TPPWatch Bulletin #24 4 December 2012

Round up of news and information on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Protest marks the beginning of the Auckland negotiations

The opening of the Auckland TPPA round was marked by protest outside the Skycity convention centre. The protestors chanted “TPPA? No way!” and Professor Jane Kelsey and Robert Reid of First Union loudly decried the TPPA negotiations over a megaphone. All the major media outlets were in attendance, and several protestors were interviewed. Well done to all of you who made it out so early in the morning, there are 8 more days of negotiations — let's keep the pressure up! TV3's coverage of the protest is here.

Cartoon exhibition launches in Auckland

On Saturday evening cartoonists, journalists, and members of the Auckland culture sector attended the prize giving of the www.itsourfuture.org.nz TPPA cartoon competition. The three winners were Mike Moreu (Judges choice), Claire Frith (Student category), and Mat Brady (Peoples' choice). The cartoons will be exhibited at the BizDojo Co.Space on Karangahape (“K”) Rd until 8 December. From 5 – 12 December Mat Brady's cartoon will be displayed on the side of enormous mobile billboard driving around Auckland. The billboard will also display information on the TPPA, publicise the rally against the TPPA at 2pm Saturday December 8 and have a space for people to sign.

Lockout of stakeholders from TPPA negotiating venue

In an unpredented move, civil society critics of the TPPA have been excluded from the negotiating venue for all but 1 of the 10 days of talks. In previous rounds, international experts — although not allowed access to the negotiations themselves — have been allowed into the negotiating venue in order to meet with the international delegates. Even this figleaf of transparency has now been removed. More than twenty international experts in public health, intellectual property, investment, labour, consumer rights, and other issues have travelled at reat expense to Auckland on the assumption that the rules will not be worse than in previous rounds. The Green Party were quick to condemn this action.

Poll shows most New Zealanders want to end secret TPPA negotiations

A poll conducted in mid-November shows that almost two out of three New Zealanders think the contents of the latest and biggest free trade agreement should be made public before the negotiations are completed and any deal is signed. Of those that have an opinion, four times as many favour advance publication of the text that New Zealand is negotiating with ten other countries towards a Trans Pacific Partnership agreement. The poll conducted by Consumer Link shows 65% of New Zealanders think the Government should make the contents of the agreement public before the negotiations are completed and the agreement is signed, 14% do not mind if this does not happen, and 21% have no opinion.

Fairdeal coaliton grows

The Fair Deal Coalition — a group dedicated to preventing changes to copyright laws under the TPPA — have with several new international members: the Australian Digital Alliance, the Open Source Industry of Australia, ONG Derechos Digitales and Consumer International. To find out more about the Fair Deal Coalition and the Trans Pacific Partnership, visit www.fairdeal.net.nz. Members of the public are also invited to attend a free public event on December 8, from 6 to 8pm at Auckland’s Toto Restaurant. The event will mix the work of New Zealand artists with short talks by local and international Fair Deal speakers.

NZ-US council tries a new tactic ...

Stephen Jacobi and the rest the pro-TPPA business lobby have decided to take a swing at public opinion on the TPPA with a press conference and a new website www.tradeworks.org.nz. If you think this is a forum for debate, you're sadly mistaken — they've been regularly deleting critical posts since their facebook page went live yesterday! Happily, the Dom Post are reading this as a sign of weakness for the pro-TPPA camp.

Tri-National Campaign Launched in Opposition to the TPPA

Activists from Canada, Mexico and the United States are unveiling a new tri-national unity statement opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) during a cross-border organizing summit on the U.S./Canada border on Saturday. On the eve of the 15th major round of TPP negotiations, representatives of the labor, environmental, indigenous, family farm, democracy and other social justice movements will announce a goal of collecting 1,000 organizational signatures on the statement from throughout North America prior to the start of the next TPP round, widely believed to take place in March 2013.

TPPA in the media

In the last week media coverage of the TPPA has (appropriately) skyrocketed:

  • Fran O'Sullivan complains here that the “anti-trade lobby” has commandeered the debate on the TPPA. While we're not anti-trade, we'll take the compliment Fran! Gordon Campbell provides an excellent reply.
  • Similarly, thanks to John Key for the free publicity, telling the New Zealanders to “ignore” TPPA protestors.
  • Australia continues to stand strong against investor-state dispute settlement — aue!
  • Online magazine werewolf.co.nz has published a special issue on the TPPA featuring an interview with the world's foremost trade academic Jagdish Bhagwati (who takes an oppositional stance on the TPPA); an excellent piece on the TPPA's implications for PHARMAC; another excellent piece on the TPPA's significance for dairy; and an overview of the issues by Gordon Campbell.
  • Canadian Canadian trade specialist and trade lawyer Peter Clark writes an excellent analysis of the TPPA here.
  • A really good introduction to the TPPA issues for New Zealand from Aotearoa Indymedia.
  • Hitting us where it hurts — The Hobbit! Arbitration academic Amokura Kawharu explains how incentives for the film industry are at risk under the TPPA in this Herald article.

Upcoming events around the country

4 Dec, Wellington midday. Aotearoa Is Not For Sale Wellington are running a rally in opposition to the TPPA: Tuesday, December 4th, 12noon, Midland Park, Lambton Quay http://www.facebook.com/events/510342432318020/

1-8 Dec Auckland. ‘Having fun with TPP’ Cartoon exhibition, BizDojo.Co.Space, Karangahape Road, Auckland.

7 December Palmerston North. 1.00-2.00 p.m. TPP Information session, All Saints Hall, The Square. Slideshow and videos. All welcome.

8 December, Palmerston North 12.30 -1.30 p.m. March, beginning at PN City Council buildings around Square culminating in meeting to express your views at S-E corner.

7 December Auckland. Aotearoa Is Not For Sale: The Big Push. March against Asset Sales, meeting 6pm at Britomart. http://www.facebook.com/events/304092823039121/

8 Dec Auckland.

  • Major rally and presentation of Avaaz petition, meeting at Aotea Square at 2pm, marching to entrance of Skycity casino, Federal St. http://www.facebook.com/events/421123814617113/
  • TPPA? No way! Awareness raising concert at St Kevin's arcade, 6-9pm. Featuring bands Steve Abel, Tono and the Finance Company, and Luckless. Speakers Jane Kelsey, Lori Wallach (Public Citizen) and Sanya Reid Smith (Third World Network). http://www.facebook.com/events/507654959268982

8 Dec Nelson. March up the main street on 8 December, followed by speeches and maybe even a picnic! Contact Mary Ellen O'Connor at oconstance@gmail.com.

10 Dec Auckland “Trading away our future: TPPA and the Environment”, featuring: Sanya Reid Smith (Third World Network), Gareth Hughes MP, and Nathan Argent (Greenpeace). Refreshments provided. 5.30 at Green Party offices, 17 Mercury Lane, Newton. http://www.facebook.com/events/562836617066132/

12 Dec Wellington. Aotearoa Is Not For Sale demonstration at Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Details to be announced (AINFS meet at Trades Hall each Wednesday at 5.30).

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