Select committee update and events in Christchurch and Wellington
Kia ora tātou
This photo was taken by Golriz Ghahraman MP of the Green Party, who has been sharing our concerns on social media. But there is a feeling that other members of the Committee are simply toeing the party line and going through the motions.
It’s been over two months since the Trade Minister signed the resurrected TPPA in Chile on 8 March — not in our name, of course, but on behalf of the two-faced Labour Party and New Zealand First. Since then, Mexico is the only country to have ratified the treaty, but Japan is pushing it through at speed and even non-signatories are lurking in the wings: the United States, South Korea and Thailand all have expressed interest in joining the trading bloc. On the other hand, Malaysia’s continued participation is up in the air since its recent election. But remember, only six of the eleven countries have to ratify before the TPPA comes into force.
So, what’s happening on the home front?
Many of us made written and oral submissions to Parliament’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, and I think Professor Kelsey’s expression shows how frustrating that process has been.
We also submitted in support of our Don’t Do It! petition, which many thousands of you signed calling on Parliament to reject the TPPA and to overhaul the process for negotiating economic treaties that place handcuffs on New Zealand’s future.
The petition was supported last Saturday when The Spinoff published an article explaining why now is the right time for Parliament to review the government’s treaty-making powers.
We need to start thinking about how to get back on the front foot, and the parliamentary petition has served as a positive proposal to inject democracy back into the process for negotiating New Zealand’s international commitments. At the grassroots, a committed team remains on the road placing pressure on local government to face up to the facts.
Soon the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade will begin its “progressive and inclusive” Trade for All Agenda through which the Government will consult the public on the future of trade policy. Moreover, there are similar treaties to the TPPA on the horizon: the Government is set to begin trade talks with the European Union next month, and RCEP negotiations (with Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea, and the ten ASEAN countries) are ongoing.
With those developments in mind, I am speaking at two small events focused on the TPPA and hosted by the Workers Educational Association (WEA):
- CHRISTCHURCH Sunday 27 May from 1.00 pm at 59 Gloucester Street
- WELLINGTON Thursday 31 May from 6.00 pm at St Andrew’s on The Terrace
These events will provide an opportunity to think through where we are left and what we can do. Capacity at each event is limited to around 30 people.
It's Our Future Spokesperson