Opposition remains to TPP

While Jacinda Ardern is happy with progress made with the now renamed CPTPP trade agreement that continued to be negotiated parallel to the APEC, but opponents in New Zealand remain opponents. This is no surprise.

Vernon Small:  Jacinda Ardern passes Apec summit test

Now it is back on track – albeit now delayed until the next time leaders can gather – and Ardern has set New Zealand up to sign the agreement formally known as the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

It transmogrified into the TPP-11 when President Donald Trump pulled the United States out in favour of bilateral trade deals – where New Zealand is vanishing far down the queue.

Perhaps fearing a countdown – TPP-10, 9, 8 – and apparently at the request of Canada, it has emerged from the crystalised emphasising its comprehensiveness and progressiveness.

It might be near unpronounceable as the CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership), and loom on paper like an abbreviation of something from the former Soviet Union, but apparently the rebranding will help Trudeau sell it to his voters.

Signing the deal, but with some victories, would have been one of Ardern’s key aims. Not being blamed for its failure was probably another.

Critics in New Zealand were wishing for it to fail, but to no avail.

So it is no surprise her team have pushed hard to the media both messages; that any hold-ups are not of New Zealand’s making and that there have been significant wins on investor- state disputes settlement (ISDS) clauses. A “damned sight better” than it was, Ardern stressed as her crafted sound bite.

The TPP’s opponents at home have labelled it spin and are clearly disappointed Labour’s strong rhetoric did not see it reject the deal in its entirety.

Some aspects of the ISDS clauses have been narrowed and those “suspensions” have been put on ice, pending a possible US return.

In theory, New Zealand could veto them returning if the US insisted on the resurrection of the ISDS clauses and if our Government was prepared to stare down a post-Trump US and the other 10 CPTPP nations.

The incoming Government has managed to brush some fleas off the clauses, which Ardern called “a dog”, but she will be hoping the shift against them internationally will continue and that they will stay impounded when they are reviewed in three years time.

Ardern says it is now “a damn sight better than what we had when we started” and obviously wants it to happen. Not so the TPP opponents.

RNZ: TPP critics unmoved by new negotiation wins

The Council of Trade Unions (CTU) is still opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership, despite the government claiming significant wins at the talks at APEC.

CTU secretary Sam Huggard said the agreement was still not good enough on labour laws or transparency.

He said he was keen to talk to the government about negotiating different types of trade deals in the future.

“Certainly the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions has shown a strong interest in its opposition to the TPPA for some years now, and that will continue.

“I guess what we’d like to do though is be part of a conversation with government about what a better agenda for trade could look like for working people.”

He said the TPP was structurally biased towards the commercial sector and downplayed issues such as health, safety and human rights.

And Jane Kelsey is also unsurprisingly still opposed – there is less chance of her supporting the TPP than there is of John Key making a political comeback or Andrew Little taking back the Labour leadership from Ardern.

On Saturday when there appeared to be a hiccup in the TPP negotiations Kelsey tried to start a campaign to pressure Canadian PM Justin Trudeau to ditch the deal: Help kill TPPA today by tweeting PM Trudeau

It’s not over yet. I don’t want to jump the gun. There will be more attempts to pull it off today.

The Japanese PM Abe is now trying to pressure Canada to finalise the agreement whilst they are in Vietnam. Can you please help us in tweeting PM Trudeau, Canadian Trade Minister and the Canadian Foreign Minister.

Canada refused to sign on at the last minute due to concerns around labour rights, Indigenous rights, cultural issues and gender equality.

Asking them to maintain their position on the #TPP and put culture, indigenous rights, women’s rights, and labour rights ahead of corporate interests.

That failed. Kelsey also posted yesterday: Labour largely endorses National’s TPPA, but it’s not all over. What now?

The bad news is that the Labour government has endorsed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, with the suspension of a limited range of items, at the ministerial and leaders’ meetings in Da Nang, Viet Nam.

The ministerial statement released by the TPPA-11 has a catchy new branding for the deal: the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).  No easy slogans there! But isn’t it interesting how something so toxic can simply be relabelled ‘progressive’?

I suspect Kelsey would see any sort of trade deal as toxic.

So, what happens now? There is no timeline for the next meeting of the CPTPP parties. That means there is now time for the new government to conduct in-depth consultations over its proposal to adopt the deal. It also needs to commission the robust analysis that Labour called for in opposition, independent of MFAT and consultants like the NZIER who basically rubber stamped the previous shonky modelling.

They need to make sure it uses realistic models that also cover the broader economic implications, especially for jobs and income distribution. If the economics don’t stack up, as Labour said they didn’t with the original TPPA-12, then they have no basis for arguing that the CPTPP should proceed.

Their independent review also needs to include non-economic impacts on environment, health, human rights and the Treaty of Waitangi.

But before it does that work to advance a deal they previously refused to ratify, the new government needs to give priority to its proposed full and participatory review of trade policy. All existing and future negotiations must be frozen until that is done.

As far as Kelsey is concerned it needs to be her way or no way.

However both Labour and National support the CPTPP largely as it is – that’s 102 seats out of the 120 in Parliament.

Minister of Trade David Parker is speaking on RNZ now, dismissing Kelsey’s criticisms.

Concerns and opposition dominate at The Standard: The TPP11 negotiations: ISDS provisions are gone – almost

Leave a comment

49 Comments

  1. robertguyton

     /  November 13, 2017

    You rankle at Kelsey, why?

    Reply
    • It’s not rankling. Just pointing out Kelsey has a fairly extreme small minority view on the TPP and trade agreements in general.

      Reply
      • Her argument in its entirety seems to have been accepted by the Greens

        Reply
        • Probably a significant reason why most voters didn’t want Greens in government.

          And the Greens are 8/120 of Parliament.

          Reply
          • Blazer

             /  November 13, 2017

            probably not..most voters have no idea about TPP,those that do,think its just a free trade agreement.

            Reply
            • I think there are quite a few voters who know that basically Greens are anti-trade agreements and anti-business that doesn’t meet their idealism.

            • Blazer

               /  November 13, 2017

              the Greens have been painted..loony left,barking mad,sandal wearing tofu eaters,and so on since they became active…it shows the real fear of establishment parties intent on continuing environmental vandalism for..profit.

            • They have also been painted as being a good defender of the environment but too idealistic and impractical to be too involved in government decision making.

          • robertguyton

             /  November 13, 2017

            The Greens are Governing, National are mouldering in Opposition.
            Sweet!

            Reply
            • Trevors_elbow

               /  November 13, 2017

              And TPP is going to be oassed while the Greens govern… love it!!!! So the Greens carry the can as not stopping it while governing… oooooppps

        • robertguyton

           /  November 13, 2017

          I except it, certainly, but I’m not The Greens.

          Reply
  2. The facts here are that all three parties were opposed to TPP and they’ve simply capitulated with NO DISCERNIBLE concessions.

    If this is to be their MO, on top of lies re the Select Committe/Speaker vote, lies re the minimum wage increase under Labour, lies re the average PPL in the OECD we’re in for a disaster.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  November 13, 2017

      but,but traveller my indoctrinated petal…you and National wanted TPP…are you saying you’ve changed your…mind!

      Reply
      • Let’s keep the discussion on this Govt, this agreement. WLYW. Remember. I’ll be cataloguing every capitulation, every lie, every flip flop.

        Labour/Greens/Winston First need to adopt this as their coalition logo, as it’s looking more and more as if this is what they are:

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  November 13, 2017

          never rail against something just because you can.You have to believe…and don’t ever be unhappy…when you get what you wished for.

          Reply
        • robertguyton

           /  November 13, 2017

          Already taken by Key.

          Reply
      • Indoctrinated? Just realised after years of being to the left of you that despite the rhetoric and rose-tinted glasses, there’s no evidence of any successful socialist system and that countries that rely/relied largely on non-market methods to allocate resources tend not to provide outcome equivalence.

        Once was Socialist you know. I’ve got photographic evidence of self in Che shirt at Rally in Greece. 😫

        Reply
        • Blazer

           /  November 13, 2017

          yes it was quite fashionable for a season or…two!

          Reply
        • Gezza

           /  November 13, 2017

          Quite like a look at that thanks trav. You could blank out the face if you’re concerned about being identified as a lefty subversive, now that you’re a righty subversive, maybe? 😳

          Reply
  3. Blazer

     /  November 13, 2017

    well there is always the reassurance that we can cancel the whole agreement any time we like…by providing 6 months notice of that intention to the other signatories.I know this is true,because thats what National…claimed.

    Reply
  4. robertguyton

     /  November 13, 2017

    At every hint of a wound to the new Government the vultures will wheel, scrawking gleefully. In my view, an Opposition should hold a Government to account, not ransom. This National Opposition ( and some of it’s sycophants) are behaving like Shrieking Eels.

    Reply
    • Opposition parties should support government measures when it agrees with them, and that is a long established practice.

      Reply
      • robertguyton

         /  November 13, 2017

        Playing smart-arse over the election of the Speaker isn’t “long established practice” it was spiteful and mean-spirited; an agreement was broken, a reasonable expectation betrayed. Simon Bridges played the part of the sprung-dagger in the sword hilt, and revealed the depth to which National has fallen. Those who cheered him on or rationalised away his despicable behaviour should have a little think about escalation and what that brings.

        Reply
        • I don’t think Bridges has looked good in his first week as Shadow leader of the House, but you’re ignoring Chris Hipkins’ incompetence.

          National opposed using urgency to ram through an increase to paid parental leave that will be phased in over about 3 years, but still supported the bill. Good oppositions make points but don’t unnecessarily impede progress.

          But like the speaker spat that has nothing that has nothing to do with the TPP, does it.

          Reply
        • High Flying Duck

           /  November 13, 2017

          You do know that Labour played politics with the election of the speaker election in the last 2 elections don’t you?

          The only difference her is that National actually gained concessions this time.

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  November 13, 2017

            Excellent yaw and pitch, High Flyer.

            Reply
          • robertguyton

             /  November 13, 2017

            Not like that they didn’t. Bridges behaviour was several levels down below what has happened before; pretended he would, dumped on them unnanounced. That’s not what Labour did in the past. It’s a new low and one that shouldn’t be cheered on.

            Reply
            • High Flying Duck

               /  November 13, 2017

              Either that, or you have “rose tinted spectacles” for your lot and cannot or will not see that Labour & the Greens practice politics the same as everyone else and it isn’t new or low at all.
              Should Bridges have let Labour know they were going to be short of numbers?
              Anyway, off topic so we can end it here.

            • David

               /  November 13, 2017

              If you think that is a new low, you are going to have a demoralising next 3 years.

      • George

         /  November 13, 2017

        That is something that eluded [Deleted – use correct party names please. PG]. At every turn any National proposal was fought against.
        Watching the TPPA debacle is pure Monty Python

        Reply
        • robertguyton

           /  November 13, 2017

          George; could we talk like adults here? “Liebor” is such a bore. Boring, boring, boring!

          Reply
    • Alloytoo

       /  November 13, 2017

      It’s my understanding that the opposition will support the Government on TPPA. As they did with parental leave. Hardly seems obstructive.

      Reply
  5. Reply
    • Corky

       /  November 13, 2017

      You find that when overseas. You read local news content, then come back to New Zealand and see the same topic with a completely different spin. It’s easy to see how people can be so ill informed if they only rely on one news source.

      Reply
  6. Zedd

     /  November 13, 2017

    I attended a couple of anti-TPPA rallies; D Parker was a speaker at one. So it sounds like either the CP-TPP is a different agreement OR this Govt. have taken a large ‘step to the right’.. thats Politics..

    I just wonder what the Greens are really saying (behind the scenes) ? :/

    Reply
  7. Alan Wilkinson

     /  November 13, 2017

    So the Greens won’t support the CPTPP deal and the Government will have to rely on National. How delightful.

    Reply
    • Blazer

       /  November 13, 2017

      Chance for National to make good their threats.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  November 13, 2017

        Or their negotiating skills.

        Reply
        • High Flying Duck

           /  November 13, 2017

          National have already said they will support it.
          The test of the Greens support will come when there is legislation that Labour wants that won’t pass without them.
          It’s easy when they know it’s going through anyway – keep your point of difference intact without rocking the boat.

          Reply
  8. adamsmith1922

     /  November 13, 2017

    Media fanboys reveal their true colours, as do several commentators here

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  November 13, 2017

      A list of names & colours might be instructive?
      I’m just an equal opportunity critic.

      Reply
      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  November 13, 2017

        I would descibe you more as an any opportunity critic, Sir Gerald.

        Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  November 13, 2017

          Describe

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  November 13, 2017

            Possibly. Nature of my former occupation, Sir Alan. Always put my hand up for the Black Hat role – always keen to look for the flaws in any plan.

            Reply
            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  November 13, 2017

              Perhaps explains your fractious relationship with your Irish brothers, Sir Gerald.

            • Gezza

               /  November 13, 2017

              I’m hardly ever wrong, Sir Alan. They do seem reluctant to admit this.

  9. phantom snowflake

     /  November 13, 2017

    I’m not saying I agree with all of this, but I do have an almost …visceral appreciation of a Martyn Bradbury rant. I feel it, even if it is occasionally nonsense.

    Jacinda dodges a TPPA bullet – elites search for next economic trigger to sabotage new Government
    https://thedailyblog.co.nz/2017/11/12/jacinda-dodges-a-tppa-bullet-elites-search-for-new-economic-trigger-to-sabotage-new-government/

    Reply

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