It's Our Future NZ - TPPA Bulletin #49

It's Our Future NZ - TPPA Bulletin #49

14 May 2014

Revised action

We know we said there would be action at National Party offices next Saturday, but people have asked us to hold off on that.
Instead, we are calling for a Twitter storm to Trade Minister Groser to coincide with the start of the TPPA ministers meeting in Singapore on 19-20 May.

The twitter storm will take place on Saturday 17 May between 1 and 2pm, and we want as many people as possible to tweet their message to the Prime Minister John Key (@johnkeypm) or their local MP and let them know how they feel about the TPPA. Include the hashtag #TPPANoWay and the @ItsOurFutureNZ account will retweet!
Below the graphic are some sample tweets you might like to use. We do urge you to be respectful in your comments, no personal abuse etc. The issues alone are controversial enough, stick to them.
@johnkeypm The #TPPA is too important to be negotiated in #secret. #Information is the root of #democracy #TPPANoWay
@johnkeypm It’s not enough to tell us #TPPA is in our interest, you have to show us #releasethetext #TPPANoWay
@johnkeypm How come 600 US corporate advisors have seen the #TPPA text but we haven’t? #TPPANoWay
Hey @johnkeypm the #TPPA will harm workers rights, offshore jobs and hamstring wage growth. In whose interest? #TPPANoWay
@johnkeypm The #TPPA gives rights to foreign investors to challenge our laws. That’s not #democracy and #itsnotright #TPPANoWay
@johnkeypm Our environment and health are more important than investors’ rights to profit. #TPPANoWay
@johnkeypm The #TPPA will make medicines more expensive. Our health is more important than #BigPharma’s profits! #TPPANoWay
@johnkeypm #TPPA allows investors to undermine action on #climatechange. There are no winners on a burning planet #TPPANoWay
@johnkeypm #TPPA restricts internet freedom. We demand a free and open internet #TPPANoWay
@johnkeypm Honour our #Tiriti; not the corporations’ treaty #TPPANoWay
@johnkeypm #TPPA will fuel financial crises and put banks ahead of people #TPPANoWay
Health professionals take it to the PM

Outrage against investors’ rights to sue governments in dubious offshore tribunals is growing. On Monday 270+ health professionals sent an open letter to the PM voicing their concern, funded an advertisement in the DomPost, followed by an op ed. The New Zealand College of Public Health Medicine did its own press release. So did OraTaiao: The New Zealand Climate and Health Council over possible threats to climate change policy. See Daily Blog as well.
TPPA secrecy gets more bizarre

Our only detailed information on TPPA has been from leaked texts, offshore commentaries and Jane Kelsey’s reports on the negotiation meetings. The process has gone even deeper underground. There has been no formal round since August 2013. In mid-April Jane made an urgent Official Information Act request about which negotiators would be in Vietnam for this week’s negotiations and when. Last Friday MFAT  provided names and subject areas, but refused to give dates when the groups would meet, citing their ‘privacy and security’!
Empty milk bottles - Time to walk Tim!

Scepticism about NZ getting anything on dairy from the US, Japan and Canada continues to grow. Market access for agriculture is still the bottleneck in the negotiations. Whatever happens with the big picture, it is clear there will be very little movement on dairy. But Key and Groser say comprehensive opening is a red line for NZ signing the deal. Agribusiness professor Keith Woolford added to the raft of articles in the last bulletin with a fascinating reflection on Canada. Removing domestic protection could produce an exporter than outcompetes NZ. Be careful what you wish for! As we’ve said before – time to walk, Tim, time to walk!
Over 3 million sign to Stop the TPPA Secrecy!!!

The global sign-on sponsored by OpenMedia, Avaaz and many other groups has secured a massive 3,151,392 signatures by today. The numbers were projected against key buildings in Washington DC to coincide with Obama’s sales trip to Asia. 
Right wing US Cato institute opposes ISDS

Sometimes these campaigns create strange bedfellows. US libertarians the Cato Group observed that opposition has grown into ‘a populist backlash against the TPP, which is portrayed as a secretive, corporatist plot to circumvent democratic processes and usurp national sovereignty’. One criticism they agree with is that ISDS is an unnecessary, unreasonable, and unwise provision to include in trade agreements. Will the Business Roundtable, in its re-incarnation as the New Zealand Initiative, follow suit?
Synthetic highs show the ISDS risks

The sudden ban on synthetic highs, with government refusing to pay any compensation, is a classic situation where an investor from a TPPA country could have claimed ‘expropriation’ of their investment (An affected investor from China could already lodge a claim using the China NZ FTA – though we are not wanting to give them any ideas!)
Check out the Murray Horton speaking tour

Murray Horton from CAFCA is on a speaking tour around Aotearoa, including against the TPPA. Always guaranteed to be informative and entertaining! Thames 14 May, Waihi 15 May, Te Aroha 16 May, Tauranga 16 May, Whakatane and Opotiki 19 May, Gisborne 20 May, Clive 21 May, Palmerston North 22 May, Whanganui 26 May, Paekakariki 27 May, Wellington 28 May, Otaki 29 May, Christchurch 25 June.
The Daily blog article on ISDS risks

An article that appeared in The Daily Blog today underscores the importance of activists using whatever channels available to them to put an end to investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in agreements like the TPPA. Professor Jane Kelsey notes growing outrage, both in New Zealand and globally, to these agreements and their impact on issues like public health, the environment, workers rights and much more, arguing that “We need to make much more noise about ISDS so the media sees it as a headline issue.” Have a read, and get active!

TPPA briefings for sale?

The cash for access deals have gone one further with MFAT holding a lunchtime 'stakeholder information session' on 16 April in Dunedin. Hosted by the Otago Chamber of Commerce at the cost of $35 for members and $45 for non members!  Supposedly s Chief Negotiator David Walker was going to give them a 'first-hand an update on the negotiation' with the change to ask questions about their areas of interest. Given Walker's ability to say nothing at a briefing they'd better get a good lunch for their money.