence. Tilt at every windmill on the landscape and hope sheer boredom will carry the day.

            Nope, that sort of idiocy is exactly what I am deploring. People with no idea of why they are protesting leaping up and down like headless chooks. There isn’t a single point you raised that could or will be a significant show-stopper when debated in Parliament.

            Elitist? Yes, if that requires intelligent debate and input we need to be elitist. I don’t want ignorant idiots designing my house, my car or my country’s laws and treaties.

            Reply
            • They’re your windmills Alan! You erected them, remember?

              “Fatuous fools on a bandwagon of ignorance. As the article I linked to a few days ago pointed out, the internet is empowering stupid people – from ISIS to this nonsense”.

              Of course I’m not saying my points will be debated in Parliament.
              I said, “TPP will be signed and ratified”

              Those are my concerns Alan. My concerns. Like the concerns of your fellow citizens you dismiss in such derisive terms above.

              And are you happy with the quality of the elitists we’ve got now?

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  15th January 2016

              Boredom IS getting the better of me. The Government should not sign the TPPA because lots of people have lots of vague and irrelevant concerns including my being rude about them. God, spare me from morons.

            • Honestly Alan, your losing it mate. Did I say “Government should not sign the TPPA because lots of people have lots of vague and irrelevant concerns”?

              No! In fact I said, in the very post you just replied to, I said “TPP will be signed and ratified”. I accept this.

              AND … I have concerns. I harbour concerns about it. I DO NOT under any circumstances expect my concerns to result in govt NOT SIGNING TPP. I won’t be going to Auckland to protest … But golly gosh Alan, I still have concerns …

              You being rude might conveniently seem like a side issue to you now, but your first posting was pretty much entirely made up of you being rude about them. FACT.

              Spare me mate. Spare me this avoidance behaviour.

            • My comment was directed at the protests against the TPPA. You chose to attack it and now wail that you don’t oppose the TPPA. Well, get out of the fight then because your opinions are irrelevant to it.

    • Kevin

       /  15th January 2016

      Those who are against the TPPA should volunteer to *pay* the government not to sign it by donating a portion of their yearly income – the amount being what they would be expected to earn in extra income as result of the government signing the TPPA.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  15th January 2016

        you are really on form this morning…about 3rd form level.

        Reply
        • Kevin

           /  15th January 2016

          That’s good. It means you can understand what I’m saying. I wouldn’t want to bring it up to fourth form level and leave you out.

          Reply
  2. Blazer

     /  15th January 2016

    ‘That looks bizarre as far as democratic process goes.’…so wheres the democratic process in favour of the TPPA?Usual response I bet,elected govt mandate,even though the majority of people did not vote for the Natz.

    Reply
    • Kevin

       /  15th January 2016

      “even though the majority of people did not vote for the Natz.”

      Well then all those parties that the majority did vote for should have joined up and formed a government …

      Reply
    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  15th January 2016

      That chip on both shoulders is growing Blazer…….a majority of voters DID vote for the National party and it’s allies (if you include a majority of Conservative supporters who were right leaning) hence why they are the govt. That’s not even including those people who voted NZL 1st who also would have voted for National if Winston’s party hadn’t been around. The alternative was a Labour led govt where only 25% of NZders would have voted Labour. Maybe you are still dreaming of the ‘missing million’ who don’t care enough to vote but are automatically assumed to be Green, Mana or Labour voters if they did?

      I have no doubt that if it went to a full vote in parliament it would have the numbers to pass anyhow (Andrew Little said as much), with some Labour party MPs like Goff crossing the floor to support it.

      TPPA bashers are primarily against the TPPA for no other reason than because the USA is party to it.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  15th January 2016

        ‘I have no doubt that if it went to a full vote in parliament it would have the numbers to pass anyhow’…you may have no doubt,but yanKey doodle and co wont risk it.

        Reply
        • Pantsdownbrown

           /  15th January 2016

          Only because you can’t trust Labour and it’s partners to support the TPPA based on the facts of the matter rather than oppose it for the sake of an anti-Key vote. Especially as in the past the 2 major parties have always voted in unison in passing major trading deals.

          Not so long ago Labour and the Greens came out with the ‘NZ Power’ proposal for the sole purpose of sabotaging what our govt (therefore the taxpayer) would get in $ on the partial sale of the power stations. It was never fully fleshed out in how it would work (due to the fact it wouldn’t work) and was then quickly dumped as policy. If the opposition is willing to cost the taxpayer millions $ to make a point on partial asset sales then they can’t be trusted to vote in our best interests either as far as the TPPA is concerned.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  15th January 2016

            when will someone demonstrate these ‘best interest’ for NZ.?

            Reply
            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  15th January 2016

              This could go around in circles (and the benefits have been posted on this site in the past) but tariff removals for instance are all hugely beneficial to our current/ future exporters – wheres all the ‘bad’ stuff? You know, really bad stuff, beyond the ‘anti-anything that involves the USA’ slogan-ism?

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  15th January 2016

      As detailed here recently it will go to a select committee and if Parliament doesn’t like what the Executive does they can always pass a vote of no confidence and change the Government. So the protesters don’t want democracy, they want minority rule by themselves.

      Reply
      • Blazer

         /  15th January 2016

        who are you kidding…Cabinet will have the final say…period.These are the days of the national art of dirty politics.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  15th January 2016

          Suggest you actually answer my case. Cabinet can only have the final say if Parliament approves.

          Rant on if you must but don’t expect any respect for your nonsense.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  15th January 2016

            so how sure are you with your ‘fact’ that its reliant on Parliament approval….that is not how I understand it and not a risk this administration would take.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  15th January 2016

              Parliament can move a vote of no confidence at any time. Sigh.

            • Blazer

               /  15th January 2016

              ‘‘Parliament’s role in treaty making is largely symbolic. It has no power to decide whether or not the TPPA should be signed or ratified and no ability to change its terms TPPA or require it to be renegotiated.’

              ‘The select committee process is a farcical exercise because its members know they cannot change the treaty.’..Prof Kelsey.

              *sigh*

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  15th January 2016

              Of course one signatory to a treaty can’t unilaterally change it. Sigh. It can only decline to ratify it. Why do I feel I am talking to a five-year-old?

            • kittycatkin

               /  15th January 2016

              I won’t be nasty and answer that, Alan.

              Do you know of a book that explains simply how Parliament and the Government work ? Some people seem not to know this.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  15th January 2016

              @kc, the problem ain’t what they don’t know, it’s what they know that ain’t so. To maintain this level of ignorance takes a determination and dedication no mere book will shift. Like ISIS as Alan Duff pointed out the other day they think they know everything necessary to be right and have no interest in inquiry or learning anything that might challenge that.

            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  15th January 2016

              As far as I have read it doesn’t need to go to a full parliamentary vote to be passed……in the past they have put it to a vote as (for example) Labour could rely on National voting on the Chinese-trade deal without fear of sabotage.

            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  15th January 2016

              “Parliament’s role in treaty making is largely symbolic. It has no power to decide whether or not the TPPA should be signed or ratified and no ability to change its terms TPPA or require it to be renegotiated”

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  15th January 2016

              That’s rubbish of course. Parliament can vote in a new Executive at any time and scrap any treaty and/or legislation needed to implement it.

  3. Blazer

     /  15th January 2016

    AW trying to be cute.Why would the Nats risk a vote in Parliament on the TPPA even though theoretically they have a majority…when they can go through the select committee process and give the appearance of consultation and then get cabinet to ratify it regardless of any opposition.

    Reply
    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  15th January 2016

      I believe the Nats won’t go through a parliamentary vote purely so that the opposition are not given the platform to grandstand and fear-monger.

      Again, if the Greens for instance are so opposed to the TPPA, and if the TPPA is so bad for NZL why don’t they make it a bottom-line that in any future govt they support/are part of NZL must walk away from the agreement? Will they do that? Of course not……..which makes their opposition to the TPPA signing more about grandstanding then anything else.

      Reply

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