Article – Hamish Cardwell
Members of the Mana, Mori, Labour, Green, and NZ First Party are highly critical of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) which could be agreed upon in a meeting of trade ministers in Singapore this weekend.
Opposition Parties’ Critical of TPPA
Online petition signed by 26,000 people including letters to MP’s – 4 December 2013
By Hamish Cardwell
Members of the Mana, Māori, Labour, Green, and NZ First Party are highly critical of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) which could be agreed upon in a meeting of trade ministers in Singapore this weekend.
They called for the Government to release the draft text so that parliament and the public could debate the document.
Representatives from the parties each spoke for three minutes at a press conference in Wellington to lay out their concerns about the TPPA, and then took questions.
A conference organiser said a campaign to highlight the secrecy of the TPPA resulted in 26,000 signatures on an e-petition, or letters to political leaders, all calling for release of the draft text.
Full audio of the conference
Green Party Co-Leader Russel Norman
Mr Norman said the big issue was transparency. Other governments had been more upfront about negotiations with their citizens. The only people who did not know the details of the negotiations were New Zealand citizens.
The Government could sign an agreement which could open NZ up to being sued by foreign corporations, and that would undermine the ability of governments to properly regulate.
He said he did not think that it was likely that there would be a deal made this weekend as there was not enough in it for New Zealand. However he was concerned that the New Zealand negotiators were ideologically driven.
Labour MP Phil Twyford
Mr Twyford said Labour was pro-trade, but it was withholding its support for the TPPA because the Government had not been transparent enough, and would continue to do so until more information became available.
New Zealand must weigh up foreign corporate agenda against the ability to regulate.
Provisions in the agreement around intellectual property were a threat to technological development in New Zealand.
The government was taking an unacceptable risk in signing the TPPA, he said.
Mana Party Leader Hone Harawira
Mr Harawira said the scary thing was that no one knew what was in the TPPA until it was leaked by Edward Snowden.
“It is goddamn bloody embarrassing apart from being undemocratic.”
The TPPA was a threat to the Treaty of Waitangi and New Zealand’s sovereignty, he said.
[2:51:29 p.m.] Anne Russell:
Maori Party Co-Leader Te Ururoa Flavell
Mr Flavell also said he believed the TPPA was a threat to sovereignty.
“Secrecy around the TPPA is a complete breach of the principles of consultation and documentation.”
NZ First Deputy Leader Tracey Martin
Ms Martin said as a small nation it would be impossible to get out of the agreement as it would be beyond our means.
The MP’s then answered questions from the media