The Trans-Pacific Partnership Charade

The Trans-Pacific is a corporate raid. It’s about stealing our sovereignty and killing democracy. Investor-state dispute settlement provisions mean that when big corporates tell us to jump, the only thing we will be able to do is ask “how high?”

The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative have confirmed that negotiators from the 12 participating countries will meet in Hawaii from March 9 to 15 to try to wrap up the Trans-Pacific free trade agreement. We can’t let that happen.

Time to dust off the banners and take to the streets again on March 7th to try to get the message across to New Zealanders and the New Zealand government that this agreement is a crock and we should have no part of it. There will be marches in 22 towns and cities across New Zealand. Similar actions are happening in the other 11 participating countries. Continue reading

Sky City; Walk Away Or Run?

Sky City doesn’t need any government help. This week they announced revenue of over $500 million and a half year profit of just over $66 million.

There can be no justification for handing over any taxpayers money to Sky City, certainly not over $100 million of it. Sky City can well afford to build whatever it wants to out of its own operating profits. They’ve already been gifted a piece of public land in downtown Auckland to build the convention centre. Not to mention a 27-year extension to its licence and the right to have an extra 230 pokies and up to 52 more gaming tables. The government has been generous to a fault – at our expense. Continue reading

No One Wants You to Look the Other Way, John

Our Prime Minister defended sending New Zealand troops to Iraq to join the fight against Islamic State, in his speech at the Waitangi Marae. Mr Key attacked his critics, saying that by opposing sending New Zealand troops they are asking him to stand by and do nothing. To use his own words, “to look the other way when people are being beheaded by kids, burned by kids, and thrown off buildings.”

He’s got that wrong. No one wants him, or New Zealand, to look the other way. What we don’t want is New Zealand trotting along behind yet another US led offensive. US forays into Middle Eastern disputes in the past two decades have been spectacularly unsuccessful. Continue reading

Greece Is The Word

Things finally got so bad that the people of Greece did the unthinkable. They voted in a far left government. “Far left” defined these days as any government that is prepared to increase minimum wages, retain state assets, recognize unions, have a social security system, and reduce unemployment. Nothing that would have caused the blink of an eyelid 40 years ago in many countries, New Zealand included. Continue reading

A Hundred Billionaires Say “Lend Me Your Ears”

Not wanting to rain on anyone’s parade, but the picture of our Prime Minister and leaders of most of the other nations of the world “speed dating in first class” with corporate leaders and sundry other ultra rich and famous at DAVOS, is not a pretty one. A hundred billionaires bending the ears of the most influential politicians of the day has got to be bad news for the rest of us. Continue reading

What’s Next, Privatizing Air?

Not one but two trade deals, the TPP and TISA (Trade in Services Agreement) are percolating over the holiday period. The TPP will allow corporates to set the rules for over 40% of world trade. TISA will break open financial and other services, even essential infrastructure and social services, to make it easier for corporates to come in and take control, profits, and our privacy off to whatever tax haven they are registered in. Continue reading

The Govt Is Worried About Terrorism, But What About Torture?

This week the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its report on the CIA Detention and Interrogation Programme. We officially learned that the US was running a state sanctioned torture programme on people detained at the detention centre at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base until 2009, and probably at other detention centres as well. The programme was allegedly designed by two ex Navy psychologists whose company was paid $81 million by the US government for its work.

What happens now? There is no excuse for torture, anytime, anywhere. The perpetrators must be held accountable. Continue reading