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Upper Hutt City Council adopts a TPPA Free Zone policy

Upper Hutt City Council adopts a TPPA Free Zone policy as a precaution to the imposition of the Trans Pacific Partnership.1

The Upper Hutt City Council in a close vote at its 24 February Council meeting adopted an 8 point policy resolution in respect to the TPP.

Whilst there were divergent views on the merits of the resolution all Councillors who spoke offered praise to the representatives of the community who had presented to Council.

Councillor Steve Taylor who opposed the resolution stated during his contribution to the debate, “I welcome the debate on the TPP and congratulate the community representatives for your quality presentations. This is what democracy is about.”

The policy asks that central government initiates a full public and parliamentary debate, and gain clear consent from the people, before proceeding with formal consideration of the TPP, including any further binding treaty action.

The policy statement recognises that the people of New Zealand have not provided their consent for the TPP treaty. Many New Zealand and international experts in a variety of fields of endeavour have criticised the TPP as it places the rights of corporations and profits before the rights of the people of the TPP nation's right to; a clean environment, public health protection and publicly interested legislation.

Additionally many New Zealand Councils have adopted an TPP policy solution which aims to protect the public interest The policy in clause 5, 'Asks that Central Government carry out independent human rights, health and environmental impact assessments of the potential effects of the TPAP on the people and the land of New Zealand, as urged by the United Nations independent expert Alfred de Zayas, and make this information publicly available.'

Clause 6 of the policy instructs the UHCC Mayor to write to Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) requesting that a local government evaluation, based on an independent analysis of the implications of the TPP for local government, and for the social, cultural, economic, environmental and health and wellbeing of communities, be undertaken as a basis of LGNZ input into parliamentary consideration, and that the evaluation report should be made publicly available and widely publicised.' Clause 7 “..Upper Hutt City Council is a TPPA free zone where the constraints imposed by the TPPA, and the changes to national and local legislation to make our area comply with TPPA requirements are not supported by the Upper Hutt City Council.” This declaration is made as a precaution until all the requirements in the resolution are concluded satisfactorily.

In the public forum prior to the Council adopting the policy, TPP Action's Greg Rzesniowiecki closed with these remarks; “New Zealand, the people and its political establishment, must seize the opportunity to make an informed choice with all the cards on the table. It is futile to cry after the milk is spilt.”

Greg speaking following the Council decision, offered; “It is only through people debating the benefits and fish-hooks of the TPP that they will discover the nature and implication of it. I agree with Steve Taylor that democracy is the basis of our governance system. Democracy is all about people standing in their power and engaging in the governance processes that impact their lives.' The Full resolution states: THAT the Council:

1. Notes the tabled information.

2. Reviews the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) text against the TPP Policy Solution adopted by councils representing a majority (60%) of the NZ population.

3. Asks that Central Government initiates a full public and parliamentary debate before proceeding with formal consideration of the TPP, including any further binding treaty action.

4. Asks that Central Government carry out independent human rights, health and environmental impact assessments of the potential effects of the TPP on the people and the land of New Zealand, as urged by the United Nations independent expert Alfred de Zayas, and make this information publicly available.

5. Asks that Central Government consults with local government prior to any further 2 action taken that might compromise the ability of local government to make decisions in the interests of our region, the people and their environment.

6. Instructs the Council’s Mayor to write to the President of LGNZ, requesting that a local government evaluation, based on an independent analysis of the implications of the TPP for local government, and for the social, cultural, economic, environmental and health and wellbeing of communities, be undertaken as a basis of LGNZ input into parliamentary consideration, and that the evaluation report should be made publicly available and widely publicised.

7. Declares until such time as there is robust debate and convincing protection of local government decision-making for the benefit of residents, citizens and ratepayers, and an analysis of how these issues will be addressed at local government level, Upper Hutt City Council is a TPPA free zone where the constraints imposed by the TPPA, and the changes to national and local legislation to make our area comply with TPPA requirements are not supported by the Upper Hutt City Council.

8. Directs that this resolution and background information be circulated to all other councils and local and community boards around New Zealand and that it is sent immediately to the New Zealand Minister of Trade and Prime Minister Ends.

ENDS

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