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New poll shows majority of Kiwis oppose secretive TPP deal

Monday December 9 2013

New poll shows majority of Kiwis oppose secretive TPP deal; Joseph Stiglitz speaks out

**Open letter to trade negotiators slams deal as IPSOS poll reveals 71% of the New Zealand public find secrecy of the deal “unacceptable” **

Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz has joined 1 million people in voicing opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, as a new poll shows that 71% of the Kiwis reject the secretive nature of the negotiations.

Trade ministers and corporate lobbyists start meetings today in Singapore for the final round of ministerial talks for the TPP. If they reach an agreement by Tuesday, it would would hand sweeping new powers to big business at the expense of national public interest laws.

Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel laureate economist, said in the open letter:

“The agreement presents grave risks on all sorts of topics … The TPP proposes to freeze into a binding trade agreement many of the worst features of the worst laws in the TPP countries, making needed reforms extremely difficult if not impossible.”

Meanwhile, a new IPSOS poll in four negotiating countries -- the US, Australia, Chile and New Zealand -- shows that at least 61% of the public oppose the secrecy of the deal. The poll was commissioned by Avaaz, the global campaigning group whose campaign calling for greater transparency and content reform of the TPP has gathered over 1 million signatures.

Jamie Choi, Campaign Director at Avaaz, said:

“This deal would hand mega corporations the keys to our democracies on a silver platter. Yet most people have never heard of TPP, and elected representatives aren't even allowed to look at the texts. This poll sends a clear message: the people want proper transparency and oversight in this process, not a shady deal cooked up in secret meetings by lobbyists.”

The IPSOS poll found that:

Threat to national sovereignty. 56% of Kiwis, 47% of Australians, 56% of Americans, and 52% of Chileans oppose a proposal that would allow corporations to sue governments if national regulations threaten their profits

Access to Medicines. 70% of Kiwis, 63% of Australians, 62% of Americans, and of 75% Chileans oppose a proposal that would limit access to generic medicines

Transparency. 71% of Kiwis, 64% of Australians, 61% of Americans, and 70% of Chileans find it unacceptable that the TPP is not made available to the public until negotiations are finished

Rights of Citizens. 51% of Kiwis, 49% of Australians, 51% of Americans, and 67% of Chileans believe the TPP infringes on the rights of citizens for corporate profits.

The TPP, which is being negotiated behind closed doors by trade bureaucrats and nearly 600 corporate lobbyists, has provoked political uproar because its text has been kept secret from lawmakers in the countries it covers. If the deal is finalised, corporations will take on new powers to sue governments over regulations which threaten their future profits. Laws designed to protect the public, including access to cheap medicines, bans on logos on cigarette packaging, clear labeling of GM products, and internet privacy could be under threat.

Today lawmakers from all four countries, as well as a former TPP negotiator, have also raised fresh concerns over the TPP.

Russel Norman, Leader of New Zealand’s Green Party said:

“The TPP talks have locked the people of New Zealand out, while letting over 600 lobbyists in. Right now they're putting the finishing touches on a trade deal that could allow corporations to directly challenge the laws of our country. As elected representatives, we have a responsibility to ensure the voices of our constituents are heard, and we won’t stand by in silence while our democratic rights are trampled."

The TPP, which is being negotiated behind closed doors by trade bureaucrats and nearly 600 corporate lobbyists, has provoked political uproar because its text has been kept secret from lawmakers in the countries it covers. If the deal is finalised, corporations will take on new powers to sue governments over regulations which threaten their future profits. Laws designed to protect the public, including access to cheap medicines, bans on logos on cigarette packaging, clear labeling of GM products, and introduce restrictions upon internet access will be under threat from companies eager to maximise profits.

US president Barack Obama has repeatedly indicated that he wants to finalize the TPP negotiations by the end of the year.

The Avaaz petition on the TPP can be seen here.

Professor Stiglitz’s: open letter to negotiators.

IPSOS poll results summary available here.

ENDS

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