The TPP: Who Are The Misinformed?

Last week around 25,000 people marched in protest at the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. People of all ages and occupations – a good cross section of the community.

When asked by the media, marchers time and time again eloquently expressed their concern at the secrecy of negotiations, the impact on access to medicines and the cost to our health service, the inclusion of investor state dispute provisions which would allow corporations to sue our government in international tribunals, the impact on patents and copyright laws, the impact on both local bodies’ and government’s ability to procure goods and services locally, our ability to take measures to prevent climate change, the likelihood the TPP will override the Treaty of Waitangi, the fact that the agreement is binding for the foreseeable future no matter if we change the government. These are all legitimate concerns based on the information from the agreement leaked through Wikileaks. Continue reading

Throw Away the TPPA; Let’s Talk About What A Decent Trade Deal Should Look Like

The New York Times reported after the recently failed round of talks that one of the TPP negotiators has privately admitted that it is now almost easier to say “no” to the TPP than “yes”. It’s time to admit the TPP is a crock, throw it away and start again.

Unfortunately, promoters of the TPP have framed the debate as those who are for trade (“trade” meaning the TPP) versus those who are against trade. This has meant that many groups who have nothing to gain and much to lose, such as small businesses, have supported the TPP. They want to trade and they have been led to believe there is no alternative to the TPP. Nothing could be further from the truth. Now that talks have stalled it is a great time to seize the initiative and reframe the debate. Continue reading

Hawaii: A Watershed For The TPP?

Despite the hype, trade negotiators walked away from the latest round of Trans Pacific Partnership talks. They put on a brave face. They were 98% in agreement, so they say. And each participating country was quick to point out it wasn’t their fault negotiations failed. They bargained in good faith.

But fail they did, and for that the people of New Zealand and all the other countries involved should be truly grateful. The TPP is not a deal that will benefit any of us unless we have shares in one of the massive multinational corporations that would call the shots if the deal went ahead. Continue reading

Who Should Be Allowed to Buy Property in New Zealand?

Not too long ago houses were for living in and property was for doing something productive with. But these days, property is seen as something to make money out of just by owning for a while then selling.

It is a problem. Every time someone buys a house they don’t intend to live in, land they don’t intend to farm, or a commercial premise they don’t intend to run a business in, they make it that much harder for people who need a home, want to be farmers or to run their own business. Continue reading

New Zealand Needs More Cooperatives Not More Corporations

Does New Zealand really need more multinational corporations and mega-wealthy people setting up shop here?

The government’s recently announced plans to develop ‘the New Zealand Investment Attraction Strategy’ with the aim of attracting multinational corporations and wealthy entrepreneurs to New Zealand is hardly innovative thinking. The idea that our future prosperity depends on convincing the very wealthy to live here and multinationals to relocate their research and development facilities here is a slap in the face to local innovators and businesses. And to universities and government research centres that struggle for funding. Also ironic, given the billions of dollars in our superannuation fund, ACC funds, and Kiwisaver scheme which are largely invested overseas. Continue reading

Social Services: A Safe Bet, A Good Little Earner

The Minister of Social Development is clearly gearing up for TISA, (trades in services agreement). She announced recently that she was considering opening up government-funded social services to profit-making businesses – in other words, multinational corporations. Corporates seeking guaranteed profits from government coffers instead of gambling on the share markets or currency trading. Continue reading

Social Bond(age)

Not-for-Profits providing social services are not working hard enough, or smart enough. The people they support are not trying hard enough. Both need a corporate investor, whose profit margin is at stake, wielding a big stick to chivvy them along to lift their game. Hence the need for social bonds. Or so it is implied.

There are so many reasons why social bonds are a bad idea, and downright insulting to both service provider and service users, it is hard to know where to start. Continue reading