The obsessive secrecy surrounding the Auckland round of Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations in Auckland from 3-12 December has plumbed new depths.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) has declined a request for the dates on which up to 29 working groups will be meeting. It merely offered to identify ‘windows’ when negotiators in specified sectors would be meeting.
MFAT’s response was a list that only says whether the group
will be meeting before or after the so-called ‘stakeholder’ day on 7 December (see below).
“Even the dates that various groups are meeting is now a state secret, presumably because disclosure would somehow jeopardise the success of the negotiations” said Professor Jane Kelsey, who made the request on behalf of international experts who will be coming toAucklandfor the round.
“This is just silly”.
“Several individual negotiators have been more sensible and cooperative. Beyond that, we will have to rely on negotiators from other countries to tell us the dates on which they are attending a meeting hosted by our own government so that we can organise travel and accommodation, and plan events that attempt to engage with the negotiators.”
“Regarding the areas you have identified, below is a list of ‘windows’ organised around the central date of 7 December which we would expect most stakeholders to be planning travel around.
|IP||Pre and post 7 December|
|Transparency on meds||Pre 7 December|
|CBS||Pre 7 December|
|E-commerce||Post 7 December|
|Investment (including NCMs);||Pre and post 7 December|
|Environment||Pre and post 7 December|
|Labour||Post 7 December|
|Transparency||Pre 7 December|
|State-enterprises/competition||Post 7 December|
|Agriculture market access||Post 7 December|
|Financial services||Pre and Post 7 December|