TPPA Ministerial Reported Cancelled, Time to Put the Deal Out of its Misery

 

‘The reported cNew Picture (13)cancellation of the planned meeting of the twelve trade ministers in Guam, billed as an “endgame” for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), is another nail in the coffin of a deal that has been on life support for several years’, says University of Auckland Professor Jane Kelsey.

Japanese media have quoted government officials saying the meeting scheduled for 26 to 28 May will not proceed and their delegation has cancelled its reservation, although there has been no formal statement to that effect.

Professor Kelsey called for Trade Minister Tim Groser to confirm the situation and what will now happen to the troubled negotiations.

‘The two massive obstacles to the conclusion of this deal have become inter-twined.’

‘Until recently, the talks had been stalled because the two elephants in the room, the US and Japan, could not reach their own special deal on agriculture and automobiles.’

In the last few months several governments have also made it clear that they will not make political trade offs unless President Obama has Fast Track authority, curtailing the powers of Congress over the deal.

The long delay in even putting the Fast Track Bill before Congress showed Obama did not believe he had the numbers. Despite stop-start attempts to advance the Bill in the US Senate over the past two weeks, the vast majority of Democrats, especially in the House, and many Republicans are vehemently opposed.

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‘New Zealand’s Trade Minister Groser said, for some unfathomable reason, that New Zealand would be prepared to make a political deal without Fast Track’, Professor Kelsey noted.

‘But the Japanese have point blank refused to do so. Their Economy Minister Akira Amari said two days ago that there will no final TPPA without Fast Track, making it “extremely difficulty” to proceed with the ministerial.’

‘The talks have now reached stalemate. TPPA ministers are bound to meet on the margins of APEC in the Philippines this weekend. Hopefully they will do a hard-nosed reality check’ Kelsey said.

‘After five years of vast expense of taxpayers’ money, and wasted energies of negotiators and ministers, it is time to stop pouring good money after bad and put the TPPA out of its misery.’

 

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Help us stop the Foolishness

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The Christchurch City Council is running a scare campaign saying that we, Christchurch citizens, have to sell our city assets and pay huge rate increases.

There are however many viable alternatives to the financial  issues facing our city as a result of the earthquake that do not include a returned to the failed policies of the 1980’s

Please help us defend and retain OUR children’s heritage by signing this petition and help spread the message.

More information on Keep Our Assets – Canterbury

 

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JOIN THE NATIONWIDE DAY OF ACTION ON SATURDAY 7 MARCH

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THIS MAY BE YOUR LAST CHANCE  TO TELL THE GOVERNMENT

TPPA? NO DEAL!

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The situation is serious.
TPPA Ministers are due to meet from 13-15 March 2015 – somewhere!

The officials met in New York in late January to prepare the ground.

The only things that can stop them are –
no deal between the US and Japan on agriculture or US!

URGENT: The political end game has begun …
The technical part of the TPPA is now largely over. There is a short list of controversial decisions that ministers needs to make involving issues like patents medicines, copyright and state-owned enterprises.  It’s is crunch time.

Things that matter to New Zealanders may have already been agreed.
There is some good news – the international campaign has fought off some of the worst of the US demands. But the bad news is the governments may have agreed to other demands, including the right of foreign investors to sue governments through the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) process. The best chance to stop the TPPA is before ministers make their decisions.

That’s why there is a nationwide day of action the week before they meet.

Send a message, loud and clear,

to Trade Minister Tim Groser:  
TPPA? NO DEAL!

What you can do!
Actions are currently planned in 14 towns and cities on Saturday 7 March. We need to get even more people out than in November, which was massive. Spread the word, bring your whanau, and get involved with the local organisation. For details go to www.itsourfuture.org.nz/th_event/7-march/

Or contact Chantelle Campbell, who is coordinating the national activities for March  at chantellec@xtra.co.nz>

TPPA meetings around the country before 7 March:

  • 17 Febuary, 6:30pm Auckland in the St Paul Street Gallery Three (Symonds Street)
  • 17 February, 7:30 Christchurch - “TPPA & Investor-State Dispute Settlement: What is it, what does it mean for NZ, and how do we voice our concerns” at the A3 Lecture Theatre at University of Canterbury - https://www.facebook.com/events/1539489286319991/?ref=4 
  • 4 March, Wellington Fabian Society on TPPA, 5:30pm at Connolly Hall, more details to come
  • 5 March, 6:30pm Auckland Fabian Society will be organising an event at the University of Auckland on TPPA , OGGB Lecture Theatre 260-098

We are planning more of these meetings in the next little while, so keep your eyes peeled!

If EU can release texts for TTIP why can’t NZ release them for TPPA?
The EU has agreed to release its negotiating documents on the mega-deal with the US called TTIP, and will release the text before it is signed and ratified. The comparison of secrecy in TTIP and TPPA is stunning and puts paid to any claims from Groser that you can never negotiate such deals in public. The EU Ombudsman went further, saying the negotiating texts should be released NOW to enable fully informed participation. Watch this space ….

Select Committee hears TPPA petition for release of text - 4 years late!
Today (12 Feb) Parliament’s committee that deals with treaties like the TPPA (Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee) has heard a submission from 16 groups that was presented in 2011! It has been postponed three times before! Speakers from NZCTU, Public Health Association, and Oxfam called for release of all documents, including draft text.

See press releases from Professor Jane Kelsey, the Council of Trade Unions, the Public Health Association, NZ First, and coverage from Radio NZ.

Heads-up: submissions to stop Investors rights to sue
Are you incensed that foreign investors will get special rights in the TPPA and can enforce them in secretive offshore tribunals! You will soon have a chance to tell the government that we should never agree to that in any agreement. It is included in the NZ-Korea FTA that is about to get tabled in Parliament. There will be a whole new weblink dedicated to the investment issue shortly to help you make a submission and do more. Again, watch this space ….

How the US screwed Australia in their FTA
More about the dirty trick called ‘certification’, where the US holds off making the deal effective until the other country does what the US demands – this time how the US made Australia pass new copyright laws with just 24 hours notice at the select committee. The Hobbit law shows how easily that could happen here.

Japanese lawyers launch constitutional challenge
Japanese lawyers have launched a constitutional challenge to the TPPA, claiming it breaches the legislature’s supreme lawmaking powers, the role of the courts, and various human rights, and compensation for any harm it causes.

 

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TPPA Bulletin #60

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All go for 2015

Kia ora koutou! Hopefully everyone is rested after a sunny start to 2015 because the next few months are full on for the campaign to stop the TPPA. 

PUT THESE IN YOUR DIARY:

Next planned national day of action 7 March 2015 – (to be confirmed)
This is a heads-up, with dates and details on whether it is a mobilisation or some other action to be confirmed shortly. Consultations with the regions and likely sponsors are underway.

Why 7 March? The final round of technical talks is scheduled for New York from 26 January. Ministers are scheduled to meet in the 2nd or 3rd week of March to do the deal. That still depends on the US and Japan. But Obama has to get a deal by May if he is to claim credit for it during his presidency, so they are pulling out all the stops to make that happen.

We need to send Key & Groser another clear message – TPPA – No Way!!

Campaign against foreign investors’ right to sue starts early February
Despite the unmistakable message from tens of thousands of kiwis the government is clearly planning to give foreign investors the right to sue in the TPPA. Just before Xmas they signed a free trade deal with South Korea that has the same powers. This gives us a prime chance to tell the government we totally reject investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) in every deal, and increase the heat over the TPPA

The NZ Korea FTA will go through the façade of a select committee process (that can’t change anything) from around mid-February. We will make a summary of main points so you can write your own submission, or send a standard form, and ask to be heard.

We want thousands of submissions opposing ISDS

EU releases text in US negotiations – NZ must do the same
Tim Groser’s lie that governments can’t release texts of agreements under negotiation has been proved wrong yet again – on 7 January the EU released a raft of documents it has tabled in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with the US. NZ can and must do the same. The EU also promised to release the text before it is signed. If that can happen with TTIP, it can also happen with the TPPA! Plans are underway for another assault on the secrecy of the TPPA. A memo on this will be on the website later next week, along with ideas for action.

Secret TPPA – it’s not democracy and its not right!

TPPA  & TISA anti-privacy & pro-spying
Just before Xmas the US proposals for another of the mega-deals – the Trade in Services Agreement – was leaked. The US TPPA negotiator said they wanted the same for TPPA. The text aims to stop governments imposing tighter protections for privacy of data, eg by requiring it is stored in NZ or limiting its transfer offshore. That’s a bonanza for the US with minimal privacy protections and maximum spy laws. See Jane Kelsey’s analysis of the leaked text, and security issues.

If you have campaign ideas on this, let us know!

WHAT’S HAPPENING OFFSHORE

Australian Senate inquiry into treaty-making process
The Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee of the Australian Senate has launched an inquiry into the treaty making process. That’s possible because the Liberals have lost control of the Senate. The terms of reference include the role of Parliament its committees to review the proposed text, scope for independent assessment, greater openness and transparency.

Sadly the government control’s NZ’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, and Labour’s members (at least on the website) have been pro-TPPA.  A petition signed by 16 major NZ organisations in 2010 is still waiting to be heard at the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee. NZCTU President Helen Kelly has yet another tentative date to speak to the petition, on 12 February, but 3 previous dates have been cancelled!

US Congress Dogfight Brewing on TPPA
There are new moves to get the ‘fast track’ law passed by US Congress in the next few months. The Chamber of Commerce has made ‘fast track’ authority to get the TPPA through Congress a top priority for 2015. But the Republican tea party call Obama an ‘imperial president’ and refuse to give him more powers.

US politics is now caught up in the Nov 2016 presidential election. Two progressive Democrats have staked out strongly critical positions on TPPA, pushing Obama with specific demands:

  • Sen Elizabeth Warren is strong on financial reforms. On 17 Dec she demanded all US proposals and current negotiating texts on a series of chapters that affect financial regulation by 6 January 2015.
  • Sen Bernard Sanders has demanded full access by members of Congress and their staff to analyse the draft text by 16 January 2015. If not he threatened to table a Bill requiring the full text to be made public if any member of Congress demanded it.

Watch this space …

EU Ombudsman challenges secrecy of TTIP
The EU’s release of documents was thanks to the EU ombudsman, who conducted two inquiries in 2014. Her final report was released on 6 January 2015.

EU ducks for cover on ISDS in TTIP
The EU held a consultation over the right of foreign investors to sue in the deal with the US, because of the massive backlash against ISDS throughout Europe. Around 97% of people who sent submissions, and many organisations, opposed ISDS. The EU opted to pay more attention to the less than 3% who suggested reforms to make it better. The EU says it won’t make a final decision on ISDS until the end of the negotiations. So the battle will continue.

RESOURCES
Robert Reich, ‘Why the Trans-Pacific partnership agreement is pending disaster’, Christian Science Monitor, 6 January 2015
PSA Journal: Protests at secret agreement, December 2014
Regan Shoultz, Opinion: Concern over cost of ‘free trade’ deal’, Wanganui Chronicle, 9 January 2015
Julie Hirschfeld, ‘Democrats Step up Efforts to Bloc Obama’s Trade Agenda’, New York Times, 8 January 2015
George Monbiot, ‘Trade Secrets: Why will no one in answer the obvious, massive question about TTIP?’
Video on TTIP by War on Want
http://www.gmwatch.org/index.php/videos/corporate-takeover-videos/15852-what-s-the-problem-with-ttip

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TPPA Bulletin #59 ~> 10,000 NZers march against TPPA

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DAY OF ACTION 8 NOVEMBER 2014

On November 8 10,000 New Zealanders across the country came out and said loudly and proudly #TPPANoWay! These are the biggest rallies that have taken place against the TPPA anywhere in the world, and we got a huge amount of media coverage (see breakdown at the end of this bulletin)! On that day the #TPPANoWay hashtag trended No 1 in New Zealand and No 2 worldwide! Congratulations everybody, this is a genuine grassroots movement gaining steam by the day!

TPPA News
On 8-9 November negotiators met in Beijing on the sidelines of the APEC meeting to try and make further progress on the TPPA. Prime Minister John Key stated afterwards that the TPPA faces a crucial “window of opportunity” that will close in mid 2015 if no deal is done. The Wall Street Journal reported that Trade Minister Groser said that politicians had ‘informally “closed out” all but two major areas’ of negotiations (state-owned enterprises and investment). University of Auckland Law Professor Jane Kelsey suggested that if this was the case then “Key and Groser appear to have made these concessions without any substantial final offer on agriculture.”

Across town, Chinese President Xi Jinping presented a competing vision for Asia to counter the TPPA, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, along with his plan for two new “Silk Roads” (referring to two new energy corridors, one by land and one by sea. The race is on between the US and China to conclude their competing deals and make their mark on the Asia-Pacific region. Days later world leaders met at the G20 in Brisbane,

Groser defends secrecy
Following negotiations in Beijing Tim Groser appeared on 3 News defending the secrecy in the deal as a normal part of trade negotiations. What do you think about this?

NZ businesses signal fighting fund
A few days after our protests ANZCO meat exporters chairman Sir Graeme Harrison revealed that NZ businesses are planning a “fighting fund” to sell the benefits of the TPPA once the deal is done. This means that our actions are making an impact. Read more here.

Lori Wallach on US midterm elections
The US midterm elections on November 4 saw sweeping gains being made by the Republican Party in the Senate and House. While the Republicans have traditionally been seen as the “pro-business” party, Lori Wallach explains in this NZHerald opinion piece that this will not necessarily allow the TPPA to be “fast-tracked” through Congress, as many Republicans see this as an executive power grab.

NZ-South Korea FTA
NZ was forced to compromise to get its FTA with South Korea over the line, failing to eliminate tariffs on milk powders. The deal was announced on the fringes of the G20 Summit in Brisbane. The text is not yet available, and critics highlight some similar concerns to TPPA. University of Auckland Law Professor Jane Kelsey has said that the deal’s investment chapter could “involve potentially major incursions on New Zealand governments’ right to regulate in the national interest.”

Australia-China FTA
Australia and China have completed negotiations on a free trade agreement, a deal which Australian government sources have been saying secures better access for Australian dairy exports than New Zealand’s FTA with China. Minster Groser has said that the NZ deal signed in 2008 states that if China made a better agreement with another country it had to match that with New Zealand.

ITUC calls on governments to stop TPPA talks
The world’s largest democratic organisation, the International Trade Union Congress, has called on governments to stop TPPA negotations. The ITUC represents 176 million workers worldwide. ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrows said, “This secretive trade deal is good for some multinational corporations, but deeply damaging to ordinary people and the very role of governments. Corporate interests are at the negotiating table, but national parliaments and other democratic actors are being kept in the dark. What we do know, much of it through leaks, is that this proposed deal is not about ensuring better livelihoods for people, but about giving multinational companies a big boost to profits. Governments should shut down the negotiations, and not re-open them unless they get genuine and transparent public mandates at home that put people’s interest in the centre.”

Other items of interest:
Peasant farmers organisation GRAIN has written a brilliant piece on how trade and investment deals like TPPA criminalise traditional seed saving practices.

The Economist (of all places) has a great article on how Investor State Dispute Settlement clauses restrict policy space and the changing attitudes towards these agreements.

Here is an excellent video interview with Brendan Vickers discussing South Africa’s decision to terminate and renegotiate investment treaties that affecting their post-apartheid economic development plans.

MEDIA COVERAGE
The day received some very impressive mainstream and regional media coverage, including lead stories on both major free-to-air news networks. Thanks Sam for this exellent media breakdown:

Broadcast and online 


Print

 

 

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TPPA Bulletin #58

NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION 8 NOVEMBER 2014

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Auckland, Hamilton, Raglan, Tauranga, Rotorua, GisborneNew Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Levin,Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin,Invercargill.

REGIONAL UPDATES

Auckland (1:00 pm at Aotea Square): speakers include Robyn Malcolm (Actors Equity), Bunny McDiarmid (Greenpeace), Dayle Takitimu (lawyer, Whanau-a-Apanui), Brian Mannering (Medical Students Association), with music from Don McGlashan, Moana Maniapoto, and Roger Fowler.

Hamilton (1:00 pm at Garden Place). TBA

Raglan (10:00 am Raglan Jetty at the end of Bow Street). Speeches and live music from Cornerstone Roots.

Tauranga (1:00pm at Red Square). TBA

Rotorua (1:00pm at Kuirau Park Courts): speakers include Te Ururoa Flavell (Maori Party), Fletcher Tabuteau (NZ First), Annette Sykes (Mana Party), Potaua Baisiny-Tule (TangataWhenua.com), Catherine Delahunty (Green Party) and Chanz Mikaere.

Gisborne (1:00 pm at Derby Street) TBA

Napier (1:00pm at Napier Council Steps on 231 Hastings Rd): Speakers and music by Ngatai Huata, march through town.

New Plymouth (1:00pm at Puke Ariki)  TBA

Palmerston North (1:00pm at PN Square, opposite the library) Speakers: Dr. Thomas Owen, Dr Rachel Keedwell (Horizons RC), Assoc Prof Jeff Sluker (Massey), Sarah Roberts (Greens), Darroch Ball (ex-NZ First), Jill White (ex-MP, Councillor and Mayor), Bruce Wilson (ex-Councillor), Lew Findlay (PNCC), Tangi Utikere (PNCC), Teanau Tuiono & Te Ao Pritchard (Palmy Panthers) and Sue Pugmire (organiser extraordinaire). Funeral theme symbolizing the death of democracy, dress-up optional!

Levin (11:00am at Te Takere Library/Community Centre) A morning of community engagement at the Community Centre with speakers, music, film and info packs.

Wellington (1:00pm at Cuba Street Bucket Fountain) A family friendly march to the Civic Square for speeches and music, with a focus on local government and communities as well as broader national concerns. Speakers include Sandra Grey (MC), Todd Rippon (Actors Equity), Greg Rzenosweicki (Renewables), Sue Kedgley (GWR Councillor), Gay Keating (OraTaiao: NZ Climate & Health Council)

Nelson (1:00pm at Millers Acre i-SITE): Speakers include Graeme O’Brien, Rachel Boyack (FIRST Union) and others.

Christchurch (1:00pm at Shands Crescent Reserve) March to Hagley Park where we’ll stay until 4pm with live music, speeches, kids entertainment, food stalls and a learning space where people can find out more about what’s at stake.

Timaru (1:00pm at Bay Hill Piazza) TBA

Dunedin (1:00pm at the Dental school for a march along George Street and then rally in the Octagon): Speakers include Metiria Turei (Green Party), Aaron Hawkins (Councillor) and Bob Lloyd (University of Otago).

Invercargill (1:00pm at Wachner Place).

TPPA NEWS UPDATES

Excellent overview on The Nation
Torben Akel did a really good overview on TPPA on last Saturday’s The Nation. The interview with the CEO of Fonterra is also worth watching.

Ministers’ Double Speak in Sydney
The latest secret round of talks in Sydney has come and gone. TPPA ministers again more claimed they were near the finish line – but that line seems to be moving further away! For assessments of the state of play see RadioNZ: Lori Wallach, Tim Groser, Jane Kelsey; Gordon Campbell on Scoop; and Jane Kelsey in NZ Herald on 30 Oct.

TPPA Leaders meeting downgraded
Remember when Obama and Key met, and Obama said he wanted to announce a deal by the time the 12 leaders meet at APEC in November? Well, he can’t. It seems likely they’ll have a quiet meeting, possibly in the US embassy in Beijing.

Groser
Statements in the past week show Groser fears a deal between the US and Japan that is then presented to the rest of them as take it or leave it. Groser says NZ would leave it – and watch for the flock of pigs flying over the sky tower!

Panic stations for NZ ag industry
First, Federated Farmers expressed the fear that TPPA may give NZ less than other countries (ie the US). The Fonterra boss Theo Spierings told TV3 The Nation he thought TPPA might not happen. Then the dairy industry warned ‘the agreement was too important to compromise by a rushed outcome’ (4+ years?). They can see any outcome hanging NZ out to dry on dairy – something that was obvious to others from the start!

NZ medicos call for health check of TPPA
NZ health professionals have rebutted the reassurances from Groser after their letter to him back in May. An article in NZ Doctor, endorsed by seven major public health groups, calls for a comprehensive and independent health impact assessment before any agreement is signed. This article was written in response to comments from Trade Minster Groser and then-Health Minister Ryall, which you can read here.

Action in Canberra & Sydney
Activists in Canberra (officials meeting) and Sydney (ministers) took the message to team-TPPA, with protests and lots of great publicity.

Heaps of commentary in Oz:
Challenge to democracy: Pat Ranald from AFTINET spelt out the challenge to Australia’s democracy
Corporate power: senior journalist Ross Gittens says TPPA is about increasing monopoly rights, not free trade
Copyright: Kimberley Weatherall analyses the most recent leaked IP text and warns that lessons on copyright in the Australia US FTA have not been learned.
Crikey: the TPP undermines the national interest.

Australian Consumer Watchdog: ‘release the details’!
Australia’s Consumer watchdog Choice has called on the federal government to reveal the details of the TPPA discussions, warning the final outcome could lead to a spike in the cost of life-saving medicines.

Consumer voices join force in US & Japan
An op-ed in Japan’s Asahi Shimbun, co-signed by Ralph Nader from Public Citizen and Koa Tasaka from Consumers Union of Japan, rebutted unsubstantiated claims that Japan’s consumers would benefit from the TPPA.

Bangkok Post Editorial: TPPA no good for Thailand
“The government and civil society owe it to the country to make it crystal clear that neither the TPP itself nor its core elements are attractive to Thailand. Taking a stand now will make it easier to resist pressure in the future.”

Sign the new Petition now!
Sign the new petition that tells John Key and his government to defend our sovereignty and not to sign any TPPA. We know there have been petitions before, but it is one way for people to have a voice alongside hitting the streets on 8 November. We know there were some glitches with it at first, so please try again.

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DAY OF ACTION 8 NOVEMBER 2014

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Auckland, Hamilton, Raglan, Tauranga, Rotorua, GisborneNew Plymouth, Napier, Palmerston North, Levin,Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru, Dunedin, Invercargill.

Need a reason to march on 8 November? Check out Professor Jane Kelsey’s latest blog.

Updates on what is on where:

Auckland – speakers include Robyn Malcolm (Actors Equity), Bunny McDiarmid (Greenpeace), Dayle Takitimu (lawyer, Whanau-a-Apanui), Brian Mannering (Medical Students Association), music from Don McGlashan, Moana Maniapoto, and Roger Fowler.

Advertising will be starting this week, so keep you eyes open!

Sign the new Petition now!
Sign the new petition that tells John Key and his government to defend our sovereignty and not to sign any TPPA. We know there have been petitions before, but it is one way for people to have a voice alongside hitting the streets on 8 November. We know there were some glitches with it at first, so please try again.

New secretive round starts in Australia 
Officials are meeting in Canberra from 17 to 24 November to provide a basis for a TPPA ministers’ meeting in Sydney from 25 to 27 November, which in turn is meant to feed into the meetings of TPP leaders meeting several weeks later. Obama restated last week that he wants to announce something close to a deal then.

Stalemate between US and Japan continues
Everything currently hangs on a deal between the two big players on agriculture and autos. They are stuck and there have been some nasty name calling between the two sides recently. That’s good news in holding off a deal; if it continues it won’t happen. The downside is that it goes underground and people relax, then they make a deal with minimal pressure. That’s why we need to pressure them to stop it now.

New leak of IP text confirms costs
The mid-year text of the intellectual property chapter has been posted by Wikileaks. See analyses by the Association of Research Libraries, Medicines Sans Frontier, Public Citizen Global Access to Medicines programme, Australian Matt Rimmer in Crikey, an article in Stuff, “Australians may pay more for medicines under trade deal” Sydney Morning Herald, “Leaked TPP text shows delays in essential cheaper medicines”, AFTINET Australia; Forbes Magazine, “Secrecy-Shrouded TPP Leaks Alarm Internet Freedom Advocates”, and again “Latest leaks reveal even harsher copyright rules”.

Local government campaigners in the Hutt
The local government team made a presentation to the City Development Committee of Hutt City Council on 16 October, but one member raised a procedural point that quashed the agenda item that the Committee discuss the presentation.

The tobacco debate
Tobacco is one outstanding issue. Malaysia proposed a total carveout from the TPPA. Despite their commitment to smokefree policies, Australia and NZ have not supported Malaysia. The US has floated an alternative that might prevent investor-state disputes on tobacco. Friends of tobacco in the US Congress and states like Kentucky and North Carolina are fighting back.

Criminalising journalism?

It has also been suggested that the leaked intellectual property chapter may introduce criminal penalties for unauthorised access to, misappropriation or disclosure of trade secrets, which could also apply to journalist working for commercial media organisations where the leak is harmful to a country’s economic interests. Experts are still unclear of the scope and potential impact of these provisions.

 

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NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION ON THE TPPA

8 NOVEMBER 2014

1.00pm

TPPA – Kiwi’s Fight Back!

Political leaders from the 12 TPPA countries, including John Key and Barack Obama, want to finalise a political deal when they meet around 13-14 November. We are joining the campaigns in several other countries in an International Day of Action to Stop the TPPA.

Current list of events (sorry to those people who don’t do facebook, we will be setting up webpages for these soon but you can visit the facebook pages for info anyway):

AUCKLAND 

HAMILTON 

TAURANGA 

PALMERSTON NORTH 

NEW PLYMOUTH

WELLINGTON 

  • (FB Event Page)

NELSON

 CHRISTCHURCH

TIMARU 

DUNEDIN 

INVERCARGILL

What can you do?

Last time we had activities (marches, rallies, stalls) in 17 towns and cities throughout the country. This time we want more people in more places – we’ve already got 11 and a few more are in the works. For information watch the website and facebook. Want to help organising in your home town? Contact Jonathan King (jonathan.king@riseup.net), who will be helping with the nation-wide coordination.

Poster required!

We haven’t yet designed a poster for our day of action, and we thought we’d call upon all you talented artists to lend us a hand. We need something that is of sufficient quality that it can be used in media straight away, and we need it by 8 October. The theme is: “TPPA, Kiwis Fight back.” Get your creative juices flowing! Send to: itsourfuturenz@gmail.com

Big push for a final deal in November

The last secret round of ‘informal negotiations’ in Hanoi finished with a renewed push for a political deal in November. There are rumours of wall-to-wall meetings throughout October, some may be in Australia, no mention yet of NZ. Can they pull it off? That still depends on a deal between the US and Japan on agriculture, but there are political reasons why Japan also wants a deal before the US mid-term Congressional elections in November.

Brilliant new TPPA education tool on YouTube

A Trans Pacific Partnership infographic is up on YouTube. Share it far and wide!

Have you told John Key ‘TPPA? No Way!’ …

If not, then join the surge since the election and send or adapt the letter on the itsourfuture website, then pass the link on to others.

Opposition parties must oppose the TPPA

The time for pussyfooting by opposition parties is over. They must stake out the high ground, and put the feet of Key and Groser to the fire about plans to sign a secret deal. Jane Kelsey warns sitting on the sidelines will mean that, in three years time they won’t be able to implement the policies they stood for this election. Whenever you are talking to someone from NZ First, Labour, Greens and Maori Party, make sure the TPPA is high on the agenda. We will have some action suggestions shortly.

More success for local government campaign

The great work of the local government team, led by Greg, continues with a presentation to the Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Hutt City Council forthcoming. For more information, and to organize something for your local council, check out our local government page.

Oz/NZ miner OceanaGold uses ISDS

OceanaGold, the mining company which owns the Reefton, Macraes and Frasers gold mines in the South Island is suing the country of El Salvador after it was refused a mining permit to dig for gold there. Hear RNZ story on how that could happen with the TPPA in Aotearoa … Access information and sign an online petition to get Oceana to drop the suit. See the photo gallery of a Sydney rally against OceanaGold’s actions on September 5.

Quotable speeches

Robert Amsterdam’s Town Hall speech on TPPA

Hear international lawyer Robert Amsterdam on the TPPA on RadioLive and read his speech ‘Trading Away NZ’s Independence’ at the Auckland Town Hall meeting on 15 September.

Leading arbitrator pans ISDS 

George Kahale, one of the most experienced lawyers representing clients in investor-state disputes, describes the system as seriously flawed and in need of a complete overhaul. His speech is worth reading and quoting. Listen to ABC Radio in Australia on the issue.

Economist Jeffrey Sachs says No to TPPA

At a speech in Washington Sachs set out 5 reasons to reject the TPPA: 1. These are not trade treaties, but aim to protect investors; 2. They ignore great challenges of the environment and growing inequality; 3. ISDS gives absolutely unjustified and dangerous powers to investors vis-à-vis the state; 4. The entire process is not transparent, and this secrecy alone is reason enough to reject it; 5. Finally, the Obama administration has not presented one analysis of the cost and benefits with regard to jobs, different industries, income distribution, economic growth and trade.

International solidarity

600 US groups oppose Fast Track for TPPA

600 US organisations representing tens of millions of Americans released an open letter calling for a new model of trade and opposing Fast Track authority that would allow President Obama to expedite passage of the TPPA through Congress.

US Farmers Union opposes TPPA

UK TUC declares ‘outright opposition’ to TTIP (US-EU companion to TPPA)

US Centre for Economic & Policy Research assesses negative impact of NAFTA on Mexico

Naomi Klein’s new book ‘This Changes Everything’ on climate change and capitalism, discusses international trade rules

 

 

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It’s Our Future NZ – TPPA Bulletin #54

HEADS UP – NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION SATURDAY 8 NOVEMBER 2014

Why? The TPPA leaders are expected to meet during the next week. Obama said he wanted an outcome to present to the world. Kiwis need to say ‘NO TO TPPA!!!’ in even bigger numbers and more places than the massive mobilisation in March. More details in the next few bulletins.

If you want to be involved organising in your centre, contact Edward Miller.

New Picture (1)

The US has a nuclear weapon for the TPPA
Imagine the US says to a NZ government: nah – that’s not what the TPPA means – this is what it means – and if you don’t change your laws to make that happen, forget about us ever bringing the agreement into force. The technical name for this blackmail is ‘certification’. It has most TPPA government terrified. A special website has the gory details about how it works, what’s being targeted, and how Peru was screwed, and more. Watch this space …

More brilliant successes by the local government team
Christchurch City Council had voted to support the public interest policy on the TPPA, that was first passed by Auckland Council in December 2012 AND to recommend that Local Government New Zealand adopt it too. Watch the presentations on youtube. Then came Dunedin, followed by presentations at Clutha District Council, Invercargill City Council and Environment Southland to get the issues on their agenda. Great work Greg, Gen, Graeme, and the team. For more details see the website, Jane Kelsey’s blog, NZNO blog, and NZ Herald.

Dirty Politics and TPPA
Of course Dirty Politics exposed some dirty dealings on the TPPA! Go to page 97. A letter in February 2014 to Carrick Graham, PR man who ‘manages’ news and politics for big business, from a Washington based lobbyist. Forgive the length, but it is worth repeating the extract in full (especially if you still can’t get a copy of the book):

                … Here’s the situation. Ideally we’d like to find someone willing to author an oped that we could pitch for placement in a major newspaper. … I’m working on a campaign related to the Trans-Pacific Partnership. There is a TPP meeting in Singapore this week and a proposal has been [put] forward that would exclude tobacco from the TPP on the grounds that it’s ‘uniquely harmful’. The problem is that exemption would be applied to other industries and it’s fundamentally anti-free trade. If ratified, this proposal would mark the first time in modern history a specific industry was singled out [he forgets about armaments …] for special treatment in a trade deal. The author needs to have credibility (a scholar or economist type) on trade issues and – most important – be from a TPP country other than the United States.
                To minister work for the author we could write an initial draft, which the author could then edit however he/she wanted to make it their own. We could also handle pitching the newspapers as well. … In terms of compensation, I could pay you $1000 US for an introduction that results in someone agreeing to work with us on this project.

Ozzie Greens’ Bill to ban ISDS 
The Australian Greens put up a private member’s bill to prevent Australia from entering any new treaties that contain investor-state dispute settlement. There was a huge groundswell of support in the hearings before the Senate select committee. The committee is due to report back on 27 August. See the opening statement by Pat Ranald to AFTINET’s submission. The government is expected to block the bill, but the Greens have made the point. Let’s see the NZ Greens do the same.

The Whole World’s Watching 
Moana Maniapoto has a great new video, the Whole World’s Watching, which opens with a clip of the Auckland march against the TPPA. Kia ora e wanine toa!

Next round – Hanoi 1-10 September 
The worst kept secret is out – there will be another (non)round in Vietnam in early September. Why do they bother with this secret squirrel stuff? The aim is to get as much of the remaining technical work out of the way on labour, investment, IP on health, SOEs, and whatever they can on agriculture. The goal is to have a meeting of ministers in October to make decisions, but Japan and the US are still stuck on agriculture. May they forever disagree …

Australian Medical Association slams TPPA
The AMA has voiced fears the proposed trade deal is out of balance and advances commercial interests at the expense of patient health.

New video
See a new presentation by Jane Kelsey at the meeting on Democracy, Ethics and the Public Good, Wellington, 1 August 2014

Pre-election National Day of Action  (FYI)

 

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It’s Our Future NZ – TPPA Bulletin #52

New Picture (3)

Action at home

Heads up! Mass mobilisation mid-November
Obama has set mid-November as the new target for a deal on the TPPA. It won’t be the final text. Indeed, who know what it will be! But the timing coincides with a series of summits where the political leaders of the 12 countries will be together: APEC meeting in China, the East Asian Summit in Burma/Myanmar, and the G20 in Brisbane. We are picking around Monday 11th, so that means action on the 8th or 9th. That gives us four months to build the networks to make if politically impossible for whoever is in government to do a deal.

Making TPPA an election issue
Both major parties are likely to want TPPA off the election agenda, so we’re relying on you to make sure it is centre stage! In a couple of weeks we’ll have kitset of electoral information and questions (general and party-specific) to candidates and parties during their campaign. Any volunteers to help with this work would be great!!! We’ll keep you posted.

Nelson LGNZ picket
Our team in Nelson will be holding a picket at the Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) Conference, which is taking place at Rutherford Hotel in Nelson on Tuesday 22 July at 8:30am. Prime Minister John Key will be speaking at 9:00am so it would be great if as many people as possible could get down there and make their thoughts heard. Please email our Nelson team for more info.

Auckland picket at Groser speech
On 5 August at 5:30pm the American Chamber of Commerce and the Canada New Zealand Business Association are hosting Tim Groser to give an update on TPPA – for their members at a fee!  There are plans for a picket outside the venue of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade office (139 Quay St, Auckland). We’ll send more info in the next bulletin, and on the facebook and website. Please get in touch with Edward Miller if you’d like to be involved.

Wellington activists’ alert
The Wellington Employers’ Chamber of Commerce is hosting a similar lunch on Wednesday 23 July 2014 at the CQ Hotels Wellington, 213-223 Cuba Street, Wellington.

Wanganui District Council shuts down TPPA petitioners
Great work by the Whanganui crew who presented the local government petition to the Council and filled the chamber to present it. The Mayor basically moved a motion to support the petition, but four councilors deliberately stayed outside the council chamber during the presentation so there was no quorum! The story was written up in the Wanganui Chronicle.

GCSB – including links to TPPA
Meeting to highlight the GCSB during the election, including links to TPPA. Monday 11th August – 1pm at Auckland University Quad – 7pm at Mt Albert War Memorial Hall.

TPPA developments

TPPA’s secret squirrels just met in Ottawa
The bizarre secrecy continued with the latest ‘non round’ in Ottawa last week. First the Canadian government shifted the meeting from Vancouver – they deny it was to avoid planned protests. Then they refused to say where they were meeting in Ottawa. Locals set up signs outside the Delta hotel saying ‘secret negotiations here’! MFAT refused to release the dates, saying it would breach confidential information provided by another government!

What did they decide in Ottawa?
There was heaps of pressure, due to Obama’s new deadline – but a continued stalemate between the US and Japan on agriculture means no political decisions are being made. Groser continues to play hardball. See Jane Kelsey’s summary and Gordon Campbell’s take on it.

Japan’s PM in Wellington
John Key was all gung ho standing alongside Obama in Washington: Japan must give up all its agriculture tariffs, even if that takes 30 years. If Prime Minister Abe doesn’t like it, Japan should quit the TPPA. Then Abe came to Wellington … Key still insisted that New Zealand expected full liberalisation, but no suggestion that Japan should shove off.  Abe said Japan added ‘strategic’ value to the TPPA. Fran O’Sullivan captured the political realities: ‘PM lets little NZ know his country is calling the shots.’

Australia-Japan deal released: no gold standard here!
The FTA that Australia stitched up with Japan some months ago was released when Abe visited there last week. It shows the Aussies have taken whatever they could get. Groser and the NZ ag industry are hopping mad. A NZ Herald editorial accused Australia of not being a team player – and said NZ should walk away from a similar deal!

Key & Groser mixed messages
While Key says Japan must give up everything (and never mentions that the US won’t be doing so) Groser has been trying to play down expectations of a comprehensive deal! Maybe this is a clever strategy so they can have it both ways. Or maybe Key just changes his story depending on which country’s leader he’s sharing the stage with!

What’s up Offshore

Our Fair Deal Coalition opposes 70 years copyright
TPPA plans to extend the copyright term by another 20 years in countries like New Zealand, where it already covers the life of the author plus 50 years. The ‘Our Fair Deal’ coalition presented an open letter open to negotiators that condemned the threat to libraries, archives, creators and consumers from locking away materials that should be in the public domain.

Canada’s Opposition condemns secrecy
Canada’s equivalent of David Cunliffe told CBC the TPPA talks too secret. But his solutions were woosie, much like Labour’s. Rather than demanding release of the drafts now so they can be analysed and debated before it’s too late, they want confidential access for MPs, broad consultation and progress reports. Better than nothing, but not democratic and not enough.

Malaysia’s Mahathir: a strong leader will turn down the TPPA
The still-powerful former Malaysian PM Mahathir twisted the current PM’s comment that Malaysia needed strong leaders, saying the TPPA is colonial tool of foreign powers and he should walk away.

Wikileaks reveals TISA
As if TPPA alone wasn’t bad enough, in Wikileaks has released the financial services part of the text to the secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). TISA is being negotiated in secret by 23 rich country parties, including NZ, to force more market approaches to services and lock them in. According to the global union Public Service International this deal will put public healthcare, broadcasting, water, transport and other services at risk. Preliminary legal analysis of the leak suggests it will lock in the failed model of financial deregulation that brought about the global financial crisis.

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