Could you imagine that any government would be stupid enough to sign an international agreement that would allow overseas corporations to sue it, in secretive offshore tribunals, claiming that new laws and regulations have seriously undermined the value of their investments? Well, that is what our New Zealand Government and eleven other countries around the Pacific Rim are negotiating right now.
Of course the country that has the most to gain will be the US and the transnational corporations! And do you really think the US needs our dairy products – which is the supposed benefit for NZ joining the TPPA? From what has been gleaned so far, if the negotiations are completed it will make it far more difficult for governments to pass new laws, and the public interest would be deferred to lobbyists and private privileged interests.
This is an attack on New Zealand’s sovereignty.
As examples of this, the TPPA could affect the government putting a ban on fracking, a GE moratorium, smoking laws, a cap on electricity prices or environmental protection. Labelling of GE foods, for example, would be banned in the interest of the harmonization of laws between countries, and that would be the same for labelling country of origin of food. Present tobacco and cigarette rulings could be overridden and the same for alcohol.
We may have to compromise PHARMAC if restrictions are placed on generic medicines, thus making medicine more expensive. There would be less stringent quality control to protect health initiatives - both allopathic and natural – or to protect workers (from longer hours, less pay and possibly shorter holidays – not to mention the latest government attack on tea breaks).
Copyright laws will be toughened and more harshly enforced, restricting internet freedom and access to information. Foreign banks, insurance companies and money traders will gain more powers to challenge laws designed to prevent another financial crisis.
If and when this secret Agreement is signed, it will not be debated in Parliament here in New Zealand, but will only need to be approved by the Cabinet, thus short circuiting democracy in this country.
The list goes on. The TPPA could also be looked as a way of containing China in the Pacific, which is madness for New Zealand, as China is our now our biggest trading partner.
Professor of Law, Dr Jane Kelsey has been at the forefront of the opposition to the TPPA and she speaks candidly about the information that has been obtained through leaked documents, and the possible scenarios if it is signed.
Jane Kelsey has an MPhil from the University of Cambridge and a PhD from the University of Auckland.
She has worked at the University of Auckland since 1979 and was appointed to a personal Chair in Law in 1997. She is a key member of the Action Resource Education Network of Aotearoa (Arena), and is actively involved in researching and speaking out against the World Trade Organisation, the International Monetary Fund, free trade and corporate-led globalisation. She is also actively involved in campaigning for the New Zealand Government's full recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi and opposed the controversial seabed and foreshore legislation.
She has been an activist, academic, and public intellectual for more than 30 years.
This interview was recorded on April 25th 2013 and because of its relevancy, is being re-aired.
To read an article by Prof Jane Kelsey, go to The Daily Blog: Why you should join the TPPA Action on 8 November - http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/10/20/why-you-should-join-the-tppa-action-on-8-november/
This Saturday November 8th 2014 there are rallies throughout New Zealand to protest against the TPPA. There is more information on the TPPA and the rallies on this site:
Interviewed by Lisa Er.
This programme is sponsored by www.theawarenessparty.com.
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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