Column – itsourfuture.org.nz

A fortnightly summary of news and New Zealand activities around the Trans-Pacific Partnership, published by itsourfuture.org.nzTPP Watch Bulletin #20 — 29 October 2012

TPPA comes to Aotearoa: confirmed upcoming activities — more to come!

3 November, 2 pm. Aotearoa Is Not For Sale is holding a street party against privatisation on 3 November, where they will be launching their campaign against the TPPA. Karangahape Rd, Auckland.
3 November, 7-9 pm. TPPA — Taking People’s Power Away. Music, Poetry, Film, Discussion, and a presentation by Professor Jane Kelsey. $10 entry. Artworks Theatre, Waiheke Island.
5 November, 4-5 pm. Jane Kelsey, ‘Why all the Fuss? Seminar on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement’, Department of Political Studies at University of Auckland, Federation of University Women room, Old Government House, University of Auckland.
26 November, 12.30-2 pm. Lori Wallach (US Public Citizen) and Jane Kelsey, ‘Why all the fuss about investors’ rights to sue under the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement?’, School of Law, Canterbury University, Christchurch
26 November 5.30 – 7.45 pm. Lori Wallach and Jane Kelsey, Knox Hall, Christchurch
27 November, 6.00-8.00. Lori Wallach, Sanya Reid Smith (Third World Network), Jane Kelsey. Loaves and Fishes, Wellington
28 November, 9am – 1pm. Half-day symposium on the TPPA at Law School, Victoria University of Wellington.
3 December, 8.30am. Opening of the TPPA negotiations, Sky City Convention Centre (details to be advised)
4 December, Midday. March on Parliament, meeting at Midland Park, Wellington.
1-8 November ‘Having fun with TPP’ Cartoon exhibition, BizDojo.Co.Space, Karangahape Road, Auckland.
8 December. National Day of Action against the TPPA. Details to be announced. What can you do in your home town?

Reminder: $1500 Prizes in TPPA Cartoon Competition.

Special $500 prize for students. Entries close 23rd November. itsourfuture.org.nz/cartoon-competition

Stakeholder registration opens for the Auckland negotiating round

The so-called “stakeholder” programme at TPPA negotiating rounds gives a fig-leaf of transparency to this utterly undemocratic process. Registering as a stakeholder means that you get into the door of the negotiating venue, but not much further. You can sign up to make a ‘short’ presentation to negotiators (if they choose to attend) between 9am and 2pm on 7 December and then attend a briefing by chief negotiators of the TPPA countries at 4pm. If you have something to say, or wish to be artfully told nothing by the chief negotiators then please register here or ask the Ministry questions about the round (good luck!) at tpp@mfat.govt.nz.

The TPPA has become clearly anti-China … yet Tim Groser hasn’t packed his bags

In February this year Trade Minister Tim Groser said “the moment we New Zealand smelt or sensed that this was an anti-China thing we’d leave TPP”. Now Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney says Obama hasn’t been tough enough with China, and has endorsed the TPP as a “dramatic geopolitical and economic bulwark against China.” Barrack Obama was equally aggressive with a coded reference on the TPP in the final presidential debate: “we’re organizing trade relations with countries other than China so that China starts feeling more pressure about meeting basic international standards. That’s the kind of leadership we’ve shown in the region. That’s the kind of leadership that we’ll continue to show.” So far there’s no sign that Groser will walk away. Ask him why using this letter writing tool and see also this excellent NZ Herald article.

“A rival trade agreement?

The ten ASEAN countries (Brunei, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam) and six others (China, Japan, Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand) leaders will soon begin negotiating a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which they say it will become the biggest free-trade market on the planet. That’s what the TPPA is meant to be! Gordon Campbell has written a great analysis of the superpower rivalries. A US assessment in GlobalTimes concludes that ‘Messy TPP process no reason for China to fear’.

RIANZ withdraws one of the first three cases to the Copyright Tribunal

The Recording Industry Association of New Zealand has withdrawn one of the first cases under the so-called “three strikes” file-sharing law to go to newly formed Copyright Tribunal, established to deal with file-sharing infringements. A woman was the internet account-holder for her flat, but had never downloaded files before and could not identify which of her flatmates had. RIANZ claimed $2669.25 for the unauthorised downloading of only five MP3s! Tech Liberty NZ have an excellent account of the case. This is a foretaste of what could happen if the US gets its way with its leaked IP negotiating text of the TPPA. Cases like this will be just the beginning: internet access could be cut-off without due process; internet service providers would have to act as copyright watchdogs; and sentences of imprisonment could be imposed for illegally downloading copyrighted material. Tell the government that you don’t want your digital future sold out. For more information on the internet implications of the TPPA check out www.fairdeal.net.nz.

Australia announces review of pharmaceutical patents

The US is demanding longer patent terms and other measures in the TPPA that will affect the availability of generic alternatives to branded pharmaceutical drugs. The Australian government has just decided to review the patenting of pharmaceuticals and instructed a review panel to take “practical steps to ensure the system is delivering effective outcomes for consumers and industry” is likely to be very significant. The panel’s membership seems quite diverse, so it could go either way. If Australia and New Zealand both take strong lines on pharmaceutical patents it would go a long way to sinking the TPPA. Tell the New Zealand government to protect PHARMAC and access to generic medicines by using the letter writing tool at itsourfuture.org.nz.

News Stories

TPPA’s internet implications a “human rights disaster” argues science fiction author Cory Doctorow in this interview with Canadian website The Tyee.
Toby Manhire, TPp Secrecy Invites Suspicion about US, NZHerald Op ed
Trans-Pacific Partnership: A Thief in the Night, Erin Allison-Mxwell in Stuff,
American Council for Civil Liberties says TPP breaches US Constitution
Excellent introduction to the TPPA at Salon.com
Article on TPPA and the environment by Ilana Solomon, Sierra Club, USA
Sign the stopthetrap.net petition against the TPPA’s implications for the internet.
Sign the Corporate Accountability International petition against the secrecy of the TPPA.

Please share TPPA activities or good articles:
Contact Stephen Parry stephenparry1985@gmail.com; Facebook page ItsOurFutureNZ; and website itsourfuture.org.nz

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
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