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Scoop Audio: Jane Kelsey On The TPP Text

Scoop Audio: Jane Kelsey On The TPP Text

Professor Jane Kelsey held a TPP briefing for media in the Green Party's Parliamentary offices today. She covered the current timeline and obstacles for US and NZ adoption of the agreement, the status of NZ challenges relating to negotiations, specific issues so far raised by the released text, and plan for full analysis in the New Zealand context.

Side-letters to the text are still being released and these both change the detail of the agreement for specific countries and suggest and suggest how the deal was expected to operate by different negotiators.

Click a link to play audio (or right-click to download) in either
MP3 format or in OGG format.

She had received a Government response to the court judgment on her Official Information Act for TPP negotiation documents. She gathered the Government was unlikely to appeal but would continue to use procedural delays. An urgent Waitangi Tribunal hearing has been pending on the release of the text and discussions on the topics covered by this are underway. It is unclear whether either of these processes will be completed before NZ signs the agreement. Ratification is likely to involve Parliamentary votes only on a few laws.

Issues Kelsey noted with the agreement include disagreement over interpretation on the period for protection of biologicals, the removal of references protecting action on climate change from challenge, favorable conditions for investor including the ability to challenge not just for breach of the trade agreement but for breach of contracts, lack of an agreed process for investor/state disputes, weak privacy and security protections for international data transfers, protection of digital locks, and limitations to NZ's 'non-conforming measure' carveouts.

Kelsey said the Government's claims about the benefits of the agreement were based assumptions and projections "plucked out of the air" and did not include any of the known or likely costs.

She said NZ would have to change the wording on its carveout on investment for the agreement to meet Labour's bottom line of allowing restrictions on non-resident house ownerships. She also said the agreement meets none of Labour's other bottom lines either.

Follow a grant from the Law Foundation there will be expert peer-reviewed analysis of the main implications of the agreement in the New Zealand context. She expected these to begin appearing soon.

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