Press Release – New Zealand Council of Trade Unions

The CTU and fifteen other organisations have finally, four years on, had the opportunity to present orally to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee select committee regarding serious concerns workers, health professionals, development groups, digital …Media release

Four year delay for parliamentary committee to hear TPPA concerns

The CTU and fifteen other organisations have finally, four years on, had the opportunity to present orally to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee select committee regarding serious concerns workers, health professionals, development groups, digital innovators, environmentalists and many others have about the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).

CTU President Helen Kelly commented on the delay “We are at a loss to understand why there was a four year delay our petition, signed by the CTU and 15 other organisations , but much has happened since that makes the matters workers are concerned about even more urgent.”

“TPPA negotiations have reached a critical point. Trade Ministers from all the countries will be meeting in March to make the decisions that could well finalise the agreement. There are still many controversial and important issues that negotiators have not been able to agree on because each country has too much at stake. There is extreme pressure on them to complete the negotiations. We need to make sure they don’t make a deal we will all regret in years to come.”

“Over the past four years public concern about the TPPA has risen sharply and has become widespread throughout the community. Much public concern has centred on the secrecy surrounding the negotiations. In no other area of government would a legislator or minister ask people to “just trust us” over something so crucially important, that could affect the daily life of every New Zealander, that contains policies which elections could be won and lost over. Significantly; once ratified, it is almost impossible to reverse. It is more like a constitution than ordinary legislation, but the process for information, consultation and debate is medieval compared to the way this Committee routinely deals with legislation.” Kelly said.

“We are seeking the following actions from the select committee; firstly that this Select Committee conducts an inquiry into the effects of this proposed agreement before it is signed and too late for all practical and political purposes to change. But secondly, such an inquiry must be informed by the detail of the agreement. Informed public debate is also impossible without that detail. That is why we are calling for the Government to publish online all documents and to ensure that other information relating to the process is freely available to all civil society before the deal is signed.” Kelly said.

“The TPPA negotiations are now matter of extreme urgency if the New Zealand public is to have an informed say in one of the most important international treaties this country has ever contemplated.” Kelly said.

ENDS

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