Jane kelsey defended her professionalism in an urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing in the Trans -Pacific Partnership Agreement.
During questioning the Crown pointed out the academic failed to mention any positive aspects of the trade deal in her affidavits for evidence.
“So if something’s not good enough to your standards, you don’t mention these positive aspects to it,” said Crown lawyer Mike Heron.
Kelsey is well known as a long time opponent of the TPPA and of trade agreements. On trade matters she looks like an activist more than an academic.
“You’re giving evidence as an expert. Do you understand the obligations on you?”
Kelsey seemed to take that as an attack on her professional integrity.
Kelsey told the Chair Judge Michael Doogan that she was offended by the questioning.
“The concern is that somehow the Crown is suggesting that I have not acted with professional propriety in making that assessment of the Treaty exception,” she said.
“And I find that objectionable.”
“I actually think you are trying to paint an image of me as ideologically opposed to everything for the sake of it,” Kelsey had told Heron, a few minutes before the objection.
“And I’m saying to you that there is a rationale behind that.”
Some people find it objectionable that Kelsey uses her academic position to promote one side and attack the other rather than attempt to give a balanced assessment.
Heron said he was not trying to assert that. He had been pointing out that the Treaty of Waitangi provision in the trade deal was “unique”, that it “positively discriminated to Maori”, and that it was a show of “leadership” by New Zealand.
But Heron had made his point, and Kelsey amplified that point by objecting.
Does anyone not think that Kelsey is “ideologically opposed to everything” about trade deals and the TPPA?