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Let’s not do it - Plans to oppose the rebrand of the TPPA

Let’s not do it - Plans to oppose the rebrand of the TPPA

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It’s Our Future Wellington
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Opponents to the rebrand of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will gather at a Wellington event on Thursday 8 February to let the Minister of Trade David Parker know that they will continue to challenge the Government’s plans to sign up. There is nothing “progressive” about the revised agreement. In fact, not much has changed except the spin. Next week, legal experts Professor Jane Kelsey and Dr Burcu Kilic will hold a public meeting to discuss the issues as part of a nationwide tour.

Prior to last year’s election, the Labour Party, New Zealand First and the Green Party all said that they would not support ratification of the TPPA. During the parliamentary examination of the text, Labour cited concerns about sovereignty, secrecy and inadequate economic modelling leading to uncertainty in projected outcomes; the Greens added that the TPPA is “inimical to the imperative of sustainability”; and New Zealand First focused on the anticipated dangers of Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).

On Thursday, ExportNZ and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade are hosting a meeting at Rutherford House at which Minister Parker will tell the attendees that those issues have been fixed in recent negotiations.

But the “new” text is exactly the same, the only change being that 22 of the 1,000+ original provisions have been suspended. These provisions have not been removed and they will almost certainly be revived when the USA comes back on board, as Donald Trump has indicated.

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Thus, the rebranded Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) contains the core investor protections that are predicted to restrict the ability of Parliament to make laws in the interests of New Zealanders. There has been no health impact assessment or analysis of the economic costs and benefits, as the governing parties called for when they were in opposition. The Crown has not discussed how it intends to strengthen protections for Māori, as recommended by the Waitangi Tribunal. And it is all well and good for the Prime Minister to call climate change her generation’s “nuclear-free moment”, but that sort of rhetoric would be undercut by signing up to an agreement that underwrites the neoliberal status quo and prevents government action on environmental concerns.

Come along to Rutherford House, 23 Lambton Quay, on Thursday 8 February at 5.30 pm to tell the Minister not to sign the agreement, and find out more from Professor Kelsey and Dr Kilic at Wesley Church, 75 Taranaki Street, on Wednesday 14 February at 6.30 pm.

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