By Winston Peters, NZ First leader
The final Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) talks are being held in Brunei this week and we still don’t know anything at all about what is being negotiated!
This veil of secrecy should be of concern to all New Zealanders.
Under questioning in Parliament this week, the Prime Minister refused to give us any assurances that giant multinational corporations will not target New Zealand if they don’t like our laws dealing with consumer goods, foreign investment or other important issues.
Most other countries involved are keeping their politicians and representatives updated on the TPPA negotiations, yet this Government is deliberately keeping all of us in the dark.
If this deal is meant to secure a better future for New Zealanders, then why all the secrecy?
Documents show that the effects of the so-called Investor-State Dispute Settlements (ISDS) mean that our government could be sued by foreign big business.
This would be disastrous not just for future governments, but also for New Zealand businesses. The average cost for countries involved in disputes like this is NZ$10 million per case.
A four year non-disclosure period has also been discussed. That means that no one will be able to know any details of how the agreement was arrived at until four years have passed.
No questions could intelligently be asked until long after any political damage could occur.
The Government’s secrecy surrounding the negotiations attacks the core of our democracy. It thwarts the role of Parliament, of being able to hold the Government to account for decisions it makes that affect the country and its citizens.
It attacks the right of the people to know what this Government has signed to for years to come.
It is time for this Government to act in the interests of New Zealanders instead of being besotted by big business in the United States and elsewhere. Look at its record with the GCSB.
“Trust me,” says the Prime Minister – to which we say “yeah, right, and with what?”
source: data archive