Challenge to Dunne on investors’ ability to sue NZ
News media statement 28 February 2012
Challenge to Ohariu MP Peter Dunne’s silence on international investors’ ability to sue the NZ Government
MP Peter Dunne’s silence on how his support for the partial sale of state assets may expose the New Zealand Government to the possibility of being sued by international investors has been challenged by a local group People’s Power Ohariu. The group is setting up a local Citizens’ Select Committee to hear the views of voters on the issue.
“We expect Peter Dunne to reconsider his support for the National Government’s partial state asset sale programme in the light of highly likely provisions of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) “, says People’s Power Ohariu spokesperson John Maynard.
“One of the provisions of the TPPA currently being negotiated in secret is the proposed investor/government disputes process. Foreign corporations would be able to sue the New Zealand Government about Government action such as a law or administrative decision which may affect their profitability or asset values. Any challenge to New Zealand’s law-making sovereignty would take place in a secretive international tribunal and not in a New Zealand Court.
“The United States push for the TPPA to have greater control over state owned enterprises may hamstring the activities of SOEs and reduce the benefits New Zealanders receive from state assets.
“We are concerned that any decision among the nine countries which are party to the negotiations to settle a TPPA becomes binding on the citizens of New Zealand without any vote in the New Zealand Parliament or even a Parliamentary Select Committee hearing. It is a Cabinet decision only - and Peter Dunne is a member of that Cabinet.
“Last year the Government refused to hold a Parliamentary Select Committee hearing into the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.
“People’s Power Ohariu has been formed in response to Peter Dunne’s support for the sale of 49% of four Government owned power companies. The Government has a majority of only one vote in the 61 votes to 60 voting split on state asset sales. Without Peter Dunne’s vote there will be no partial sale of state assets”.
“NZ Council of Trade Unions economist Bill Rosenberg will be making a presentation at a public meeting in the Johnsonville Community Centre on Thursday evening. He will be talking about the sale of state assets and the problems which could be created by the so-called free trade and investment agreements like the TPPA.
The meeting will also establish an Ohariu Citizens’ Select Committee. The Committee will invite short written statements or submissions much like letters to the editor from local voters or other interested individuals or groups. Some may wish to make a short written or oral statement directly to the Committee at a hearing at the Johnsonville Community Centre on Thursday 22 March.
Following a protest outside Peter Dunne’s Johnsonville electorate office last week, groups of People’s Power supporters walked the route from Johnsonville to Parliament buildings trying ribbons and balloons to the 294 power poles along the route.
“We wanted to remind Peter Dunne as he travels from his electorate office to Parliament that the majority of voters both within the Ohariu electorate and also throughout the nation want the four power companies to remain tied up in 100% government ownership”.