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"Undemocratic" timeframe for public opinion on TPPA

Government asks public for opinion on TPPA but only gives four weeks

The CTU is calling on the Government to genuinely listen to New Zealanders about the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

“The four week period announced for the Select Committee to hear submissions is simply undemocratic,”

“Public interest in the TPPA has been high. We have seen the medical, intellectual property, Maori, environmental, local government and many other sectors very active on this issue. These communities need more time to properly make their views known,” CTU Secretary Sam Huggard said.

The full text of the letter follows below.


Mark Mitchell

Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee

Parliament

Dear Mark,

The New Zealand Council of Trade Unions Te Kauae Kaimahi (CTU) has many concerns about the TPPA and intends to make a submission to your inquiry into it.

As you know, the CTU has previously made submissions to your committee on similar agreements and raised our longstanding concerns about the processes surrounding the ratification of treaties which exclude effective public input.

We are very disappointed that only four weeks have been allowed for submissions, especially given the huge public interest in the TPPA and its complexity which even experts are still coming to grips with. It is further complicated by the other four treaties whose examination occurs concurrently with the TPPA and are part of the same process.

We note that Trade Minister Todd McClay has stated publicly that he is “open to the public being given more time to have their say on the Trans-Pacific Partnership” (http://www.newstalkzb.co.nz/news/politics/mcclay-open-to-public-being-given-more-time-to-have-say-on-tpp/). We urge you to take the same approach.

We are supporters of It’s Our Future, the New Zealand organising network on the TPPA and are aware it has written to you about this matter. We support their call for a process that is accessible and thorough, and for:

1. A longer time period for submissions.
2.
3. Hearings in different cities across New Zealand, beyond the four main centres.
4.
5. The Committee to look at the full range of research on the interpretation and likely impacts of the TPPA, particularly given the narrow reliance on MFAT sources in the National Interest Analysis.

ends

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