I wanted to learn more about what other great atrocities this government continues to commit, and so I watched enthusiastically tonight to listen and learn from the voices and insights of the experts, Professor Jane Kelsey from the University of Auckland and fellow International TPPA expert Lori Wallach followed by commentary from political party representatives in NZ opposed to the TPPA.
If you don't know by now, the TPPA stands for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. Background information on the TPPA, who it involves, and what it means for ordinary citizens like you and I, is nicely summarised here http://itsourfuture.org.nz/what-is-the-tppa/
Essentially, the gist is that our rights as citizens, our democracy and freedom of choice are being undermined. Sold off to Multi National Corporations (MNC's). In addition, the process to which NZ has signed up and 'consulted' on this agreement has been terribly flawed. The National Government have all but lied, and kept in secret the true intentions of such an agreement. Professor Kelsey highlighted how the recent National Interest Analysis (NIA) (a document required ahead of parliamentary selection committee inquiry) is yet another set of lies, 'devoid of independent insight', by a government desperate to sell the TPPA as a winner.
Marama Fox of the Maori Party put it bluntly when she declared that the audience (country) was now experiencing what Maori had experienced (and continue to experience) over 175 years ago, having their sovereignty ripped away! The Maori Party came out quite clear and strong outlining where they stood on the issue! Anything that jeopardizes the the Treaty will be opposed by them! Marama also rightly asserted that what work's for Maori - works for the rest of us.
The Green's Meitiria Turei was the only political party (leader present) representative who boldly claimed that if in Government, the Greens would work to pull NZ out of the agreement and that any such future agreement would require a fair and transparent process that considered the impacts on both the people and the environment. Labour's Grant Robertson spent the first half of his 8 allocated minutes romanticizing over Labour's legacy and impact on trade historically, also attempting to promote Labour's housing policy. While it was clear from Robertson that Labour were firmly against the process this government has taken on the TPPA, it was not all clear that the Labour party would vote against it. Robertson then finished by unconvincingly stating that the Agreement did have some economic benefit, before running out of time.
NZ First's Fletcher Tabuteau agreed that there would be some increase in GDP, 1% to be exact and that it would only benefit MNC's already trading in NZ. NZ First was quite clear in it's stance against the agreement.
Expert papers have been drafted which consider the impact of the TPPA over 5 broad key areas which you can access here including:
- democracy and the rule of law (sovereignty)
- Maori Rights and Te Tiriti o Waitangi
All is however not all lost. Once the agreement is signed on 4th February in Auckland, it will still need to be ratified in Parliament. And it will not go ahead until each of the 12 partner members to the TPPA ratify this on the ground level. We have an opportunity to continue fighting this and stopping it in it's tracks!
If you're free come along to the Public Protest Feb 4th 12.00pm on Queen Street
If you're based outside of Auckland check out the other public meetings scheduled here: