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

 


TPP Negotiators on Notice to Protect Environment: Poll

TPP Negotiators on Notice to Protect Environment: Poll

An opinion poll shows a clear majority of New Zealanders reject the concept of foreign investors having any ability to sue the government offshore if is sets stronger environmental standards.

New Zealand is currently negotiating a free trade agreement with ten other countries called the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).

61% of those surveyed believe that New Zealand should not sign the TPP agreement if it contains any clauses that allow foreign investors to sue the government in an offshore tribunal over new laws intended to protect the environment.

Of those that have an opinion, six times as many favour standing aside from any deal that would impose these terms, versus those that would still sign up.

The poll was conducted by Consumer Link for the Sustainability Council and indicates that just 9% of New Zealanders think securing this free trade agreement is important even if it could allow foreign investors to take such legal action against the government, while 30% have no opinion. The margin of error is 3.3%.

A leaked draft of the TPP text reveals how overseas companies would have the right to seek compensation if their expected profits are significantly reduced by stricter environmental requirements. The provisions are known as Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) terms and some 70% of cases brought under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) have involved claims over natural resources or the environment.

The government maintains that clauses in the TPP text will preserve New Zealand’s ability to make stronger environmental laws without fear of the claims being successful. But there are recent investment arbitration cases where these clauses have failed to protect the public interest.

The poll cuts right through this legal interpretation issue as it shows most New Zealanders simply reject the ISDS concept when it comes to new laws intended to protect the environment.

The Australian Productivity Commission found in 2010 that such rights for foreign investors were not in Australia’s interest. It stated that: “There does not appear to be an underlying economic problem that necessitates the inclusion of ISDS provisions”. And at the time it reported, no Australian firm had ever used them.

What the Commission did find was that including such rights risked a “chilling effect” on a government’s willingness to undertake reforms to protect the public interest. In other words, governments become scared to raise environmental standards for fear of being sued.

As current demands on the environment often exceed what is sustainable, such protection for foreign investors paves the way for the government to hold back on setting proper limits. It seeks to create environmental property rights for foreign investors that no New Zealanders have, or should have.
ends

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

2040 Target And Lower Standards: “Swimmable” Rivers Five Times More Likely To Make You Sick

Forest & Bird has condemned the government’s new water quality standards, warning New Zealanders that they lock in current levels of water pollution and allow for a 5-fold increase in the chance of getting sick from swimming in a river.

“Despite an explicit assurance from Minister Smith that the new water standards would provide for human and ecosystem health, he has failed to deliver on either of these things,” says Forest & Bird CEO Kevin Hague. More>>

ALSO:

 
 

Immigration: Clampdown On Rogue Employers Good First Step

The Human Trafficking Research Coalition is pleased at the new clampdown on rouge employers who exploit migrants announced by Minister Woodhouse this morning, and believes this is a step in the right direction. More>>

ALSO:

Mayor: 750 New Social And Affordable Homes For Wellington (Over A Decade)

The next stage of Wellington’s Housing Upgrade Programme will see at least 750 new units of social and affordable housing built over the next decade, Mayor Justin Lester has announced. More>>

ALSO:

22/2: Christchurch Quake Memorial Unveiled

A city, a region, a nation and an international community impacted by the Canterbury Earthquakes will come together to mark the sixth anniversary of the deadly quake and dedicate Oi Manawa Canterbury Earthquake National Memorial. More>>

ALSO:


November Quakes:

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. More>>

ALSO:

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:

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:


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:

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:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news