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 Bank Scandals (And Air Crashes)

Last month, the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC) filed proceedings against Westpac over activities that have some distinct echoes of the Libor scandal. More>>

Budget: Health Funding Must Keep Up With Need

NZNO: “The nursing team has been doing more with less for years. It’s getting to the point that we’re really worried about our colleagues, our patients, our jobs and the level of health care available for people in our country." More>>

ALSO:

Emissions Inventory: Time For The Government To Do The Right Thing

It’s time for the National Government to step up and do the right thing to reduce climate pollution as data shows New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions are higher than ever, the Green Party said today. More>>

ALSO:

Budget 2016: More Partnership Schools To Open

Seven new schools will join the eight Partnership Schools already open, along with further new schools opening in 2017. “The growth of this policy is a reflection of the high level of interest from educators and community leaders,” Mr Seymour says. More>>

ALSO:

No Correspondence With English: Did Brownlee Make Up Sale Of Navy Ships ‘On The Hoof?’

Having revealed that several Royal New Zealand Navy vessels have not left port in years, New Zealand First is now asking the Minister of Defence to prove he did not come up with the idea of selling HMNZS Taupo and Pukaki until the media asked him. More>>

Housing Plans: Labour- Abolish Auckland Urban Boundary
The Government should rule out any possibility of an urban growth boundary in Auckland Council’s Unitary Plan if it is serious about fixing the housing crisis. More>>
Greens - State House Solution
The Homes Not Cars policy allows Housing New Zealand to retain its dividend and, in addition, would refund its tax, to spend on the emergency building of around 450 new state houses. More>>

ALSO:

Houses And Taxes: Post-Cabinet, Pre-Budget Press Conference

The Prime Minister said that the pre-budget announcements showed that his Government is “investing in a growing economy”. He re-affirmed the National Government’s commitment to lowering personal tax rates but that any such change must fit with the fiscal reality of the time. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news