Labour Party Policy Remits on TPPA

The following policy remits were unanimously passed the New Zealand Labour Party’s Wellington Regional Convention and will be debated at the national conference November 16-18 2012. They are not presently Labour Party policy.

Remit 34: Trade agreements

THAT Labour adjust its policy in relation to trade agreements, given the on-going negotiation of the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, by agreeing that from now on Labour will oppose initiatives and agreements that try to force international harmonisation of policy in areas like intellectual property, public services, pharmaceuticals, investor-state relations and so on, ON THE BASIS THAT such matters are rightly reserved for national decision in recognition of the sovereign right countries have, and should maintain, to organise their own societies and economies as they see fit, AND THAT attempts to globally over-regulate social and economic life through selective trade agreements outside the WTO and WIPO frameworks are usually aimed at imposing the demands of powerful countries on the rest of the world, and bring the whole system of global governance into disrepute. (Region 4)

Remit 35: Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement

THAT in light of the Labour Party’s strong commitment to both the benefits of international trade and New Zealand’s national sovereignty, and recognising the far-reaching implications for domestic policy of the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, in which trade is only a small part, Labour will support signing such an agreement only if it:

a) Provides substantially increased access for our agriculture exports to the US market;

b) Does not undermine PHARMAC, raise the cost of medical treatments and medicines or threaten public health measures such as tobacco control;

c) Does not give overseas investors or suppliers any greater rights than domestic investors and suppliers, such as Investor-State Dispute Settlement, or reduce our ability to control overseas investment or finance;

d) Does not expand intellectual property rights and enforcement in excess of current law;

e) Does not weaken our public services, require privatisation, hinder reversal of privatisations, or increase the commercialisation of government organisations;

f) Does not reduce our flexibility to support local economic and industry development and encourage good employment and environmental practices;

g) Contains enforceable labour clauses requiring adherence to core International Labour Organisation conventions and preventing reduction of labour rights for trade or investment advantage;

h) Contains enforceable environmental clauses preventing reduction of environmental standards for trade or investment advantage;

i) Has general exceptions to protect human rights, the environment, the Treaty of Waitangi, and New Zealand’s economic and financial stability;

j) Had been negotiated with full public consultation including regular public releases of drafts of the text of the agreement, and ratification being conditional on a full social, environmental and economic impact assessment including public submissions.