TPPA Bulletin #90
It’s Our Future
4 September 2016
Join the rallies, concerts and marches in 10 cities across New Zealand on 10 September. Details are on www.itsourfuture.org.nz or events are on Facebook at:
New Plymouth https://www.facebook.com/events/310234515984233/
Palmerston North https://www.facebook.com/events/1777526832484795/
Spread the word far and wide. We need to build our numbers for these events.
Background to the Day of Action
New Zealanders from all walks of life are coming together on 10th September in a Day of Action that will affirm our democratic rights and support initiatives to build a fairer and more sustainable society. There will be rallies, marches, music and speeches, in family-friendly events that bring together a powerful movement for change in towns and cities across Aotearoa New Zealand.
The Rally for Democracy comes at a time when families are struggling with high housing costs, insecure work and stagnant wages. The gaps between the haves and have-nots are widening in our society. Our rivers and seas are being polluted, our native species are being wiped out and we are failing to curb climate emissions.
The government is allowing tax advantages for multinationals and the wealthy, and planning to privatise social services. They are ratifying the TPPA which would give new rights to foreign corporations to sue our government over democratically-agreed laws and policies, and override te Tiriti rights. Our peace-loving country is about to host an international weapons show and give licences for deep sea oil drilling. It’s time to call a halt. There are already too many advantages for corporations and the wealthy. We need to reclaim our rights.
This is not the society we want to be. Through our Day of Action, we will ‘join the dots’ between our issues, reclaim democratic rights for citizens and retain our nation’s sovereignty.
Our Day of Action on 10 September is a protest. It is also an affirmation of our hopes and aspirations for a fair, just and sustainable society. We will highlight and celebrate the positive alternatives in communities in Aotearoa NZ, inviting participation from all those who are building a better future, whether through community housing, supporting refugees and the homeless, growing organics and working in community gardens, creating transport alternatives and community renewable energy, divesting from fossil fuels, or supporting community finance and local exchanges schemes.
We can’t rely on the TPPA to be killed off in the US – even if it doesn’t get through before President Obama leaves, it is likely to be revived. We need to reject the TPPA in New Zealand and change our policy on all existing and future treaties. The Rally for Democracy events are about building a movement that will enable us to demand these changes from an incoming government at next year’s election.
It is extremely unlikely that the TPPA will have come into force by the time of the next election. If not, it is easy to withdraw from a treaty that has not started, even if this government has forced through ratification. The It’s Our Future campaign is calling on opposition parties to commit to withdrawing from the TPPA, rejecting similar agreements in the future (such as the China-led Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership RCEP) and removing the rights for foreign investors to sue our government in existing treaties.
See https://itsourfuture.org.nz/take-action/ for the latest actions.
Government Trade Policy Review
The government has announced a ‘Trade Policy Refresh’ with meetings in Wellington, Auckland and a venue in the South Island. Their terms of reference aims for a tweak of trade policy than the fundamental re-think that is required. The ‘consultation’ is likely to be a sham. The government has failed to listen to us in the past and it is hard to trust that they will do so this time.
But we want to set out position for change. It’s Our Future has prepared an Open Letter and gathered initial signatures to present at the MFAT meetings. It reflects that there is growing opposition to treaties like the TPPA in New Zealand and around the world. We need a real change to trade and investment policy. Read and sign the open letter.
Local Government Elections
Some It’s Our Future groups are mobilising to ask candidates their position of pushing for TPP Free zones at their community board, council or DHB. See https://itsourfuture.org.nz/take-action/ for information on the TPP Free campaign.
Imagine a private, global super court that empowers corporations to bend countries to their will. Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) is being used by corporations to evade the law and override the decisions of democratic governments. The cases cited in this investigation are part of a broader system that is removing the power of governments to regulate in the public interest. https://itsourfuture.org.nz/inside-global-club-isds/
Germany’s economic affairs minister, Sigmar Gabriel, has commented that the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks have failed. There has not been a single chapter agreed by the parties after 14 rounds of negotiations. Auckland Law Professor, Jane Kelsey, said that the failure of the TTIP should reinforce the view that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) should also not happen. https://itsourfuture.org.nz/germany-says-ttip-deal-failed/
In a speech on international affairs, Labour Party leader Andrew Little has said Labour would welcome renegotiation of the TPPA if it does not pass in the US this year. [Note:
their position is renegotiation, not rejection]. https://itsourfuture.org.nz/andrew-little-labour-party-welcome-renegotiation-tppa/
A group of leading Australian economists have criticised recent free trade deals and argue that their benefits have been overstated. This echoes criticism of MFAT’s reliance on speculative modelling. Without their misleading assumptions, the analysis would have shown net costs for the New Zealand economy. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/foreign-affairs/top-economists-say-government-claims-mythical-trade-deal-benefits/news-story/9dbc2e7a72bdba398ae86066085f7f9d
Dr. Patricia Ranald, Director of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET) argues that the TPP is about giving new rights to global multinationals and removing the rights of governments to regulate in the public interest. https://itsourfuture.org.nz/australia-reject-tpp/
The case for the TPP being made in the US now rests on the national security argument – if the US doesn’t get TPP, China will lead on setting trade rules, and this will be a security threat to the US. The argument doesn’t stack up according to influential Washington insider, Clyde Prestowitz. https://itsourfuture.org.nz/tpp-wont-improve-us-security/
Democrats strengthen their position against the TPP http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/nancy-pelosi-tpp-trade-deal_us_5797ab5be4b01180b5307124
Funding the campaign
We have launched a Give a Little page to fund the speaker tour that was held in February, the Rally for Democracy events, ongoing website and mailing costs and for a big event later in the year. Please donate generously.
The Campaign is gearing up …
The Rally for Democracy events aimed at growing the movement will be followed by other events. We are planning for a major mobilisation in Wellington in late October/early November.
We can win this campaign. We have more than half of NZ citizens against the TPPA and policies against the TPPA from the major political parties – Labour, Greens, NZ First and the Maori Party. Now we need to ensure that the future New Zealand government rejects the TPPA after the next election.
It’s Our Future spokesperson