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

 


TPPA secrecy scales bizarre new heights

12 May 2014

For immediate release

TPPA secrecy scales bizarre new heights

‘The government has maintained an absurd veil of secrecy over the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and it keeps getting worse’, according to University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey.

‘The only detailed information available to New Zealanders has been the result of leaked texts and me going to the meetings to talk to negotiators and get a sense of what is happening.’

It has become extremely difficult even to find out when and where meetings are taking place.

‘I have been forced to rely on urgent Official Information Act requests, usually to confirm information received from elsewhere, and to find out who is attending on behalf of the New Zealand government’, Kelsey said.

Despite the lack of information and very late notice, Professor Kelsey has been travelling to these meetings at considerable personal expense and talking with negotiators from various countries about the areas she is monitoring most closely.

Officials are negotiating again in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam this week before a meeting of ministers in Singapore on 19-20 May. As Professor Kelsey observed ‘no one would know. There has been no public announcement and nothing on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.’

Five days ago the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade responded to another urgent request from Professor Kelsey, dated 15 April, advising which negotiators working on what issues would be at this week’s meeting.

‘But they have refused to tell me the dates when the particular groups will be negotiating, despite me explaining that I am only able to be in Vietnam later in the week and want to know which groups would still be meeting then.’

Their justification was ‘privacy and security’. ‘Since when has the dates on which officials will be representing the government in negotiations been a matter of privacy? Who and what are the potential threats to security?’, Kelsey asked.

‘I am forced to rely on negotiators from other countries to tell me when they are meeting, rather than from my own government. This is just bizarre’.

The TPPA negotiations have been underground since last formal round in Brunei in August 2013. Since then, there have been two formal ministerial meetings, preceded by negotiating rounds involving officials in the key unresolved areas, including investment, state-owned enterprises, intellectual property, and market access for agriculture.

Media have been invited to register for these meetings. But there has been no pretence of providing even the ‘stakeholder’ registration and perfunctory briefings they were forced to provide earlier in the process because of the outcry over secrecy.

Professor Kelsey will appeal to the Ombudsman against the refusal to release the information. But assuming the precise dates when each group is negotiating are released, that will be too late to adjust travel arrangements.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Syriza Win Greek Election: The Rumblings Of The Left

Binoy Kampmark: The left – and by this, the genuine, progressive, unmanagerial left – is getting noisy. The Greek elections are upon us, with the similar challenges being played out from 2012. There are fears of Grexit – a heavy breathing departure from the eurozone that will do everything to rattle the central currency mechanism that has been taking a battering...

Much of this has been triggered by the moral outrage and political response of the left grouping centred on Syriza of Greece. The movement has been said to have similarities to a new constellation of power in Spain, led by Podemos. Syriza, led by Alexis Tsipras, has promised to renegotiate the terms of Greece’s 240 billion euro international bailout arrangements. Both parties point out to the distance between elector and the elected, a creeping death of democratic accountability in favour of market propriety. More>>

 

Transport: Auckland Looks To Light Rail

The Board of Auckland Transport has called for an investigation into a light rail network, which could relieve traffic congestion on some of the region’s busiest roads. This stems from work in 2012 (the City Centre Future Access study) which responded to a government request to develop a robust and achievable solution for access to the CBD. More>>

ALSO:

RMA: Smith's Claims Don't Match Evidence - Greens

The Motu group’s research into the impacts of planning rules looked at the costs related to housing development but not the benefits of environmental protections and does not recommend significant changes to the RMA to reduce the cost of new house builds. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Similarities Between John Key And David Cameron

For years now, David Cameron has been the closest available thing to a mentor/analogue to our Prime Minister, such that Key watchers could be interested in an analysis of Cameron that appeared in the British press over the Christmas break. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Ian Fletcher Resignation & GCSB’s New Role

It may well be that after being shoulder-tapped in Queensland for the GCSB job, three years of living in Wellington has been enough for Fletcher and his family, given that the pending review of the GCSB would have required an even longer commitment from him. Three years of Wellington’s weather is enough for anyone... More>>

ALSO:

Ian Apperley: $10m Or $100m For New Wellington Council IT System?

I feel a Tui Billboard coming on. I commented the other day that it looked like the Council’s Ninth big project was a potential $100 million plus... The Mayor has responded: “I am reassured by the Chief Executive and by Anthony Wilson that the proposed budget is in the region of $10 million.” More>>

ALSO:

Southern Ocean:
Navy Intercepts Illegal Fishing Vessels

Foreign Minister Murray McCully today put illegal fishing vessels operating in the Southern Ocean on notice and vowed to take action against their owners. “As part of a multi-agency operation, the HMNZS WELLINGTON has intercepted two vessels claiming to be flagged to Equatorial Guinea, fishing illegally in the Southern Ocean.” Mr McCully says. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news