Joe Biden’s visit to New Zealand comes amongst desperate moves to try to rescue the deeply unpopular Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA). Citizens opposed to the TPPA will be at Auckland Airport today to call for an end to the TPPA.
Legacy: “doing an end run around democratic process?”
The TPPA was on the agenda for talks in Australia and is expected to be discussed in Auckland on Thursday. The TPPA is in deep trouble in the US, with both Presidential nominees recently affirming their rejection of the agreement.
There is overwhelming evidence that the TPPA will produce little if any economic benefit, cause social and environmental damage, and result in the loss of governments’ right to regulate. Yet, the current President is still talking about the TPPA as a key part of his legacy from 8 years in office.
The campaign against the TPPA in New Zealand, It’s Our Future, is calling for talks to be abandoned. Spokesperson Barry Coates said:
“The US President and Vice President should not be leaving a toxic legacy from their time in office.”
“People are waking up to the dangers of giving over powers to foreign corporations. The TPPA’s investor-state dispute settlement mechanism would allow foreign investors to challenge the decisions of our Parliament and our judicial system.”
“The recent TransCanada US$15 billion case against the US government’s rejection of the KeystoneXL pipeline shows how action on climate change will be further undermined by the TPPA.”
People are waking up to the dangers of giving over powers to foreign corporations
There is strong and growing opposition to the TPPA and similar pro-corporate treaties around the world, including huge opposition to the parallel Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations between the US and EU. A majority of the New Zealand public oppose the TPPA, according to opinion polls.
There is no chance to pass the TPPA in the US using the usual democratic processes, so the US administration is trying to push the TPPA through during the ‘lame duck period’ between the Presidential election on 8 November and the time the President takes office on 20 January 2017. As with the previous push for Fast Track Authority, the wheels will be oiled by lavish corporate contributions.
Barry Coates commented: “Doing an end run around democratic process to pass the TPPA is not a legacy that the Obama/Biden administration should be proud of. It’s time that governments – including the US and New Zealand – started listening to their people, not just the big corporations.”
It’s Our Future is calling for a halt to the ratification process in New Zealand, and if the TPPA is to continue, there should be a binding referendum on New Zealand’s participation.
It’s Our Future spokesperson Barry Coates concluded: “The world has moved on. The TPPA is a throwback to the era of extreme liberalisation, trickle-down, growth-at-all-costs policies. It has benefited big corporations and the wealthy few, and caused massive inequality, unstable economies, climate chaos and a hollowing out of democracy. It’s time to change direction.”