It's Our Future http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz Kiwi Voices on the TPPA Sat, 31 Jan 2015 22:01:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Forests At Risk from Secret Trade Deal http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/forests-at-risk-from-secret-trade-deal/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/forests-at-risk-from-secret-trade-deal/#comments Sat, 31 Jan 2015 08:29:03 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7583 Press Release – GE Free NZ

Forests At Risk from Secret Trade Deal and GE Trees Partnerships Outrage in the US at the secret approval of genetically engineered (GE) trees could see New Zealand companies implicated in an industry-wide effort to keep the public in the dark. [1]Forests At Risk from Secret Trade Deal and GE Trees Partnerships

Outrage in the US at the secret approval of genetically engineered (GE) trees could see New Zealand companies implicated in an industry-wide effort to keep the public in the dark. [1]

The New Zealand Forest Research Institute, now operating as Scion, has been engineering trees for 12 years. The first GE Tree trials approved two experiments on Pinus Radiata and Norway spruce. The Norway spruce trial trees suffered from stunting and disease, which seriously compromised their growth, causing an early closure to the trial. The trials of Radiata pine resulted in breaches at the facility due to poor maintenance. [2]

ArborGen is a private company, 31.67% owned by Rubicon New Zealand [3] and has engineered numerous GE saplings in containment for export. They have largely avoided scrutiny because it is not a Crown Research Institute (CRI) and therefore not subject to the Official Information Act. Rubicon have been involved in genetically engineering GE eucalyptus trees for ArborGen in the US and South American markets. In a secret deal just released, the same company has been granted approval to plant the Loblolly GE pine in the US, without public consultation.

There are now fears that regulation could be undermined in New Zealand through clauses in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP).

“The US EPA has given permission for ArborGen to plant these trees ‘under the radar’,” said Jon Carapiet, national spokesman for GE-Free NZ.

“There is a fear that investor protections in the TPP could see ArborGen demand the right to do something similar here or to demand compensation if they are prevented.”

The push by commercial interests for ‘harmonization’ of laws across trading countries looks set to undermine good governance and deny communities sovereignty over their whenua or land.

After 19 years of commercialisation and there is still no scientific consensus on the safety of GE products. Independent scientists warn that GE trees threaten to destabalise the environment by impacting soil bacteria, fungi, birds and insects that are part of complex ecosystems, until long term scientific studies on their effects have been conducted this warning must be taken seriously.

References:

[1] http://globaljusticeecology.org/outrage-us-secret-approval-genetically-engineered-trees/

[2] Scion Tree Breaches http://www.gefree.org.nz/ge-breaches/

[2] http://www.rubicon.co.nz/web/main.cfm?menu=left&ItemId=223

ENDS:

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TPP talks could be wrapped up in first-half 2015, Key says http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/tpp-talks-could-be-wrapped-up-in-first-half-2015-key-says/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/tpp-talks-could-be-wrapped-up-in-first-half-2015-key-says/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 16:41:11 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7579 Article – BusinessDesk

Jan. 27 (BusinessDesk) – Prime Minister John Key says the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations could be wrapped up in the next six months and put in front of the various parliaments of the 12 nations spanning the Asia Pacific.

TPP talks could be wrapped up in first-half of 2015, Key says

By Paul McBeth

Jan. 27 (BusinessDesk) – Prime Minister John Key says the Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations could be wrapped up in the next six months and put in front of the various parliaments of the 12 nations spanning the Asia Pacific.

Speaking at his post-Cabinet press conference in Wellington, Key said he discussed the progress of the TPP negotiations with US Trade Representative Mike Froman while at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and that there was growing optimism a deal would be completed and could be put in front of legislatures to debate this year.

“There seems to be strong feeling that a successful TPP could be negotiated in the first half of this year,” Key said. “There was more confidence the TPP will be concluded than the US Europe FTA and the view expressed to me by Mike Froman was that they really felt they were getting quite close.”

The TPP agreement seeks a trade agreement spanning the Pacific Rim and currently involves 12 countries: New Zealand, Australia, the United States, Canada, Japan, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam, Chile, Peru, and Mexico.

Where the deal differs from other free trade agreements is that it goes into aligning regulatory settings across borders rather than simply removing quotas and tariffs, and has been faced staunch opposition from those who claim it undermines a nation’s sovereignty.

Key said he didn’t push other ongoing trade negotiations while he was at Davos, though did try to “drum up support” from European leaders having last year taken steps to deepen New Zealand’s relationship with the region.

(BusinessDesk)

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Collins Picked to Return to Cabinet Before Next Election http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/collins-picked-to-return-to-cabinet-before-next-election/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/collins-picked-to-return-to-cabinet-before-next-election/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 13:42:50 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7577 Press Release – iPredict

Judith Collins is this week picked to make a return to Cabinet before the next election, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealands predictions market, iPredict. John Key is expected to remain leader of the National …IPREDICT LTD

NEW ZEALAND WEEKLY ECONOMIC & POLITICAL UPDATE

Tuesday 27 January 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

www.ipredict.co.nz
JUDITH COLLINS PICKED TO RETURN TO CABINET BEFORE NEXT ELECTION

Judith Collins is this week picked to make a return to Cabinet before the next election, according to the combined wisdom of the 8000+ registered traders on New Zealand’s predictions market, iPredict. John Key is expected to remain leader of the National Party until at least the end of 2016 and National is expected to win the election the following year. Annual inflation is expected to remain at or below 1% for the rest of this year and there is now a bias towards the possibility of a cut in the Official Cash Rate. The UK Labour Party is expected to win the most seats in the next House of Commons but David Cameron is expected to remain prime minister. Hillary Clinton remains favourite to be the next US president.

Economics:

• Quarterly GDP growth expected to be:

o 0.9% in the December 2014 quarter (steady compared with last week)

o 0.7% in the March quarter (steady)

o 1.1% in the June quarter (steady)

o 1.1% in the September quarter (steady)

o 1.1% in the December quarter (steady)

• Annual growth expected to be 4.1% in the 2015 calendar year (steady)

• Unemployment expected to be:

o 5.3% in the December 2014 quarter (steady compared with last week)

o 5.3% in the March quarter (steady)

o 5.2% in the June quarter (steady)

o 5.2% in the September quarter (steady)

o 5.3% in the December quarter (steady)

• Current account deficit expected to be 3.4% of GDP in the December quarter (steady compared with last week)

• Annual inflation expected to be:

o 0.5% to end of March 2015 quarter (down from 0.6% last week)

o 0.7% to end of June 2015 quarter (down from 0.8%)

o 0.8% to end of September 2015 quarter (down from 1.0%)

o 1.0% to end of December 2015 quarter (down from 1.4%)

• Official Cash Rate priced to be:

o 3.500% on 29 January (down from 3.507% last week)

o 3.485% on 12 March (down from 3.493%)

o 3.467% on 30 April (down from 3.476%)

o 3.451% on 11 June (down from 3.462%)

o 3.435% on 23 July (down from 3.449%)

o 3.429% on 10 September (down from 3.456%)

o 3.423% on 29 October (down from 3.466%)

o 3.433% on 10 December 2015 (down from 3.486%)

o OCR stocks out to June 2016 will be launched in the near future

• Only 13% probability of a fiscal surplus in 2014/15 (steady)

• Fiscal balance expected to be:

o -0.23% of GDP in 2014/15 (up from -0.25% last week)

o 0.84% of GDP in 2015/16 (steady)

o 1.98% of GDP in 2016/17 (steady)

o 2.41% of GDP in 2017/18 (up from 2.37%)

Politics:

John Key is expected to remain National leader until at least the end of 2016 (80% probability, up from 79% last week) and has a 49% probability of remaining National leader until at least the end of 2017 (up from 48%)

• Steven Joyce returns as favourite to become National Party leader if a vacancy arises(28% probability, up from 26% last week), followed by Paula Bennett (25%, down from 27%) Bill English (11%, up from 9%) and Simon Bridges (9%, steady)

• Stocks on Andrew Little’s longevity as leader of the Labour Party will be launched in the near future

Judith Collins expected to be appointed to Cabinet before next election (65% probability, up from 45% last week)

Next election expected in 2017 (93% probability, up from 90% last week)

• Forecast party vote shares at next election:

o National 45.4% (steady compared with last week)

o Labour 31.8% (down from 32.0%)

o Greens 11.2% (down from 11.3%)

o NZ First 7.0% (steady)

o Others 4.6% (up from 4.3%)

• National expected to win 2017 General Election (55% probability, steady)

Foreign Affairs/Constitution:

Next UK Parliament expected to consist of:

o Labour 40.8% of seats in the House of Commons

o Conservatives 37.9% of seats

o UKIP and similar 6.0% of seats

o Liberal Democrats 5.1% of seats

o Unionist parties 2.2% of seats

o Independents and Speaker 2.0% of seats

o Green and similar 2.0% of seats

o Nationalist parties 1.9% of seats

o All others 2.1% of seats

• David Cameron expected to be prime minister after next UK election (57% probability, down from 60% last week)

• Tony Abbott’s Liberals are narrowly expected to win the next Australian Federal election in 2016 (53% probability, steady)

• Hillary Clinton is favoured to be the Democratic Party’s nominee for US president in 2016 and to be elected to that office (49% probability, up from 48% last week)

• The Trans-Pacific Partnership is not expected to be ratified by the US Congress before 1 July 2017 (only 31% probability it will be, steady compared with last week)

• Helen Clark’s prospects of being the next UN Secretary General are 25% (down from 27% last week)

• There is an 18% probability New Zealand will become a republic by 2020 (steady)

Notes:

• iPredict Ltd is owned by Victoria University of Wellington. Details on the company and its stocks can be found at www.ipredict.co.nz.

• The weekly economic and political update is prepared by Exceltium Ltd on a pro bono basis and is based on a snapshot taken at a random time each week. This week’s was taken at 12.28 pm today.

ENDS

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Public health, union, and church groups slam TPP trade deal http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/public-health-union-and-church-groups-slam-tpp-trade-deal/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/public-health-union-and-church-groups-slam-tpp-trade-deal/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 08:59:48 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7575 Press Release – AFTINET

As secret Trans-Pacific (TPP) trade talks resume in New York, an unusually diverse mix of 47 Australian community groups including public health, environment, union, church, development aid and other groups have written an open letter to Trade Minister …January 27, 2014

Public health, environment, union, and church groups slam Trans-Pacific trade deal as talks resume in New York

As secret Trans-Pacific (TPP) trade talks resume in New York, an unusually diverse mix of 47 Australian community groups including public health, environment, union, church, development aid and other groups have written an open letter to Trade Minister Robb citing mounting evidence that the TPP is not in the national interest, and demanding that the text be released for public scrutiny before it is signed.

“The TPP talks have missed many deadlines over the last five years because community groups in many TPP countries have pressured governments to resist US proposals which would benefit US pharmaceutical, media, IT and tobacco industries at the expense of peoples’ rights,” Dr Patricia Ranald, Coordinator of the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network, said today.

“TPP proposals to extend monopolies on medicines would delay access to cheaper generic medicines. A recent study shows that extending monopolies on ten key medicines would cost the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) $205 million in one year,” explained Dr Deborah Gleeson, from Latrobe University and the Public Health Association of Australia.

Australian Council of Trade Unions President Ged Kearney said: “Fair global trade needs to create jobs and prosperity for all. But the TPP will give foreign investors unfair rights to sue governments over changes to domestic laws, including labour laws. There is no agreement that the TPP will include legally enforceable workers’ rights to organise and improve working conditions. Without these rights, the TPP will contribute to a race to the bottom on living standards.”

“TPP proposals to allow foreign investors to sue governments over changes to domestic laws could threaten future regulation to protect special places like the Great Barrier Reef. The TPP gives more rights to global corporations and it is unlikely there will be agreement on enforceable environmental standards”, added Matthew Rose, Economist from the Australian Conservation Foundation.

“The European Union has responded to community pressure and announced that it will publish the full text of the Trans-Atlantic trade deal (TTIP) between the EU and the US before it is signed. Australia and other TPP countries should follow this example and agree to release the TPP text before it is signed for public and parliamentary debate. This is the only way to test if it is in the national interest,” said Dr Ranald.

ENDS

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Fabian Society: 2015 Prospect and 2014 Wrap-up http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/fabian-society-2015-prospect-and-2014-wrap-up/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/fabian-society-2015-prospect-and-2014-wrap-up/#comments Sat, 17 Jan 2015 08:19:45 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7569 Press Release – New Zealand Fabian Society

February 2015 will start with presentations from Sir Ted Thomas on The enduring Legacy of Neo-Liberalism in Wellington on Febrary 11 and in Auckland from Louise Humpage on Policy Change, social attitudes and citizenship . Professor Guy …Fabian Society: 2015 Prospect and 2014 Wrap-up

Looking forward to 2015

February 2015 will start with presentations from Sir Ted Thomas on “The enduring Legacy of Neo-Liberalism” in Wellington on Febrary 11 and in Auckland from Louise Humpage on “Policy Change, social attitudes and citizenship” . Professor Guy Standing will discuss his book “The Precariat Charter” in Wellington on 19 February and the following week in Auckland. Invitations will be sent out shortly.

We will also start regular presentations in Christchurch, beginning with Dr Geoff Bertram on “Piketty’s Capital – implications for New Zealand.” on 27 February.

We are planning for a “Next Progressive Democracy” event in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch in April/May.

2014 Wrap-Up

Thanks to presenters

Our sincere thanks for their fantastic presentations in 2014 go to Rev. Charles Waldegrave. Bishop Justin Duckworth, Lisa Beech, Teresa Homan, Monsignor Gerard Burns, Terence O’Brien, Prof Jane Kelsey, Brian Easton, Dr Geoff Bertram, Bill McKay, David Grant. Denys Trussell and Christine Rose, Prof David Mayes, Dr Robert Howell, Max Rashbrooke, Dr Richard Norman, Dr Sue Bradford, Alan Johnson, Nicky Hager, Dr Sandra Grey, Colin James, Richard Harman, Keith Ng, Stephanie Rodgers, Russell Brown, Umesh Perinpenayagam, Dr Wayne Mapp, Dr Brian Easton, Peter Neilson, Bill Rosenberg, Eileen Brown, Jan Rivers, Peter Glensor, Prof John Morgan and Ass Prof Peter O’Connor.

Downloads of most seminars detailed below including in some cases audio podcasts are available on our websitewww.fabians.org.nz.

Thanks to donors

Thanks very much to all who have donated to make the seminars and presentations possible. If you would like to support our work, you are welcome to join the Society. Details are here.

All our presenters give their time free and our costs are all for venues, production, accommodation and travel. If you would like to make a contribution to our work our bank account for internet banking is 38-9010-0380941-00, or send a cheque to PO Box 6351, Marion Square, Wellington 6141.

2014 Presentations

TPP – the Wider Context Terence O’Brien Wellington February 28

Christians for Social Justice – The Living Wage Rev Charles Waldegrave and Bishop Justin Duckworth WellingtonMarch 5

Option for the poor- advocacy for beneficiaries Wellington March 24

Pope Francis and the Catholic Social Justice Tradition Mgr Gerard Burns Wellington April 11

Single Buyer Model for Electricity – Structural Issues Dr Geoff Bertram Wellington February 11 & AucklandFebruary 25

Mighty Totara Book Launch – The Life and Times of Norman Kirk David Grant Auckland March 27

Beyond the State – New Zealand State Houses from modest to modern Bill McKay Auckland April 22

The Land – Our life – Revisited Denys Trussell and Christine Rose Auckland May 6

Ethics in Finance and the Regulation of the Financial Sector Prof David Mayes Auckland May 22

An economy for a resilient world – the foundations Dr Robert Howell Auckland June 5

An economy for a resilient world – implications for policy Dr Robert Howell Auckland June 19

Inequality in New Zealand – why don’t we talk more about wealth? Max Rashbrooke Wellington July 1 & AucklandJuly 22

Inequality and Economic Theory – Piketty for Dummies Dr Geoff Bertram Wellington July 11 & Auckland September 1

Capitalising on Wellington Dr Richard Norman Wellington August 11

A left-wing think tank for New Zealand? Dr Sue Bradford Auckland August 12

What might social housing become? Alan Johnson Auckland August 26

Nicky Hager talks about Democracy Nicky Hager Wellington September 9

Time to reclaim real democracy Dr Sandra Grey Wellington September 22

Narratives from the 2014 election – what did we learn? Colin James Richard Harman Keith Ng Stephanie Rodgers Wellington October 13

Narratives from the 2014 election – what did we learn? Russell Brown Dr Sue Bradford Auckland October 16

Piketty’s Capital – Implications for New Zealand Dr Geoff Bertram Wellington Oct 24

Privatising our futures – Kiwisaver and Universal superannuation Umesh Perinpenayagam Auckland October 28

Fabian Debate – Fiscal Sustainablity and Economic Diversification Wayne Mapp Brian Easton WellingtonNovember 10

Addressing Wealth Inequality – an Opportunity to connect with middle New Zealand Peter Neilson AucklandNovember 11

The Productivity Commission Inquiry into Social Services Bill Rosenberg Eileen Brown Peter Glensor WellingtonNovember 24

What’s Left for Education Professor John Morgan Associate Professor Peter O’Connor Auckland November 27

Publications – eBooks available on website

Flawed Theory – Failed Practice – Light handed Regulation in New Zealand

Rethinking the State Sector Act

International

Fabian Societies are active in the UK www.fabians.org.uk, where there is an election due in four months; and in Australiawww.fabians.org.au. The New South Wales Fabians produce a weekly newsletter that is packed with interesting articlespaper.li/NSWFabians/1415501907

that you may wish to subscribe to. We have been contacted by the Sicilian Fabian Society who are looking to set up an international Fabian network.

Thanks to all who have attended

To all who have attended our events and supported us in so many ways, our very best wishes for the New Year.

Warm regards

Mike Smith for Fabian Committee

ENDS

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Pushing for a Pacific free trade area at Quito http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/pushing-for-a-pacific-free-trade-area-at-quito/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/pushing-for-a-pacific-free-trade-area-at-quito/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 10:03:52 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7567 Speech – New Zealand Labour Party

Labours Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark has helped push for greater efforts to establish a Pacific free trade area at the 23rd Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) in Ecuador.David
CLARK
Economic Development Spokesperson
14 January 2014 MEDIA STATEMENT

Pushing for a Pacific free trade area at Quito
Labour’s Economic Development Spokesperson David Clark has helped push for greater efforts to establish a Pacific free trade area at the 23rd Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum (APPF) in Ecuador.

“Free trade across the Pacific is an important goal but the gains must be shared fairly. There must be security for countries to know that international support is available to vulnerable economies.

“New Zealand will continue to push for greater regional cooperation to promote free and fair trade,” David Clark says.

Speech attached

Dr David Clark, New Zealand

23rd APPF Forum (Quito, Ecuador) – Speech draft Trade and the Economy – check against delivery

Madam Chair, honourable delegates and observers of the 23rd Asia Pacific Parliamentary Forum…

May I first thank our hosts – Ecuador – for their warm welcome.

It is a privilege and a pleasure to have this opportunity to address you on the matter of the economy in the Asia Pacific Region.

I have always believed that markets are powerful. They make excellent servants, and terrifying masters. I believe our challenge as parliamentarians building relationships between countries – is to create stronger domestic and international institutions – that support appropriately-regulated international markets.

In a globalised world, our futures are intertwined. We are dependent upon one another for our future security, liberty, peace and prosperity.

To create the conditions in which we all can enhance the well-being of our respective populations, we must first create the conditions for strengthening and maintaining the rule of law, to ensure societies free from corruption. This is a pre-condition for happy and healthy populations engaging in profitable commerce.

Another key plank in ensuring the conditions for prosperity – within and between nations – is a path to reducing disparities in wealth.

Where disparities in wealth become too great, social mobility is reduced; distinct and irreversible socio-economic groupings emerge. From this follows suspicion that the rule of law acts in the interests only of those who can ‘afford’ its services. And with no prospect of accessing ‘fair treatment’ civil unrest often follows.

The thesis that inequality harms population outcomes – for developed countries at least – is supported by a growing body of academic literature.

And there is a close link between income – and population health, criminality, education, life expectancy, and other outcomes.

Part of the riddle lies in the shared interest – of socio-economically homogenous populations.

The prosperity of nations is in part dependent upon access to infrastructure that everyone needs but few can afford on their own. Shared investment in shared infrastructure is not begrudged by anyone when it benefits all citizens. Communal funding of hospitals, schools, clean running water, roads, police forces and courts is happily and willingly supported – when these services produce fair and equitable outcomes for the entire population. Not all nations will choose to fund these things via the state, but the principal of fair and equitable access to these services remains paramount – if prosperity is to ensue.

A state with improving rule of law and a population reasonably able to believe in a growing and shared prosperity becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy – where international trade opportunities and institutions support this goal.

Participants in international fora such as this one must look to protect their own nation’s interests, but equally, they should be strongly incentivised to concern themselves with creating the institutions that provide reasonable financial security to all nations.

Free capital flows provide opportunities for growth, but also carry risks too infrequently acknowledged. The Asian financial crisis and the struggles of Argentina in recent decades illustrate well the maxim that foreign investment is like an umbrella willingly loaned to any country – until it begins to rain.

If development is to be sustainable, countries must have insurance that mitigates the most damaging effects of market surges and mood swings. Our current global financing institutions are weak in this regard.

Confidence to open economies to trade grows – where the upsides are demonstrable and the downsides mitigated.

____

And so – we all come to the table to discuss trade – and it is encouraging that so many proposals for co-operation across our region are on the table.

____

New Zealand’s draft resolution promoting economic partnership and free trade calls upon member countries and concerned regions to continue to make efforts toward realisation of a Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), as a means not only to further promote regional economic integration in the Asia Pacific region, but also to complement and strengthen the multilateral trading system centred on the WTO in a transparent and globally beneficial way.

Other regional integration initiatives like the Trans Pacific Partnership may offer similar prosperity benefits if agreements are signed by nation states that share the benefits of trade fairly amongst their citizenry, have strong institutions to protect the rule of law – and are accompanied and supported by democratic global institutions that serve and protect the interests of all member countries.

We are all connected. When China’s economy sneezes, United States stock markets catch a cold.

In sumary, we must – each nation – take responsibility for ensuring the conditions for growing well-being and prosperity in our own country are created (greater equality, strong rule of law). We must of course – each nation – ensure our own national interest is protected as we negotiate steps toward truly free and open trade in our region. And we must collectively – every nation – look to ensure the international institutions that support confidence in trade are strengthened.

Thank you – delegates.

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Must seed-saving go underground? http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/must-seed-saving-go-underground/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/must-seed-saving-go-underground/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 15:27:12 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7565 Press Release – Food Matters Aotearoa

New Zealand community gardens and home gardeners are likely to be undermined by trade deals such as the TPPA (1)which may allow regulation to criminalise our inherent human instinct to save the best seed for health and climatic conditions.Must seed-saving go underground??

New Zealand community gardens and home gardeners are likely to be undermined by trade deals such as the TPPA (1)which may allow regulation to criminalise our inherent human instinct to save the best seed for health and climatic conditions.

Having modified the worst excesses of New Zealand’s Food Bill (2) through people power , those seeking to ensure they consume healthy food by growing it themselves are set to face more problems from bureaucrats if the TPPA is signed. Similar trade deals around the world are paving the way for corporate control of our seeds.(3)

“If you think patenting GMO seeds was irresponsible; just look at their next ploy to control the world’s food; it’s regulation on steroids,” said Susie Lees from the Food Matters Aotearoa team. “This is a food fight not only for the right to save our own seeds but to ensure we keep highly nutritious varieties. If you want to save Granny’s fruit tree for posterity you will have to go underground.”

Speakers Dr Vandana Shiva and Mark Christensen at the Food Matters Aotearoa Conference (4)will take on the topics of globalisation, patenting of seed, heritage varieties for health and biodiversity to beat climate change.

Dr Vandana Shiva was reviewed last year by Michael Specter of the New Yorker (5))who said, “She describes the fight against agricultural biotechnology as a global war against a few giant seed companies on behalf of the billions of farmers who depend on what they themselves grow to survive. Shiva contends that nothing less than the future of humanity rides on the outcome.” Watch her at:-facebook.com/greenpeace.nz

In December a patent for a tomato was revoked by the European Patent Office(6). The tomato claimed by Monsanto to be ‘an invention’ was accessed via the international gene bank in Gatersleben, Germany, and it was already known that these plants had the desired resistance.

“Revoking this patent is an important success. It was more or less based on a combination of fraud, abuse of patent law and biopiracy.” said Christoph Then, a coordinator of No Patents on Seeds.
References:-

1)ISIS Report 12/01/15 Global Assault on Seed Sovereignty through Trade Deals Is Assault on Human Rights, Protest is Fertile i-sis.org.uk/Global_Assault_on_Seed_Sovereignty_through_Trade.php

2) 12 June 2013 Press Release: New Zealand Government Hon Nikki Kaye Minister for Food Safety – Food Bill changes better balance legislation

scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1306/S00184/food-bill-changes-better-balance-legislation.htm
Seeds for sowing: As it was only ever the intention that the Food Bill would apply to seeds sold for eating, wording will be changed to explicitly exclude seeds for propagation from the scope of the Bill. This will ensure that under the Food Bill people can continue to trade and sell seeds for propagation freely.

3) Trade deals criminalise farmer’s seeds 18.11.14 grain.org/article/entries/5070-trade-deals-criminalise-farmers-seeds

4) Food Matters Aotearoa conference Te Papa Wellington. 14-15th February 2015foodconference.co.nz/

5)Seeds of Doubt – the New Yorker 25/8/14
newyorker.com/magazine/2014/08/25/seeds-of-doubt

Watch Dr Vandana Shiva at:- facebook.com/greenpeace.nz

6)22/12/14 Europe revokes Monsanto’s “fraudulent” tomato patent.
sustainablepulse.com/2014/12/22/europe-revokes-monsantos-fraudulent-tomato-patent/#.VLRzO8lUU2B

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Voters Not Congress Should Decide TPP Trade Pact http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/voters-not-congress-should-decide-tpp-trade-pact/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/voters-not-congress-should-decide-tpp-trade-pact/#comments Sun, 11 Jan 2015 05:52:49 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7563 Opinion – Stephen Crockett

We need to slow the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) approval process down until after the 2016 elections. After the final full terms are made public, the voters should decide this issue using our democratic electoral processes. We need this to be a campaign …

Voters Not Congress Should Decide TPP Trade Pact

by Stephen Crockett

We need to slow the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) approval process down until after the 2016 elections. After the final full terms are made public, the voters should decide this issue using our democratic electoral processes. We need this to be a campaign issue in the Senate, House and Presidential elections. It will increase voter turnout (which is good for American democracy) and give the decision real legitimacy.

There are many stakeholders in this deal. Large international corporations, domestic corporations, small businesses, American workers, farmers, consumers, citizens who care about the environment, those with intellectual property, citizens concerned with food safety, those concerned with preserving control of our economy as expressed via our democratic elections, taxpayers and many more elements of our society are stakeholders. Most of these stakeholders have been largely left out of the secretive process of drafting the TPP trade pact.

It seems that large international corporations were the only stakeholders who had a major role in the drafting the trade deal. There is no way that fast tracking approval of the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) should be under serious consideration. Fast tracking this trade deal is being pushed by those who are politically under the control of large corporate interests.

Regardless of which political party controls the US House of Representatives, the Senate or the White House, they should defer to the will of the American people on an issue as important as the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) because the deal impacts the role of our democratically controlled government in our economy and many other parts of our economic future. The TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) is widely seen as a massive international power grab based on the leaks pushed in the press from these secretive negotiations.

Few Americans have a deep understanding of the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) terms. This includes most members of the House of Representatives and the US Senate.

Our corporate controlled press has not given the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) the kind of serious, extensive reporting that previous trade deals like NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) received. The public has not been effectively informed on the terms of the deal. There has not been enough time for stakeholders to examine the potential impacts of the terms on the American nation.

American democracy has not been served. American democracy has been ignored. Obviously, the will of the American people should have the final say on the fate of the TPP (Trans Pacific Pact).
We need a long, vigorous public debate and a full election cycle in 2016 fought in part on this issue so the American people can be heard before TPP (Trans Pacific Pact) approval decision by a newly elected Congress and President.


*************

(Stephen Crockett is the founder & former Host of Democratic Talk Radio http://www.DemocraticTalkRadio, a small business owner, College Marketing.com http://www.CollegeMarketing.com, and Editor, Mid-Atlantic Labor.com http://www.midatlanticlabor.com. He can be reached by email at demlabor@aol.com.)

Related articles:

Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement Is a Pending Disaster (by Robert Reich)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-reich/why-the-transpacific-part_b_6422088.html

Bernie Sanders’ Brutal Letter On Obama’s Trade Pact Foreshadows 2016 Democratic Clash (by Zach Carter)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/05/bernie-sanders-michael-froman-tpp_n_6419874.html

Democrats Slam Obama Over Secretive Trade Deals, Say He Needs Economics ‘Refresher’ (by Dana Liebelson and Jennifer Bendery)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/08/trade-deal_n_6438288.html

Mitch McConnell Pledges Fast Action For Secretive Trade Deals (by Michael McAuliff)
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/01/07/mcconnell-fast-track_n_6432118.html

Will Fast-Track/TPP Warnings Reach The Public? It’s Up To You. (by Dave Johnson)
http://ourfuture.org/20150107/will-fast-tracktpp-warnings-reach-the-public-its-up-to-you

Obama’s Covert Trade Deal (by Lori Wallach and Ben Beachy)
http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/03/opinion/obamas-covert-trade-deal.html?_r=0

Democrats Step Up Efforts to Block Obama’s Trade Agenda (by Julie Hirschfeld Davis)
http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/09/business/democrats-step-up-efforts-to-block-obama-on-trade-promotion-authority.html

Bernie Sanders Slams The Trans-Pacific Partnership As A Disaster For Workers (by Jason Easley)
http://www.politicususa.com/2014/12/29/bernie-sanders-trans-pacific-partnership-disaster-workers.html

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New law already being abused to threaten Canadian Net users http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/new-law-already-being-abused-to-threaten-canadian-net-users/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/new-law-already-being-abused-to-threaten-canadian-net-users/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 09:56:51 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7554 Press Release – OpenMedia

New copyright law is already being abused to threaten Canadian Internet users with ridiculous penalties for downloadingNew copyright law is already being abused to threaten Canadian Internet users with ridiculous penalties for downloading

Government needs to take action to prevent foreign Big Media companies from sending misleading notices that threaten huge $150,000 lawsuits and disconnection from the Internet

January 8, 2015 – Less than a week after new copyright rules went into effect in Canada, ISPs are already receiving notices from Big Media giants that contain misleading and threatening statements, according to top copyright expert Professor Michael Geist. In a blog this morning, Geist included a copy of one such notice that was forwarded to him by a Canadian ISP.

Included in the notice are misleading allegations that the alleged infringer could be sued for up to $150,000, and face the possibility of being disconnected from the Internet. These are both completely inaccurate misrepresentations of Canadian copyright law, which limits damages for non-commercial copyright infringement to $5000 and prevents copyright trolls obtaining the identity of alleged offenders without a court order. OpenMedia’s Campaigns Coordinator Meghan Sali had this to say:

“The notice-and-notice system was designed explicitly to prevent this type of bullying on the part of Big Media companies, so it is extremely disappointing to see that this law is already being abused. The government had an opportunity to put into place common-sense rules around what type of information could be included in notices, but chose to abandon these rules halfway through the process.”

Sali continued: “On the whole, Canada’s new notice-and-notice copyright system is designed to be fair for both Internet users and creators, but unfortunately this huge loophole could destroy the balanced nature of the law. Industry Minister James Moore should make haste, and take action to protect Canadians from threats and bullying from foreign Big Media giants.”

In October of last year, OpenMedia published a crowdsourced report about copyright in the 21st Century. The report was designed as a response to the secretive and undemocratic manner in which the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) has been negotiated, amid concerns that the agreement could drastically change the way Internet users share and collaborate online.

In this report, OpenMedia points to Canada’s notice-and-notice system as an effective way to set a new global standard which balances the rights of Internet users and creators. Canadians can learn more at https://openmedia.org/digitalfuture

About OpenMedia.ca

OpenMedia.ca is an award-winning community-based organization that safeguards the possibilities of the open Internet. We work toward informed and participatory digital policy by engaging hundreds of thousands of people in protecting our online rights.

Through campaigns such as StopTheMeter.ca and StopSpying.ca, OpenMedia.ca has engaged over half-a-million Canadians, and has influenced public policy and federal law.

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Foreign Control Watchdog 137 – December 2014 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/foreign-control-watchdog-137-december-2014/ http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/foreign-control-watchdog-137-december-2014/#comments Sun, 28 Dec 2014 09:50:01 +0000 http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/?p=7546 Press Release – Campaign Against Foreign Control Of Aotearoa

TPPA Local Government Campaign: Well-Beings, War-Makers And Pirates Te Waka a Mui Rides The Storm by Greg RzesniowieckiForeign Control Watchdog 137 – December 2014

What’s That Terrible Smell? The 2014 Election by Murray Horton

2014 Roger Award Finalists Named by Murray Horton

On The Road: CAFCA/ABC Speaking Tour March-July 2014 by Murray Horton

Subverting Democracy: The Dirty Politics Of Media Machinations by Dennis Small

News Before Profits by Bill Rosenberg

Is It Time To Build A Major Leftwing Thinktank…And More? by Sue Bradford

TPPA Local Government Campaign: Well-Beings, War-Makers And Pirates – Te Waka a Mäui Rides The Storm by Greg Rzesniowiecki

Motorway Tolls: Aucklanders Caught Between Tarseal-Addicted Government & Weak Mayor by John Minto

Kiwisaver: A Trojan Horse For Pension Privatisation In New Zealand? by Umesh Perinpanayagam

2014 CAFCA Annual General Meeting Minutes

New Treasurer For Organiser Account: James Ayers Replaces Warren Brewer by Murray Horton

CAFCA/ABC Organiser Account: Financial Report For Year Ended 31 March 2014 by James Ayers, Organiser Account Treasurer

Reviews by Jeremy Agar and Murray Horton

Dirty Politics by Nicky Hager

Hot Air a film by Alister Barry and Abi King-Jones

Beyond The Free Market: Rebuilding A Just Society In New Zealand edited by David Cooke, Claire Hill, Pat Baskett & Ruth Irwin

Capital In The 21st Century by Thomas Piketty

Don’t Spoil My Beautiful Face: Media, Mayhem & Human Rights In The South Pacific by David Robie

Obituaries by Murray Horton, Mo Skiffington, Kate Elsen and Paul Corliss

Nancy Hammond

Will Foote

John Case

Garth Spooner

Millions At Stake As Equal Pay Case Heads To Supreme Court by Alastair Duncan

Non-Members:

It takes a lot of work to compile and write the material presented on these pages – if you value the information, please send a donation to the above address to help us continue the work.
The material on this site may be reproduced provided the source is acknowledged. Published by Foreign Control Watchdog Inc, Box 2258, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand. ISSN 1175-7760.
email cafca@chch.planet.org.nz
Note that the regular analysis of the decisions of the Overseas Investment Office, which are published in every Foreign Control Watchdog are not republished here because they are available on the web site of the Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA).

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