Info and Fact Sheets on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)
Not in our interests!
The government has signed an international agreement that could have a huge effect on the lives of ordinary Kiwis. It doesn’t come into force until it is ratified, not only by us but by enough of the eleven other countries to add up to 85% of our combined national income (GNP). If the US or Japan don’t sign, it doesn’t go ahead (and the TPPA is looking shaky in the US).
Even if they all do ratify it won’t come into force until early 2018. By then, we will have had an election, and we get to choose. So it’s not over. We can and will defeat the TPPA!
The Trojan Horse
The government talks about the TPPA as if it is a trade agreement, whereas most of the TPPA is actually about limiting governments’ powers to regulate. New Zealand got a bad deal on sectors like dairy and beef and has locked in continuing tariffs and quotas for years to come. The trade benefits have been vastly over-stated and are tiny. By contrast, the costs are high and the risks far higher.
What’s at stake?
We would lose sovereignty. Foreign corporations would have the rights to take the New Zealand government to an unaccountable international tribunal and claim compensation if new laws or regulations reduce the value of their investments (under Investor State Dispute Settlement ISDS). The judgements of the international tribunal would take precedence over our Parliament and our courts.
Environmental protection would be undermined. Around two thirds of the 696 ISDS cases under similar agreements have challenged environmental laws, such as mining, fracking , oil and gas production, toxic chemicals, waste dumping and renewable energy. Action on climate change would be undermined. KEY FACTS: Environment
te Tiriti would be undermined. The TPPA creates new constraints on the ways that the State can honour te Tiriti obligations, affecting Māori tino rangitiratanga, culture, indigenous knowledge, biodiversity and opportunities for economic development. KEY FACTS: te Tiriti
Medicines will become more expensive as big pharmaceutical companies gain more influence over PHARMAC, and restrictions are placed on generic medicines.
Copyright laws will be extended from 50 years to 70 years and more harshly enforced, restricting internet freedom and access to information, costing libraries, schools, and businesses, and stifling innovation. KEY FACTS: IP and IT
Privatisation of state assets would be effectively locked in, and the formation of new state enterprises (as we did with Kiwibank) would effectively be ruled out.
Regulation of business would be undermined by the threat of foreign investor challenges. The threat of legal cases, and the high costs of defending cases, would make government reluctant to regulate. KEY FACTS: Economics
Local business would lose out in competition with large multinationals, that are already able to get away with competing unfairly and avoid paying taxes. The TPPA makes it harder for governments to support local business development and the local economy. KEY FACTS: Local Government
Workers lose out. Economic analysis predicts that the TPPA woudl mean 5000 fewer jobs in New Zealand and increased inequality. ISDS cases have been used to challenge social protection and the minimum wage.
Financial stability would be threatened. Foreign banks, insurance companies and money traders will gain more powers to challenge laws designed to prevent another financial crisis. Government would not be allowed to tackle property speculation and the housing bubble through a ban on foreigners purchasing residential homes.
The TPPA has been signed but not ratified. It ain’t over! See the description of the treaty making process and the democratic deficit. KEY FACTS: process
See the latest summary of the Reasons not to Ratify.
Read the Key Issues in the TPPA.
There’s an up-to-date listing of controversial ISDS cases.
There are also fact sheets available in ActionStation website.