Greg Rzesniowiecki: Countering the TPPA and ugly sisters RCEP and TiSA. Plus, the necessity of a new NZ Constitution

Interviewed by

Lisa Er

Greg Rzesniowiecki: Countering the TPPA and ugly sisters RCEP and TiSA. Plus, the necessity of a new NZ Constitution

The public opposition to the TPPA has been ignored by the government as it rushed to cement the TPP into the New Zealand Rulebook.

We await the attitude of the US President and Congress to cast the die. Will Trump allow congress to trump his campaign promise to stop TPP?

We cannot wait passively as our government is negotiating more of these corporate rights treaties; RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) and TiSA (Trade in Services Agreement).

RCEP is between the Asian economies led by China and India including Australia and ourselves. It has similar content as TPP and is negotiated in anti-democratic secrecy. Civil society is not informed until a final agreement is reached between the governments.

TiSA is between the advanced economies and encompasses services. See Wikileaks for leaked TiSA chapters which are about deregulating financial rules - it was deregulation that gave us the GFC (Great Financial Crisis).

We can work during the NZ general election campaign by seeking commitments from alternative government parties that they will withdraw from the TPP.

What do New Zealanders really want?

Greg has been consolidating the material he's been studying over the past couple of years.

He has been considering values as signposts to where the public mood rests.

It wasn't long ago that the NZ Government asked the people about their values. It was a component of the Flag Referendum process of 2015/6. New Zealanders were asked what they stand for. The people offered 10,292 flag designs. They offered 43,000 individual contributions of what they stood for.

View the word cloud below of most frequent values expressed by the New Zealand public. Here is the image from the website.


None of the above suggest the TPP. Forty three thousand (43,000) people is a large sample of the 4.6 million New Zealand population.

The Flag Referendum process was advanced as a constitutional matter. Surely the Stand For values are an important contribution to the values underpinning our NZ Constitution.

Is New Zealand a democracy?

Are the people's values reflected in the Government's policy settings?

Greg says the obvious finding is that the New Zealand Government does not reflect the deep values of the people of this State.

It appears the values theme runs deep in the Kiwi psyche.

Colmar Brunton finds ethical values run deep.

Recently Colmar Brunton published their latest Better Futures Report (November 2016) highlighting that values matter to New Zealanders.

Scoop reported that Kiwis are hot on global sustainability goals.

“Most Kiwis rate global sustainability goals as very important – especially those relating to social issues – according to a report released today.

The Colmar Brunton 2016 Better Futures Report incorporated the results of New Zealand’s first ever survey into the public’s attitude to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), to which the Government signed up in 2015.

The 17 SDGs include a mix of social, environmental, cultural and economic goals such as no poverty, climate action, reduced inequalities, clean water and sanitation, decent work and economic growth and quality education.

Colmar Brunton Chief Client Officer Sarah Bolger says. "Between 60% and 80% of Kiwis rate each goal as very important. When those people were asked to name the single most important goal the top six in order of priority were: no poverty, good health and well-being, quality education, sustainable cities and communities, clean water and sanitation, and zero hunger.

It’s clear from this that New Zealanders care most about improving the day-to-day lives of others and there is a strong skew towards social issues in the top six goals.

In particular Kiwis think we need to do more towards achieving zero hunger, sustainable cities and communities and no poverty, as they believe our performance in these areas fails to measure up to the importance we place on them.”

Considering both the Stand For values and the Better Futures Report leads generally to what people might consider of import in the coming year. My purpose is to use these values to highlight a potential 2017 general election agenda:

A. TPP - (plus TISA and RCEP) grow the campaign.

TPP if ratified by the US locks NZ in as our parliament has ratified, subject to an alternative government withdrawing..

Professor Jane Kelsey and It's Our Future propose ramping up the campaign against TiSA from 3 February.

The campaign is to gain commitments from parties to withdraw from TPP and to ensure that RCEP and TiSA do not undermine our domestic arrangements.

B. Questions for 2017 General Election;

1. How do we place TPP and trade and investment treaties into the election campaign? What is the long-term solution to democratise international treaties?

2. Is a Manifesto/Charter/Blueprint approach (2017 election and beyond) to these ideas a way of advancing our agenda?

C. The NZ constitution.

Can we advance a constitutional policy that international treaties are negotiated openly and agreed in the parliament before signature?

There's a few initiatives to place the constitution and our status as a Constitutional Monarchy vs a move to republic. This won't be resolved in 2017 however there is a strong move to get the discussion going in a serious manner. I know there are a variety of perspectives on this, however it is critical we inform ourselves about possibilities and implications. To this effect the following might be of interest.

The following blog highlights some thoughts about the need to remedy some of our dilemmas:

http://values-compasspointsinaposttruthworld.blogspot.co.nz/2016/12/working-on-open-egalitarian-and.html

Professor Jane Kelsey and It's Our Future propose ramping up the campaign against TiSA from 3 February.

Stand For Values are hosted here: http://www.standfor.co.nz

Scoop published media release from Colmar Brunton 24 Nov 2016:

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PO1611/S00349/report-kiwis-hot-on-global-sustainability-goals.htm

References for Constitutional reading:

The constitution book by Geoff Palmer and Andrew Butler, “A Constitution for Aoteoroa” is of interest and leads to the whole question of what is possible with a discussion about constitutions. (They propose to accept public suggestions on their proposal till 30 September 2017, so it might occur in the midst of the general election.)

http://vup.victoria.ac.nz/a-constitution-for-aotearoa-new-zealand

Their website: http://constitutionaotearoa.org.nz/the-conversation/speeches/book-launch-speech-geoffrey-palmer/

The draft constitution that Palmer and Butler propose:

http://constitutionaotearoa.org.nz/proposed-constitution-full-text/

Our current NZ constitutional documents are here:

https://gg.govt.nz/role/constofnz/intro

And the Maori report on the constitution is referred to here:

http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/sunday/audio/201821049/moana-jackson-a-new-constitution-for-aotearoa

The Awareness Party Constitution: http://www.theawarenessparty.com/constitution/

And the Icelandic Constitution story here: https://medium.com/equal-citizens/on-icelands-crowdsourced-constitution-ad99aae75fce#.9hn79xmzw

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Icelandic_constitutional_reform,_2010%E2%80%9313

This interview was sponsored by The Awareness Party

Greg’s only income is from public donations.

To sustain Greg continue his work contribute to Kiwibank account:

Public Advocacy Donations Account
38-9017-0439360-00

Reference: TPP roadie

 


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Lisa Er

Lisa Er

Born in the UK Lisa emigrated with her parents to New Zealand at the age of 16. Already politically active Lisa has continued to have a passionate interest in peace, politics, and the philosophy behind what we do.

A primary school teacher for 14 years, Lisa then turned her hand to business and created the well known Lisa's Hummus, which she sold a few years ago. Now Lisa is immersed in creating a better political system via www.theawarenessparty.com

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