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Parliamentary Process a rubber stamp and a joke

Parliamentary Process a rubber stamp and a joke

Transpacific Partnership Agreement questioned by Regional Councillors

Lack of information on measures being negotiated in a Transpacific Trade Agreement that impact on local government’s ability to make decisions such as procurement were questioned by Greater Wellington Regional Council yesterday. The Council expressed its concern in a motion which also noted that New Zealand negotiators did not agree with proposed measures such as those relating to pharmaceuticals, intellectual property and environmental measures.

However, Councillors Paul Bruce and Sue Kedgley voted against an additional recommendation, which endorsed the parliamentary process that is used to ratify treaties. Cr Kedgley said that a statement from MFAT did not correctly inform Councillors as to the limited ability of a Parliamentary select committee to consider a treaty. “The parliamentary process was simply a rubber stamp,” she said. “Cabinet signs treaties, not parliament. MPs will be given just 15 days to examine the complex, lengthy TPPA treaty, and they will not be able to amend it. Treaties are not normally debated in Parliament or voted on,” she said, “ so the entire process is little more than a sham.”

Regional Councillor Paul Bruce, the proposer of the original motion, said that the Regional Council was still sending an important message to the Government. “We are especially concerned that negotiators must take a strong position against any measures which might restrict the ability of central and local government to give a degree of preference to tenders from local suppliers. This would be the case, even if they are slightly more expensive than overseas competitors as many local governments have done, or favour local suppliers if two proposals are equal as Greater Wellington Regional Council does.

“Greater Wellington’s purchasing policy shows leadership in the promotion of sustainable business practices. It favours suppliers who adhere to sound environmentally practices and we want to continue to do that“, he concluded.

ends

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