Media Release

What’s the Rush? Halt the TPPA Ratification process

The Parliamentary Inquiry into the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) has concluded with strong opposition expressed by Labour, the Green Party and NZ First.

It’s Our Future – Kiwis Against the TPPA spokesperson, Barry Coates, commented: “There is no a sufficient basis of support for a responsible government to move ahead with ratification of the TPPA. Not only do the main opposition parties oppose ratification of the TPPA, so does the New Zealand public according to public opinion polls.”

The Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade Select Committee released its report into the TPPA yesterday after a huge response to the Inquiry. There were 6351 written submissions and 255 individuals or groups gave oral evidence, the vast majority against the TPPA.

The opposition parties criticised key elements of the TPPA, including the inclusion of an Investor-State Dispute Settlement mechanism that would allow foreign corporations to sue the New Zealand government in an international tribunal, and the undermining of the government’s right to regulate in the public interest. They noted that New Zealand would be giving up significant sovereignty and protection of important rights for the public in exchange for a very small amount of economic benefit, if any.

Barry Coates commented: “The reports from opposition political parties are damning. It is time the government stopped trying to sell a bad deal and started listening. Public opinion polls show that that the New Zealand public do not want the TPPA. It would be deeply undemocratic if the government continued with the TPPA which would remove democratic rights for future governments”

Barry Coates questioned the undermining of democratic process, highlighted by the three opposition parties in their reports on the TPPA: “The arrogant disregard for democratic process shown in six years of secretive negotiations has continued. The government-controlled Select Committee ignored calls for more time for the large number of submitters to respond to over 6000 pages of complex legal text. The timing of the report was brought from the end of May to yesterday, allowing only three days from the end of hearings. This shows disrespect for democracy and the submissions process.”

Barry Coates concluded: “What’s the rush? It appears that the government is looking to change New Zealand legislation at a time when it is clear that the TPPA may never be ratified by enough countries to bring it into force. It is time to call a halt to the ratification process.”

Notes for Editors:

Evidence of public opposition to the TPPA was cited by Dr. Kennedy Graham in the Green Party report, drawing on opinion polling, including TV3/Reid Research poll in November 2015.

The TPPA is in trouble. Without ratification in both the US and Japan, the TPPA will not come into force. Leading Presidential candidates in the US – Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton and Bernie Sanders – are against ratification of the TPPA. The Japanese Diet has postponed further discussion on the TPPA after opposition.

The parallel agreement between the US and the EU is also in trouble.

Talks between the United States and the European Union over the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are likely to stop, French Minister of State for Foreign Trade Matthias Fekl said on 3 May. Fekl said the current agreement would be a bad deal that could unravel the progress of the Paris climate agreement.

Contact:

Barry Coates, spokesperson for It’s Our Future – Kiwis against the TPPA.

021 365 165

itsourfuturenz@gmail.com