TPPA Bulletin #78: DON’T SIGN!
National Day of Action
14 November is another Nationwide Day of Action against the TPPA.
While negotiators were able to complete a text in Atlanta, the deal won’t be signed until mid-February at the earliest. Saturday 14 November is another Nationwide Day of Action to stop the TPPA, and we need a huge turnout of people to send a simple message that even this government can understand: DON’T SIGN!
With such a poor deal on the table, that shouldn’t seem too difficult a decision. The Government’s rosiest predictions on tariff cuts – a miserable $259 million a year by 2047 – are nothing compared to the influence that foreign investors will get over our public policy decision-making if this deal will goes through.
What we need now is for people to grab their flags and placards, join their local rallies this Saturday 14 November, and send a strong message to the Government saying DON’T SIGN this toxic deal.
Day of Action Events Saturday 14 November
Kerikeri – 2:30pm at Kerikeri Library
Auckland – 1:00pm at Myers Park
Hamilton – 1:00pm by Cock and Bull Te Rapa
Tauranga – 11:00am at Red Square
Rotorua – 1:00pm, at the Village Green – Corner of Whakaue St and Memorial Drive
Gisborne – 12.30pm, at Elgin Shops
Palmerston North – 1:00pm, The Square
Wellington – 1pm at Midland Park
Nelson – 11am at 1903 Square – near the church steps
Christchurch – 2pm, Cathedral Square
Little River – 1pm, Craft Station
Timaru – 1pm, Bay Hill Piazza
Dunedin – 11am at the Railway Station
Invercargill – 1.30pm – 3pm, Invercargill Library Meeting Room, TPPA Public Meeting
There are a bunch of posters available from the bottom of this page if you want to do some postering in your area!
TPPA Text Finally Released
On 5 November the Government finally released the TPPA text. This came a month after the negotiations were concluded, giving the government a month-long period to spin their story in the media while campaigners still had little to work with. Professor Jane Kelsey said that the released text reveals ‘major holes in the government’s "fact sheets"’, while It’s Our Future’s spokesperson Barry Coates said it was a "shameful reminder of the secrecy, spin and corporate deal-making that has characterised this shabby deal."
Right now a team of experts from a wide range of fields are working to provide concise analyses of the most important parts of the text. Once these are available, It’s Our Future will be converting these into short, easy-to-read documents.
Labour Party Conference
The TPPA is still a hot issue in the Labour Party, with many grassroots Labour activists and unions pushing the party to take a stronger stance. Andrew Little’s keynote speech didn’t mince words on the issue:
I’m telling you, when it comes to undermining our democracy and our sovereignty in the TPPA, I am totally opposed and I will fight with every fibre in my body to stop it, to resist it, to make sure it never happens in New Zealand.
This blog from Professor Jane Kelsey explains how the TPPA crosses all five of Labour’s Bottom Lines, not just the question of foreign ownership of housing.
Failed Safeguards in Investment Chapter
International arbitrator George Kahale (chairman of Curtis, Mallet-Provost, Colt & Mosie LLP, an international law firm), whose core business is defending states being sued under ISDS, has an article in the Guardian in which he points out the critical loopholes in TPPA’s much-maligned investment chapter. He points out that the ‘safeguards’ provision (Article 9.15), that refers to a carve-out for “matters sensitive to environmental health, or other regulatory objectives” is effectively negated by the words “unless otherwise consistent with this chapter”. Kahale sees much of the chapter’s drafting as an improvement on previous agreements, however all of that narrow drafting is undermined by the chapter’s ‘most favoured nation’ (MFN) clause (note, the article is written from an Australian perspective):
Essentially, an MFN clause is tantamount to a classic wipeout move. It would enable foreign corporations from TPP states to make a claim against Australia based on the ISDS provisions in any other trade deal Australia has signed, no matter which country it was signed with. That means it does not matter how carefully the TPP is drafted: foreign investors can cherrypick another treaty Australia has signed, and sue the Australian government based on the provisions included in that treaty. Kahale has described MFN as “a dangerous provision to be avoided by treaty drafters whenever possible” because it can turn one bad treaty into protections “never imagined for virtually an entire world of investors”.
Including an MFN clause in the TPP was a “major mistake”, Kahale argues, and another reason Australia is still wide open to being sued for legislating to protect the environment.
Below are a bunch of shareable (facebook cover size) images with quotes from Joseph Stiglitz, Noam Chomsky, Dr Erik Monasterio and Professor Jane Kelsey about the TPPA. Get sharing!