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

 


Prevention of fracking harms would be shackled by trade deal

MEDIA RELEASE

Monday 9 June 2014

Prevention of fracking harms would be shackled by trade deal

A new report concludes that fracking practices in NZ pose risks to health and the environment. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has recommended that regulations be overhauled and tightened to protect New Zealanders from harm. But the Government’s secret trade negotiations would allow foreign fossil fuel companies to sue us if we do so. Again, this report demonstrates how the TPPA will undermine our sovereignty in addressing our most important public health issues like climate change.

Dr Alex Macmillan, acting co-convenor and spokesperson for OraTaiao: The NZ Climate and Health Council says the report’s conclusion “confirms concerns that were raised in a recent Open Letter to the Prime Minister from over 270 NZ health professionals on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPPA)”.

The Letter highlights how diminished the Government’s powers to regulate harmful commercial activities would be under the proposed agreement. Foreign fossil fuel companies would be entitled to sue NZ taxpayers in an off shore tribunal if new domestic laws or regulations are introduced that are deemed to undermine the value of their investment or reduce their profits, even if they are introduced to protect health and the environment.

According to Dr Macmillan, “Fossil fuel companies have an extensive track record of making claims against governments under existing investment treaties such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which is a forerunner of the TPPA”1.

“For example, right now in Canada a US oil and gas firm is seeking compensation of 250 million dollars from Canadian tax payers in response to a partial moratorium on fracking under the St Lawrence River until further risk assessment studies are completed2,” she adds. “The rules that allow these law suits tie the hands of regulators and make it very difficult for national or local governments to change their policies in response to emerging health risks” says Dr Macmillan.

“Even the threat of these rules being used can deter governments from introducing new regulations, despite overwhelming evidence of risks to health. We are already seeing health concerns take a back seat to transnational corporate profits in response to domestic laws on cigarette packaging in Australia. Hundreds of corporate advisors have access to draft texts of the TPPA, while health experts and the wider public have been kept in the dark,” she adds.

The potential risks of fracking to human health and the environment include contamination of land and water supplies with toxic chemicals and heavy metals introduced or generated during the fracking process3-7. The example of fracking demonstrates why current and future NZ governments must retain their sovereign right to regulate in the interest of public health without the threat of being sued by foreign investors. “This is why every New Zealander should be informed about the implications of the TPPA and realise that this proposed agreement would affect far more than just trade”, ends Dr Macmillan.

ENDS


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Local Governments To Decide: Easter Trading Bill Passes

The union representing working people in the retail industry is condemning the Government for whipping its MPs to pass the controversial Shop Trading Hours Amendment Bill. More>>c

ALSO:

Departure Speech: Governor-General’s State Farewell Luncheon

"...Unfortunately I was unable to get to the Antarctic, the Chatham Islands and the Kermadecs. A dicky heart thwarted our travel to the Antarctic; and even though I volunteered to parachute into the Kermadecs to join the Young Blake expedition, time, commitments and officials frustrated my plans to visit the Kermadecs and Chathams." More>>

ALSO:

New Research: Most Homeless People Working Or Studying

“The cost of housing has been rising without corresponding increases in income, whilst the number of state houses per capita has been in decline. Many low-income people are missing out on housing, whether we recognise them as ‘homeless’ or not. More>>

ALSO:

Post-Traynor: New Offender Info Sharing Plan

“This Bill delivers on that step-change by moving away from name-based records held by individual agencies to a shared, anchor identity based on unalterable information, such as fingerprints and facial recognition. It also gives agencies access to the drivers’ licence photo database and birth, death and marriages information." More>>

  • NZ Law Foundation - New $2M fund for research on information challenges
  • Littoral: New Ship To Deliver Enhanced Naval Capability

    Defence Minister Gerry Brownlee says the Government has approved a Ministry of Defence and New Zealand Defence Force recommendation to request tenders for a new naval ship to support littoral operations. More>>

    July:

    After King's Labour Snub: Māori Party And Kiingitanga To Work Together

    Māori Party Co-leaders Te Ururoa Flavell and Marama Fox met with Kiingitanga representatives in Wellington yesterday to discuss working together on key issues for the betterment of Māori. More>>

    ALSO:

    Waitangi Claim On Rehabilitation: The 'Justus' System For Māori Not Good Enough

    Closing statements at the Waitangi Tribunal case against Corrections called for immediate steps and a comprehensive review to address the high rate of Māori reoffending. More>>

    ALSO:

    Advice: PM Sets Rules For Ministers' Treatment Of Public Servants

    Prime Minister John Key has laid down the law about the way ministers and public servants should interact, saying ministers may not always like the advice they receive, but they must listen to it carefully, respectfully and professionally. More>>

    Gordon Campbell: On The Funding Changes In Special Needs Education, And Uber

    The plan to strip out the educational support for older “special needs” children in order to meet the existing shortfall in funding for special needs in early childhood education is so miserly and relentlessly stupid as to defy belief… More>>

    SPECIAL EDUCATION (& More):

    Online Learning Plans:

    Get More From Scoop

     

    LATEST HEADLINES

     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Politics
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news