It's Our Future http://itsourfuture.localdev Kiwi Voices on the TPPA Tue, 04 Dec 2018 00:35:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.10 40978522 Rethinking the trade and investment agenda in turbulent times http://itsourfuture.localdev/rethinking-trade-and-investment/ Fri, 19 Oct 2018 22:30:18 +0000 http://itsourfuture.localdev/?p=26494 Rethinking the trade and investment agenda in turbulent times ‘What an Alternative and Progressive Trade Strategy Should Look Like’, Fale Pasifika, 19-20 October 2018. Professor Jane Kelsey, introductory comments These days I feel depressed, cautiously optimistic, and frustrated at the same time. Depressed because the harm caused by four decades of capitalism unleashed, fostered by […]

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Rethinking the trade and investment agenda in turbulent times

‘What an Alternative and Progressive Trade Strategy Should Look Like’,

Fale Pasifika, 19-20 October 2018.
Professor Jane Kelsey, introductory comments

These days I feel depressed, cautiously optimistic, and frustrated at the same time.

Depressed because the harm caused by four decades of capitalism unleashed, fostered by a neoliberal regime expanded and locked in through free trade and investment agreements.

Poverty, inequality, precarious jobs, decaying infrastructure, social dis-ease surround us Governments and international institutions admit that reality at almost every international meeting I go to. They acknowledge there is a crisis of legitimacy in the current regime, and pepper their speeches with the buzzwords of social inclusion, empowering women and indigenous peoples, reversing inequality and embrace the economic, social and environmental pillars of the sustainable development goals – although they rarely go as far
as mentioning climate change.

Yet I am cautiously optimistic about the prospects of change, because the forces of creative disruption are breaking the mould, with the caveat that the outcome is not always progressive. We can debate the pros and cons of the UK’s Brexit and Trump’s withdrawal from TPPA, the rewriting of NAFTA, Trump’s tariffs on traditional allies and China alike, but there is no denying or reversing the jolt that has given to the system.

Separately from that, the World Trade Organization (WTO) has been paralysed for some years by the refusal of rich countries, including our own, to deliver to poorer countries the rebalancing they were promised in return for agreeing in 1994 to US-driven rules on services and intellectual property. Ironically, Republicans and Democrats both told me in Washington recently that the WTO’s rules and dispute processes are stacked against them.

While the US throws its toys out of the WTO cot, other mostly affluent countries, including New Zealand, are proposing reforms they hope will pacify the US’s concerns and lure it back. They are also pushing an aggressive new agenda on digital commerce, investment and constraints on domestic regulation, that will heighten internal factures and external antipathy to the WTO. The WTO is set to become an even more contested zone.

China is also a circuit breaker, for good and bad. The hegemony of the US and secondarily the EU is under threat. The US originally expected to draw China into the orbit of US-designed rules at the WTO, and cement China’s subservience. Instead, China has become an economic powerhouse with an independent modus operandi. Both Democrats and Republicans complained to me that China is breaking the rules, and justified imposing trade sanctions as a matter of national security. China has responded by appealing to the rules-based system!

While the US-China trade war is important, it’s a symptom of a larger transition, as China offers an alternative paradigm. Funding and contracts under China’s One Belt One Road initiative, the Ali-Baba-dominated digital ecosystem, the Asian Infrastructure Development Bank and bilateral state-to-state relationships are attractive alternative to many, mainly developing countries. There are costs, with China directly or indirectly controlling the infrastructure it funds, much of which rely on fossil fuel. Faced with growing criticism, China has also become increasingly keen on protecting its investors through agreements, including with investor-state enforcement.

These fractures in the current regime stepped up a pace this month, with the revised North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) allowing the US to kick Mexico or Canada out of the deal if they negotiate an FTA with China. If that becomes the established US position, we will have a new cold war via FTAs, with countries pushed to choose between the US or China. I’m sure Terence will have more to say about these developments.

On a more progressive note, the escalating backlash against bilateral investment treaties and investment agreements in FTAs has brought real change. These rules protect foreign corporations from the adverse impacts of new laws and decisions, allowing them to recover their investment and lost future profits from taxpayers even when they are at fault, through private, unaccountable offshore investor-state tribunals – ISDS.

States have terminated stand-alone investment agreements, are developing new genuinely progressive models, and have refused to include ISDS in new agreements – indeed, that is formally NZ’s position, although the government has yet to deliver on it and has played no role in promoting its critique of ISDS internationally. This week the UN Human Rights Council is meeting to discuss a Binding Treaty to hold TNCs accountable for human rights violations, as a direct challenge to put indigenous and other human rights ahead of corporate profits. The Trump administration has even stripped ISDS out of the NAFTA in relation to US and Canada and severely limited it with Mexico. That is highly significant as
NAFTA was the first FTA to include ISDS. the exception of oil and gas contracts with Mexico demonstrates the ongoing power of the corporate lobby and the blindness to climate change.

Affluent countries, neoliberal international institutions, and the arbitration industry are fighting a rear-guard action to defend privileges of foreign investors, including the EU’s proposal to establish a permanent multilateral investment court, but not change the rules it would enforce. The outcome would be the equivalent of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) that we defeated in 1998.

Other innovations in NAFTA appeal to the working-class voters Trump stole from the Democrats, with promises to bring jobs back home that were offshored to lower wage countries, notably Mexico. For example, products can only benefit from lower tariffs if they have a minimum content made in the three countries, and 40% of that is by workers paid USD16 per hour. That has laid bare the Democrats’ failure to develop their own progressive alternative and poses a quandary for those demanding real change.

Which brings me to why I am so hugely frustrated. An unprecedented turbulence has subsumed the ‘free trade and investment’ regime that was born 30 years ago. It faces an existential crisis. UNCTAD’s recent 2018 Trade and Development Report recalls the dominant “free trade narrative” of a rules-based system that has broken free from local political oversight and can promote a level playing field and prosperity for all. In reality,UNCTAD says, we live in a hyperglobalised world…

where money and power have become inseparable and where capital – whether tangible or intangible, long-term or short-term, industrial or financial – ha extricated itself from regulatory oversight and interference. …
Resisting isolationism effectively requires recognizing that many of the rules adopted to promote “free trade” have failed to move the system in a more inclusive, participatory and development-friendly direction…

The tragedy of our times is that just as bolder international cooperation is needed to address those causes, more than three decades of relentless banging of the free trade drum has drowned out the sense of trust, fairness and justice on which such cooperation depends’. (xii-xiv)

There is a serious void in international leadership towards such a values-based paradigm. I don’t want to downplay the significance of Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn, the two elderly white men who are incongruously have led progressive politics in two of the power-house states that would need to embrace real change.

But the more powerful fall-out from globalisation has been the decline of democracy and rise of populist authoritarianism. Trump is now burning down the neoliberal model with his trade war, NAFTA, WTO – a model previously drawn up by US in its self-interest – and creating a global legitimacy for authoritarianism, with other strongmen. Capitalising on populism of fear, not populism of the positive, he appeals to those who feel alienated and disempowered while elevating the super-rich and powerful to new heights.

Labelling the current dynamics as unilateral protectionism is simplistic and dangerousThe Pavlovian response is to call for multilateralism based on profits, not on values. That is a critical distinction. The patrons and beneficiaries of the existing system are mobilising to restabilise it. The New Zealand government, past and present, are active players in that project.

Incremental reforms will not work, for several reasons. They are nowhere near the necessary speed, and will settle for the least common denominator. They purport to address critical issues that have become lightning rods, like ISDS, and the social harms by gender, labour, environment, and indigenous rights, by cosmetic clip-ons that change nothing. Digging us deeper into the regime is not a fix. Instead, it will extend the time needed for larger scale paradigmatic reform.

Consider two of the most pressing challenges to that system. You can’t shoehorn climatechange into the existing regime. Equally, digital technologies are bringing a fundamental transformation to which old models of trade, investment, even intellectual property no longer apply. You can’t address the opportunities and challenges this poses by tinkering. We need to move from the economic reality of the past to a future based on a different
paradigm.

We have to fill the vacuum of leadership before others do. We have seen radical change before – in the post-depression era of Keynesian welfarism and the neoliberalism of the 1970s. If progressive ideas are not yet in vogue then we need to create intellectual framework and build movements to generate a momentum for ideas, communicate them, create political will, and make sure our ideas are on the table. Otherwise the void will be filled by the ‘corporations-first’ model of recent decades, or an America-first model competing for ascendancy with an equally self-interested China.

We have the capacity to do that, but it is part of a larger political and social project. We need to re-empower governments because they have outsourced so much of what needs to be done and make sure that policy and regulatory space is not closed off by even more deals. But it is not enough to reassert the role of the state. States are not benign. Their alignment with capital and political and economic elites has to be constantly contested.
National regulations can be even worse than the international agreements. Silenced voices – Maori, women, precarious workers, including migrants – which have been systematically disempowered by the state, by corporations and by agreements, need to be genuinely empowered in reformulated economic models and governance processes.

There are also limits to what states can do to address global aspirations and abuses, such as the catastrophic threat of climate change and the private global oligopoly of GAFA and Ali Baba. By default and design, responses to these challenges are being framed by the rules of neoliberal trade and investment treaties. We need global aspirations, based on different visions, values, politics and institutions.

To end with my favourite line from Gramsci: We are in an interregnum. The old regime of international economic agreements is dying. We are surrounded by morbid symptoms of its demise. The new is yet to be born. We don’t know what it will look like. It could be more of the corporate-led agenda that the neoliberalism and financialised capitalism. It could be a battle between the world’s most powerful authoritarian regimes. Or it could be remade
according to fundamental principles of social justice and survival of the planet. The third seems a no-brainer to me.

What might this involve?

I don’t want to pre-empt the discussion at this hui or the ideas you might produce at the end – and Jim Stanford is about to present some ideas of his own. Let me identify a handful of progressive alternatives that are already underway.

The UNCTAD Trade and Development Report cited earlier urges states to revisit the original post-war Havana Charter on which the GATT was based and update it for the digital age. Born of post-war Keynesianism, the Havana Charter recognised the links between labour market conditions, inequality and trade, as well as anticompetitive business practices, monopolistic control and limited access to market. Returning free trade rules to their roots and shedding the non-trade ephemera would be a start.

The UN Human Rights Council is meeting this week to advance its mandate to develop a legally binding international instrument on transnational corporations and human rights. There is an internal battle between the state and NGOs supporting the treaty, mainly from countries that have been targets of investment disputes, and OECD countries led by the EU seeking to sabotage it. New Zealand has not YET participated in this process. If we are looking at real rebalancing by putting people and planet before corporate interests, New
Zeland needs to become involved – on the right side.

Still at the UN, rapporteur for indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz has strongly criticised the adverse effects of free trade agreements and investment agreements, especially ISDS. Maori attended a regional workshop she hosted in Peru and another in Bangkok. The new Minister of Crown Maori Relations has a mandate to take the lead on resetting Crown/Māori relationships on hard issues and find opportunities for active partnerships between the Crown and Māori. He could work with the Rapporteur and counterparts internationally, and identify and develop tikanga based processes and options in Aotearoa that are consistent with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, The Declaration of Independence and te Tiriti o Waitangi. The panel this afternoon will explore that further, and before lunch Wayne Garnons-Williams will share some insights from the
First Nations in Canada during the rewrite of NAFTA.

Then there are many initiatives to address the democratic deficit and enable citizens to hold their governments to account. Measures promoted and adopted in various countries include ongoing disclosure and debate on mandates and negotiating proposals and texts; guaranteeing elected politicians the right to oversee mandates and negotiations; ensuring full, balanced and independent cost-benefit and impact analyses during the course of
negotiations; requiring referenda or super-majorities for their adoption; and including sunset provisions that limit the life span of such deals.

The World Health Organisation and peak international and national health bodies have developed the methodology for full health impact assessments of proposed agreements during the course of negotiations, as part of broader human rights impact assessments, with the presumption that negotiations that fail that ssessment should be abandoned.

How might we address the legacy problem of existing agreements? Countries around the world are terminating bilateral investment treaties. A conference I was at in New York earlier this month explored and debated various alternatives. South Africa has substituted a domestic law, where foreign and local investors are treated the same, whereby their rights and obligations are subject to the post-apartheid constitution, and disputes are heard before the domestic courts. India has a new model agreement which, while not as socially progressive as the draft, includes real protections for social rights and the right to regulate, and gives priority to the domestic courts. Brazil’s Congress had never approved investment agreements, and it has developed a new model that emphasises long-term investment relationships and uses mediation rather than investor enforcement. A decade ago this kind of talk was incendiary. Today we are not discussing whether, but how.

There is active talk about developing a multilateral agreement through which signatory states could extinguish prior agreements, rather than having to unpick them one by one. Countries that feel vulnerable if they take unilateral steps to terminate could benefit from the protection of a critical mass, especially if some larger and stronger countries also want to reconsider their obligations. One precedent for this is the multilateral Mauritius Agreement on Transparency in Investor-State Arbitration 2014, that changes provisions of existing agreements among signatory countries. The EU is adapting that to terminate bilateral investment treaties between EU member states.

A parallel example is the anti tax-avoidance Base Erosion and Profit Shifting or BEPS process in the OECD. The Multilateral Convention to Implement Tax Treaty Related Measures to Prevent BEPS would result in mass change in double taxation treaties to make them consistent with the agreed BEPS actions. Among other things, the Convention modifies the application of thousands of bilateral tax treaties concluded to eliminate double taxation.

There is no reason why a similar approach could not apply to free trade agreements that are legally easier, but politically more difficult, to exit.

These are all practical, achievable ideas if there is the political will, and the momentum and ideas to create that will. Let’s advance that discussion over the next 2 days, and beyond.

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Submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee in support of the TPPA-11: Don’t Do It! petition http://itsourfuture.localdev/submission-to-the-foreign-affairs-defence-and-trade-committee-in-support-of-the-tppa-11-dont-do-it-petition/ Tue, 01 May 2018 01:46:09 +0000 http://itsourfuture.localdev/?p=26236 Reject the TPPA and review the treaty-making process Submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee in support of the TPPA-11: Don’t Do It! petition delivered to Golriz Ghahraman MP on Thursday 8 March 2018 on behalf of It’s Our Future and 5,098 signatories.   The below submission was submitted by Oliver Hailes as […]

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Reject the TPPA and review the treaty-making process

Submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee in support of the
TPPA-11: Don’t Do It! petition delivered to Golriz Ghahraman MP on Thursday 8 March
2018 on behalf of It’s Our Future and 5,098 signatories.

 

The below submission was submitted by Oliver Hailes as Spokesperson of It’s Our Future. Please click the link to download the submission for viewing.

Reject the TPPA and review the treaty-making process Don’t Do It! petition submission

 

 

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It’s Our Future Press Release: Parliament should review international treaty powers http://itsourfuture.localdev/its-our-future-press-release-parliament-should-review-international-treaty-powers/ Thu, 26 Apr 2018 23:48:50 +0000 http://itsourfuture.localdev/?p=26234 “The parliamentary select committee should call for a review of the government’s treaty-making powers before rushing in to ratify the TPPA,” says Oliver Hailes, spokesperson for It’s Our Future, in anticipation of next week’s hearings on the controversial economic treaty. “We need modern forms of accountability before we commit to these mega agreements.” This morning […]

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“The parliamentary select committee should call for a review of the government’s treaty-making powers before rushing in to ratify the TPPA,” says Oliver Hailes, spokesperson for It’s Our Future, in anticipation of next week’s hearings on the controversial economic treaty. “We need modern forms of accountability before we commit to these mega agreements.”

This morning It’s Our Future delivered a written submission to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee in support of its TPPA-11: Don’t Do It! petition, which was signed by thousands and delivered to Green MP Golriz Ghahraman outside Parliament on the day the revived treaty was signed in Chile.

“The TPPA exposes serious problems with New Zealand’s treaty-making powers, which remain dominated by MFAT in the interests of exporters, foreign investors and multinational corporations while Parliament and the public are kept in the dark.”

“Since the Prime Minister’s tour of Europe, there have been remarks that the TPPA could serve as a template for treaties with the EU and Commonwealth nations. Trump continues to hint that the US will be looking to join the TPPA in the near future, and there have been expressions of interest from Thailand, South Korea and the UK.”

“We have to set things right before ratification.”

The petition demands democratic overhaul of the process for negotiating, signing and ratifying international treaties dealing with trade, investment and economic integration.

The Government plans to launch its Trade for All Agenda in the coming weeks, which will involve a public conversation about the role of trade in New Zealand.

But Mr Hailes says this initiative would be wholly undercut if the TPPA is ratified without a thorough review of the treaty-making process. This may require an update of the Law Commission’s report into this issue, which is now 20 years out of date, and ultimately an Act of Parliament.

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Copies of CPTPP Submissions – Jane Kelsey, Laila Harre, Barry Coates, NZCTU, BWI and the Alliance Party http://itsourfuture.localdev/copies-of-cptpp-submissions-jane-kelsey-laila-harre-barry-coates-nzctu-bwi-and-the-alliance-party/ Thu, 19 Apr 2018 02:54:18 +0000 http://itsourfuture.localdev/?p=26226 Please click on the links below each name to download their submission on the CPTPP   Jane Kelsey’s CPTPP Submission Jane Kelsey’s CPTPP Submission   Laila Harre’s CPTPP Submission Laila Harre’s CPTPP Submission   Barry Coates’ CPTPP Submission Barry Coates’ CPTPP submission   Building and Woodworkers International’s CPTPP Submission BWI Submission on CPTPP   NZCTU’s […]

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Please click on the links below each name to download their submission on the CPTPP

 

Jane Kelsey’s CPTPP Submission

Jane Kelsey’s CPTPP Submission

 

Laila Harre’s CPTPP Submission

Laila Harre’s CPTPP Submission

 

Barry Coates’ CPTPP Submission

Barry Coates’ CPTPP submission

 

Building and Woodworkers International’s CPTPP Submission

BWI Submission on CPTPP

 

NZCTU’s CPTPP Submission

NZCTU submission on the CPTPP

 

The Alliance Party’s CPTPP Submission

The Alliance Party’s CPTPP submission

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NZPTV interview with Amanda Vickers on feeling betrayed by NZ First’s TPPA u-turn http://itsourfuture.localdev/nzptv-interview-with-amanda-vickers-on-feeling-betrayed-by-nz-firsts-tppa-u-turn/ Mon, 12 Mar 2018 09:13:46 +0000 http://itsourfuture.localdev/?p=26176 NZPTV is the New Zealand Public Television Trust  – a hub where Kiwi film and television makers can screen their programmes so that other New Zealanders around our country, and around the world, can watch them for free. It is also a place for you to have your say. NZPTV have recently launched VOICE OF […]

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NZPTV is the New Zealand Public Television Trust  – a hub where Kiwi film and television makers can screen their programmes so that other New Zealanders around our country, and around the world, can watch them for free. It is also a place for you to have your say.

NZPTV have recently launched VOICE OF THE PEOPLE. Their first interview is with Amanda Vickers, who says she worked hard to get NZ First elected, but now feels betrayed over their u-turn on the TPPA issue.

If you would like to have your say on an issue of public importance please send your 1 minute video to liz@nzptv.org.nz or contact Liz Gunn at that mail address to see if they can arrange to video you.

Please share  their website www.nzptv.org.nz with your family and friends at home and abroad.

Source: The New Zealand Public Television Trust

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Speeches from the Wellington Rally and Don’t Do It! Petition Handover 08/03/2018 http://itsourfuture.localdev/speeches-from-the-wellington-rally-and-dont-do-it-petition-handover-08-03-2018/ Fri, 09 Mar 2018 03:13:47 +0000 http://itsourfuture.localdev/?p=26166 On Thursday the 8th of March in opposition to the NZ government signing the CPTPP, concerned New Zealanders gathered outside of Parliament to voice their opposition and to handover the Don’t Do It Petition which saw over 5000 people sign over a 3 week period.   Below are the videos of the speeches and the […]

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On Thursday the 8th of March in opposition to the NZ government signing the CPTPP, concerned New Zealanders gathered outside of Parliament to voice their opposition and to handover the Don’t Do It Petition which saw over 5000 people sign over a 3 week period.

 

Below are the videos of the speeches and the petition handover.

 

Antony Maddock – speaking on TPP Free Wgtn campaigns, successes, retrospective and perspective

 

Catherine Murupaenga-Ikenn – speaking from a tangata whenua perspective

 

Bryan Bruce – speaking on the implications of the TPPA and similar trade deals

 

Grant Brookes – speaking from the NZNO union and public health perspective

 

 

Oliver Hailes, It’s Our Future Spokesperson – speaking about the concerns of the TPPA

 

Oliver Hailes of It’s Our Future hands over the Don’t Do It! Petition to Green MP Golriz Ghahraman

 

Rick Zwaan, ActionStation – speaks on 75% of New Zealanders wanting independent analysis

 

Ben Peterson – speaking from a union perspective

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Capitulation in TPPA-11 raises fears of more to come – Jane Kelsey http://itsourfuture.localdev/capitulation-in-tppa-11-raises-fears-of-more-to-come-jane-kelsey/ Fri, 09 Mar 2018 01:13:48 +0000 http://itsourfuture.localdev/?p=26151 ‘The so-called Joint Declaration on Inclusive and Progressive Trade, released by New Zealand, Canada and Chile alongside the signing of the resurrected Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA-11), comes across as a desperate attempt to put a gloss on a profoundly unprogressive deal’, says University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey. ‘They promise to make the TPPA-11 […]

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‘The so-called Joint Declaration on Inclusive and Progressive Trade, released by New Zealand, Canada and Chile alongside the signing of the resurrected Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA-11), comes across as a desperate attempt to put a gloss on a profoundly unprogressive deal’, says University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey.

‘They promise to make the TPPA-11 work for women, indigenous peoples, small and medium enterprises, workers, the environment. Yet those constituencies have repeatedly made it clear that the deal itself is anathema to their interests – most recently in a statement from fifty women’s organisations across ten of the eleven countries, who condemned the signing the agreement on International Women’s Day’.

Professor Kelsey notes that ‘progressive’ Canada presumably refused to sign a side-letter to protect New Zealand from investor-initiated disputes. Instead, Canada, Chile and New Zealand issued another joint statement where they promise to work on the ‘evolving practice’ of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS), offering suggestions that are mere tinkering with the system.

‘How does that fit with the Prime Minister’s description of ISDS as “a dog” and the instruction to negotiators not to include ISDS in New Zealand’s future agreements?’, she asked. ‘This joint statement does nothing to engender confidence that the government is really serious about ridding us of ISDS.’

Reinforcing those concerns, the government appears to have increased New Zealand’s exposure to ISDS in relation to Singapore. The free trade agreement in 2001 required the government’s consent before a Singaporean investor could bring an ISDS dispute. A new side-letter says Singapore’s investors can use the right under TPPA-11 to sue New Zealand, presumably without its consent.

Other side-letters which Trade Minister Parker said would protect New Zealand from ISDS are from countries whose investments in New Zealand are largely insignificant. Australia had already signed such a letter. Malaysia is the only new signatory with substantial investment in New Zealand.  Yet its side-letter does not block Malaysia’s investors from using ISDS. New Zealand would have to positively veto a dispute.

‘This outcome does nothing to assuage our fears that the government will capitulate again on its promises to abandon ISDS and to adopt a new inclusive and progressive approach to international trade relationships and agreements.’

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Three women cemented into the TPP outside Labour Party office in Christchurch – Our Children’s Future http://itsourfuture.localdev/three-women-cemented-into-the-tpp-outside-labour-party-office-in-christchurch-our-childrens-future/ Thu, 08 Mar 2018 01:26:57 +0000 http://itsourfuture.localdev/?p=26162 TPPA Cements Us into 20th Century Thinking Three women have cemented themselves in place outsid Labour MP Ruth Dyson’s office in Christchurch today as Trade Minister David Parker prepares to sign the CPTPP/TPPA trade deal in Chile. There was a spectacle at 1pm today as barrows of cement were poured around the feet of the three protestors, […]

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TPPA Cements Us into 20th Century Thinking


Three women have cemented themselves in place outsid Labour MP Ruth Dyson’s office in Christchurch today as Trade Minister David Parker prepares to sign the CPTPP/TPPA trade deal in Chile.


There was a spectacle at 1pm today as barrows of cement were poured around the feet of the three protestors, with actors dressed as MP David Parker and two labour party officials herding them place.


The actor dressed as David Parker proclaimed that “after years  of public opposition, the Labour party is thrilled to cement New Zealand into the renamed CPTPP without the independent review we promised!”


Meanwhile ‘Our Children’s Future’ spokesperson Gen de Spa said that “Far from being the “21st Century agreement” touted by its proponents, the TPPA locks us into 20th Century thinking which is not fit for purpose in today’s challenging times.”


There has been a police presence at the protest since 2pm. For now the three women remain set in cement while other supporters are holding signs with much tooting from people in passing cars. MP Ruth Dyson arrived at 2:45pm and is currently inside the office.


A poll conducted by independent research company UMR in February this year found that a massive 75% of New Zealanders agree that the government should commission an independent analysis of the agreement.
Standing shin deep in concrete,  de Spa said “The people of Aoteaora are being cemented into a regressive deal with the signing of the CPTPP. A new name and some changes in punctuation doesn’t change the deal we’ve been protesting for years. By signing we’ll be a step closer to being cemented in place, vulnerable to being sued by overseas corporations when we go against their profits, for example taking action on climate change or to protecting our waterways”


“We’ve got one last chance to get out before the deal is set firm” de Spa said “Kiwis are going to need to get moving to get the government to break out of the CPTPP before the concrete can finally set with it’s ratification by Parliament” she continued.


De Spa was clear that the action today was intended to “send a message to the people of New Zealand – to pay attention and get active, because the Labour led government is pouring the same cement that we were opposing when National was in the mix.”


She finished with a message to the government, “We will continue to work towards ‘people and planet-friendly’ solutions to the big issues the world is facing and to protect our future from dangerous climate change – this is your chance to show leadership on these issues, because climate change really is this generation’s ‘nuclear-free moment’. If you don’t, we’ll be making cracks to grow through the concrete.”


A similar protest has been staged in Motueka, replicating the ‘Cemented in the TPP’ outside Damien O’Connors Labour office.


Years of sustained protest saw Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens all coming into power opposing the TPP trade deal. Now rebranded as the CPTPPA and with negligible changes, the treaty is being signed by Labour in Chile today. Once signed it will still need to be ratified by the NZ government to fully come into effect.

 

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Parliamentary petition for democratic overhaul of TPPA process – Oliver Hailes http://itsourfuture.localdev/parliamentary-petition-for-democratic-overhaul-of-tppa-process-oliver-hailes/ Thu, 08 Mar 2018 01:21:33 +0000 http://itsourfuture.localdev/?p=26160 During the rally outside Parliament at midday, a petition will be handed over by Oliver Hailes to Green Party MP Golriz Ghahraman calling for a democratic overhaul of the process for negotiating and signing the trade, investment and economic integration agreements. Mr Hailes is the spokesperson for It’s Our Future, New Zealand’s network of opponents […]

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During the rally outside Parliament at midday, a petition will be handed over by Oliver Hailes to

Green Party MP Golriz Ghahraman calling for a democratic overhaul of the process for negotiating

and signing the trade, investment and economic integration agreements. Mr Hailes is the

spokesperson for It’s Our Future, New Zealand’s network of opponents to the TPPA, which has

gathered more than 5,000 signatures in support of the petition over last fortnight.

 

“We stand united by the demand that never again will we be kept in the dark while technocrats

trade away control over our future,” Mr Hailes said. “The petition urges Parliament to call upon the

Government not to sign or ratify the TPPA; to undertake a principles-based review of New

Zealand’s approach to free trade, investment and economic integration agreements that involves

broad-based consultation; and to engage with Māori to reach agreement on effective protection of

their rights and interests consistent with te Tiriti o Waitangi.”

 

“The petition also calls on Parliament to pass new laws that exclude the rights of foreign investors

to sue the government, and to require independent assessments of impact on the economy,

health, human rights, the environment and climate action, and a review by the Waitangi Tribunal,

prior to signing any future agreement, such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership

(RCEP) presently being negotiated with countries including India and China.”

 

Once Ms Ghahraman receives the petition, she will deliver it to the clerk of the House who will

refer it to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee. “We call on all the members of the

select committee, in particular Labour MPs Duncan Webb, Louisa Wall and Willie Jackson, to take

seriously this petition and place it on the fast track for discussion.”

 

The motion in the House will read: “That the House note the petition signed by 5,099 New

Zealanders calling on the House to reject the revised Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, now

known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement on Trans-Pacific Partnership, and revise

the Standing Orders of the Parliament to ensure the process for negotiating and signing trade and

investment agreements is more democratic, independently informed, and regularly feeds

information back to the Parliament and the people.”

 

The petition originally was the idea of activist Greg Rzesniowiecki and was drafted with the input of

academics and constitutional lawyers.

 

Mr Hailes emphasised the importance of having robust treaty processes: “Earlier this week the

European Court of Justice effectively rules that investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) is

incompatible with the autonomy of the European legal system. New Zealand needs to wake up to

the fact that signing the TPPA is a moment of constitutional change by stealth, whereby future

governments will be forced march to the beat of foreign investors rather than their democratic

mandate.”

 

“The Government has said that it wants to reform the way these deals are reached so that they

create tangible benefits for more than the top 1% of society, and the members of It’s Our Future

look forward to engaging with Parliament and the Government on this incredibly important issue.”

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Rally at Parliament against signing of TPPA – Oliver Hailes http://itsourfuture.localdev/rally-at-parliament-against-signing-of-tppa-oliver-hailes/ Wed, 07 Mar 2018 01:19:56 +0000 http://itsourfuture.localdev/?p=26158 “Protestors will gather outside Parliament at midday on Thursday 8 March to hear from a range of speakers in opposition to the TPPA signing ceremony in Chile,” says Oliver Hailes, spokesperson for It’s Our Future, New Zealand’s network of opponents to the TPPA and other anti-democratic economic treaties. The line-up of speakers includes: – Green […]

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“Protestors will gather outside Parliament at midday on Thursday 8 March to hear from a range of

speakers in opposition to the TPPA signing ceremony in Chile,” says Oliver Hailes, spokesperson for

It’s Our Future, New Zealand’s network of opponents to the TPPA and other anti-democratic

economic treaties.

The line-up of speakers includes:

– Green Party MP Golriz Ghahraman;

– Māori activist and international indigenous rights advocate Catherine Murupaenga-Ikenn;

– Generation Zero spokesperson Lisa McLaren;

– Unions Wellington organiser Ben Peterson;

– President of the New Zealand Nurses Organisation Grant Brookes;

– ActionStation campaigner Rick Zwaan;

– documentary maker Bryan Bruce; and

– TPP Free Wellington spokesperson and business owner Antony Maddock.

Sandra Grey, president of the Tertiary Education Union, will serve as MC, and Mike Pike will provide

music.

These speakers represent many perspectives on why New Zealand must continue to resist the

TPPA.

Ms Ghahraman was the only voice in last week’s parliamentary debate who challenged the sudden

shift in policy by the Labour Party and New Zealand First: “We need to make trade fair and fit to

serve our needs in the 21st century, instead of ceding sovereignty to foreign investors.”

Ms Murupaenga-Ikenn speaks for “the imperilled voice of indigenous peoples and populations all

around the world” as well as the “prominent economic, civil rights, environmental justice and

other experts, academics and NGOs who have consistently called for state compliance with moral,

legal and international standards regarding good governance and environmental and human

rights”.

Mr Zwaan will report on ActionStation’s recent independent poll, which confirmed last week that 75%

of New Zealanders still want independent analysis before signing up.

Likewise, Ms McLaren says that Generation Zero wants “an independent analysis into whether the

TPPA is compatible with the 2050 net-zero emissions target, as outlined by the Vivid Economics

report and the envisioned Zero Carbon Act, before New Zealand ratifies the agreement”.

“Despite the rebrand and spin, people throughout Aotearoa are beginning to realise that nothing’s

really changed,” Mr Hailes said. “Never again will we be kept in the dark while technocrats trade

away control over our future. That’s why we’re still collecting signatures to let the Government

know that we do not consent to the TPPA and that Parliament must reform its Standing Orders to

increase democratic oversight of future treaty negotiations.”

Mr Hailes will hand over a parliamentary petition to Ms Ghahraman on behalf of the thousands of

signatories who have endorsed the position of It’s Our Future.

The post Rally at Parliament against signing of TPPA – Oliver Hailes appeared first on It's Our Future.

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