Author: Edward Miller

Questions & Answers – 9 June 2016

Press Release – Office of the Clerk 1. RON MARK (Deputy LeaderNZ First) to the Minister of Finance : Does he stand by his statement on the defence budget made in the House on Thursday, 2 June; if so, how?1. Budget 2016—Defence 1. RON MARK (Deputy Leader—NZ First) to the Minister of Finance: Does he stand by his statement on the defence budget made in the House on Thursday, 2 June; if so, how? Hon GERRY BROWNLEE (Leader of the House) on behalf of the Minister of Finance: Yes; by standing up and saying so. Ron Mark: When he said the Defence Force “gets roughly a $100 million increase in its baseline. Over 10 years … that roughly adds up a lot of money.”, did he not realise that that is $10 billion short of what the Secretary of Defence needed in January 2016? Hon GERRY BROWNLEE: The member is confusing quite a large number of figures. Firstly, the approximate $100 million operating figure is added to the defence baseline each year. Over that 10-year period it would equate to something in excess of $5 billion operating. The figure that the member is interested in is an $11 billion figure that was signalled by the Ministry of Defence on 27 January 2016, which is a capital spend expected over a 10-year period. Ron Mark: Where in this defence white...

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Trade agreement musn’t allow corporations to sue governments

Press Release – Green Party The New Zealand Government should take controversial and outdated Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions off the table in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade negotiations in Auckland this week, the Green Party …RCEP trade agreement must not allow corporations to sue governments The New Zealand Government should take controversial and outdated Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions off the table in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade negotiations in Auckland this week, the Green Party said today. Trade Minister Todd McClay has been reported as saying that RCEP should include ISDS provisions, which allow foreign corporations to sue governments in secretive extra-judicial tribunals. “ISDS rules that allow foreign corporations to sue governments have no place in 21st century trade deals,” Green Party trade spokesperson Dr Kennedy Graham said. “ISDS rules can have chilling effects on governments and even local councils, when the threat of potential litigation stops them from doing what’s right for their citizens. “ISDS is about much more than trade, it’s about rewriting the rules of international relations to take power away from governments and give it to corporations. “India is against ISDS in RCEP and New Zealand should be too. “The European Union has been very clear that ISDS is outdated and we need new ways to balance the protection of investors’ rights with the democratic right of...

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Secretive talks on China-led rival to TPPA at Sky City

Press Release – Professor Jane Kelsey The 13th round of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the China-led rival to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), will be held at Sky City in Auckland in the coming week.12 June 2016 For immediate release Secretive talks on China-led rival to TPPA starts at Sky City The 13th round of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the China-led rival to the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), will be held at Sky City in Auckland in the coming week. ‘Talks on RCEP were launched back in 2012, but it has remained largely under the radar and over-shadowed by the government’s clear preference for the US-led TPPA’, says Auckland University Law Professor Jane Kelsey. ‘Now that deal is threatened by American domestic politics, attention has turned to RCEP as the fall-back option.’ Last month, US President Obama depicted the competition between TPPA and RCEP as a battle over whether America or China makes the rules for the Asia-Pacific region. ‘As the two goliath’s face off, the New Zealand government is trying to keep a foot in both camps. It ignores the fundamental question: why should the rules that decide our future be made by either of these superpowers?’, Professor Kelsey said. Like the TPPA, the details of these negotiations have been shrouded in secrecy. Recently, Trade Minister Todd McClay refused to name all the chapters...

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Budget 2016: Maximising FTA implementation

Press Release – New Zealand Government The 2016 Budget invests an additional $4.6 million over four years into FTA (Free Trade Agreement) implementation.Hon Todd McClay Minister of Trade 1 June 2016 Media Statement Budget 2016: Maximising FTA implementation The 2016 Budget invests an additional $4.6 million over four years into FTA (Free Trade Agreement) implementation. Trade Minister Todd McClay says this new investment will support New Zealand businesses in extracting full value from New Zealand’s network of FTA Agreements. “New Zealand currently has FTAs with economies that account for more than half our trade. This will increase to 70 per cent once the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) enters into force. “New Zealand has scored high quality FTAs, but the benefits come from Kiwi businesses taking advantage of them. Ensuring businesses have the information and tools for this to happen requires ongoing, co-ordinated cross government FTA implementation work. “This new investment will support the development of new tools to help business understand and use FTAs. Our tariff finder, for example, has made it a lot easier for SMEs to identify the FTA that gives them the best competitive edge in their export markets. This new money will also help us get improved commitments in FTAs when these come up for review, such as in services, investment, and addressing non-tariff barriers that exporters face. “This is particularly important as new FTAs...

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Gordon Campbell on tobacco politics, and the TPP death watch

Column – Gordon Campbell Has Act leader David Seymour got the easiest job in the world, or what? Roll out of bed, turn on the radio and hmmthere do seem to be a lot of problems out there in the world. Must think of something. And so it came to pass that this morning , … Gordon Campbell on tobacco politicking, and the TPP death watch Has Act leader David Seymour got the easiest job in the world, or what? Roll out of bed, turn on the radio and hmm…there do seem to be a lot of problems out there in the world. Must think of something. And so it came to pass that this morning, David Seymour took up his sword and shield to fight for a world that’s about to be denied the rich and vibrant beauty of tobacco advertising. Avast ye hordes of faceless bureaucrats aiming to put tobacco products in plain packets! David Seymour is in the House! Plain packaging may save lives, but does it have to be such a dull way of saving lives? Is there no other hero prepared to fight for Philip Morris, and for the God-given right of Benson and Hedges to peddle their deadly wares in luscious golden packaging? Do we want to live in a world without Marlboro Man billboards? There is a principle at stake here. And...

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