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Professor Challenges Groser to Public Debate on TPP Rules

Media Release: Professor Jane Kelsey
Thurday 14 June 2012

Professor Challenges Groser to Public Debate on TPP Investment Rules

Trade Minister Tim Groser told Radio New Zealand this morning that New Zealand will do nothing in the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that stops us now or any government in the future from regulating in public health and other legitimate public policy purposes.

“This is simply not what the leaked investment text says, and is not the position New Zealand has taken in the negotiations. If that is what Tim Groser believes he needs to take independent advice”, said TPP expert and critic, Professor Jane Kelsey from Auckland University.

Groser cannot dismiss this simply as a “beat up”.

“I have read and analysed the leaked text – and would be astonished and gravely concerned if the Minister has not done so, as he claims, given that New Zealand has clearly taken a position not to follow Australia and reject the right of investors to sue”.

The draft text has been and will continue to be analysed by a number of other investment experts who say it confirms our worst fears.

“If the Minister disagrees with us, I challenge him to prove we are wrong by releasing the text officially and debating it with me publicly, which to date he has been unwilling to do,” said Jane Kelsey.

It is also misleading for TPP supporters like Executive Director of the NZ-US Council Stephen Jacobi to claim that this is a democratic process that is subject to select committee scrutiny and Parliament’s approval.

The TPP is like all such treaties. They are done by the Cabinet. Cabinet alone sets the negotiating mandate, reviews the texts, decides and makes the political trade-offs, signs and ratifies the final text. The select committee does not get to see the text until the deal is signed and it has no power to require changes. Nor does the Parliament have any authority over the agreement, except where the treaty requires positive changes to legislation.

Last year the Government blocked a petition that asked for the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade select committee to conduct a hearing so the Government and negotiators can be informed by the views of diverse New Zealand constituencies.

“Government members on the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee need to drop that opposition so our legislators and the public can make informed input before it’s too late.”


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