“The secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) negotiations taking place now in Auckland (3-12 Dec) will have huge impacts on New Zealand from environmental protection to access to medicine, labour laws and internet regulations just to name a few” says Climate Justice Taranaki member Urs Signer.
The TPPA is an international agreement which involves eleven Asian and Pacific-rim countries. Because the negotiations are being conducted in secret, what we know about the TPPA comes from leaked documents and detective work. Not even MPs know what exactly is being negotiated. The negotiations started in 2007.
“One of the most significant causes for concern around the TPPA is that it would give foreign investors the right to sue the New Zealand government in private offshore tribunals for introducing laws or policies which they claim would significantly hurt their investments. This is called Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) and — if overseas examples are anything to go by — it would disproportionately affect moves to strengthen environmental protection.”
“This means that New Zealand could be sued by multinationals if restrictions around deep-sea drilling or fracking are introduced.”
“We are not just dealing with irresponsible regulators on a local level and a government whose ‘drill baby drill’ approach will see the industrialisation of rural communities and greater risks to our pristine environment. We are now also faced with international trade agreements that will have serious implications on our natural environment.”
“The TPPA is billed as an agreement for the 21st century. But it will do nothing to address the challenges of financial instability, climate change, energy scarcity, job insecurity, structural poverty and inequality. Instead, it will lock future governments into a failed regime where markets rule for the next 100 years” says Professor Jane Kelsey of the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland.
“First they came for the car plants, then they came for the clothing and textile sector jobs but the country was silent. Now they are coming for our affordable medicines, our land, our environment, our work rights, the rest of our economy, our sovereignty. We can remain silent no longer” says Robert Reid, General Secretary of FIRST Union.
There are protests planned by unions, environmental groups, political parties and community organisations in towns across the country in coming days. See http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/ for more information.