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Secret trade agreement bad for education and democracy

Secret trade agreement bad for education and democracy

It is not acceptable that trade negotiators could be secretly signing away control over our education system, says TEU national secretary Sharn Riggs.

The TEU is one of several applicants taking the government to court over its refusal to share secret Transpacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) documents.

“Even after the TPPA has been agreed we still do not know what is in it,” says Riggs.

“We do know that it is may affect university libraries’ ability to share information, future governments’ ability to cut subsidies to overseas for-profit tertiary institutions, and polytechnics’ ability to set affordable tuition fees for New Zealand students.”

Riggs says New Zealanders should have been able to see and debate the agreement before they had it imposed upon them.

“If the government wants to make international rules that affect how we teach, then it should send teaching experts to do the job publicly, not secret trade officials who don’t know the effects their decisions could have on education.”

TEU is one of seven applicants supporting Professor Jane Kelsey’s judicial review of the trade minister’s decision not to release secret TPPA documents under the Official Information Act.

ends

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