Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | Video | Questions Of the Day | Search


New report shows lawyers win in free trade battles

27 November 2012

New report shows lawyers win in free trade battles

A new report on how the legal industry is exploiting investment state disputes clauses in trade agreements shows why New Zealand must refuse to sign any trade agreement that includes these provisions, Green Party Co-Leader Metiria Turei said today.

Mrs Turei today launched Profiting From Injustice*, a report showing how law firms, arbitrators, and financiers are fuelling an investment arbitration boom.

The Trans-Pacific partnership agreement (TPP) being negotiated in Auckland next week would open up New Zealand Governments now and in the future to litigation from major offshore corporations through the use of investment state dispute mechanisms.

“A leaked draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement shows that New Zealand is happy with investment state disputes clauses,” said Mrs Turei.

“These clauses mean that corporate lawyers and arbitrators can make decisions affecting New Zealand’s ability to make laws protecting public health and the environment.

“Investment state disputes clauses are inherently anti-democratic.

“Profiting From Injustice’s report shows that big international law firms are exploiting these investment state disputes clauses on behalf of corporations.

“Governments around the world are paying out huge sums after losing decisions decided by unelected officials behind closed doors.

“The Australian Government has realised the dangers of these clauses and is currently refusing to sign up to the investor state disputes in the current TPP negotiations.

“New Zealand needs to support Australia in pushing back against the provision of investment state dispute settlement provisions in the current Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement,” Mrs Turei said.

“New Zealand should also take note that some of the biggest legal firms profiting from these disputes are based in the United States one of the countries involved in the TPP negotiations.

* ‘Profiting from Injustice’ is published by corporate watchdogs the Transnational Institute and Corporate Europe Observatory.

Profiting from Injustices key findings:

- The number of investment arbitration cases, as well as the sums of money involved, has surged in the last two decades.
- The boom in arbitration has created bonanza profits for investment lawyers paid for by taxpayers.

- Arbitrators tend to defend private investor rights above public interest, revealing an inherent bias.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines



Relevant Consents Gained: Government Unveils RMA Reform Package

The government has formally hauled down the flag on its attempts to alter the balance of environmental and economic priorities in the Resource Management Act, unveiling a 180-page Resource Legislation Amendment Bill containing reforms that have been largely endorsed by most political parties. More>>


Closing Schools And Such: Interim Redcliffs Decision Announced

“While the school’s board has argued that circumstances that could give rise to potential disruption are extremely unlikely, advice from technical experts has shown these concerns cannot be ruled out." More>>


Jane Kelsey: High Court Can’t Make Groser Provide TPPA Information Faster

‘This week we went back to court to challenge Trade Minister Groser’s stalling tactics over the release of information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations, following a High Court order that he reconsider the Official Information Act request I made last January’, said University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey, first applicant in the case. More>>

Werewolf 58: No Climate For Change

The last time the global community tried to take collective action on climate change the world’s leaders finally came to agree that every not-too-onerous effort should be made to hold global warming to 2°C above the pre-industrial average. At Paris, all 150 participant countries nations will have put forward their pledges... On the information available, New Zealand's is the second weakest contribution of any nation in the developed world. More>>


Lambton Quay Shutdown: Object Was Made To Look Like Bomb

Police cordoned off part of Lambton Quay Wednesday afternoon, saying that a suspicious package had been found. Buildings were evacuated and buses were detoured. The army’s explosive ordnance disposal unit was brought to the Quay. More>>


Public Sector Still Shrinking: Record Low Number Of 'Backroom Bureaucrats'

Ongoing restraint in the public sector and a focus on better frontline services has seen a further reduction in the number of core Government employees, State Services Minister Paula Bennett says. More>>


Disobeying The Law: Police Censorship Of Crime Research “An Outrage”

The Green Party is calling on Police Minister Michael Woodhouse to ensure Police scrap controversial contracts that place onerous restrictions on academic researchers’ access to Police data, the Green Party says. More>>


Get More From Scoop



Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news