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

Greens: Russel Norman To Stand Down As Co-Leader

Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman has announced today that he will stand down as leader at the party’s Annual General Meeting in May. Dr Norman will remain as Co-leader and retain his finance and climate change portfolios until the AGM.

“After nearly a decade as Co-leader, now is a good time to find a new challenge for myself, and to spend more time with my family” said Dr Norman.

“This is my ninth year as Co-leader and I think it’s time for a change. Now is a good time for new leadership for the Party. My replacement will start from a strengthened base and will have a full parliamentary term to establish himself in the role and take the Greens into government in 2017." More>>

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Eleanor Catton Rumpus

If anyone was in doubt about the accuracy of the comments made in India by Eleanor Catton, the reaction from some quarters here at home has gone a long way to proving her point… More>>

ALSO:

More Rent Assistance, Less State-Owned Housing: John Key Speech - Next Steps In Social Housing

"We are going to ensure that more people get into social housing over the next three years, whether that is run by Housing New Zealand or a community provider. The social housing budget provides for around 62,000 income-related rent subsidies a year. We are committed to increasing that to around 65,000 subsidies by 2017/18, which will cost an extra $40 million a year." More>>

ALSO:

The Future Of Work: Andrew Little - State Of The Nation 2015

In 2005 when I led the EPMU we worked together with Air New Zealand to find a way to keep engineering jobs that were heading overseas. A lot of these workers were people I’d known for years and they were facing not just losing their jobs but not being able to find the kind of work they do without going overseas. A lot of people were facing personal and financial upheaval.... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Sabin Case, The Pressures On Greece And (Songs About) Coyotes

Mike Sabin is a National MP, and the current chairman of Parliament’s law and order committee. Yet reportedly, he is being investigated by the Police over an assault complaint... However, the PM will not comment on any aspect of the story. More>>

ALSO:

Houses, ISIS, King (& Catton): PM Post-Cabinet Press Conference

The Prime Minister met with reporters to discuss: • Social housing, the Auckland housing market • The prospect of joining international forces to combat ISIS • David Bain’s compensation • The lowering of the flag for the King of Saudi Arabia's death ... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On Tomorrow’s Speeches By John Key And Andrew Little

The Key government has already kicked off the political year on a stridently ideological note, with Environment Minister Nick Smith choosing to lay all manner of sins at the door of the RMA. Tomorrow, the government will wheeling out its best salesman – Prime Minister John Key – to sell its plans for state housing… . More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Politics
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news