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

About Our New Zealand Flag…

It is ironic that New Zealanders are holding a discussion about our national flag, the symbol of our sovereignty, when our government is handing our country to multi national corporations, quite literally on a plate.

The recent push by crown entity Health Benefits Ltd to have all hospital and community food services such as Meals on Wheels provided by Compass Group nationwide is part of a concerted effort to open up public services to multi national corporations. Continue reading

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

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