Kelsey wants a no trade ‘progressive’ future

It’s well known that Jane Kelsey has long been anti-trade agreements. Leading the campaign opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement in New Zealand is just business as usual for Kelsey.

Or perhaps that should be anti-business as usual.

She has a post at The Daily Blog that targets Labour in an attempt to stoke up the  anti-neoliberalism revolution and trying to replace it with “a new, progressive future for the nation”.

The NZ Labour Party can no longer avoid the elephant in the room

It was headlined as EXCLUSIVE but, ah, a lot of blog posts are exclusive.

Do you hear the people sing. Singing the songs of angry (wo)men. It is the music of a people who will not be slaves again. When the beating of your heart echoes the beating of the drums, there is a life about to start when tomorrow comes. (Les Miserables)

But are they listening?

A cataclysmic event like the Brexit vote focuses the mind on the future and leaves political parties who are supposed to represent the people with nowhere to hide.  

The era of neoliberal globalisation is ending. People – who are also voters – have had enough of governments that work for the rich. Precarious jobs, stagnant incomes, unaffordable housing, massive household debt, stripped out safety nets, elected governments that are arrogant and unaccountable, opposition parties who are captives of their past or too cowed by fears of a collapse in business confidence to embrace demands for real change.

The drumbeat is getting louder. Policy choices that once seemed impossible and unthinkable have become very real. Political parties that claim to be progressive need to respond. Not just overseas. In Aotearoa too. And not after we ‘wait and see’. They need to take a position now.

No surprise that she wants Labour to take an anti-trade agreement position.

The New Zealand Labour Party can no longer avoid the elephant in the room: if elected, what is Labour going to do about the toxic mega-deals that have become a political liability in other democracies and are so deeply unpopular here?

They are deeply unpopular with a radical few like Kelsey. A Colmar Brunton poll on the TPPA in February:

Which of these best describe your view on the TPPA?

  • It may impact our sovereignty and I’m concerned about it 42%
  • It may impact our sovereignty but it’s not a big concern 22%
  • It won’t have much impact on our sovereignty 24%
  • Don’t know 12%

Even those who recorded “I’m concerned about it” will have ranged from being a bit concerned (at the height of TPPA protest) to those on the fringe who see it as “deeply unpopular”.

By the time of next year’s election neither the TPPA, TiSA and RCEP nor any EU FTA negotiations will be a done deal. Assuming Labour forms the next government, it will have the power and responsibility to decide whether to remain in them or take us out. So will the Greens and NZ First (especially tricky if the rumour that pro-TPPA Shane Jones may join their ranks is true).

By the time of next year’s election who knows what Labour’s vague position on the TPPA will be. It’s possible the TPPA will already have been ratified, there’s been claims that the USA may ratify after their election in November and before the new president takes over early next year.

Even without Phil Goff, Labour will doubtless hesitate to abandon the upgrade of the China FTA, which they consider an unmitigated success, or the China-led RCEP as the back door to the same. While digging us more deeply into the milk powder economy, the Chinese will be demanding more investment and procurement opportunities and protections, backed by investor-state dispute mechanisms.

It’s not just the TPPA (which includes two of the world’s biggest trading nations) Kelsey opposes, she also wants to scrap our trade agreement with China. That would have a major impact on availability and prices of goods and would jeopardise one of our biggest export markets.

By far the better option is still is not to negotiate these agreements, where they have been negotiated not to make them binding, and to begin rethinking how we engage differently at an international level.

Kelsey concludes:

New Zealand’s three main ‘opposition parties’ owe it to the majority of Kiwis who oppose the TPPA to have the political guts to state unequivocally that they intend to withdraw New Zealand from the agreement, and others of similar ilk, so that voters can align their preferences to the parties with the vision to create a new, progressive future for the nation.

There is no recent polling on who supports or opposes the TPPA so “the majority of Kiwis who oppose the TPPA” cannot be substantiated.

Although she dreams of “parties with the vision to create a new, progressive future for the nation” Kelsey makes no attempt to explain how progressive a non-trading nation would be.

Perhaps she envisages progressiveness as severely limited exports and more expensive imports.

Does anyone know if Kelsey has any vision of what a “new, progressive future for the nation” would look like?

Or does she just think that scrapping all our trade agreements will magically create utopia?

Seriously, does she have any plan apart from opposing trade?

45 Comments

  1. Iceberg

     /  July 8, 2016

    She’s on to something here. It’s definitely a prescription Labour should follow.

    • Gezza

       /  July 8, 2016

      If he were elected Prez, can Trump take the USA out of the TPP? He’s said he might.
      http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/03/14/donald-trump-tpp-trade-american-manufacturing-jobs-workers-column/81728584/

      Would it survive an American withdrawal and still be worth staying with, if we do sign up?

      • Iceberg

         /  July 8, 2016

        As far as Kelsey is concerned it doesn’t really matter, there will be another capitalist neoliberal outrage for her to hate on just around the corner.

        About 20 years ago I read her book, The New Zealand Experiment, in which she rails against those who convinced the population of the need for drastic economic reform. She’s correct in that the technocrats did do a pretty good job of brainwashing the rest of us into conforming to the plan. But her only alternative was to pine for the old “egalitarian” days when it took 8 weeks to get a phone line connected and there were twice the number of state employees as there were jobs for them. We can all see glimpses of her economic (centralised) model in action around the world, and mostly it sucks. That’s why she will never get any traction, her version of the perfect world means less freedom.

        • Blazer

           /  July 8, 2016

          I doubt you understand what ‘egalitarianism’…actually is.Explain the correlation to taking 8 weeks to get a phone line connected….if you can!

          • Iceberg

             /  July 8, 2016

            Give yourself a thumbs up for that piece of brilliance Blazbury.

            • Blazer

               /  July 8, 2016

              stumped…again eh!

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  July 8, 2016

              When WAS this supposed 8 weeks wait for a phone ? I never remember being phoneless, and I think that I’d remember that ! I do remember when extensions were charged for as if they were a different phone line so that one had to pay two bills-but I can’t remember if it was two whole bills, if you see what I mean.

            • Corky

               /  July 9, 2016

              Please allow for your fading memory, Kitty. It took my grandparents three months to get a lousy party line. The car dealership told you what car you could buy and stringy roast on a Sunday ruled. As far as I’m concerned Kelsey should be deported to North Korea to see the fruits of her philosophy.

            • Gezza

               /  July 9, 2016

              Lol. Aw…come on. NK is a helluva stretch, surely? Being honest?

            • Corky

               /  July 9, 2016

              Well,ok ..I’m open to alternatives.

  2. Blazer

     /  July 8, 2016

    for the umpteenth time the TPPA is NOT a free tade agreement.It is an investors construct ,written by corporations for the benefit of corporations.There is nothing compelling in it for NZ ,dead rats and all.Hopefully it is dead in the water along with the TTIP in Europe.Opposition is growing against self serving corporate machinations all around the world.Btw…’Does anyone know if Key has any vision of what a “brighter future for the nation” would look like?

    • “Free trade” is not mentioned in that.

      You’re right that there is no “free trade” but that’s playing with semantics.

      • Blazer

         /  July 8, 2016

        Free trade is not mentioned on purpose.Those who write these documents are very,very clever.They leave the compliant politicians to sell this nonsense to gullible NZ’ers and free trade’ has such positive connotations.

        • PDB

           /  July 8, 2016

          Blazer: “Free trade is not mentioned on purpose.Those who write these documents are very,very clever”.

          Obviously you don’t write trade agreements for a living then?

          • Blazer

             /  July 8, 2016

            no I can confirm that I do not write trade agreements for a living.

          • Corky

             /  July 9, 2016

            Lol…Blazer once tried to write a tenancy agreement.

    • David

       /  July 8, 2016

      “for the umpteenth time the TPPA is NOT a free tade agreement”

      Correct. Free trade does not require an agreement, you simply trade.

      The agreement is only required because it expressly not free trade.

      • Blazer

         /  July 8, 2016

        does the same apply to…free speech?

    • John Schmidt

       /  July 8, 2016

      Are you talking about the corporations who brought to you your car, your smart phone, your pen, your shoes, much of what you wear, your tooth brush, your shampoo, your toilet paper, your shaver, your computer, your laptop, your TV, your washing machine, your stove, your microwave, the Internet, hosting this forum, everything you can buy at Mitre 10, much of the food in the supermarket, the supermarket the ………

      • Blazer

         /  July 8, 2016

        what is your point?Corporations offer us goods to buy,that does not mean we owe them anything,its the other way round.People decide to boycott MacDonalds,its all over.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  July 8, 2016

          Why would they bother ? I never go there, but that’s hardly going to bankrupt them.

          My computer came from abroad, as did everything I’m wearing. My meal was cooked in an imported microwave and eaten from an imported micro bowl. The dog’s dinner was eaten from an imported bowl, too. The sittingroom furniture was NZ made-a 70s retro (2nd hand) suite. I think that we do owe the makers of these cheap computers and so on something-our first one was $999, when The Warehouse brought in computers for less than $1000. This one does everything that a $6000 one did in the 90s and quite a lot more & cost less than 10% of that one. Free trade rocks !

          • Both ways around, Miss Kitty, you are talking about consumer power. Blazer fairly obviously meant ‘mass consumer action’. If enough people boycott MacDonalds, they go broke. Simple math really, but very hard to achieve when fast food has become a societal addiction …

            Your individual personal experience is meaningless in the big picture, especially if it’s only selfish and/or lacking broader awareness, just as individual human life has become more-or-less meaningless in the political-economic corporatocracy. We are a mass … units of production and consumption …

            Conversely, if enough people buy cheap computers and other imported goods from the Big Red Shed they commit poor workers in Third World or ’emerging’ countries (economies) to atrocious pay and working conditions, along with breaking the back of manufacturing and assembly industries here at home, impoverishing and depopulating local provincial economies; making one man obscenely rich while most of his workers get the absolute minimum … All admirable, lofty and exhalted neoliberal ideals and outcomes!

            No shortage of evidence – https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=Computer+industry+scandal+working+conditions&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b&gfe_rd=cr&ei=NJWAV4atMqXM8geIt4GQDA

  3. David

     /  July 8, 2016

    There is already a model of the economy that Jane is fond of, Venezuela

    • Blazer

       /  July 8, 2016

      and of course Stephen Joyce admires the economy of Nth Korea.

  4. Dougal

     /  July 8, 2016

    Kelsey is nothing but a state funded, marxist, wind bag. Helen Clarke would have categorised her as one of the wreckers and haters in her day. Kelsey would do anything to have us all living like North Koreans, eating grass and turning the internet off.

    • Trevor Sennitt

       /  July 8, 2016

      Very true . It is a pity so many Maori were taken in by her rants about how they would lose their rights

      • Dougal

         /  July 8, 2016

        Her rants pay lip service to their causes and she knows this in fact she relies on it for support. If Kelsey was truly concerned about free trade and sovereignty she should look closer to home. Auckland university is heavily populated by wealthy foreign students. If not for them likely she would be teaching 5 year olds in Ekatahuna.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  July 8, 2016

          What a terrible thing to say-why would you wish that awful fate upon the innocent children of Eketahuna ?

    • Blazer

       /  July 8, 2016

      Mere opinion and assumption without any basis.

      • PDB

         /  July 8, 2016

        The evidence is in everything she does and says…….

  5. Alan Wilkinson

     /  July 8, 2016

    I don’t mind incompetence so much but I really dislike dishonesty with it. Kelsey has it in spades.

    • Blazer

       /  July 8, 2016

      bit like the ‘Duke’….don’t mind a thief,but can’t stand…a liar’!

  6. “opposing the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement” or even scrapping it DOES NOT EQUAL promoting or creating “a non-trading nation”. It simply does not. Trade will continue after these agreements have been bettered and are no longer a neoliberal elite’s “investors construct”, just as it did before.

    • Gezza

       /  July 8, 2016

      Does that mean we have to negotiate and conclude Trade Agreements with every country we don’t already have one with?

      • I don’t know Gezza. Do you know how international trade worked before we had these FTAs? There certainly was international trade …

        • Gezza

           /  July 9, 2016

          No, actually, I don’t PZ. Never paid it any attention. Too busy working & developing the property around our first house every spare hour I had back then I think. Then jamming with friends who lived 20km away. I worked for the government. Hard. They had money & they gave me some on a fortnightly basis in return for my efforts on behalf of what I understood was the Minister and the public at the time.

          Trade was obviously happening, but I didn’t know anything about it. I knew I’d be voting Labour, but, looking back, not really why. Back then employers was the bosses. Workers needed to make sure that the bosses didn’t screw them over because that’s what bosses did.

          Now I realise that they were the ones who often took the risks and started a business, that employed people, and that many actually paid them quite well, when things were good.

          I had to give 33% of the money the government gave me back to them, but they did stuff with it that seemed worthwhile so I didn’t really mind.

          • What’s changed Gezza? 1. Who the bosses are? 2. What the bosses do? The FIIRE economy? [What was the second ‘I’ for again Blazer?] 3. How much the bosses and management get paid by comparison to the workers (if any)? Equity? 4. The reduced power of workers to prevent themselves being screwed over? 5. The percentage of tax you pay? 6. What the government & bureaucracy does with your tax? Worthwhile spending?

            When I say “bosses” I mean the reduced percentage of the population acquiring ‘big wealth’.

            Maybe people vote National today in much the same way as you and me voted Labour back then?

            By taking employment an employee assists the employer to realize their business plans and achieve growth … and take the risk those plans and growth won’t fail …

  7. Keslsey was described by Helen Clark as a “wrecker” She received her post-graduate education at Cambridge where she became a worshipper at the feet of the Left-wing Marxists tutors and was inculcated with the mores of socialism of the worst-type. She is a control freak who lashes out at any attempt to call her to account for her negativism towards the pursuit by New Zealand Governments towards increased wealth for its citizens via trade. She is on record as saying she values the opportunities she gets to lecture first year law students so that she can preach the doctrine of questioning all of the fundamental tenets that made New Zealand what it is today. Try and find out more about her as a person, date of birth, Parents names, where born, presence of and names of siblings if any. Other than being born in 1959 and her father who was from the Hokianga, worked in Tourist Department and rose to senior ranks as a Public Servant with Tourism, and that the family spent some time on postings to Australia, I have been unable to find out anything about her early days as a kiwi kid. She is part of a tight group of “academics” operating on a global scale with a so far yet to be described social agenda. She has joined may protest movements and was closely associated with radical elements supporting Te Teriti. She has a bigger agenda it appears from comments I have read, but exactly what it is and what she actually stands for can only be summarised as obscure, socialist-marxist and anti-establishment. A person who needs to be observed closely from a distance in my view,

    • Sorry, I should also add that in my experience it is unusual for a Professor to communicates as frequently as she doe via Press Releases while still in the Chair. The taxpayer has made a significant contribution to her income through various funding grants -mm so she does not appear to have an-overdeveloped social conscience. How may social houses could have been built on that money, eh?

      • Blazer

         /  July 9, 2016

        nowhere near as many as if the money McCully gave to an Arab businessman was put to that purpose.And the money spent on a stupid flag referendum…and…well I’m sure you ‘get’ it…Col.

    • Blazer

       /  July 9, 2016

      could be a job for the GCSB Colonel.Every academic is not a cookie cutter clone from Harvard Business school.We believe in freedom of speech ,don’t we?As usual .don’t worry about trying to smear,or defame the messenger,critique her message in a measured ,reasonable way and expose its weakness, if there is real evidence, not emotion to support your conclusions.

      • Blazer, all of the comments contained in my summary, summarise the various points made by a range of already published correspondence as quoted by Googling the Professor’s name. Be my guest, the emotion is that used by others, I was particularly impressed by the summary of the evidence she gave to an investigation into the TPPA, and the Crown Lawyer’s questions to her which remain unanswered. The exercise of any Freedom carries with it certain obligations by definition, and that is a two-sided coin, as no doubt you appreciate,