Kia Ora all, I’m Paul Bailey, Green Party spokesperson for Hawkes Bay and I’ve been thinking about the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations taking place in Auckland this week.
The Government is selling us this deal as ‘a mega trade deal’, which in my opinion is wrong. The TPPA is not a trade deal. It is not about imports and exports – it’s about regulations and control. Its framework is designed to allow corporations to compromise the way we manage for example our natural resources, our health care, or our intellectual property.
Our democracy, our Treaty of Waitangi obligations, and our self-determination are all on the line, and the government wants you to ignore any protests, and trust them to do the right thing by you.
However, leaked documents have shown that this agreement contains clauses that will allow overseas corporations to sue the New Zealand Government. One in particular is investor state dispute mechanisms. Most free trade agreements allow disputes to be heard by the WTO, just like when NZ took on Australia over apple exports. Because the WTO dispute process is country v country it is far more independent and robust than the investor state dispute mechanisms.
Investor state dispute mechanisms allow overseas corporations to sue governments directly at World Bank tribunals if governments do things that cost them money. For example the Canadians passed a law banning a particular type of fuel additive because they considered it dangerous for human health, which cost the company making the additive a lot of money in lost sales, so the company sued the Canadian government, and the Canadian government had to reverse its decision and pay the companies costs.