Labour split on TPPA

It’s not surprising to see a split in Labour ranks over the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Phil Goff under Helen Clark’s government had quite a bit to do with initiating the TPPA.

Helen Clark recently said:

“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.”

Labour leader Andrew Little has been sort of saying he opposes the TPPA, or at least parts of it, and that he would breach the agreement if it comes into force and he is Prime Minister.

One News last night (partial transcript from video, source Anthony Robins):

Labour finally confirms it’s opposed to controversial TPPA

[Little] “I don’t support it, we don’t support it”

[Little] “Very difficult as it is for us as a party that for 80 years has supported for, championed and advanced the cause of free trade, we see an agreement that cuts right across the rights of New Zealand citizens…”

[Vance] “Plus Andrew Little points to US university analysis which predicts the deal will lead to between 5,000 and 6,000 jobs lost in New Zealand by 2025. The report also estimates GDP growth of less than 0.8% again by 2025.

Grant Robertson has been sort of saying he opposes the TPPA at meetings this week that strongly oppose the TPPA signing, at least giving the impression Labour opposes the signing.

Today the Herald reports MPs break ranks on TPP.

Two senior Labour MPs have broken ranks with the party line and declared their support for the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), amid rumours that at least one, Phil Goff, could cross the floor of Parliament to vote with National if Labour opposes enabling legislation.

The issue was hotly debated at the Labour caucus retreat in Wairarapa this week.

Mr Goff, a former leader and former Trade Minister and now an Auckland mayoral candidate, and David Shearer, also a former Labour leader, last night told theHerald they both still supported the TPP.

It is no surprise that Goff and Shearer support the TPPA. The only slight surprise is the timing of them coming out in support.

Mr Goff said the deal should be signed.

Mr Goff did not blatantly criticise Labour’s position. But he effectively dismissed that view and the suggestion that Labour would not be able to prevent foreign investors buying New Zealand residential property.

“Every time you sign any international agreement you give away a degree of your sovereignty.” He cited the China free trade deal negotiated when he was Trade Minister.

“We gave up the sovereign right to impose tariffs against China when we signed up to the China free trade agreement. But it came with quid pro quos. China gave up its right to impose huge tariffs on us.

“That’s what an international agreement is; it’s an agreement to follow a particular course of action and a limitation on your ability to take action against the other country.

“You have the ultimate right of sovereignty that you can back out of an agreement – with all the cost that that incurs.”

That’s the realities of international agreements, something that Little and Robertson seem oblivious too, unless they are playing the different sides of the debate.

Mr Shearer told the Herald that his position on the TPP was unchanged and “certainly after reading the NIA [national interest analysis]” that was to support the deal.

Mr Shearer would not comment on whether he would cross the floor.

Little has responded:

Labour leader Andrew Little told the Herald last night that Labour would support tariff-reducing legislation but would oppose any measures if they undermined sovereignty, expressly the issue of selling houses to foreigners, and anything that allowed foreigners to have a say on New Zealand laws.

“As a caucus we don’t support the TPPA in its current form.”

Mr Little said Mr Goff had made his view known to him and to the caucus and they understood his position because he was close to the TPP.

He said the issue of crossing the floor was a matter for future discussion.

Asked if there would be any consequences for Mr Goff and Mr Shearer for supporting the TPP, he said there was an understanding about Mr Goff.

I guess the ‘understanding’ is Goff hopes to win the mayoralty later this year so Little has little control over what he says.

Goff may like to leave Parliament with a legacy of playing a significant role in enabling the TPPA.

“Anybody else in caucus, that’ll be a matter for myself and/or caucus.”

There’s likely to be others in the Labour caucus who have at least some problems with Little’s and Robertson’s stances on the TPPA.

Little was praised last year for apparently mending a split caucus, or at least keeping any differences out of public sight.

It appears that Labour have joined others in trying to use the TPPA as a wedge between National and the opposition, and also a Maori wedge.

But the wedge may end up causing a self inflicted split amongst themselves. Little has created a very difficult situation for himself and for Labour. I presume he will have seen this coming. It was inevitable.

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28 Comments

  1. Timoti

     /  28th January 2016

    Ladies and gentlemen, in the red corner is Faction A. And the challenger, in the red corner is Faction B.
    Ladies and gentlemen, we seem to have an announcement issue, please bear with us.

    Yeah, ZEDD, bring on 2017.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  28th January 2016

      In one corner we have 2 failed Labour leaders,one with a definate agenda,the Mayoralty and the other just being resentful and obstructionist.

      Reply
  2. Pantsdownbrown

     /  28th January 2016

    As has been pointed out on here for ages – sign the agreement and if the opposition parties don’t like it then they should make it their no. 1 policy that they will withdraw from the TPPA if in govt & go into the next election on that basis. Problem solved…….

    All this continued bitching about what might or could happen under the TPPA could then all stop and we could all move onto far more pressing matters.

    The question remains why Labour don’t do that – it suggests their opposition to the TPPA is really paper thin.

    Reply
    • Exactly PDB… the “if we are government we will re-negotiate” line is pure BS. Little knows it makes him sound tough and in line with those who oppose the deal, but he also knows the other parties to the agreement can just smile and say no re-negotiation. Its an empty piece of rhetoric designed to appeal to the unthinking.

      Reply
  3. David

     /  28th January 2016

    I hate to say it but I agree with Helen Clark. I think Little has made a massive mistake here and is just continuing his screaming at everything Key does as somehow close to the end of the world, the man looks like a fool and is attracting less and less support.

    Reply
  4. Zedd

     /  28th January 2016

    @tim
    at least the Labour caucus are allowed to speak out against their Leader.. unlike the FASCIST Dictatorship called ‘Team KEY’ !! (“zeig hile”) :/ 🙂

    Reply
    • Timoti

       /  28th January 2016

      Bring on 2017, tough guy. Lets see which irrelevant faction of Labour turns up for the election.

      ” All together now Comrades…let our mighty collective move forward”

      Towards oblivion?

      Reply
      • Zedd

         /  28th January 2016

        you sound a bit worried !? 🙂

        Reply
        • Timoti

           /  28th January 2016

          That’s what my critics said prior to the last election. At least they came out after the result to receive a bollocking by me. What about you? You don’t strike me as the type?

          Reply
          • Zedd

             /  28th January 2016

            ..holy crap.. I’m quakin’ in my boots ! 🙂

            Reply
            • Timoti

               /  28th January 2016

              You will. But I don’t expect you to hang around after the election. You will be retired. Enjoy your moment in the sun.

            • Rob

               /  28th January 2016

              OOOOOOOOO!! Imagine getting a bollocking by Mr Potato (no e) Head Zedd. Whatever would you do!

              He may even ‘tap’ you if he can get his eyes on straight.

            • Timoti

               /  28th January 2016

              Mr Potato (no e) Head Zedd.
              I like it….does Mr Potato (no e) Head Zedd?
              LOL…snigger.

            • Rob

               /  28th January 2016

              Oh noes!!! Timoti got me on a typo!!! Bring me my fainting couch! Lulz.

            • Timoti

               /  28th January 2016

              LOL..slow down. Your desire to be nasty and a waste of space is effecting your skewered thought processes.
              S-L-O-W…..and the insults will flow.

            • Rob

               /  28th January 2016

              Your middle name is Slow. Am I doing it right master? And that wasn’t an insult Timoti, you got me fair and square on the typo. Happy? Lulz.
              I’m not a big fan of Labour. Little needs to pull his head in or he’ll be next down the road, but I’d love to see them get in just to watch your head explode. There would be potato (no e) everywhere.

            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  28th January 2016

              Andrew Little looks a bit like a potato head……

            • Rob

               /  28th January 2016

              Lol. Andrew (call me spud) Little.

            • Timoti

               /  28th January 2016

              I’d upvote you if I could.

    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  28th January 2016

      Labour speak out about their leader because they don’t respect him unlike Key with his National MPs…….

      Reply
  5. Oliver

     /  28th January 2016

    Helen Clark can hardly be called a leftie now that she sold her soul to the UN. Phil Goff is a failed leftie who is now running for Auckland Mayor, which means he will need corporate financial support. So it’s no wonder he is now cheering for the TPPA. Don’t take their TPPA stances at face value, they obviously have been bought. Greed and power have no boundaries.

    Reply
    • Timoti

       /  28th January 2016

      What proof have you of this conspiracy? What do you think the UN is? Its Socialism Central. Why do you think Clark is there? Phil Goff will need Corporate financial support? How come? For his campaign?

      Reply
      • Oliver

         /  28th January 2016

        Timoti you have lived a sheltered life. Being ignorant must be bliss. I could explain it to you but I don’t think you have the ability to comprehend how the world works. I bet you still think that our leaders a chosen democratically by ordinary folks, or that we live in a democracy. And that corruption is a myth. Or the UN is there to help people… Dude avoid corporate media(Herald, Stuff, TV3 TVNZ etc) and get your info from indy media. This will give you a more accurate picture of how the world works.

        Reply
      • Rob

         /  28th January 2016

        You’re the conspiracy theorist in here Timoti. I’m sure you could get your private detectives to find out for you. By the way, what ever happened to them after you told PG you were going to have them look into this site.
        ‘Socialism Central’. Lulz.

        Reply
    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  28th January 2016

      Could you spout any more nonsense Oliver?? It was Helen Clark, Phil Goff and Labour who kicked off the TPPA discussions when they were in government so they have hardly suddenly become ‘turncoats’ in continuing to support the agreement……….I suggest you take a good look in the mirror (however painful that may be) before saying someone else is ignorant.

      Reply

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