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DSC demands immediate withdrawal from TPPA negotiations

DSC demands immediate withdrawal from TPPA negotiations

"If you asked for a cup of coffee and were given something that was 17% coffee and 83% bleach, you wouldn't be very happy," says John Ring, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson for New Zealand Democrats for Social Credit. "If the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is adopted, that's how people will feel."

The 15th round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement between New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Brunei, Peru, Mexico, the USA, Canada, and Chile takes place in Auckland on 3 - 12 December.

"It has been promoted as a trade agreement, but it has 29 chapters, only five of which relate to trade," he said. "We should imitate Brazil and refuse to sign things that purport to be trade deals but contain things not relevant to trade."

"It has also been claimed to be a bulwark against China but would have the opposite effect.  In recent decades average incomes in the USA have fallen, and the agreement would force its signatories to make similar mistakes.

"Among other things it will enable disputes between foreign companies and the government to be judged by corrupt ad hoc tribunals with part - time judges who are lawyers in other cases.  Potentially lawyers could do deals with judges, offering to rule in their favour when roles are reversed.

"There are blatant conflicts of interest.  In one case one of the judges was on the board of a company that owned shares in the complainant.

"There are also built in perverse financial incentives for the courts to perform badly.

"The longer a case lasts, the more the lawyers and the judges get paid, so they drag on, and are very expensive.  Average legal fees are $US 8 million per case, but can go well above $US 30 million, so they are no help to small businesses or most farmers.

"Furthermore, if a lot of companies win cases against governments, companies will be more likely to sue governments as they have a better chance of winning.  This would create more business for the law firms that provide the judges and lawyers, so there is an incentive for them to rule in favour of complainants.

"New Zealand should withdraw from the negotiations immediately," said Mr Ring.

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