TPPA Hikoi heading to Parliament

Tomorrow will be our second to last day of walking. Tomorrow night we sleep just out of Tuamarina, and Wednesday night in Picton. We’ve been super lucky to have two nights in the warmest hospitality of Carol and Geoff as well as Evin here in Blenheim, which has been like coming home in a strange way and very rejuvenating, but somehow, it’s managed to be 9.30pm again, and I’m only just beginning a blog!

That’s a shame, because the times have been exceptional and to be able to share them as they happen, would have been awesome. We needed our own pocket-sized dedicated writer and photographer to document everything as it happens. Pocket-sized or life-sized would have even been okay too.

As well as still organising our accommodation for Picton and Wellington, we are also working hard on organising the parliamentary reception, which has not been simple. Apart from the actual logistics, which are considerable, there is also the conceptual balancing act of how to best approach the political opportunity we have.

Our wish is for New Zealand to withdraw from the TPPA and for any chance of that happening, the government needs to change at the next election.

To get into government, we believe that Labour needs to be a real alternative to National. That means, a party that listens to the people and recognises that the neoliberal policies implemented in New Zealand over the ‘Rogernomics’ period when Labour themselves were presiding, are NOT working.

We realise that there are a number of issues that make acknowledging and acting on that recognition not a simple process, but we think if Labour gave a stronger indication of what they intend to do about the TPP, that would be a clear signal to disenfranchised voters that their needs would be given some priority.

In communications with Labour in the last week they sent me through this:

Labour’s position on the TPP

  1. National has agreed to a deal, negotiated in secret, that fails to deliver promised economic gains, and would stop a future government passing laws in the best interests of New Zealanders.
  2. Labour cannot support the TPPA as it stands. We support free trade, but the TPPA is more than just a trade deal.
  3. In government, we will seek to renegotiate parts of the agreement that undermine our sovereignty such as the ban on New Zealand stopping foreign speculators from buying up our homes.
  4. Labour will vote against any TPPA enabling legislation that cuts across New Zealand’s right to pass laws in its own interests.  We will stand up for New Zealand, and will continue to promote laws and policies that are in the best interests of New Zealanders.

Our critique

  1. What the Government has agreed to in the TPPA compromises New Zealand’s sovereignty. They have been secretive and dishonest with the New Zealand public about what the deal actually means.
  2. Under the TPPA:
  3. Our Parliament would not be allowed to ban overseas speculators from buying up Kiwi homes. Other countries, including Australia, negotiated an exemption from this clause but National failed to do so for New Zealand.
  4. Foreign corporations could sue the government over policy changes seen as affecting their businesses.
  5. New Zealanders’ access to life-saving drugs could be restricted as our laws are tilted in favour of US pharmaceutical companies.
  6. The economic gains claimed by the government are modest, and are being shown to be based on outdated information. An independent study from Tufts University using newer information shows the TPPA would mean, at best, an increase of 0.77% of GDP in 15 years’ time.
  7. The same study shows the TPPA would lead to up to 6,000 job losses and a transfer of wealth from working New Zealanders to foreign corporates.

 

…. You know what? That actually does sound like a clear demarcation to me…

Night night, sleep well. Tomorrow we meet Blenheim’s new Mayor before we set off at 8 🙂

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