What An Alternative & Progressive Trade Strategy Should Look Like.

19 – 20 October 2018

Fale Pasifika, University Of Auckland

The debates around the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement alerted many New Zealanders to the far-reaching scope of contemporary free trade and investment agreements, their potentially negative impacts and fetters on national regulation, the inadequate protection for te Tiriti o Waitangi, and the lack of participation of diverse communities and Parliament in launching negotiations, setting mandates, making compromises and adopting the final treaty.

This has generated a large amount of critique, but only broad ideas of what an alternative and progressive trade strategy should look like. These discussions are more advanced in some other countries, including the EU and Canada.

The NZ Council of Trade Unions, It’s Our Future, Doctors for Healthy Trade, Oxfam, Greenpeace, the NZ Nurses Organisation, First Union, PPTA, NZEI, TEU, among others, have decided it is time for concerned communities to convene a hui to set out what an alternative and progressive trade strategy should look like.

The focus of this two-day hui will be forward looking, rather than further critiques of the status quo. The aim is to present positive and constructive approaches to achieving a new paradigm, not simply adjustments to current texts. The troubling question of what to do with existing incompatible agreements is not part of this discussion.


Mihi Whakatau, Ngāti Whātua o Orakei
Setting The Context – Robert Reid, President First Union

9:00 – 10:00

Welcome, setting the context

9:15 – 10:15

Scene Setters: Rethinking The Trade And Investment Agenda In Turbulent Times

10:15 – 11:15

The Macro Picture: 1) geopolitics and NZ’s relationships; 2) what international labour is saying; 3) a gender-informed trade strategy

Coffee Break

11:45 – 12:45

An International Economy

Lunch Break

1:45 – 2:45


2:45 -3:45

Tiriti-Based Relationships

Coffee Break

4:00 – 5:00

Sustainable World

Evening: Screening Of Bryan Bruce Documentary

Saturday 20th October

9:00 -9:15

Recap on Day 1 – Key Themes

9:15 – 10:15


Coffee Break

10:30 – 11:30


11:30 – 12:30

Rights And Protections

Lunch Break

1:15 – 2:15

Developments Responsibilities

2:15 -3:30

Reinvigorating The Local

Coffee Break

3:30 – 5:00

Concluding Panel And Discussion: Where to from here? 

The hui aims to achieve several goals

1) Frame the agenda for future debates to enable us to move beyond the current ad hoc interventions on specific negotiations and agreements

2) Shift current proposals to address gender, workers, indigenous rights, small business, consumer rights, human rights and environment from cosmetic adjustments, such as rhetorical exceptions and annexes to substantive and effective initiatives;

3) Provide a basis for dialogue and collaboration across sectors and across parties, as part of broader thinking about ways to address the challenges confronting the country; and

4) Locate these localised arguments in the broader geopolitics and political economy of trade and investment negotiations.

The format mainly involves one-hour panel discussions centred broadly on four questions, facilitated by a chair, including questions from the audience and twitter. The questions are:

1) What main challenges do you foresee that need to be addressed now, in 10 and 30 years?

2) What is the international dimension of these challenges that needs to be addressed in an economic agreement with other countries?

3) What principles should underpin how those challenges are addressed?

4) Are there specific rules you think should be in an international economic agreement?

Event Information

The event is free to attend in person. A live stream will be posted on this website.
Koha will be accepted with gratitude.

Food is not provided but there are plenty of food outlets within short walking distance.

This event is made possible thanks to the contribution of the following organisations