What kind of person buys a car that they are not allowed to first take for a test drive, and then read the legalese before handing over the money?
If you, the reader, answered no one, then you will be thoroughly alarmed by this article. If you answered that there good reasons for blindly believing the car is safe and that the legalese is harmless, then I assume you don’t mind the fact that on Monday 03 December 2012 negotiations will begin behind closed doors for New Zealand to commit to a trade agreement that sounds like the above. Such are the negotiations that New Zealand is about to enter regarding the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement.
I assume that you – the person who thinks that the T.P.P.A. is good – know and fully understand the risks that are inherent in this Free Trade Agreement, which we will neither be permitted to know the terms of or be allowed to test drive as a nation? Have you stopped to consider the following:
- Australia signed a Free Trade Agreement with the United States a few years ago. Except that it was neither “free” nor fair. Many there now wish that they had not signed it, or that if they were going to that they had been much more demanding in settling the terms of the agreement.
- There is a risk that New Zealand will be open to lawsuits from companies in the United States and elsewhere. The New Zealand Government could be sued for supposedly hurting profit margins by passing laws to protect New Zealand’s assets, most notably its environment, the jobs of New Zealanders and the free and democratic society that we live in – or think we live in.
- New Zealand has its international standards in areas such as human rights and civil rights, transparency and political responsibility. All of these aspects of being a good modern nation would be severely compromised by the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement in it’s current form.
- It will be possibly slanted heavily in favour of American lobby groups, upon whom the United States politicians depend on re-election.
New Zealand is at a cross roads here. If we plunge blindly into the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations like Prime Minister John Key and Trade Minister Tim Groser are suggesting that we do we could be landing in a muddy pit of water full legal spikes and other nasty things on the bottom.
To the proponents of the T.P.P.A., I ask you the following question and if you have honestly given some thought to it, you should have no problems answering. Let us have an honest debate. Go on, justify the T.P.P.A. and why it will be good for New Zealand and how the above four points will be acknowledged and dealt with.