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

Gordon Campbell: On Labour’s Policy Resurgence, And Alex Chilton

For much of this year, almost all the diversity in politics has been down at the retail end, where apparent differences reside in the tone, and in details. Up at the wholesale end – in the economic settings that drive the engine of politics – the story has been of convergence, exemplified by Labour and the Greens signing up to the Budget Responsibility Rules...

However, and only three months out from the election, there is finally some genuine good news. Twice this week, Labour has released policy that has well and truly gotten up the nose of the sort of lobby groups that it has spent most of 2017 trying to cultivate. More>>

 

Right In The Thiels: Just 12 Days In NZ Before Citizenship

DIA have received advice from the Ombudsman that a detail originally redacted from the citizenship file of Peter Thiel released in January for privacy reasons should be made available by 27 July. More>>

ALSO:

Domestic Violence And Teachers: Members’ Bills Ballot

The ballot was held, and resulted in the following bills being drawn:
54 Sentencing (Domestic Violence) Amendment Bill - Hon Nanaia Mahuta
16 Education (Teaching Council of Aotearoa) Amendment Bill - Chris Hipkins More>>

ALSO:

Legislation: Point England Housing Bill Passed

The passage of the Point England Development Enabling Bill through Parliament this evening will benefit Auckland with additional housing, help resolve Ngāti Paoa’s Treaty claim and improve the local environment and recreation facilities, Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith says. More>>

ALSO:

Cyberducation: Digital Curriculum Launch And Funding Package

Consultation on new digital technologies content for the New Zealand Curriculum and Te Marautanga o Aotearoa, the Māori-medium Curriculum, was launched today by Education Minister Nikki Kaye. More>>

ALSO:

PM's Press Conference: Red Socks And Secret Tapes

Prime Minister Bill English began his post-cabinet press conference by explaining how well the National Party's annual conference went. He also mentioned today's announcement of changes to the EQC disaster insurance legislation and wished Emirates Team New Zealand well in the America's Cup. More>>

Max Rashbrooke: On How To Make Government More Open

International surveys, while often complimentary, have also pinpointed major weaknesses: political donations are badly regulated, for instance, and appointments to government boards frequently go to those with strong political connections. More>>

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages

Opening the Election
 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog