TPPWatch Bulletin # 28

Next round Singapore 4-14 March. The first round of negotiations for 2013 starts in Singapore in two weeks.

From what we have gleaned the timetable is full on and the negotiators will be under huge pressure to narrow down the disagreements. Unlike the last time they met in Singapore, there is a ‘stakeholder’ event, but being Singapore there won’t be any protests but there will be other activities to report on. Some activists have already been busy with a spoof website that mimics the USTR webpages that will run during the round.

Healthcare professionals urged to sign TPPA Petition to PM

Are you a qualified health professional in New Zealand concerned about the TPPA? A number of public health groups have prepared a petition to the Prime Minister on behalf of the health community of New Zealand regarding the TPPA. The petition sums up concerns about the future impacts of the proposed agreement upon New Zealand's ability to deliver public health policy, and in particular to achieve a smokefree Aotearoa by 2025. Health professionals (yes that does include nurses!) can sign online - encourage your colleagues to do so too.

Government challenged to deny it plans to cave on Pharmac

Last November Tim Groser signalled to the Americans that NZ was willing to be ‘flexible’ on new ‘disciplines’ for Pharmac. That means giving way to the drug companies on the patent laws or on so-called ‘transparency’, where they get more influence over Pharmac’s decisions. Jane Kelsey called on the government to come clean on whether it has decided how it’s going to sell out Pharmac before the Singapore round.

Auckland City resolution sets impossible conditions for TPPA

During the TPPA round in December, government allies on Auckland City council popped a resolution onto the agenda of the regional development and operations committee supporting the agreement. Richard Northey tabled an amendment, seconded by Cathy Casey, set a lot of pre-conditions that will not be achievable. It was carried by 9 votes to 7 (see minutes at item 26). It stops short of council resolutions in past years when some councils declared themselves APEC-free, GATS-free and MAI-free zones, but it is a really good precedent for other councils. A sympathetic council member can always move an amendment. If you are thinking of doing this in your area, please let us know so we can connect people and provide several background papers.

Great campaign ideas from Wellington strategy meeting

Some 10 different groups came to the strategy meeting in Wellington, which produced some great ideas for action to feed into the new campaign that will be launched at the end of the month until May to target the Cabinet’s decision on political tradeoffs. More details will follow in the next bulletin. Contacts for various sectors are Health: Marilyn Head, Churches: John Roberts; Environment: Simon Terry; Education: Michael Stevenson; Unions: Bill Rosenberg.

Auckland strategy meeting Tuesday 26 February

We plan to hold a similar strategy meeting in Auckland at 2pm on Tuesday 26 February at the Greens office at 17 Mercury Lane, Newton. Please come armed with ideas!

Letters to the PM and Groser top 1000

More than 1000 of you have sent a letter to PM Key and Trade Minister Groser opposing the TPPA through itsourfuture.org.nz website. If you haven’t done so yet, it is really easy – and send the link to your friends.

Want to host the cartoon exhibition?

The cartoon competition was a great success. Groups in several towns have said they want to host the exhibition, organise a launch and have some other events around it. We are printing off three sets of the cartoons. If you would like to do a show in your town, please let Ed know.

Wellington asset sales rally

Congratulations to the ‘no to asset sales’ activists in Wellington on last Wednesday’s rally. About 400 people turned out to hear a range of people speaking about privatisations, including TPPA. Lots of leaflets were handed out. The speeches, including Jane Kelsey on the TPPA, are available on Scoop, and a short u-tube video of voxpops.

MFAT wants(?) submissions on China version of TPPA

The US made it clear that the TPPA is the economic limb of its strategy to restore its power in the Asia as a counter to China; the other limb is redeploying the military from Iraq and Afghanistan to friendly states in Asia. Now China and the 10 ASEAN countries have launched their own version – the Regional Closer Economic Partnership (RCEP) that also will involve New Zealand, Australia, India, Japan, South Korea. The formal talks begin in May – at the same time as the TPPA round in Peru! This is much the same agenda as the TPPA, minus some of the US super-crazy stuff. MFAT is taking submissions on RCEP until 8 March. Tell them what you think.

Thanks to Stephen Parry!

The Countdown to December campaign was a great success, made possible by the incredibly hard work of Stephen Parry in getting the new website up, preparing resources, organising events and replying to communications. Stephen has a new job but will remain part of the broader campaign.

Please share TPPA activities or good articles:

Contact Edward Miller edwardmilla@gmail.com; Facebook page ItsOurFutureNZ; and website www.itsourfuture.org.nz

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