What Harre really wanted from TPPA questions

Yesterday I posted Some questions about the TPP from a post by Brendon Harre in which he said…

I have an open mind regarding international trade.

I am in favour of free trade reforms if the beneficiaries are spread throughout society.

I am not sure if the TPPA fits into the beneficial category for the ordinary person. I am not sure if trade and democracy are working together like they have in the past or against each other.

I have some questions -not just for the supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership but also to those that oppose it.

He has circulated this on left wing blogs were he has made what he wanted clearer.

At The Daily Blog:

It was directed at both sides. But I mainly want answers from the pro-TPP people because they have done such a poor job answering basic questions.

Some of anti-TPP people have also done a poor job of truthfully answering basic questions.

At The Standard:

I wrote an article about the TPP where it seems we may be in danger of losing important aspects of our democracy. Pro-TPP people have to give some pretty robust answers to some fundamental questions IMHO.

So it’s fairly clear where his TPP allegiances lie.

Are we really “in danger of losing important aspects of our democracy” with the TPP?

I haven’t seen any robust arguments in support of this claim. There seems to be little if anything in the agreement that impacts any more on our democracy than past international agreements.

Every international agreement can put some restriction on what New Zealand can do, but it’s a voluntary restriction that can be reversed if ever our democracy chooses to do so.

Before the TPP agreements was reached last year the anti-TPP warned of a range of specific potential problems.

After the text of the agreement was made public the opposition changed to general terms like anti-democracy and anti-sovereignty.

Brendon, it’s up to you and those who oppose the TPP to make robust arguments for the problems you allege.

In the absence of compelling arguments that our democracy will be compromised I assume there is nothing much we need to be concerned about.

Some questions about the TPP

Brendon Harre has posted about the Trans-Pacific Partnership and asks a number of questions about aspects of it.

Some questions about the Trans-Pacific Partnership

I have an open mind regarding international trade.

…broadly I am in favour of free trade reforms if the beneficiaries are spread throughout society.

I am not sure if the TPPA fits into the beneficial category for the ordinary person. I am not sure if trade and democracy are working together like they have in the past or against each other. I have some questions -not just for the supporters of the Trans-Pacific Partnership but also to those that oppose it.

He posts quite a bit of detail so go to his post to see that, but here are his questions.

Trans-Pacific Partnership and Chinese Free Trade Agreement

  • Would someone who is familiar with both the US based Trans-Pacific Partnership and New Zealand’s earlier trade agreement with China explain how they differ and how they fit together?
  • Does the TPPA allow the US to set the global trade rules to benefit its multinational companies?
  • When President Obama says the TPPA will allow the US to set the trade rules for our region is that true?
  • Is the TPPA the best vehicle for New Zealand to avoid being squashed by the fists of China or the United States?
  • Would the World Trade Organisation be a better instrument?
  • Are trade agreements the best tool for achieving non-trade objectives – international peace? In Europe, peace has been the driving force for ever closer unification, but that has led to a governance and economic crisis within the Euro-zone.

Sovereignty

  • Why is that one treaty between the Crown and sovereign peoples -Maori tribes, the adjudicating court is not binding on Parliament, while another treaty -the TPPA the adjudicating court is binding on Parliament?
  • In the future, if New Zealand wants to reassert Parliament’s right to sovereignty over the Investor State Dispute Settlement court -will it be able to -or will New Zealand be like Finland and find it difficult to reclaim lost aspects of sovereignty?

Investor State Dispute Settlement

  • Why do foreign owned companies need to use TPPA-like investor dispute processes against democratic countries which already have the -rule of law?
  • What are these hundreds of cases about?
  • Has the ISDS system gone rogue?
  • If the ISDS system does go rogue what can we do about it? Have an election and throw the buggers out?
  • What safeguards does the TPPA put in place to protect our Parliament and democracy, so it is unimpeded in determining the public interest?
  • Or are we on a slippery slope between democracy and corporate plutocracy?

Some good questions and fuel for discussion on the TPPA.

Details about Brendon’s questions: Some questions about the Trans-Pacific Partnership

Brendon has put his questions to anti-TPPA organiser Barry Coates at The Daily Blog but says he is aiming more at ‘pro-TPP people’:

I wrote an article about the TPP from a centre-left perspective that contained a series of questions. It was directed at both sides. But I mainly want answers from the pro-TPP people because they have done such a poor job answering basic questions.

I think that quite a few anti-TPP people have also done a poor job of answering basic questions too.