TPPA Bulletin #70




Maui ministerial – TPPA stalled but not yet defeated

Ministers couldn’t reach a deal in Maui this week. That’s a great win, but no room for complacency. They are very close and the pressure is huge to solve the remaining big issues – dairy (NZ v Japan, US and Canada), automobiles (Mexico v Japan), and biologics medicines (US v rest, led by Australia). There will be frenetic meetings in the next few weeks. Expect another ministerial meeting before the end of August as they aim to meet the informal September deadline.

Media coverage:

Government fesses up to costs of TPPA
In one week Key admitted more taxpayers’ money will go direct into big pharma’s pockets to pay for meds, and new limits won’t be possible on foreign buyers of residential property, while Groser admitted an investor-state dispute could happen and NZ could lose before a rogue tribunal. Seems like a drip feed of confessions in expectation the text would become public and show they had been lying.
A court challenge to secrecy
Next week a case will be lodged in the High Court in Wellington to challenge the secrecy of the TPPA negotiations. Formally it seeks an urgent judicial review of Minister Groser’s refusal to release any documents under the Official Information Act that Jane Kelsey requested back in January. It’s taken so long because the Ombudsman took over 4 months to review the minister’s decision. Other applicants are Consumer NZ, Ngati Kahungunu, Oxfam, Greenpeace, Tertiary Education Union, Association of Salaried Medical Specialists, and NZ Nurses Organisation.
Crown rejects Waitangi Tribunal
Last week, the Waitangi Tribunal considered an urgent hearing on the claim that the TPPA breaches te Tiriti. Given the short time to the ministerial it was proposed that an independent legal expert should review whether the proposed Treaty of Waitangi exception was adequate. The Crown thought about it, then said no - because revisiting the exception could mean other parties want to reopen things important to NZ. As former Nat Minister, now Tribunal member, Doug Kidd said ‘so poor old rangatiratanga goes down the gurgler again’.
Labour finally takes a stand
Bipartisan support for the TPPA is no longer guaranteed. The Labour caucus (not the party) announced five ‘principles’ would decide its position on the TPPA. All but the one about foreign investment in residential property was woolly. But when Key admitted meds would cost more and TPPA would stop Labour restricting foreign buyers of Auckland housing, Andrew Little showed some backbone. Even Annette King spoke out against the meds costs. Labour has a sign-on letter asking Key to protect NZ’s sovereignty and release the text.
Government blocks Fighting Corporate Control Bill
On 22 July NZ First's Fighting Foreign Corporate Control Bill got its first reading. Unfortunately the Bill missed out on getting to the Select Committee by one vote, as expected Peter Dunne and David Seymour voted against the Bill. Speeches from the Government MPs (like David Bennett, Mark Mitchell and Shane Reti) demonstrated their poor understanding of ISDS provisions and what they mean for our democracy.


No comments: