Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 


China Could Have Sued Under FTA If Crafar Farm Sale Declined

Monday 30 January 2012

If the New Zealand government had declined the Shanghai Pengxin purchase of the Crafar farm it could have faced an international law suit for breaching its free trade agreement with China, says University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey.

‘When China’s politicians warned New Zealand politicians last year that the agreement was a two way street it is clear they were referring to their rights as foreign investors under the so-called “trade” treaty.’

That view was reiterated in Shanghai Pengxin’s application to the Overseas Investment Office (OIO).

The New Zealand China Free Trade Agreement was signed in 2008.

The government cannot treat applications from Chinese investors differently from similar applications from other countries’ investors under what is known as the ‘most-favoured-nation’ or MFN rule.

Shanghai Pengxin’s application pointed to numerous purchases of farmland by investors of other nationalities, and claimed that rejection of its otherwise well-founded application would amount to anti-Chinese discrimination.

Prime Minister John Key admitted on Campbell Live on Friday night that the FTA ‘has in it the most-favoured-nation status that means we can’t discriminate’.

That contradicts paragraph 62 of the OIO advice to ministers that there was no problem under the China FTA in a paragraph that does not address the MFN rule.

‘Presumably the Prime Minister got alternative advice from elsewhere’, Professor Kelsey said. She urged the government to release those documents.

‘The government would have pulled out all the stops to avoid a Chinese investor supported by the Chinese State taking it to international arbitration for breaching the FTA, even if it felt it was on strong legal ground.’

‘Such a dispute would have huge ramifications for New Zealand’s diplomatic and economic relationship with China.’

‘It would also cast a spotlight on the even greater risks of the more extensive foreign investor rights proposed for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), a debate that the government is desperate to avoid.’

According to Professor Kelsey ‘the US is demanding much stronger protections for its would-be investors in the TPPA than China secured and the Key government has apparently rolled over and agreed to them, unlike Australia’.

‘The popular angst being channelled towards the Chinese needs to become a more principled opposition to deals that sign the sovereignty of our resources over to foreign corporations and who can sue the government in offshore courts if they don’t get their way.’

*****

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Mana-Maori Party Deal

If the self-interest involved wasn’t so blatant, the electorate deal between the Maori Party and Hone Harawira would be kind of poignant. It’s a bit like seeing the remaining members of Guns’n’Roses or the Eagles back on the road touring the nostalgia circuit… playing all the old hits of Maori unity and kaupapa Maori politics.

Can the two surviving Maori Party MPs (one electorate, one list) credibly work together with the old firebrand who split up the group years ago, and still hope to rekindle some of that same old magic? More>>

 

Private Provision: First Social Bond To Focus On Mental Health

New Zealand’s first social bond will help around 1700 people with mental illness into work, Finance Minister Steven Joyce and Social Investment Minister Amy Adams say. More>>

ALSO:

Megaupload Case: High Court Rules Dotcom, Co-Accused Eligible For Extradion

Internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom and his three co-accused are eligible for extradition to the United States, New Zealand's High Court ruled... Justice Murray Gilbert upheld a decision by the District Court that there were grounds for Dotcom, Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato to be extradited. More>>

ALSO:

PREVIOUSLY:

Immigration: Short Reprieve For Nine Indian Students

A temporary hold on deportations of nine Indian students is a step in the right direction but the Government urgently needs to implement safeguards to stop further injustices to more international students, the Green Party says. More>>

EARLIER:

Port Hills Fire: Midday Update, Monday 20 February

• 9 homes destroyed
• 2 homes with partial damage. Damage includes things like cracked windows, heat damage.
• 3 properties with damage to other external structures e.g sheds or outbuildings More>>

ALSO:

Welfare: WINZ Breaching Privacy Laws With WINZ Vetting Rules

E tū, the union for security guards, says WINZ may be breaching privacy laws with its new screening process for people visiting WINZ offices. The vetting requires WINZ security guards to check photo ID and whether visitors to WINZ offices have an appointment.More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news