The TPP – It May be Free But It’s Not Fair

Would anyone vote for giant US  tobacco corporation Philip Morris to run our country?  Or chemical and agricultural biotech company Monsanto?  Highly unlikely.  We know that any big  corporate is going to put increasing its profits far above the needs of New Zealand and New Zealanders.

But the TPP agreement, as it stands, could effectively put giant overseas corporations in charge of us all through the investor state dispute settlement clause. Continue reading

Open Letter to Rt Hon Tim Groser Minister of Trade

Dear Minister,
The Alliance Party urges the government not to sign New Zealand up to the Trans-Pacific Agreement. We are convinced this agreement is a major threat to democracy and the sovereignty of all countries involved. It will allow large multinational companies to run roughshod over elected governments and operate contrary to the wishes of the people of the country. We see evidence that this has already begun in New Zealand in the threats of legal action by the big tobacco companies to prevent plain packaging for cigarettes. Continue reading

Looks like we just free traded away our freedom of speech

The Alliance Party has denounced the physical attack today on Green MP Russell Norman on the steps of Parliament.

Alliance Party spokesperson Victor Billot says that the incident involved Chinese security officials who had clearly assaulted a representative of the New Zealand people engaged in legitimate peaceful protest.

“If a MP can no longer stand on the steps of New Zealand Parliament and register his views without being roughed up, then we might as well lower the flag and put up a sign saying OUR PRINCIPLES SOLD TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER.”

Mr Billot says that the free trade rooster had come home to roost and New Zealand was learning the hard way that “free” trade had some interesting effects on real freedoms.

More disturbing than the incident itself was the response of John Key.

No serious harm came to Dr Norman, but the symbolism of the incident was not lost on anyone, with the exception the Prime Minister.

“On being questioned by media about an MP being assaulted up by agents of a foreign power, the Prime Minister of New Zealand started to quack about how he hoped it didn’t ruin the official visit, meaning of course the free trade deals.”

The remarkable thing about the response of the Prime Minister is the deep hypocrisy of his attitude.

The National Party has always been outspoken about the rights of the individual and the evils of “communism.”

The great irony is now when a left wing MP defending freedom of speech is attacked, and the National Prime Minister is clearly more concerned about profits from free trade with “Communist” China than any old fashioned democratic values.

At the end of the day, it turned out that all the patriotic, freedom loving National Party was worried about was money.

ENDS

For more information, contact Alliance Party spokesperson Victor Billot on 021482219

Bureaucrats media blackout on free trade roadshow blasted

The Alliance Party has blasted a media shutdown by a Government-run free trade roadshow.

Alliance Party national spokesperson Victor Billot says media were turned away from a Dunedin seminar run by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise yesterday.

The Otago Daily Times raised concerns with New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Officials after being told that allowing media into workshops would inhibit speakers from “full and frank discussion.”

Mr Billot says the free trade seminars were paid for by New Zealanders, but media were told they could not directly report or photograph proceedings on the first day, and were then barred completely from reporting workshop discussions on the second day.

Mr Billot says this is a disgrace and shows how there was an anti-democratic agenda in free trade deals. Continue reading