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Parliament should review international treaty powers

“The parliamentary select committee should call for a review of the government’s treaty-making powers before rushing in to ratify the TPPA,” says Oliver Hailes, spokesperson for It’s Our Future, in anticipation of next week’s hearings on the controversial economic treaty. “We need modern forms of accountability before we commit to these mega agreements.”

This morning It’s Our Future delivered a written submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee in support of its TPPA-11: Don’t Do It! petition, which was signed by thousands and delivered to Green MP Golriz Ghahraman outside Parliament on the day the revived treaty was signed in Chile.

“The TPPA exposes serious problems with New Zealand’s treaty-making powers, which remain dominated by MFAT in the interests of exporters, foreign investors and multinational corporations while Parliament and the public are kept in the dark.”

“Since the Prime Minister’s tour of Europe, there have been remarks that the TPPA could serve as a template for treaties with the EU and Commonwealth nations. Trump continues to hint that the US will be looking to join the TPPA in the near future, and there have been expressions of interest from Thailand, South Korea and the UK."

"We have to set things right before ratification.”

The petition demands democratic overhaul of the process for negotiating, signing and ratifying international treaties dealing with trade, investment and economic integration.

The Government plans to launch its Trade for All Agenda in the coming weeks, which will involve a public conversation about the role of trade in New Zealand.

But Mr Hailes says this initiative would be wholly undercut if the TPPA is ratified without a thorough review of the treaty-making process. This may require an update of the Law Commission's report into this issue, which is now 20 years out of date, and ultimately an Act of Parliament.

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