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Democratic process on the TPPA abused yet again

What’s the rush?

Democratic process on the TPPA abused yet again

Throughout the six years of secretive TPPA negotiations, the Prime Minister promised that there would be an opportunity for people to have their say in Parliamentary processes. However, the so-called ‘democratic’ process has been a systematically undermined and abused. The TPPA Inquiry makes a mockery of the role of Parliamentary Committees to provide scrutiny of international agreements and ensure accountability of government Ministers.

The latest signal that government was not taking the process seriously was the decision to cut the preparation time for the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee report from four weeks to five days.

It’s Our Future spokesperson, Barry Coates commented: “This is an insult to the 330 submitters who have given oral evidence, and over 3000 submitters to the Inquiry.”

“The only way that a report could be completed in five days is if the National Party members who make up the majority on the Committee blatantly ignore the public submissions and merely regurgitate the government position.”

The Committee’s processes have been rushed from the start. The Committee refused to extend the submissions period, despite many requests to allow enough time for submitters to analyse over 6000 pages of complex legal text. The Committee’s deadline for submissions occurred before the information meetings that the government held in regional centres.

Opposition MPs on the committee were told the government wanted to cut down the time they had to analyse the submissions, so the TPPA enabling legislation could get through by the end of the year. But the earliest the TPPA could come into force is February 2018, and the TPPA is in trouble in the US. The four leading Presidential candidates oppose the TPPA and it may never be passed.

Barry Coates commented: “What’s the rush? It appears that the government is abusing the democratic process and rushing the TPPA through in order to avoid the TPPA being an issue in the 2017 election.”

“Public opinion polling has shown that a majority of Kiwis don’t want the TPPA. Our nationwide campaign against the TPPA will ensure that voters are reminded about where governments stand on the TPPA when they go into polling booths next year.”


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