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

Patience: Drive Safe

Be patient before passing is the AA's message for drivers this Labour weekend.

"People taking crazy risks to get past other vehicles is one of the most dangerous things on the road,” says AA spokesperson Dylan Thomsen.

“The weather is looking good for the long weekend so the roads will be busy. Unfortunately, that also increases the chances of people getting frustrated and trying a risky passing manoeuvre. When they get past, there will probably be more traffic up ahead anyway so it won’t get people there faster.” More>>

 
 

Parliament Today:

Employment Relations Bill: Govt Strains To Get Tea Break Law Through

The Government has been left with egg on its face - failing to get its much-vaunted, but hugely unpopular, meal break law passed in the first week of its new term, Labour spokesperson on Labour Issues Andrew Little says. More>>

ALSO:

Guns: Police Association Call To Arm Police Full Time

"The new minister gave his view, that Police do not need to be armed, while standing on the forecourt of parliament. The dark irony was that the interview followed immediately after breaking news of a gunman running amok in the Canadian parliament in Ottawa..." More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Tokenism Of New Zealand's Role Against Islamic State

Our contribution against IS will be to send SAS forces to train the Iraqis? That’s like offering trainers to General Custer just as the 7th cavalry reached the Little Big Horn. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Shell And Todd Caught Drilling Without Approval

Multi-national oil company Shell’s New Zealand arm and local energy giant Todd Energy have breached the new law governing New Zealand’s Exclusive Economic Zone, the Environmental Protection Authority says in an Oct. 10 document released by the Green Party. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Pharmac, Gough Whitlam And Sleater-Kinney

We’re not at the outset of these negotiations. The outset was six years ago, and negotiators were hoping to have some sort of ‘framework’ deal finished in time for the APEC meeting in a few weeks’ time. These ‘extreme’ positions are what we’ve reached near the intended end of the negotiations… More>>

ALSO:

PM Of Many Hats: Questions, No Answers On Whale Oil

Dr RUSSEL NORMAN (Co-Leader – Green) to the Prime Minister: How many times since November 2008 has he spoken with blogger Cameron Slater on the phone and how many times, if any, has he texted him?
Rt Hon JOHN KEY (Prime Minister): None in my capacity as Prime Minister. More>>

ALSO:

Aussie Investigation Dropped: Call On Minister McCully To Pursue The Case Of Balibo Five

West Papua Action is deeply concerned at the lack of any clear outcome from the Australian Federal Police inquiry into the 1975 deaths of the ‘Balibo Five’ including NZ journalist Gary Cunningham. More>>

ALSO:

'Feed The Kids' Bill: Metiria Turei To Lead Fight On Feeding Hungry Children

Green Party Co-leader Metiria Turei is urging all political parties to support the Feed the Kids Bill which she inherited today from Mana leader Hone Harawira. More>>

ALSO:

Parliament Today: State Opening Of Parliament

The House sat at 10.30am on Tuesday before MPs were summoned to hear the Speech from the Throne in the Legislative Council Chamber. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news