James Shaw on the TPPA

Green co-leader James Shaw has sent out an email on the TPPA.

I don’t know about you but I’m seeing more and more people ask “so what’s wrong with the TPP anyway, what does it all mean?”

We thought it might be useful to put together some information to share.

What is this TPPA thing? It’s an agreement between 12 countries around the Pacific to make some trade rules. This one goes way further than other trade agreements though. It rewrites the rules to give big multinational corporations power over people and their democratically elected governments.

That’s a very slanted view for a supposedly serious politician to make.

How will it actually affect us as New Zealanders? Most of us won’t see any benefits from the TPPA. Any small benefits that the deal might create will go to private companies, while the costs will be borne by ordinary people.

I’m quite shocked that Shaw would say anything so trite and biased as that, even for a Green.

Medicines: The TPPA will mean we have to change our rules so that big pharmaceutical companies can have a crack at Pharmac’s decisions about which medicines to buy for New Zealanders. This is going to cost Pharmac millions of dollars. Money which would otherwise be spent on medicines that sick New Zealanders need.

And that’s a poor representation of the Pharmac effects of the TPPA. He must have read quite different stuff to me.

Knowledge: The TPPA would make us change our copyright laws. It would extend default copyright by an extra 20 years. This will cost libraries and universities $55 million every year. That doesn’t even include the costs of stifling creativity.

I don’t know if there’s anything to back his claims. I haven’t seen these claims anywhere else, is he right?

Democracy: The TPPA gives big overseas corporations too much power over New Zealand’s democratic law making. If we make laws to get rid of coal and grow clean, local energy, they could sue us (they did it in Germany). If we tried to end fracking, they could sue us (they did it in Canada). And if we know we might get sued for it, future governments might hold back from doing what they know is right.

This looks like more gross overstatement.

But what about our exporters, isn’t this all about helping them? Yes, the TPPA will reduce costs for our exporters to some markets. But very, very slowly. In the next five years, the National Government’s own analysis says the TPPA will give us 0.9 percent of GDP growth. Regular changes in the global dairy price are more significant than that.

I thought many tariffs came off fairly quickly – but of course nothing will hapen until the TPPA is ratified, and that could take two years. Major trade agreements usually take some time.

When Greens get into Government they may be able to change heaps of things with immediate effect. But the also may discover reality.

What should we be doing instead? The Green Party wants New Zealand to develop fair and transparent trade deals that are good for people, good for the planet, and good for our export businesses. The TPPA just doesn’t meet these tests. We should be protecting our future, not selling it to the highest bidder.

I wonder how many countries Greens would be able to negotiate trade deals with on their terms.

Shaw is reciting common complaints about the TPPA. I thought he was supposed to have some sort of business competence and be different. This is same old bland anti bull.

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34 Comments

  1. kiwi dave

     /  3rd March 2016

    Pete – I don’t know why your comments are so slanted and negative – Shaw has actually read the TPPA and appears to have understood more about it’s ramifications than you. His remarks are reasonable when you consider the huge amount of feedback on TPPA from a wide variety of commentators here and overseas (USA, Canada, Australia, Japan and others)

    Reply
    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  3rd March 2016

      “Shaw has actually read the TPPA”

      Can you point out for me where it says he read the entire text? By his comments and wrong conclusions it appears he hasn’t.

      Reply
      • kiwi dave

         /  3rd March 2016

        Shaw said it in Parliament

        Reply
        • Pantsdownbrown

           /  3rd March 2016

          Let me just point out one of his lies (with 100% proof)

          “The TPPA would make us change our copyright laws. It would extend default copyright by an extra 20 years. This will cost libraries and universities $55 million every year”

          The govt estimate he wrongly quotes is $55 millions spread over all NEW ZEALAND CONSUMERS, not libraries and universities having extra costs of $55 million. Of course $55 million is chicken feed in comparison to the gains from the TPPA and a small concession when weighed up with the gains elsewhere.

          Reply
          • Mefrostate

             /  3rd March 2016

            Can you chuck a source on that?

            Reply
          • Alan Wilkinson

             /  3rd March 2016

            It’s in the MFAT assessment documents. I’ve read it.

            Reply
            • Mefrostate

               /  3rd March 2016

              Thanks Alan, you’re right, the $55m is in the National Interest Analysis and is spread over all importers of copyright protected material, not just libraries and universities.

        • kittycatkin

           /  4th March 2016

          I bet that JS blahblahblahed through it 🙂

          Reply
          • kittycatkin

             /  4th March 2016

            I do believe that no sane government, here or anywhere else, would be stupid enough to sign something that would effectively give other countries control over their own country’s government. This would be the own goal not only of the century but of the millenium. It would be ‘Go directly to the Opposition benches, do not pass go, do not collect $200.’ Although, as in our case, the Opposition have said that they are in favour of it, they would be voted out as well. Only a fool would vote for any MP who’d signed away control of their on country, and only a fool would do it.

            Reply
  2. I have to say that after a lot of research about the TPPA from a NZer’s point of view, I have conclude that our accetance of the agreement will mean ” …”fair and transparent trade deals that are good for people, good for the planet, and good for our export businesses.” That is my studied opinion, based on the actual wording of the Agreement.

    Reply
    • Sorry “concluded” and “acceptance” !

      Reply
      • kittycatkin

         /  3rd March 2016

        I know that making editing possible would be expensive, though I don’t know why unless it’s a nice little earner for someone in cyberspace who knows that it can’t be done without their say-so, but it would be so nice if we could dite tyops rethar than correct meth.

        Reply
  3. kittycatkin

     /  3rd March 2016

    Shaw seems to have a poor opinion of the intelligence of the governments who have signed the TPPA; why would they bother to do something that will make their countries worse off ? This would be the political own goal of the century. Even Labour is guardedly in favour. How does he know so much that they all do not ? This is very strange indeed. I cannot believe that any government would sign something as bad as he makes this sound.

    Reply
    • Oliver

       /  3rd March 2016

      You obviously don’t know how politics works.

      Reply
      • kittycatkin

         /  4th March 2016

        I can assure you that I do, I’ve been involved with them at local and national level long enough. Nobody living in this house could not be aware of how politics work. We have hosted five Cabinet Ministers here and various MPs-don’t tell me that I don’t know how politics work, it’s nonsense.

        Reply
  4. I also got that email. The way it is laid out is abominable. The Greens Comms and Policy head is a guy named McCormack. He’s an acolyte of Hooton and has experience working for National. He’s the one presiding over the slump in Greens votes.

    Did you see the P.S.? Looks like the Greens are preparing pickets and protests for every destination on the TPPA roadshow.

    JK did a YouTube video about why the TPPA is good for NZ. Why don’t James Shaw and Metiria Turei do the same?

    The only party I’ve ever voted for, one time, was the Greens and Mojo Mathers. That’s solely because I was deeply moved that they brought in such a winner like Mojo. Mojo is profoundly deaf.

    I’ll never forget the Nats pushing for her to pay for her own interpreter. Nor forgive it.

    Hopefully the Opposition actually becomes a credible opponent to the Nats sometime this term. I attribute many civil rights losses directly to the Eunuchs that are the Labour Party and the Greens.

    Reply
    • I’ve voted for the Greens and for Metiria in the past.

      Yes, that email layout was awful. Horrible line spacing.

      I have registered to go to the TPPA roadshow in Dunedin. If that is disrupted by protesters I’ll be very annoyed. I’m going to try and learn something about it.

      Reply
      • Pantsdownbrown

         /  3rd March 2016

        Ben: “The only party I’ve ever voted for, one time, was the Greens and Mojo Mathers. That’s solely because I was deeply moved that they brought in such a winner like Mojo. Mojo is profoundly deaf’

        I look forward to you voting Green again purely on the basis of them having the country’s first hermaphrodite MP…….

        Reply
        • I’m not a hermaphrodite?

          I am deaf since birth though and fully used to other disabled people not being given the representation nor leadership they deserve…

          Which we have gotten, thankfully and democratically, from the Greens with Mojo Mathers.

          What was the point of your comment? That I, as a disabled person, shouldn’t support disabled people getting into Parliament? Love to hear your considered reply.

          Reply
          • Pantsdownbrown

             /  3rd March 2016

            I was making the point that it seemed superficial voting for a party purely on the basis they have a deaf MP and not on stuff like the economy, unemployment, health, poverty etc

            HOWEVER my apologies as you obvious had more personal reasons for voting Greens in your case.

            Reply
            • jamie

               /  4th March 2016

              Ben already explained why it’s relevant that she’s deaf: Representation.

              It seems churlish of you to dismiss that as “personal”, as if being represented is not a serious reason to vote.

            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  4th March 2016

              Same old argument – can’t a man stand up for women’s issues? Can’t a heterosexual stand up for gay issues? Can’t a non-deaf MP within parliament stand up for deaf issues?

              I’d like to think MP’s represent all people, especially electorate MP’s being a voice for ALL people within their electorate.

              Or do we have it your way and specifically have a blind MP, deaf MP, mute MP, MP with stomach cancer, MP who was an alcoholic etc etc so that everybody feels represented? Of course not.

              No doubt being deaf means a more personal understanding of what it’s like to be deaf but I don’t buy the argument that only deaf people can truly represent the needs of deaf people within our parliament. Hence I don’t believe in ‘artificially’ having the same number of woman MP’s as men MPs. I couldn’t care less if parliament has a majority of woman MP’s or not, and I also don’t believe a female MP can’t represent me appropriately because she is a woman and I am a man.

              Ban decided just having a deaf person in parliament was enough to get his vote – all power to him.

            • I follow your reasoning.

              Voting for a deaf person or a disabled person isn’t the same as voting for a brown person or a lesbian or a hermaphrodite. Before Mojo there hadn’t been a profoundly deaf representative in the history of New Zealand’s Parliament.

              We can definitely make the argument that many politicians appear to have tremendous hearing issues as it relates to their listening to constituents feedback BUT Mojo isn’t in that category.

              Having a disability isn’t like being the ‘wrong skin colour’ or being the wrong gender. A disability is a condition that demonstrably impacts on the persons AVAILABLE ability to perform as well as a non-disabled person. Perhaps science will find ways of effectively curing disabilities but we aren’t there yet. Sexism and racism are social issues that can and should be fixed. I wholeheartedly agree that quotas are not a solution to those social issues in of themselves. The solutions to those issues could be informed by access to knowledge inequity and unbridled capitalism.

              That discussion does not apply to wanting, when it’s available for the very FIRST time in the countries history, to have someone in Parliament that is CAPABLE of representing me. When I look to people I would be happy to represent me, I look to their life experience and ability to empathise with my experience and ability. Mojo is deaf. She knows what it is like to have taxation without representation. To live as a second-tier citizen solely based on a physical disability that somehow means that you do not get a voice, you do not collect $200 and Pass Go, you are just to shut the fuck up and go sit in the retards corner. Setting the precedent of having a deaf representative was a proud moment in Kiwis history. This showed how egalitarian Kiwis are. A triumph of the spirit.

              Mojo isn’t Jesus. But for a chance at having a voice in the highest institution in the land? For a chance to have someone fight for tools and technological improvements (Closed Captioning on Telly, etc etc) that can change the lives of many hundreds of thousands of Kiwis like myself? Someone that IS me to fight for me?

              I would do anything.

            • Pantsdownbrown

               /  4th March 2016

              Nice post Ben – I concede that it is far harder for a non-deaf person to understand what life is to be deaf and hence having a specific representative being deaf would be of more benefit than others representing minority interests.

      • Oliver

         /  3rd March 2016

        “I’m going to try and learn something about it.”
        At least you can admit that you no nothing about it.

        Reply
        • That’s not what I have admitted. I know quite a bit about it. I see this as a good way of finding out some more.

          Reply
          • Pantsdownbrown

             /  3rd March 2016

            Like Oliver I personally find that going on TPPA protests shouting slogans, smears and untruths without reading anything about the agreement far more informative………

            Reply
            • kittycatkin

               /  4th March 2016

              😀 😀 😀

              There’s no answer to that, Pants !

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  3rd March 2016

    Ok, that’s it. Shaw is officially an idiot. No need to bother with anything he says in future.

    Reply
    • Pantsdownbrown

       /  3rd March 2016

      I never bothered with anything he said in the past?

      Reply
      • kittycatkin

         /  4th March 2016

        Doesn’t he look like one of Benny Hill’s characters ?

        Reply
  6. So Mr Shaw should come out with his co-leader and commit the Greens to WITHDRAWING from the TPPA IF, and its a BIG BIG IF, the Greens are ever in Government either in sole power or as a coalition partner.

    Make it a bottom line for any confidence and supply agreement with Labour if, and again BIG IF, Labour can form a government in 2017.

    There will be no renegotiation unless the US withdraws, possible that may happen but not probable.

    But they won’t because is easier to sit on the sidelines and throw stones and huff about things than do something definitive.

    @PG – the Copyright extension is for real. US corporates who own lots of copyrighted material want that extension big time. Its one thing about TPPA I really dislike… its just a shameful money grab

    Reply
  7. Mefrostate

     /  3rd March 2016

    Voted Green last election, but by no means a dedicated supporter. Some comments.

    IntroIt rewrites the rules to give big multinational corporations power over people and their democratically elected governments.

    This statement appears to be referring to ISDS and is unnecessarily emotive, and not a fair representation of the facts. ISDS already exist in several of our trade deals.

    MedicinesThe TPPA will mean we have to change our rules so that big pharmaceutical companies can have a crack at Pharmac’s decisions about which medicines to buy for New Zealanders. This is going to cost Pharmac millions of dollars.

    This is actually accurate. Appendix 26-A Article 3(e) extends Pharmac’s accountability beyond NZers, to include pharmaceutical firms. The same appendix also allows for more marketing. On a benefit-cost calculation, these are costs.

    CopyrightThe TPPA would make us change our copyright laws. It would extend default copyright by an extra 20 years. This will cost libraries and universities $55 million every year. That doesn’t even include the costs of stifling creativity.

    Extra 20 years is true. Can’t comment on the $55m. “Stifling creativity” is, again, manipulative – the incentive effects of copyright are not that clear.

    ISDSThe TPPA gives big overseas corporations too much power over New Zealand’s democratic law making. If we make laws to get rid of coal and grow clean, local energy, they could sue us (they did it in Germany). If we tried to end fracking, they could sue us (they did it in Canada). And if we know we might get sued for it, future governments might hold back from doing what they know is right.

    ISDS are an important safeguard for securing (and encouraging) investment, however they remain concerning in my opinion, as the appropriate way to structure them has not yet been settled. For example, that fact that an exemption for cigarette companies was included in the TPP indicates that the system can be manipulated/abused. Additionally, it is accurate that future governments may be disincentivised from enacting ‘good’ policies because of the thread of frivolous ISDS.

    Regardless of this, it is totally dishonest for Shaw to represent them in the manner above. When you read into the specific disputes in Canada/Germany/Ecuador, the cases actually have merit (or when they don’t, they are thrown out). So it’s poor form to try to convince readers in this fashion.

    This kind of propaganda is by no means limited to the Green party – National certainly love their PR – but it infuriates me to see it done, and it certainly isn’t good for democracy. There are cases to be made against elements of the TPPA, and different value systems may lead people to oppose it, but the debate shouldn’t be won in this fashion. (It also shouldn’t be won by dismissing protests as a “rent-a-crowd” and “uninformed”).

    Reply
  8. kittycatkin

     /  4th March 2016

    The only protestors whom I heard on the news seemed to be uninformed and have little, if any, real idea of what it was about. They repeated slogans whose meanings they didn’t know when they were asked. In fact. they were very poor advocates for the cause. I’d say the same if those who were pro it had as little idea of what it was about and what they were supporting but just repeated that it would make us all rich and turn the world into a global village blah blah blah.

    Reply

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