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Govt must release evidence to back up TPPA claim

Govt must release evidence to back up Brownlee’s $5 billion TPPA claim

The Government needs to release any official reports that back-up Gerry Brownlee’s claims in the House about the economic benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, Green Party Co-leader Dr Russel Norman said today.
When questioned in the House on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) in November this year Gerry Brownlee stated that there would be a ‘$5 billion year-on-year boost to our export economy’ from this agreement. In answers to written questions about Mr Brownlee’s claims the Green Party was told we would have to wait for any reports to back up Minister Brownlee’s claims.

“It is unacceptable for a Government Minister to claim $5 billion worth of benefits year on year to New Zealand from the TPPA and then for the Government to refuse to release any back up this claim,” Dr Norman said.

“The TPPA itself is being negotiated in secret, and now it seems any evidence to back up the Government’s ridiculously optimistic claims are to be withheld too.

“The other conclusion to be drawn from the Government refusing to release any evidence to back up Mr Brownlee’s claim is that there is no such evidence of the TPPA’s benefits.”

The Australian Productivity Commission's report from 2010 reached the conclusion that Australia's six bilateral and regional trade agreements were oversold and often failed to deliver real benefits to business. The report also found that trade agreements could actually reduce trade, by bringing in complicated rules which make it difficult to sell to countries not in the agreements.

“The alleged economic benefits of free trade agreements, such as the TPPA, are often oversold to the public while the downsides are hidden,” Dr Norman said.

“The TPPA has a number of negative aspects, such as the inclusion of investor state disputes clauses, which will enable multi-national corporations to sue the New Zealand Government in secretive international tribunals if the multi-national corporations don’t like decisions of the New Zealand Government.

“The inclusion of these clauses in the TPPA could restrict the ability of future governments to legislate for the good of public health and the environment, such as plain packaging of tobacco.

“Given that signing New Zealand up to the TPPA will open New Zealand up to being sued by multi-nationals from any of the 11 countries involved in these negotiations it is vital the public is presented with all the facts.
“In a democracy, people should have the right to know the detail of, and have input into, international agreements the Key Government intends to sign us up to,” Dr Norman said.


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