TPPA protests struggle without party promotions

In February 2016 there were large anti-TPPA protests around the country. Green and Labour MPs were prominently involved. One of the organisers was Barry Coates, who became a Green MP when he replaced Kevin Hague as next on the party list.

With the revised CPTPP without the USA about to be signed in Chile there are protests around the country. Coates is still involved in organising – at 10 on the Green list he lost his place in parliament last year after Green support slipped significantly.

But the protests are struggling to get exposure and support. Labour and the Greens are far less interested or involved.

A protest rally was held in Nelson yesterday, and more will be held around the country today and next week. They are promoting along similar lines as TPPA – It’s Our Future! Don’t Sign! Auckland Rally

Speakers and performers include; Moana Maniapoto, Bryan Bruce, Laila Harre, Jane Kelsey, Mark Laurent and Brenda Liddiiard, Mikey Brenndorfer, and Peter Whitmore.

Our government is set to sign the rebranded Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) along with 10 other nations in Chile on the 8th March.

Following the collapse of the TPPA in the wake of the US withdrawal, the election of the new Government put a spring in the step of many. The Labour Party, New Zealand First and the Green Party had all said they would not support ratification of the TPPA. During the parliamentary examination of the text, Labour cited concerns about sovereignty, secrecy and inadequate economic modelling leading to uncertainty in projected outcomes; the Greens added that the TPPA is “inimical to the imperative of sustainability”; and New Zealand First focused on the anticipated dangers of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).

What on earth happened? Labour has done a full U-turn, New Zealand First has joined in on the spin, and the Greens are very lukewarm in their disagreement.

What’s different?
Let’s be crystal clear. The “new” text is exactly the same, the only change being that 22 of the 1,000-plus original provisions have been suspended. These 22 provisions – mainly concerning intellectual property – have not been removed so that they can be revived if and when the United States comes back on board, as the Trump administration has indicated it is willing to do. When pushed on this point, the Minister for Trade and Export Growth David Parker said that New Zealand could veto any attempt by the United States to join if that would compromise the Labour Party’sfive bottom lines. That, of course, would not stop a different government from giving up important aspects of New Zealand’s sovereignty simply to reduce tariffs for a trifling increase in GDP. And what was the Minister’s response to that serious concern? “Time will tell.”

Even now, in fact, Labour’s bottom lines have not been met. The so-called Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) contains all of the core investor protections that are predicted to restrict the ability of Parliament to make laws in the interests of New Zealanders. As far as we know, has been no health impact assessment or analysis of the economic costs and benefits, as the governing parties called for when they were in opposition. The Crown has not discussed how it intends to strengthen protections for Māori, as recommended by the Waitangi Tribunal. And it is all well and good for the Prime Minister to call climate change her generation’s “nuclear-free moment”, but that sort of rhetoric would be undercut by signing up to an agreement that prevents action on environmental concerns by empowering foreign investors to sue, for example, if the Government sought to close coal mines and roll back permits to prospect for offshore petroleum.

The TPPA contains the wrong rules for New Zealand’s future. It threatens to place a frightening price tag on pursuing the policies we need to get out of last century’s fossil-fuelled economy, while at the same time preventing public oversight of this century’s data – driven economy by empowering the private corporations that control intellectual property and the global tech infrastructure while avoiding their fair share of tax. All at the expense of the worker and the patient and the taxpayer and the environment.

Since the TPPA is still not the deal that we want for our country, we are encouraging everyone to show strong opposition to our government signing the TPPA. We will be holding a Nationwide Day of Action on Sunday the 4th of March, please tell your family, friends and colleagues, get together and head along to your closest family friendly action, to send a strong message to the government not to sign the TPPA!.

On Thursday the 8th of March (signing day), we invite you to join us outside of Parliament at lunchtime to send a strong resounding message to the government that we do not want the TPPA or any similar trade deals in the future. It’s our future – the future of our children, we want truly progressive trade deals!

Links to events around the country;

Whangarei: https://www.facebook.com/events/571225906585646/

Auckland:
https://www.facebook.com/events/805505526324341/

Waihi:
https://www.facebook.com/events/155211191848613/

New Plymouth:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1804674232898957/

Wellington:
https://www.facebook.com/events/161873691200281/

Nelson:
https://www.facebook.com/events/143815816431911/

Christchurch:
https://www.facebook.com/events/218094512072247/

Dunedin:
https://www.facebook.com/events/577900969251483/

The numbers signed up as attending on Facebook are quite low:

  • Nelson 18 went (yesterday), 26 interested
  • Auckland 98 going, 247 interested
  • New Plymouth 22 going, 37 interested
  • Dunedin 18 going, 35 interested
  • Christchurch 8 going, 32 interested
  • Wellington (Thursday) 60 going, 125 interested

The Standard and The Daily Blog seem to have virtually given up on protesting the TPPA.

29 Comments

  1. Zedd

     /  March 4, 2018

    I think there are still ‘concerns’ about the CP-TPP.. BUT with the Lab/NZF Govt. (without the Grns, but with Natl support ?) saying its now going ahead.. perhaps only the Hard core are still ‘up for the fight’ on it.

    Im thinking about going to the Octagon today, for a look-see….. ?

  2. Trevors_Elbow

     /  March 4, 2018

    Faux opposition pre-election maybe? Certainly seems so

    • Blazer

       /  March 4, 2018

      Greatly improved deal now thanks to Parker.Groser said he was restrained and confined and got the absolute best deal.Groser was wrong ,surprise,surprise and it was a reflection of his own misguided promotion of his own capabilities,which have been exposed as ….very,very, average.

      • High Flying Duck

         /  March 4, 2018

        Except, as was pointed out on the Nation – Labour didn’t actually get…anything.

        • Blazer

           /  March 4, 2018

          that is at odds with the facts.If you have no regard for facts,then you can believe whatever…you want to.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  March 4, 2018

            Jane Kelsey (and I hate having to quote her…):

            “It actually contains the entire old agreement, simply suspending a few
            clauses pending the day when the US will want to re-join. Local activists remain firmly opposed to the CPTPP.”

            • Blazer

               /  March 4, 2018

              if a ‘few’ is 22….you and her may have a ..point..The reality is Canada led the way on a number of changes.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  March 4, 2018

            Canadian perspective:
            “Although a few details remain secret, the final agreement announced in Japan is little changed from the Vietnam version earlier rebuffed by Canada.”

            And the “side letters” that Labour trumpeted were in fact negotiated by Tim Grocer. Labour could not get any further letters signed.

            What changes did Labour get that I have missed?

            • Blazer

               /  March 4, 2018

              will you be marching today….to emphasise your opposition to the …agreement?

          • High Flying Duck

             /  March 4, 2018

            “The revived deal—embarrassingly renamed the Comprehensive and Progressive Trade-Pacific Partnership Agreement (CPTPP) at Canada’s request—was announced on the first anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal. This was widely seen as a rebuke to the Trump administration. But despite its Orwellian title, the CPTPP could also spell the demise of the Trudeau government’s much-hyped progressive trade agenda.”

            http://behindthenumbers.ca/2018/02/12/backgrounder-new-decidedly-not-progressive-trans-pacific-partnership/

            • Blazer

               /  March 4, 2018

              from the link…’The main change is that twenty provisions of the original pact, backed chiefly by the U.S., have been suspended. Eleven of these suspended commitments are in the Intellectual Property (IP) chapter. They include some of the most aggressive U.S. IP demands, such as extended patent terms for medicines and 70-year (+life of the author) copyright terms. Also gone are the minimum terms of data protection for biologics and requirements to allow patents for new uses of existing products (evergreening), patenting of inventions derived from plants, and patenting of processes such as surgical methods. The removal of these regressive provisions is a significant victory for critics of the original TPP chapter and will alleviate its worst feared impacts on access to affordable medicines.’…read the last sentence…s l o w l y.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  March 4, 2018

            I believe Oliver Hailles is somewhat of an expert on the TPP text:

            _____

            Solicitor and TPP scholar Oliver Hailes said the group wanted to provide “a gentle nudge” to Parker that the CPTPP text was essentially identical to the one which had been protested by tens of thousands.

            Hailes said only a small minority of over a thousand provisions had been suspended, and were likely to come back into force if and when the US rejoined.

            “At the moment you have a situation where the Government’s saying we’re going to play a game of touch rugby, knowing full well that the biggest player’s going to get back on the field, it’s going to be full contact and we’re going to get smashed, particularly in areas like climate change.”

            He believed many previous TPP critics were heartened by the new government’s policy ambitions, and did not realise the deal would place “economic handcuffs” on its ability to enact those.

            “Nothing’s changed apart from the spin.”
            _____

            In other words the only “gains” were the suspension but not deletion of the US clauses until the US wants to come back in – and these were done before Labour took power.

            • Blazer

               /  March 4, 2018

              so many experts…’I can get you one with a completely different…opinion’….someone prominent said that …fairly..recently.I get it…you are anti the agreement and have faith in..semantics…thats fine.

          • High Flying Duck

             /  March 4, 2018

            I don’t oppose the agreement. I oppose Labour saying they made any meaningful changes to it, and I challenge your assertion that Grocer was not up to it.

            • Blazer

               /  March 4, 2018

              Groser couldn’t achieve this…’The removal of these regressive provisions is a significant victory for critics of the original TPP chapter and will alleviate its worst feared impacts on access to affordable medicines.’…read the last sentence…s l o w l y..The bottom link posting mirrors the reality on the ..agreement.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 4, 2018

              So your big smoking gun of negotiating brilliance was the quite incorrect call of “regressive clauses being removed” which in fact simply relates to the 22 clauses that have been left in but suspended because they relate directly to the USA part of the agreement now on hold.
              And you think Grocer would have been incapable of saying “seeing as the USA are not in this now, we should probably put aside those, you know, USA specific clauses”.

              I could slow down my reading to glacial pace and I reckon I’d still be waiting for you to catch up.

            • Blazer

               /  March 4, 2018

              no…you think a few is 20 plus.Your own quote contradicts you-‘’The removal of these regressive provisions is a significant victory for critics of the original TPP chapter ‘.What Groser (with an s)may or may not have done is…moot.Groser said he had to swallow dead rats.Suspended because the U.S may join later is mere…expediency.So you need to ..catch up….a Big impotent Swinging Duck…

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 4, 2018

              Less than 2 pages of changes out of a thousands of pages long agreement – in other words only a few. And those changes are (feel free to read as slowly as you like to ensure you understand) a suspension of clauses negotiated specifically by the USA which are not required because they backed out.
              You may think the suspension of clauses specific to a country no longer part of the agreement is some monumental coup. If so, you’re in a minority of one. Arguing 20 is “more than a few” is pathetic.
              But hey, enjoy the bask of negotiated glory – don;t let reality get you down.

            • Blazer

               /  March 4, 2018

              so ‘few’ is immaterial…now twist this…’ significant victory for critics of the original TPP chapter ‘….significant means=……original means-….

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 4, 2018

              I’m getting very sick of this debate. The fact remains the “victory” was the suspension of clauses specific to the USA. End of.
              Labour achieved nothing. The agreement is unchanged except for some very minor tinkering and the suspension of the USA clauses.
              Spin it all you like.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 4, 2018

              “…any of these twenty provisions can be reactivated at any time. They are not dead and buried, just in hibernation.

              David Parker claims that the Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), which allows corporates to sue governments, has been reduced in scope. He is being disingenuous. Parker can only make this claim because New Zealand has signed a letter with Australia* which removes the ISDS from any dispute process. Other than that, the ISDS remains fully in force.”

              * the side letter with Australia was negotiated by Tim Grocer.

            • Gezza

               /  March 4, 2018

              Grosser.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 4, 2018

              Quite correct Gezza – I just can’t help thinking of grabbing a large meat cleaver whenever I see or hear the man.
              I’m defending his negotiating – however he comes across as obnoxious and self important.

            • Blazer

               /  March 4, 2018

              the man is Groser and I am sure you are sick of the debate..outside of redefining ‘significant’ and ‘original’….you have no..case.

            • High Flying Duck

               /  March 4, 2018

              Outside of the fact Parker did absolutely nothing and no changes were made outside parking the USA clauses – you have no argument whatsoever. You are being deliberately obtuse (as usual) and defending the indefensible.

            • Blazer

               /  March 4, 2018

              significant and original came from your own link FFS!So we have someone who dislikes Groser and supports the Agreement,arguing for the…alternative conclusion.

      • Zedd

         /  March 4, 2018

        I heard Parker say that there were 5 bottom lines.. inc. the ‘stop the right for overseas companies to sue NZ’ .. this one is still in CP-TPP is this the cost of being in coalition ?

        btw; there were about 50 ‘hard core’ folks at Dn protest, better than i think was expected.. “Kia kaha nga tangata o otepoti”