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New Zealand Trades Away Sovereignty in Secret Negotiations

New Zealand Trades Away Our Sovereignty in Secret Negotiations

At the APEC Leaders' Summit in Hawaii on November 12 & 13, Bill English will signal the Government's readiness to trade away yet more of this country's powers of self-government, the New Zealand Is Not For Sale Campaign warned today.

"This is not just a question of asset sales. What is at stake is our ability as a self-governing democracy to decide our own laws," the Patron of the Campaign, Bryan Gould, said.

"The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement has been negotiated in secret; the Government will do the deal (which will be formally signed next year) without telling Parliament or the people what is in it. The record of the negotiations will be kept secret for four years after the deal is signed."

"The Americans have already pronounced themselves satisfied with the progress they have made in the negotiations. That strongly suggests that they have got their way on issues like the weakening of Pharmac's ability to keep down the cost of prescription medicines, and on the right of American corporations to sue - in specially constituted international tribunals -any future New Zealand government that wanted to change the arrangement."

"We already know, from the special treatment offered to Warner Brothers and the Government's willingness to change our labour laws to accommodate them, how far and how fast they are willing to roll over at the sight of a dollar bill," Bryan Gould said today.

"We have already sold off into foreign ownership a higher proportion of our national assets than any other developed country. The TPPA means that control over what remains, now and into the future, is in effect handed over to international corporations. This is a heavy price to pay for a trade deal in which our partners do no more than commit to buy what they want to buy anyway."

The New Zealand Is Not For Sale Campaign, a network of numerous organisations committed to protecting what remains of New Zealand's self-government, is to present to Parliament a petition signed by people from all over the country. The Statement reads:

We the undersigned citizens and permanent residents of New Zealand call upon the Government of New Zealand

• to cease negotiations on the Transpacific Partnership agreement; and

• to not sign this agreement; and

• to cease work on any other in-progress or proposed international trade and investment treaties containing clauses which limit or abrogate New Zealand's sovereign and democratic right to make and enforce laws and regulations and provide services which differ from those of other states or transnational organisations.

"Because it is a Statement of Sovereignty, the Campaign wanted to present it, in the days immediately before the APEC Summit, to the Sovereign's Representative, namely the Governor General," said Bryan Gould.

"Sadly, he was unable to accept it, since the constitutional rules dictate that it has to be presented to a politician. This reinforces the denial of any democratic element in a process which will fundamentally and permanently weaken our democracy."

"The Government has refused calls, including from a separate petition, to make the negotiating text public. And, of course, to cap it off, there is no Parliamentary scrutiny in NZ - treaties are the prerogative of the executive, not legislative, branch. There is no debate or Select Committee scrutiny and the only chance that MPs might get is to rubberstamp it after the Cabinet has agreed to it, and it is a done deal."

The TPPA will, among other things:

• undermine what little NZ has left in the way of any controls of foreign investment;
• institutionalise the very same horrendous financial practices which led to the global financial crisis;
• allow American corporations to sue the New Zealand government in private international tribunals;
• attack Pharmac and drive up the cost of prescription medicines;
• make access to digital recordings more expensive and copying more restricted;
• attack our GE and tobacco controls and food labelling and food and appliance safety standards;
• and weaken our controls of food imports where they might carry disease.

The Statement of Sovereignty and its signature sheets will now be presented to Green MP Catherine Delahunty in Civic Square, Wellington, at 12 noon on Wednesday November 9th, followed by a march to Government House.



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