Press Release – Professor Jane Kelsey

The obsessive secrecy surrounding the Auckland round of Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations in Auckland from 3-12 December has plumbed new depths. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has declined a request for the dates …2 November 2012

TPPA ‘non-transparency’ hits a new low

The obsessive secrecy surrounding the Auckland round of Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations in Auckland from 3-12 December has plumbed new depths.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has declined a request for the dates on which up to 29 working groups will be meeting. It merely offered to identify ‘windows’ when negotiators in specified sectors would be meeting.

MFAT’s response was a list that only says whether the group will be meeting before or after the so-called ‘stakeholder’ day on 7 December (see below).

“Even the dates that various groups are meeting is now a state secret, presumably because disclosure would somehow jeopardise the success of the negotiations” said Professor Jane Kelsey, who made the request on behalf of international experts who will be coming to Auckland for the round.

“This is just silly”.

“Several individual negotiators have been more sensible and cooperative. Beyond that, we will have to rely on negotiators from other countries to tell us the dates on which they are attending a meeting hosted by our own government so that we can organise travel and accommodation, and plan events that attempt to engage with the negotiators.”

MFAT’s email:

“Regarding the areas you have identified, below is a list of ‘windows’ organised around the central date of 7 December which we would expect most stakeholders to be planning travel around.

Area Window
IP Pre and post 7 December
Transparency on meds Pre 7 December
CBS Pre 7 December
E-commerce Post 7 December
Investment (including NCMs); Pre and post 7 December
Environment Pre and post 7 December
Labour Post 7 December
Transparency Pre 7 December
State-enterprises/competition Post 7 December
Agriculture market access Post 7 December
Financial services Pre and Post 7 December

ENDS

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