Tag: Public Good

TPPA progress harder from now on

Article – Public Good With the failure of the Hawaii TPPA round to make a deal, the next round of TPPA negotiations is going to be more difficult , as well as more risky for the government. Internationally the Canadian government has been dissolved pending an election in …TPPA progress harder from now on With the failure of the Hawaii TPPA round to make a deal, the next round of TPPA negotiations is going to be more difficult, as well as more risky for the government. Internationally the Canadian government has been dissolved pending an election in October and all TPPA governments are managing widespread public concerns. Despite the secrecy of the last seven years of negotiations the recent media coverage has laid bare some weaknesses of the government’s position to the NZ public. Four downsides have become apparent. 1. The government has made it clear that it has left itself with few tools to prevent unlimited overseas sales of NZ homes through the TPPA and S. Korea trade agreements. These are now applied retrospectively to China. (John Key’s claim that it was Labour’s fault is entirely specious – akin to saying “you gave me a knife and it’s your fault I cut off my own leg”.) 2. The promises, over many years, that Pharmac would be untouched by the TPPA have proven to be false. The current proposals...

Read More

The ‘Free Trade’ horse is already bolting

Press Release – Public Good On Tuesday David Parker wrote in the NZ Herald that the government’s signing of the South Korea Free Trade Agreement creates risks for NZ. Yesterday the Labour Party has withheld support until certain guarantees are made. However the specific risk …The ‘Free Trade’ horse is already bolting on residential property sales On Tuesday David Parker wrote in the NZ Herald that the government’s signing of the South Korea Free Trade Agreement creates risks for NZ. Yesterday the Labour Party has withheld support until certain guarantees are made. However the specific risk of losing the right to legislate for New Zealanders is already in chain in residential property. National’s “free trade” deals – South Korea, Taiwan (and Parker says he has been told the TPPA is also included) – have wide ramifications. Purchasers headquartered in “free trade” countries (such as South Korea) who feel their speculative business could be damaged by new limits on overseas buyers will be at liberty to take an Investor States Dispute Tribunal (ISDS) case. A single buyer may not have the resources to do this but a commercial property owner wanting to buy up blocks of apartments or multiple houses might consider it. But it gets worse than that. These new trade agreements contain not only ISDS options they also give governments the right to take claims against New Zealand....

Read More

Is the quality of our democracy an election issue?

Press Release – Public Good A well-attended conference in Wellington at the weekend heard and discussed a number of presentations which raised questions about the current quality of our democracy. The conference was hosted by the St Andrews Trust for the Study of Religion and Society …Is the quality of our democracy an election issue? A well-attended conference in Wellington at the weekend heard and discussed a number of presentations which raised questions about the current quality of our democracy. The conference was hosted by the St Andrews Trust for the Study of Religion and Society and Public Good and the aspirations of many organisations and the approaches they are taking to achieve a richer kind of democracy were also on the agenda. Professor Jane Kelsey outlined a number of specific and differing ways in which the secretive negotiation of trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) – and their negotiation outside of a rules-based international framework such as the World Trade Organisation – impinge on our democratic rights. Other keynote presentations included Bronwyn Hayward presenting the work she has been doing on citizenship education for children, and Michael Macaulay on progress towards our participation in the Open Government Partnership. Presentations from organisations such as Loomio, OntheFence, JustSpeak and Askaway demonstrated the work younger people are doing to support and encourage democratic engagement and the inclusion of...

Read More

Conference on Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good

Press Release – Public Good Conference on Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good A conference is to be held in Wellington on 1 and 2 August with the aim of starting a NZ-wide discussion about the quality of our democracy. The conference is hosted jointly by the St Andrews … Conference on Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good A conference is to be held in Wellington on 1 and 2 August with the aim of starting a NZ-wide discussion about the quality of our democracy. The conference is hosted jointly by the St Andrews Trust for the Study of Religion and Society and Public Good Aotearoa NZ. The aim of the conference is to kick start a conversation about the health and quality of democracy in New Zealand. NZ has a rich democratic history with an early start to universal suffrage, the adoption of the MMP system and high scores on openness and transparency internationally. However the frequent use of urgency in Parliament, the lack of local democracy in Canterbury, the difficulties for the very poor in a highly unequal society and the recent news that only 69% of 18-24 years olds are enrolled to vote are signs that all is not well in NZ’s democratic arrangements. The conference speakers, including some of New Zealand’s best- known academics, will develop a framework, and presentations from community and advocacy organisations...

Read More