Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

TPPA secrecy scales bizarre new heights

12 May 2014

For immediate release

TPPA secrecy scales bizarre new heights

‘The government has maintained an absurd veil of secrecy over the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and it keeps getting worse’, according to University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey.

‘The only detailed information available to New Zealanders has been the result of leaked texts and me going to the meetings to talk to negotiators and get a sense of what is happening.’

It has become extremely difficult even to find out when and where meetings are taking place.

‘I have been forced to rely on urgent Official Information Act requests, usually to confirm information received from elsewhere, and to find out who is attending on behalf of the New Zealand government’, Kelsey said.

Despite the lack of information and very late notice, Professor Kelsey has been travelling to these meetings at considerable personal expense and talking with negotiators from various countries about the areas she is monitoring most closely.

Officials are negotiating again in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam this week before a meeting of ministers in Singapore on 19-20 May. As Professor Kelsey observed ‘no one would know. There has been no public announcement and nothing on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.’

Five days ago the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade responded to another urgent request from Professor Kelsey, dated 15 April, advising which negotiators working on what issues would be at this week’s meeting.

‘But they have refused to tell me the dates when the particular groups will be negotiating, despite me explaining that I am only able to be in Vietnam later in the week and want to know which groups would still be meeting then.’

Their justification was ‘privacy and security’. ‘Since when has the dates on which officials will be representing the government in negotiations been a matter of privacy? Who and what are the potential threats to security?’, Kelsey asked.

‘I am forced to rely on negotiators from other countries to tell me when they are meeting, rather than from my own government. This is just bizarre’.

The TPPA negotiations have been underground since last formal round in Brunei in August 2013. Since then, there have been two formal ministerial meetings, preceded by negotiating rounds involving officials in the key unresolved areas, including investment, state-owned enterprises, intellectual property, and market access for agriculture.

Media have been invited to register for these meetings. But there has been no pretence of providing even the ‘stakeholder’ registration and perfunctory briefings they were forced to provide earlier in the process because of the outcry over secrecy.

Professor Kelsey will appeal to the Ombudsman against the refusal to release the information. But assuming the precise dates when each group is negotiating are released, that will be too late to adjust travel arrangements.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On What Triggered The Carnage In Gaza

At last count, 195 Palestinians have reportedly died in the latest round of violence, 55 of them children. Roughly ten times that number have been wounded, and thousands made homeless. On the Israeli side, 8 people have died from rockets fired from Gaza. The imbalance in casualties reflects the vast gap in weaponry between the two sides. The Israelis are carrying out air strikes with impunity on densely populated civilian neighbourhoods... More>>

 

Budget 2021: Boosts Carbon Neutral Government Commitment

· Budget 2021 delivers $67.4 million to support the transition to a carbon neutral public sector by 2025 · State Sector Decarbonisation Fund receives significant boost to support more schools, hospitals and other government organisations to replace ... More>>

Government: To Rev Up Reductions In Transport Emissions

The Government is calling for feedback on a range of potential policies to eliminate emissions in the transport sector. Transport Minister Michael Wood today released Hīkina te Kohupara – Kia mauri ora ai te iwi - Transport Emissions: Pathways to ... More>>

KiwiSaver: Default Provider Scheme Improvements Slash Fees, Boosts Savings

Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders will be significantly better off in retirement following changes to the default KiwiSaver scheme, Finance Minister Grant Robertson and Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister David Clark said today. More>>

ALSO:

Child Poverty: Reports Highlight Need For Ongoing Action

The Government has released the first Annual Report for the Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy and the second Child Poverty Related Indicators (CPRI) Report, both of which highlight improvements in the lives of children as a result of actions of the Government, ... More>>

ALSO:

PM: Statement On The Speaker And Annual Review Debate

“The serious issue of alleged sexual assault and harassment at Parliament was poorly managed and inappropriately politicised last night. The tone of the debate did not reflect well on Parliament as a whole,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. ... More>>

Parliament: Mallard Fails To Give Taxpayers A Straight Answer

Trevor Mallard has confirmed he is unfit to be Parliament’s Speaker by failing to answer several important questions relating to the false rape accusation saga that cost taxpayers more than $330,000, Shadow Leader of the House Chris Bishop says. ... More>>

Local Government: Independent Review To Explore Future

Local Government Minister Nanaia Mahuta says an independent review of local government will explore how councils can maintain and improve the wellbeing of New Zealanders in the communities they serve long into the future. More>>

ALSO:


 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels