TPPA negotiations coming to Auckland
The next round of negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is taking place in Auckland from 3-12 December at Sky City, and a call for a national day of direct action to shut down the negotiations has been issued.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) — a business contract between eleven Asian and Pacific-rim countries, including the United States and NZ — is currently being negotiated. The next round of negotiations is taking place in Auckland from 3-12 December at Sky City, and a call for a national day of direct action to shut down the negotiations has been issued.
Because the negotiations are being conducted in secret, what we know about the TPPA comes from leaked documents and detective work. Qhat we know so far is that if the negotiations are completed it will become much harder for the New Zealand government to look after our environment, promote health, protect workers and consumers, and promote the public interest. Parts of the TPPA provisions include the ability of overseas companies to sue the New Zealand government for millions in damages in secretive offshore tribunals, claiming that new laws and regulations (for example, a ban on fracking, smoking control laws, or a cap on electricity prices) have seriously undermined the value of their investments; and medicines will become more expensive as big pharmaceutical companies gain more influence over PHARMAC, and restrictions are placed on generic medicines. These are just two of the many aspects of the TPPA which will have profound effects on the lives of ordinary people in NZ.
Free Trade costs the Earth
Legally binding international business contracts are called 'free trade' by the corporatations that benefit from them. In fact, there is nothing 'free' about them. They are a means by which coporations gain greater legal rights and the ability to control laws and policies at the expense of the rights of ordinary people to decide about important issues like access to healthcare and medicine, protection of the environment and worker's rights. We are giving up our freedom and getting control by corporation instead. These trade agreements are a 'race to the bottom': instead of us being able to decide how we want our society and economuy organised, the NZ government is selling out what remains of our democratic processes (which are at best lacking even now in terms of representation and transparency). We simply will have no ability to challenge these decisions.
No benefit for New Zealand
Those who argue in favour of these business contracts say that New Zealand wins access to more markets with these agreements. Most of the time, that is simply untrue. Access for major New Zealand exports often have to wait decades before any access is granted (things like dairy will never gain access to United State markets). Meanwhile, because New Zealand has already removed almost all protection for our own industries, they don't have much to bargin with to begin with. New Zealand has been a champion of these international business contracts for many years, and the decline of the standard of living in NZ and the growing gap between rich and poor can be directly tied to them. Day of action Aoteroa is Not for Sale and the It's Our Future campaign are calling for a national day of action on Saturday 8 December.
Get involved in the campaign, get organising and get to Auckland if you can. More details here:
Its our future - http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/
Day of Action - http://www.facebook.com/events/421123814617113/