Like a stern and somewhat supercilious grandfather, this week the editor of the Herald lectured us on the honour of being chosen to host the farce that is the ‘formal’ signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement by trade ministers from 12 nations of the Pacific rim.
The signing ceremony will supposedly take place on February 4th somewhere in or around Auckland. No-one official has confirmed the date or the place yet. We only know the ceremony is on because the Chileans got over-excited and spilled the beans.
Whatever the specifics, this signing means nothing. It is an expensive public relations stunt, for which we can only hope the New Zealand taxpayer is not footing the bill.
The text has already been agreed to and participatory countries are a long way off ratifying the deal. The TPP has to be ratified by all countries if it is to come into force within the next two years. It can come into force after 2 years and 3 months if at least six of them, including the US and Japan, have done so.
None of the leading US presidential candidates are in favour of the TPP, and some participatory countries are actually going to put the TPP to their whole parliament for a democratic decision. It could be voted down.
The goal of the signing ceremony is to make it appear that the TPP is a done deal, to quash opposition to it and to try to ensure a smooth passage to ratification.
The Herald concluded their lecture by telling us, “It should not be too much to ask that those philosophically opposed to free trade respect the views of those who disagree with them, and let this country host the occasion with dignity and pride.”
Sorry, but it is way too much to ask when our sovereignty is at stake. The TPP is not a done deal. We don’t want it. And we’re ‘not ready to make nice.’