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

 


New Zealand’s Independence Not for Sale

New Zealand’s Independence Not for Sale, Says Internet Party


The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, Five Eyes intelligence sharing and the American Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act have put New Zealand’s sovereignty and independence at risk and must be immediately reviewed, says the Internet Party.

In its draft Independence policy released today, the Internet Party said New Zealand's sovereignty was being steadily eroded by shady backroom deals with foreign powers, impacting the ability of New Zealand to make its own decisions without undue influence.

“Over the past few years, there have been a number of challenges to our independence – the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), Five Eyes intelligence sharing and the Foreign Tax Account Compliance Act (FATCA),” said Internet Party Leader Laila Harré.

“We will take steps to prevent the erosion of New Zealand's independence. We have the right to make our own decisions without kowtowing to foreign countries. The influence of the United States Government, in particular, over New Zealand is truly alarming, and it’s all happening behind closed doors.”

Ms Harré said the Internet Party would shift the power to ratify international treaties such as the TPPA away from the executive and to Parliament, repeal laws giving the Government and its Five Eyes partners unprecedented spying powers and examine the possibility of taking the US to an international dispute or judicial forum such as the World Trade Organisation to put an end to the influence of FATCA on New Zealand law.

Through the Taxation (Annual Rates, Employee Allowances, and Remedial Matters) Bill, expected to come into force next month, the US FATCA law will compel New Zealand banks and other financial institutions to audit, gather and report information on all accounts that at any time during the year have a value of $50,000 or more held by US persons.

“It is an unacceptable, unilateral imposition of US law on New Zealand and New Zealanders,” said Ms Harré. “While FATCA is a US law covering ‘US persons’, it’s misleading in that it includes New Zealand citizens and residents, for example dual US/New Zealand citizens, New Zealand spouses of US citizens and those born in New Zealand to a US citizen. It will also require those not covered by the law to prove that they are not within its ambit.

“Compliance costs alone are astronomical. According to the New Zealand Bankers’ Association, FATCA will cost New Zealand banks $100 million to comply and the cost of compliance worldwide has been estimated at US$10-US$20 for every single dollar the Internal Revenue Service retrieves. In effect, we’ll be paying to be America’s tax collection agency.”

Ms Harré said FATCA was typical of the way New Zealand's independence was being undermined.

“It overrides our Privacy and Human Rights acts, with the New Zealand Government co-opted by the US Government to do its bidding. We will take the matter as far as the World Trade Organisation if necessary.”

The TPPA was yet another example of the current Government doing deals with overseas corporates and governments without public oversight.

“We’re being told that the TPPA will be good for New Zealand but the Government refuses to specifically say what’s being discussed or even who is involved,” said Ms Harré.

“Why the secrecy? Because, ultimately, there won’t be any benefit. New Zealanders will lose out. Free trade is a good thing but not if we’re trading off our investment, competition, health, copyright and labour laws to foreign governments and big corporates.”

Two examples that threaten New Zealand’s independence to make its own future decisions are Investor-State Dispute Settlement and the subversion of “regulatory coherence”.

“Under ISDS, foreign investors could claim that new laws and regulations introduced by the New Zealand government have breached their special rights, enabling them to sue for millions in damages in secretive offshore tribunals,” said Ms Harré.

“Regulatory coherence, meant to achieve greater domestic co-ordination of regulations and increase transparency, has been subverted by narrow corporate interests while neutering competing national priorities and democratic political institutions.”

The Internet Party will bring TPPA negotiations out into the open.

“Cabinet will not be able to use its executive power to ratify the TPPA without extensive and open public debate. Ratification will be made by Parliament based on a thorough understanding of all the pros and cons. If the costs of the TPPA outweigh the benefits for New Zealand, or compromise our independence in any way, we will not support it.”

The Internet Party’s draft Independence policy is now online for review and discussion on the policy forum. The work-in-progress policy document is available here.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Parliament Today:

Werewolf: The Defence Pretence

Last year, the world began spending more money on weapons again, for the first time since 2011... New Zealand belongs to a region – Asia and Oceania – where military spending rose sharply in 2015, by 5.4 per cent. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Not Crying Foul, Argentina

So a couple of guys found to be criminally liable of environmental pollution in Argentina lodge an application with the Overseas Investment Office… in order to buy some prime New Zealand rural land. Seems that their factory back home had carelessly and/or intentionally discharged toxic waste into the Lujan river. Bummer... More>>

ALSO:

Urban & Rural: $303m To Merge And Modernise New Zealand’s Fire Services

Internal Affairs Minister Peter Dunne today announced funding of $303 million over five years to combine urban and rural fire services into one organisation from mid-2017. More>>

ALSO:

High Trust Regime: What Did The PM Tell His Lawyer About Foreign Trusts?

The Government stopped the IRD from reviewing New Zealand foreign trusts shortly after the Prime Minister’s lawyer wrote to the Revenue Minister claiming John Key had promised him the regime would not be changed. More>>

ALSO:

Road Crime: Wicked Campers Vans Classified As Objectionable

The definition of publication includes any "thing that has printed or impressed upon it, or otherwise shown upon it, 1 or more (or a combination of 1 or more) images, representations, signs, statements, or words", The Classification Office has previously classified such 'things' as billboards, t-shirts, and even a drink can. This is the first time the Classification Office has classified a vehicle. More>>

ALSO:

'When New' Repairs: Landmark EQC Settlement

The Earthquake Commission has cut a deal with 98 Canterbury homeowners that affirms the government entity's responsibility to repair earthquake-damaged property to a 'when new' state, as well as covering repairs for undamaged parts of a property and clarifying its position on cash settlement calculations. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Kiwirail’s Latest Stint In The Dogbox

The denigration of Kiwirail continues. The latest review (based on a 2014 assessment) of the options facing the company have enabled Kiwirail to be hung out to dry once again as a liability and burden on the taxpayer. More>>

ALSO:

Royal Society Report: Good Opportunities To Act Now On Climate Change

There are many actions New Zealand can and should take now to reduce the threat of climate change and transition to a low-carbon economy, a report released today by the Royal Society of New Zealand finds... More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news