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Key’s trade deal puts NZ at risk of being sued

14 June 2012

Key’s trade deal puts NZ at risk of being sued

The Government must not sign up to the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement if it means opening New Zealand up to being sued by overseas multi-national corporations, Green Party Co-Leader Dr Russel Norman said today.

The Trans Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) being negotiated at present would open up New Zealand Governments now, and in the future, to litigation from major offshore corporations through the use of investor state disputes mechanisms. A leaked draft copy shows New Zealand has signed up to this part of the Trans Pacific Partnership agreement.

“Investor state dispute clauses are anti-democratic because they limit New Zealand’s ability to make domestic laws,” said Dr Norman.

“These clauses give multi-national corporations the right to sue the New Zealand Government if they don’t like the laws the Government passes.

“If, for example, a future Government were to tighten the environmental standards around offshore oil drilling, the foreign oil companies could sue the Government to compensate them for the cost of implementing the new standards.

“Signing up to the TPP with investor state dispute clauses will also give big tobacco more power to pressure New Zealand into backing down on our current anti-smoking health initiatives.

“The Australian Government has realised the dangers of these clauses and will not be signing up to investor state dispute clauses in the TPP.

“The Key Government should follow suit and categorically rule such clauses out,” said Dr Norman.

“Signing this agreement will not just impact on current Government policy but has the potential to constrain future Governments.”

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