DAY OF ACTION 8 NOVEMBER 2014

New Picture (5)

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.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

 

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

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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)

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Who’s Running the Show? and in Whose Interests ?

The Campaign Against Foreign Control
and
Anti Bases Campaign
Election Year Speaking Tour

Copy of New Picture (27)

Putting People at the centre of the Economy – from Dunedin to Kaitaia, and many places in-between

> People’s Rights Before Corporate Profit
> Public Service Not Private Profit
> An Independent Foreign Policy
> No Unjust Secret Treaties

These topics include

> transnational corporations’ tax avoidance
> corporate welfare
> asset sales
> spying abuses by the GCSB/NSA
> the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)
> Five Eyes
> plus plenty more

These are among the most important issues facing the country.

They underlie everything else that the people of this country are concerned about.

Any campaign, electoral or otherwise, that doesn’t include them is missing the point.

We need an independent Aotearoa based on policies of economic, military and political self-reliance, using Aotearoa’s resources for the benefit of the people of Aotearoa.

This country needs People Power to let the world know that Aotearoa is not for sale!

The full itinerary is at: www.tinyurl.com/cafcatour

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s Our Future NZ: TPPA News Bulletin # 46 – 2 March 2014

NATIONAL DAY OF ACTION 

JOIN THE NATION – SAY ‘NO’ TO THE TPPA

New Picture

After four years, the corporate deal of the century – aka the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement – is still being negotiated in secret.

The TPPA puts our sovereignty at risk, violates our democratic right to decide our own future, and wastes taxpayers’ money that should be spent on social, not corporate, welfare.

It needs to stop. Now.

The National Day of Action Against the TPPA on 29 March will mark the fourth anniversary and send the government a message – Stop the TPPA!

Join the rallies, marches and events in your area. If there’s nothing happening, start something yourself. If you do organise something people get in touch with us through chris.zack@gmail.com or webadmin@itsourfuture.org.nz in case we know of something else being planned and can put you in touch with others.

Initial sponsors are itsourfuture, the FIRST Union, Tertiary Education Union. More are in the pipeline and will be posted on the website.

Chris Zack is the national coordinator of plans for the Day. He will help people make contact with each other. Contact him on chris.zack@gmail.com or webadmin@itsourfuture.org.nz.

Contacts and details will be posted on the itsourfuture.org.nz website and facebook pages, as well as in the next bulletins.

Leaflets, posters, placards, stencils for banners will be on the website for you to adapt.

There will be some national media. Itsourfuture will promote local events through out networks. Bomber Bradbury has volunteered coordinate the social media through Daily Blog.

PLEASE REMEMBER THAT NOT EVERYONE DOES FACEBOOK.

Funding is scarce so we are afraid that events will have to be self-funding.

There are organising meetings this week in:

Wellington, Wednesday 5 March, evening, details contact: koruconsulting@xtra.co.nz

Auckland, Thursday 6 March, 4-5pm at the University: details contact  chris.zack@gmail.com

Palmerston North Council votes for pre-release of TPPA
Great work by Sue Pugmire and Warwick Smith in Palmerston North to get the Palmerston North City Council and Horizon Regional Council adopt resolutions that demand the pre-release of the TPPA:

That the Council resolves that:

That PNCC send a letter, before 28th February 2014, to the Prime Minister asking him to submit any agreement that NZ reaches in the Trans Pacific Partnership negotiations to the scrutiny of Parliament including consideration by a select committee, with time to fully debate it, before a democratic decision is made on signing the agreement, and that the letter to the Prime Minister be copied to all councillors by 7th March 2014.

Malaysia’s Trade Minister promises to release TPPA text before it is signed

At the end of a detailed media briefing on Malaysia’s position on the TPPA on 20 February, the Trade Minister Mustapa said the draft text of the TPPA ‘will be released to enable detailed scrutiny and public debate before any final agreement is signed.’ That would be unprecedented for Malaysia. If Malaysia can do it, why can’t we?

Latest Singapore TPPA Ministerial Meeting Fails

After 10 days of meetings of officials and trade ministers the latest round of TPPA talks ended in deadlock.  Not because the 29 chapters are stuck. They are almost all finished. Only 4 chapters are still subject to serious negotiations: intellectual property, investment, state-owned enterprises and environment. But they are all really important for NZ.

US-Japan standoff on agriculture – nothing for NZ?

The Singapore meeting failed because the US and Japan can’t agree on access for US agribusinesses to Japan. That stalemate could continue. But it could also fall over very quickly. Even if it does, there would be few gains, if any to NZ and the costs would be high. Grsoer said he would walk away of that happened. And pigs may fly. See Jane Kelsey’s analyses: DomPost and NZHerald.

TPPA puts cancer medicines at risk

Cancer specialist Dr George Laking and Dr Papaarangi Reid warned about the impact of the TPPA on medicines for cancer, diabetes and other ‘biologics’. Their op ed reported a rumour that the ministers in Singapore would give Big Pharma new monopoly rights for 8 years over these medicines. The hold-up on agriculture meant they didn’t make a decision, but it’s waiting in the wings.

What else could happen with Pharmac

The two-pronged attack on Pharmac includes a ‘transparency’ annex that gives the drug companies more leverage. New reports suggest the latest version may adapt the Australia-US  FTA. Australian academic Deb Gleeson explains what that means for Pharmac.

TPPA threat to smokefree policies to the fore again

Malaysia’s attempt to carveout tobacco related policies from the TPPA has not yet been decided on. There were suggestions of a counter-move – a limited exception to the investors’ rights to sue. But that wasn’t tabled in Singapore. ASH in the US posted a media release, linked to a briefing paper by Jane Kelsey.

Jacobi from NZ US Council defends the indefensible economic study

After Geoff Bertram and Simon Terry thoroughly debunked the Peterson Institute claims about massive benefits to NZ from the TPPA, the US NZ Council executive director Stephen Jacobi was still trying to claim in the DomPost that it was ‘robust’. Time to wave the white flag Stephen!

Washington Post explains Corporate America’s hold on the TPPA

See ‘Trade deals a closely held secret, shared by more than 500 advisers’, Washington Post, 28 February 2014, including graphics showing which corporations and lobbies influence what issues.

New Song by Democracy v TPPA by Sue Pugmire!

http://soundcloud.com/suepugmire/democracy-vs-tpp

Media reports:

RadioNZ Morning Report, post-ministerial interviews Lori Wallach, Tim Groser, Jane Kelsey

Paul Krugman, No Big Deal, New York Times, 27 February 2014

Jon Edwards, Getting the balance right on medical patents, ABC Australia, 25 February 2014

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

It’s Our Future NZ: TPPA news bulletin #45

January was TPPA downtime but a lot is happening now that is really important! 

TPPA ministers meet again in Singapore 22-25 Feb
The TPPA ministers will meet in Singapore 22-25 February, and officials before that from 17 Feb. It has been secret squirrel stuff again, presumably to avoid people reporting on what they are up to, as happened last December. Pressure is ramping up again.

There will be some simple action around the ministerial – watch your emails!

Local rallies against the TPPA
Lots of activists have begun organising local events against TPPA to build up awareness. Great work on 8 Feb! There are more on 22 March. Click for facebook contacts for Whangarei, Hokianga, Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Palmerston NorthNapier, Whanganui, Taranaki, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Geraldine, Queenstown. Organisers – please remember not everyone is on facebook and send details to the contact page of itsourfuture.org.nz so we can post details on our website and facebook. Maria Peach took the initiative to make her own ‘bumper sticker’ on her back window!

Seven countries’ lawmakers call on Groser et al to release the text.
Senior MPs from seven TPPA countries have signed an open letter calling for release of the text before it is signed to allow effective analysis and debate. Signatories include the Vice-President of Peru, leaders of the Greens in Canada and Australia, trade spokesperson for NDP in Canada, and the leaders of NZ First, Green, Maori and Mana parties. NZ is the secretariat, so Tim Groser should take the lead and get ministers to drop the secrecy.

Labour puts Parliamentary motion for release of TPPA text
Labour came off the fence and formally supported release of the TPPA text. Their parliamentary motion seeks release of the text two weeks before it is signed. It’s a start, but 2 weeks is barely time to scratch the surface, let alone have a meaningful debate in public and Parliament. Despite that, National still said no. This mirrors the Australian Labor Party motion that passed the Senate, but the Abbott government has ignored.

EU releases draft text, so why can’t TPPA countries?
Who says you can’t negotiate these agreements in public? The EU and US are trying to stitch up a similar deal called the TTIP. The EU says it will release its draft investment chapter for consultation because of ‘unprecedented concern’ and won’t agree to the secrecy rule.

NZ study debunks claims of $5 billion gains for NZ
Economist Geoff Bertram and the Sustainability Council debunked the Peterson Institute report that TPPA cheerleaders rely on to claim of $5 billion gains to NZ. See summaries by Brian Fallow and Gordon Campbell, the Employers and Manufacturers nonsense reply and Sustainability Council rebuttal. The PM has downgraded his claims to $2-3 billion gains – still shonky but shows what a finance dealer can do with numbers …

Geoff Bertram and Terence O’Brien talk on TPPA, Wgtn 28 Feb
Register here to hear Terence O’Brien and Dr Geoff Bertram discuss the political and economic implications of TPPA at 5:30pm on Friday 28 February in Connolly Hall, Guildford Terrace, Wellington, hosted by Fabian Society.

Kiss goodbye to US Fast Track this year, if ever
Obama has been downplaying the TPPA in the US Congress and public. It wasn’t mentioned directly in his State of the Nation address. Nor did he push Congress to give him fast track authority to get any final deal through Congress intact. That’s because of huge kickback in Congress. Democrats don’t like fast track or the TPPA. The politician in charge of scheduling floor time in Congress for the fast track bill to be heard said that won’t happen before November. Why, then, would any TPPA ministers do a deal with Obama before then?????

Key & Obama’s game of golf
John Key’s speech at last week’ Australia-NZ bunfight showed what a pushover he is on our behalf. He accepted that Obama may not get fast track for TPPA, so the US Congress can pick it apart. AND that Congress may not approve the TPPA itself when it comes to a vote. BUT NZ should rush into a deal as soon as possible, otherwise it may not happen. Duhhh!

Wikileak of Environment chapter
The draft Environment chapter was leaked in mid-January. It showed how weak any protections for the environment would be, especially compared to law suits by mining, forestry, fisheries and other companies when government’s regulate in ways that affect their profits. Another document exposed the strategy being used to marginalise opposition among various delegations, where chairs draft texts that ignore all the detail negotiated over the past three years. The Sustainability Council summed up what it means for NZ.

On the road to Waipu Cove
New Picture (4)

TPPA threat to packaging tobacco

The plain packaging law was introduced to Parliament this week. The government won’t stand up to tobacco companies – instead it won’t pass it until challenges to Australia’s version are over. US industry is making threats. TPPA would give investors more ammo to shoot it down but the government won’t support Malaysia’s carve-out of tobacco from the rules. Mana, Labour expressed their outrage.

Protests against TPPA in North America and here
In Canada, US and Mexico there was an Intercontinental Day of Action to mourn the 20th anniversary of NAFTA. TPPA=NAFTA on steroids, so go figure …

Protests against fast track saw over 40,000 phone calls and 600,000 emails to Congress!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

National Government loses $5 billion-plus fig leaf for TPPA

fig‘The fig leaf of over $5 billion in gains to the New Zealand economy from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement has been stripped away’, said Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey, a long-term critic of the proposed TPPA.

The Sustainability Council of New Zealand has just released an evaluation of the study by the Washington-based Peterson Institute for International Economics that Prime Minister Key and National ministers have relied on.

The review, led by Wellington economist Dr Geoff Bertram, concludes that the Peterson Institute’s study has greatly exaggerated the projected gains and ignored the financial and intangible costs. Only about one quarter of the projected gains are backed by a credible economic methodology and the Peterson Institute ignores the many fiscal and regulatory downsides.

On the information available, they doubt there is a net benefit to New Zealand from the TPPA.

Their analysis is consistent with the criticisms that Australian Productivity Commission made in 2010 about similar studies on the Australia US free trade agreement and other bilateral deals.

‘Several years ago trade minister Tim Groser dismissed the value of such modelling, and predicted “wearily” that a study would emerge to claim mega-gains for the TPPA’, Jane Kelsey observed.

‘Despite Groser’s scepticism, his own government has used the Peterson Institute report to rally support for a deal that many New Zealanders see as toxic.’

fancy‘When the Prime Minister started producing ever-higher projections, I speculated some fancy footwork was going on,’ Kelsey said.

‘We are indebted to Geoff Bertram and the Sustainability Council for explaining the technical reasons why these figures have no credibility.

‘Politicians know that ballpark figures that promise enormous gains make headlines, even if they lack substance. That now has to stop’.

Professor Kelsey reiterated the call for a full and independent cost benefit analysis of the monetary costs and benefits, and the constraints on New Zealand’s sovereignty, before any deal is signed.

Media Release from Jane Kelsey

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The TPPA & the Environment ~> the Wiki leak

Today, 15 January 2014, WikiLeaks released the secret draft text for the entire TPP ppp(Trans-Pacific Partnership) Environment Chapter and the corresponding Chairs’ Report. The TPP transnational legal regime would cover 12 countries initially and encompass 40 per cent of global GDP and one-third of world trade. The Environment Chapter has long been sought by journalists and environmental groups. The released text dates from the Chief Negotiators’ summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013.

The Environment Chapter covers what the Parties propose to be their positions on: environmental issues, including climate change, biodiversity and fishing stocks; and trade and investment in ‘environmental’ goods and services. It also outlines how to resolve enviromental disputes arising out of the treaty’s subsequent implementation. The draft Consolidated Text was prepared by the Chairs of the Environment Working Group, at the request of TPP Ministers at the Brunei round of the negotiations.

When compared against other TPP chapters, the Environment Chapter is noteworthy for its absence of mandated clauses or meaningful enforcement measures. The dispute settlement mechanisms it creates are cooperative instead of binding; there are no required penalties and no proposed criminal sanctions. With the exception of fisheries, trade in ‘environmental’ goods and the disputed inclusion of other multilateral agreements, the Chapter appears to function as a public relations exercise.

New Picture (o)Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’ publisher, stated: “Today’s WikiLeaks release shows that the public sweetner in the TPP is just media sugar water. The fabled TPP environmental chapter turns out to be a toothless public relations exercise with no enforcement mechanism.”

The Chairs’ Report of the Environment Working Group also shows that there are still significant areas of contention in the Working Group. The report claims that the draft Consolidated Text displays much compromise between the Parties already, but more is needed to reach a final text. The main areas of contention listed include the role of this agreement with respect to multilateral environmental agreements and the dispute resolution process.

The documents date from 24 November 2013 ─ the end of the Salt Lake City round. They were requested by the Ministers of the TPP after the August 2013 Brunei round. The Consolidated Text was designed to be a “landing zone” document to further the negotiations quickly and displays what the Chairs say is a good representation of all Parties’ positions at the time. The WikiLeaks Consolidated Text and corresponding Chairs’ Report show that there remains a lot of controversy and disagreement within the Working Group. The Consolidated Text published by WikiLeaks is not bracketed, as per the IP Chapter released in November 2013, as it is drafted by the Chairs of the Working Group at their responsibility. Instead, the accompanying Chairs’ Report provides commentary on the draft Consolidated Text and is the equivalent of bracketed disagreements for the countries that have not agreed on certain Articles, and provides their positions.

Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei. This is the third in the series of Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) leaks published by WikiLeaks.

Further reading: TPP Environment Chapter
•Analysis by Professor Jane Kelsey, New Zealand here
Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Series so far:
• TPP Intellectual Property Chapter here
• TPP Agreement Documents here
• TPP Environment Chapter Consolidated Text here
• TPP Environment Chapter Working Group Chairs’ Report here

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Sorry Minister “Trust Me” doesn’t wash!

It’s Our Future NZ<~>TPPA News Bulletin #44 19 December 2013

Groser - trust me doesn’t wash!

Our campaign ‘It’s not democracy, and it’s not right’ demanding release of the draft TPPA text saw 26,000 signatures on an e-petition or letters to political leaders, and lots of education. Thanks to all the celebrities, sponsors, producer and film crew, scriptwriter, designer, media booking agent, advertisers, and everyone who took part.

New Picture

TPPA ministers cave to US in Singapore

Trade ministers from the 12 countries met in Singapore from 7-10 Dec. It was intense. US-led pressure tactics began from day 1. Their closing statement tells us nothing. See Jane Kelsey’s blog and a short video summary of what happened. All we heard from Labour was Phil Goff: NZ would be winner in TPP. The ministers plan to meet again in late January, probably in London after the mega-corporate bunfight, the World Economic Forum in Davos. The tradeoffs will continue unless we stop them! Watch for action plans in next bulletin, facebook and website.

Two new Wikileaks expose sellouts

Internal documents from a country inside the negotiations were leaked to Wikileaks on the 3rd day of the Singapore meeting, and analysed in Huffington Post. A chart exposes major divisions before the ministerial, and showed Australia already sold others out on aspects of medicines. A leaked commentary confirmed US heavying to get TPPA deal.

Groser sells out Pharmac in Singapore

The leaks showed NZ had held firm until Singapore. On the final day the Washington Trade Daily reported all countries except one (not NZ) had dropped objections to the US intellectual property chapter, for nothing in return. This came after Pharmac’s annual review stressed its savings to NZ. Jane Kelsey has decoded Groser’s glib assurances.

Bill English says NZ’s role is to get US over TPPA line

The speech by Deputy Prime Minister Bill English to the Trans-Tasman leadership forum urged the US to show leadership to complete deal ‘because if they don’t they will lose standing in the Asia Pacific region’. As their long-term allies Australia and NZ ‘would prefer that doesn’t happen, so we will be talking about what we can do to help them get over the line’.

5 NZ political parties support release of the text

The Greens, Labour, MANA, the Maori Party and NZ First all gave great speeches and Q&A at a press briefing linked to the ‘It’s Not Right’ petition. There are good quotes from each. The press conference clashed with Banks’ prosecution, GCSB leak, Rena report, so please send the link so people know where the parties stand.

Australia and Chile’s politicians call for release of text

The Australian Greens successfully moved a motion in the Senate to order the production of documents, being the final text of the TPPA, before being signed off by Cabinet. Sadly the government can ignore the motion. The Labor Opposition’s trade spokesperson and leader in the Senate Penny Wong said ‘Labor believes the full text of any proposed TPP should be released well before it is signed’. In Chile, 34 deputies and 15 senators in the nation called for transparency in the TPPA. So has new President Bachelet.

Avaaz poll

Online campaigners Avaaz polled four countries, including NZ, confirming the December results. 70% of Kiwis oppose an agreement that would limit access to generic medicines, with only 18% supporting it; 56% were opposed corporations having the right to sue the government, with only 25% in support; 71% said it was not acceptable to keep the deal secret until it was signed, with 10% supporting secrecy; and over half concluded the deal was a threat to democracy, a quarter did not know, and only 21% said the deal would benefit NZ.

Australian poll

A Poll by the Australia Institute showed most Australians not aware of the TPPA but 87% want to see the text before it is signed, 85% are opposed to ISDS when it is explained, and 67% don’t trust the Federal Government assurance that Free trade agreements won’t increase the cost of medicine. It looks like the campaign there is beginning to fire.

Team TPPA still misleads on Parliament’s role

The misinformation that Parliament has the final say on the TPPA continues. Mr Fixit Stephen Joyce said so during Parliamentary Questions, then admitted to Russel Norman next day he was wrong. Cabinet that controls the whole process. Keith Locke’s Daily Blog explains how he tried to change this. Jane Kelsey issued a plain language explanation of the process. Sadly, pro-TPPA lobbyist Stephen Jacobi continued to mislead on Morning Report with a ‘clarification’ that was still wrong.

New Picture n60 prominent public health experts tell Ryall to protect health in TPPA

Sixty New Zealand health academics and practitioners sent a strong message to the government that public health must not be sacrificed on the altar of the TPPA when trade ministers met in Singapore – which it ignored. Health Minister Tony Ryall said he sent the letter to Groser! No ministers will take responsibility for the impacts on their portfolios.

US Congress fight against Fast Track Continues

The TPPA still has big problems in the US. Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee Chairman and senior Democrats told Obama not to rush any deal and reminded him that Congress has the final say. Criticism continued after Singapore. New stories say a fast track bill will be introduced in January that would mean Congress could only say ‘yay’ or ‘nay’. It will be a dog fight.

Aust and NZ govts duplicitous on tobacco plain packaging

Despite promoting plain packaging tobacco, the Wikileaks documents show both Australia and NZ have refused to support a carveout of tobacco from the TPPA proposed by Malaysia.

Followup to Wikileaks IP leak

OpenMedia has produced a new infographic, to explain what life will be like under the TPPA’s Internet censorship chapter.

Ominous: Australia sells out on investor disputes in Korea FTA

Australia’s Liberal government has agreed to investor-state dispute settlement, which had been holding up its FTA with Korea. This is an ominous signal that Australia will consider giving away its opposition to investor state enforcement in the TPPA if the price is right.

Heaps of Media!!!!

  • Hone Harawira, TPPA Secrecy – What it Really Means For Our Nation, 3 Dec 2013
  • Jane Kelsey, Scene set for quick and dirty trade-offs on TPPA in Singapore, 3 Dec 2013
  • Matt Robson, The TPPA and the Promised Land: a critique of the Fran O’Sullivan doctrine, Daily Blog, 3 Dec 2013
  • Burcu Killic: Standing up to drugs industry the best medicine, NZHerald, 6 Dec 2013
  • Bryan Gould: Speak up – we can resist the powerful, NZHerald, 6 Dec 2013
  • RadioNZ, Its crunch time as TPP talks head to Singapore, 6 Dec 2013
  • Brigitte Tenni, US concessions don’t give Trans Pacific partners access to drugs, The Conversation, 6 Dec 2013
  • Editorial, NZ Listener, Undue Influence (paywall), 7 December 2013
  • RadioNZ Insight, Pacific Rim Trade Deal Angst, 8 Dec 2013
  • Vietnam, other developing nations could lose as US seeks largesse for Big Pharma
  • Alexandra Phelan & Matthew Rimmer, TPP draft reveals surgical strike on public health, EastAsia Forum
  • Deb Gleeson, The TPP negotiations could be a bitter pill to swallow for Australian, The Guardian (Aust) 6 Dec 2013
  • Deb Gleeson, What you need to know about the Trans Pacific Partnership, The Conversation, 6 Dec 2013 and 12 Dec 2013
  • John Roughan: Groser going for gold today, NZ Herald, 7 Dec 2013
  • Simon Terry: Govt must resist foreign tribunal demands in TPP, NZHerald, 11 Dec 2013
  • Radio NZ Morning Report on Singapore outcome 11 Dec 2013: Groser, Kelsey, Jacobi
  • Brian Fallow: Mystery surrounds trade deal talks, NZ Herald, 12 Dec 2013
  • External experts gave a series of press conferences in Singapore on agriculture, meds, investment, copyright, SOEs, videos here.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment