Nationwide Rally to oppose secret negotiations on investor rights agreement
For rally locations and updates see GPJA’s Blog (Global Peace and Justice Auckland) at http://gpjanz.wordpress.com/2014/03/14/sat-29-march-join-the-national-day-of-action-to-stop-the-tppa/
The March 29 anti-Trans-Pacific Partnership Rally is sponsored by: The New Council of Trade Unions, Oxfam New Zealand, Greenpeace, Maritime New Zealand, Campaign Against Foreign Control of Aotearoa (CAFCA), Tertiary Education Union, Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA), First Union, Service and Food Workers Union (SFWU), Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand, and the Maori Party.
By Steve Edwards, 12 March, 2014.
For several years, New Zealand’s trade minister Tim Groser has been a leading driver of negotiations for a new ‘free trade’ pact called the Trans-Pacific Partnership. As the name suggests, these negotiations are between 11 countries that either border the Pacific Ocean, or are surrounded by it. Citizens groups opposed to this ‘free trade’ agreement have formed in these countries. In New Zealand, groups called “TPP Watch” and “It’s Our Future” argue that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will lock in investor rights that favour the wealthy, while curtailing the partnering governments from performing regulatory functions that might interfere will corporate profits. This agreement impacts on financial regulation, healthcare products, environmental laws, protections for workers, labelling of genetically modified foods and the termination of the Treaty of Waitangi (te Titiriti o Waitangi).[i]
In mid-2012, a chapter on investment from the privately-negotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) was leaked. When confronted by the news media, John Key and his trade minister, Tim Groser, promptly downplayed the significance of this agreement.[ii] The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, had been marketed as a ‘free trade’ agreement between a growing number of countries – America, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
In response to this leak, the associate dean of research at Auckland University’s Law School, Jane Kelsey, argued that the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is actually a charter of investment rights between the eleven nation state jurisdictions and that its provisions would “lock in the current investment regime”[iii] This would mean for example, that if any government of any nation that is party to the agreement attempted to reverse privatizations, the ‘offending’ government can be sued in what Kelsey argues are “secretive offshore investment tribunals.”
Thus, under the TPPA, transnational corporations would gain the capacity to directly sue governments under Investor-State Dispute Settlement provisions in parallel judicial systems such as the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes.[iv] In other words, governments are giving away a level of sovereign power to a global investment class in accordance with the strictures of new constitutionalism.
New constitutionalism is a strategy that seeks to expand markets by locking in the changes within a supranational jurisdiction, thereby restricting the democratic participation of nationally-based publics.[v] ‘New constitutionalism’ enshrines the fluidity of capital, and positions the investor as a sovereign legal person, and is a crucial strategy to the transnational capitalist’s class’ global neo-colonial project. See “Code Purple” by Snoopman).
Since mid 2012, the negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) have continued to be conducted in secret, dispite public opposition in New Zealand and around the world. (See Professor Jane Kelsey’s article “Why you must march against the TPPA on Saturday 29th for the latest situation on the TTPA negotiations and likely impacts).
To find the event nearest you – Hokianga, Whangarei, Auckland, Hamilton, Napier, Tauranga, Rotorua, New Plymouth, Whanganui, Palmerston North. Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Timaru – go to www.itsourfuture.org.nz or the facebook page. Or you can help the organisers or start something in your town. – See more at: http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/03/12/why-you-must-march-against-the-tppa-on-saturday-29th/#sthash.CzaSF9o8.dpuf
See also: “Code Purple: Whistle Blowing on ‘Free markets’, the ‘Shock Doctrine’ and ‘New Constitutionalism” and “A Poorly Understood ‘Bargain’: How Democracy and the 60s Movements became Orphans in the ‘Free Market’ Era” by Snoopman to grasp why exactly it is that ‘ignoring the people’ has become state policy the world-over since the mid-1970s.
For further learning, see also:
Documentaries on the deployment of ‘free market’ economic shock treatments:
Someone Else’s Country (1996) Alistair Barry (New Zealand)
In a Land of Plenty (2002) Alistair Barry (New Zealand)
The Shock Doctrine (2009) [based on Naomi Klein’s book]
The Trap – 2 – The Lonely Robot (2007) Adam Curtis
[ii] Groser rejects TPP concerns. (2012, June 14). TV3 News. Retrieved from http://www.3news.co.nz/Groser-rejects-TPP-concerns/tabid/1607/articleID/257709/Default.aspx; TPPWatch Action Bulletin #12 – 17 June 2012. TPP Watch. Retrieved from http://tppwatch.wordpress.com/2012/06/17/tppwatch-action-bulletin-12-17-june-2012/
[iii] (Kelsey 2012, June 20). Jane Kelsey: Secrecy in investment talks mocks democracy. The New Zealand Herald. http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=10814123
[iv] Kelsey, Jane. (2012, September 29). Investor-State Dispute Settlement under the TPPA. It’s Our Future. Retrieved from http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/TPP_factsheet_ISDS_2_page.pdf
[v] Gill, S. (1998). New constitutionalism, democratisation and global political economy. Global Change, Peace & Security, 10, 23-38. doi:10.1080/14781159808412845. As cited in: Winseck, D. (2000). The bias of transnational communication: The WTO, wired cities and limited democracy. The Public, 7, 17-36. Retrieved from http://www.javnost-thepublic.org/media/datoteke/2000-4-winseck.pdf
[vi] Kelsey, Professor Jane. (2014, 12 March). Why you must march against the TPPA on Saturday 29th. The Daily Blog. http://thedailyblog.co.nz/2014/03/12/why-you-must-march-against-the-tppa-on-saturday-29th/#sthash.8CZHgr31.dpuf