‘Trade for All’ by Jen Olsen

I am a Co-convener of the Alliance party and I was an organiser for TPP Action Dunedin. I have made a number of submissions detailing the views of many New Zealanders and the potential impacts on the health and well-being of our land and people from the type of multinational investor led trade treaty that we have seen with the CPTPP, RCEP, and PACER plus.

I believe we need to recognise that this old style of trade agreement has led us down the dead end road of unsustainable economic activity which takes place only to increase investment returns. We need to think differently about trade, view it through the lens of our knowledge about climate change and consider the well-being of our trading partners. Trade should be a vehicle to increase human well-being, it should be fair and it should encourage only sustainable activity. We know that inequality is a major contributor to social unrest in the world today and that resources are not fairly distributed. Fair trade does not take advantage of less powerful trading partners, exploit workers, or deplete natural resources. It allows the free flow of knowledge and encourages co-operative activity. Continue reading

A Living Wage Might Be Our Best Shot At Saving The Planet

Our planet is awash with stuff. Stuff produced using energy provided by fossil fuels, in the main. Stuff that is made out of petroleum-based products. Stuff that uses up valuable and finite resources, such as fresh water and minerals. Stuff that requires pesticides and other harmful chemicals to grow and to process. Slowly but surely, all this stuff is stuffing up the planet. Continue reading

No Ownership Of Ideas

New ideas don’t come out of thin air. They build on information that is already in the public domain, provided by past generations of innovative thinkers and on public education systems that teach people the skills they need to extend existing thinking.

If ever there was a time when new ideas were needed, it is now. The biggest problem facing the planet is climate change. And it is unique, in that if everyone doesn’t adopt measures to combat global warming, no one will be safe. What we do as individuals, or individual countries, is useless unless everyone elsewhere follows suit. This has major implications. Continue reading

What To Do About Te Kuha?

The new Labour / New Zealand First / Greens government will be tested by the Buller District Council’s decision to grant resource consent to Stevenson mining to establish the Te Kuha mine, a 109 hectare coal mine not far from Westport. The mine will traverse public conservation land and land managed by the Buller District council.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has described climate change as her generation’s nuclear-free moment. It is a great soundbite, but if the new government is serious about climate change they have no choice but to overrule the Buller Council’s decision. We have to give up fossil fuels. The coal needs to stay in the ground. Continue reading

The TPP Is Gone, John, Time To Move On

Our Prime Minister, John Key, seems to be struggling to come to terms with the fact that the TPP is gone. The battle has been lost. The US will never accept it without major concessions like a 12 year patent period on biologics. US Pharmaceutical Corporations’ profits versus people’s access to lifesaving medicine. People’s lives versus making a few people very rich. It’s a no-brainer. We cannot go there and neither can the other 10 participating countries.

Time to move on. But not to other deals of the same ilk – albeit without the US as Mr Key is hoping against hope. Time to talk in wider terms than just businesses in one country’s desire to exploit people in another country. All in the name of ever expanding, ever increasing profits. Continue reading

You Have To Be Green To Be Red?

Environmental issues and social justice are intertwined. Global warming can only be averted by using the Earth’s resources in a fair and sustainable way.

Likewise, social justice can only occur if global warming is at least contained. Those most at risk from a planet with frequent extreme climate events, pollution, and scarcity of resources, are the same people at risk from unscrupulous employers who refuse to pay a living wage and provide safe working conditions. Continue reading

TPP – The Real Fight Begins Now

The government would have us think the TPP is a done deal, and we must make the best of it. Nothing could be further from the truth. All that has happened is that negotiations over the text of the deal have been concluded. So now we know, or will soon know, what we are up against.

The US must release the text of the deal within the next month. This means whether our government likes it or not, we will have access to the text as well. This is when the fight begins. 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