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

InternetNZ On Snowden Docs: Mass Collection Of Pacific Data Affects Kiwi Holidaymakers

The allegation that New Zealand has conducted mass data harvesting on its Pacific Island neighbours raises concerns about New Zealanders’ communications being collected, says InternetNZ.

“If the allegations are correct, then New Zealand would be mining data about everyone in the Pacific Islands named in the allegations. That’s everyone. Not just individuals who attract specific surveillance warrants, but everyone. This means local residents to visiting Kiwi tourists could be having their data collected." More>>

 

PARLIAMENT TODAY:

Teina Pora Wins Appeal: Gordon Campbell On The Privy Council Decision

The quashing of the convictions of Teina Pora for the rape and murder of Susan Burdett in 1992 has shone a spotlight once again on a major gap in the New Zealand justice system... More>>

ALSO:

Urgent Bill Planned: MP Pay Rises To Match Public Service

Prime Minister John Key today announced an overhaul of the Remuneration Authority Act, tying MP salaries to those of the wider public sector, which will be passed under urgency. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: MP Pay Rises, Solid Energy, Iraq

Prime Minister John Key answered questions in his Post-Cabinet press conference about the Iraq deployment, Solid Energy and National’s decision to overhaul the Remuneration Authority Act. More>>

ALSO:

Worksafe: MSD Charged Over Work And Income Ashburton Shooting

WorkSafe NZ has laid one charge against the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) in relation to the shooting at the MSD Ashburton office on 1 September 2014 in which two Work and Income staff were killed and another was injured. More>>

ALSO:

Iraq: Ex-Hostage Says Government Not Putting NZers, Iraqis First

Harmeet Singh Sooden is travelling to Iraq in the coming weeks to work with Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) on a short-term assignment. More>>

ALSO:

Joint Statement: Australia-New Zealand Leaders’ Meeting

Prime Minister Key warmly welcomed Prime Minister Abbott and Mrs Abbott to New Zealand. The visit has enabled wide-ranging and substantive discussion that has underlined the strength, value, diversity and warmth of our trans-Tasman relationship. More>>

ALSO:

Press Conference: Peters To Stand In Northland By-Election

New Zealand First Leader Winston Peters has announced his intention to stand in the Northland by-election, citing his own links to the electorate and ongoing neglect of the region by central government. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news