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


US Abandons Fig-Leaf of Transparency on TPPA

Media Release: Jane Kelsey
Wednesday 4 April 2012

US Abandons Fig-Leaf of Transparency & Cancels TPPA Stakeholder Programme

“As anticipated, now that the US has taken control of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations it has removed the only pretense of transparency – the day-long ‘stakeholder’ programme where critics can present information and analysis directly to negotiators”, says Professor Jane Kelsey, from the Law School at the University of Auckland.

Professor Kelsey has spoken at these events in Auckland, Santiago, Ho Chi Minh City, Melbourne and Chicago on issues of investment, financial services, development issues, state-owned enterprises, and human rights impact assessments.

The US has announced that stakeholders can register and be allocated a ‘table’, but not make any presentations, at the next round of negotiations in Dallas from 8 to 18 May.

The stakeholder presentations have offered detailed expert analyses of the legal issues and implications of TPPA proposals that many countries’ negotiators do not have time, resources or knowledge to develop themselves.

They also provide important support for the positions that countries are taking in the negotiations, especially against the very aggressive demands from the US.

Even though it is voluntary for the negotiators to attend, they often ask for follow-up discussions on the issues and how they might protect their interests – without, of course, the advisers having access to the draft text.

“Clearly, even this limited engagement is being too effective for the US’ liking”, said Professor Kelsey. “We know the US has been annoyed that other countries’ negotiators want to attend these events and has actively dissuaded some from doing so. Now the future rounds of negotiations are being held in the US, it has been able to cancel the programme altogether.”

The corporate lobby has the money to buy time with delegations, if they are not given formal access during the negotiations. Critics of the US position on intellectual property and investment have previously hosted breakfasts and lunches, but this is expensive and the last time it was tried in the US the hotel cancelled the booking, presumably at the US government’s behest.

Professor Kelsey has asked the lead New Zealand negotiator, David Walker, whether New Zealand has agreed or objected to this latest step to intensify the already obsessive secrecy surrounding the negotiations, or will be prepared to raise the issue, but has yet to hear.

“Without this fig-leaf of transparency and our ability to access and assist the negotiators, the US will have even greater ability to bully them into a deal that can’t be unwound once it sees the light of day.”

“It is time to insist that New Zealand’s government pulls the plug on this travesty that has no place in a 21st century democracy”, urged Professor Kelsey.


© 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