Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Why we shouldn't sign the TPPA


Tomorrow the initial signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement will occur in Sky City, Auckland. It does seem appropriate that a gambling venue was chosen for the occasion as this Government is certainly gambling with our country's future by signing us up to this. There will be further protests around the country as we take another step on the journey to committing ourselves to this far reaching agreement.

I will be supporting a day long protest action in Invercargill tomorrow. We have already had a march, rallies and public meetings regarding the TPPA here, but the big problem continues to be getting information out to ordinary people. To this end I have put together a small flier and I am grateful for some useful input from Prof Jane Kelsey, Bill Rosenburg (Economist and Director of Policy for the CTU) and other TPPA activists.

I have attempted to summarise important information I have drawn from peer reviewed papers that have been written since the documents have been released for public scrutiny.

IT’S OUR FUTURE
Why we shouldn’t sign the TPPA

The economic benefits are minimal:
  • Without the TPPA our GDP will grow by 47% by 2030 (based on current growth rates), the TPPA will only add around 0.9%.
  • Tariff reductions of 1.3% on average by 2030 will be dwarfed by commodity price volatility and fluctuating exchange rates.
  • The TPPA did not open agricultural markets for our dairy production, one of the key drivers for signing.
  • The Trade distortions because of agricultural subsidies have not been addressed and these will continue to disadvantage New Zealand.
  • The TPPA may reinforce our position as a commodity producer and restrict our ability to progress up the added value chain.
  • The agreement will cost New Zealand around $79 million a year through eliminated tariffs and extended copyright rules.
Constitutional and regulatory implications:
  • The New Zealand constitution is a collection of statutes, court decisions and conventions and free trade agreements become an integrated part of that.
  • The TPPA will likely restrict the freedom of future Governments to implement regulatory and industrial policies in the public interest. It will also restrict SOEs and public owned entities from acting in the public interest.
  • The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions will become a greater concern when we become part of a multi-national agreement. The average cost of defending a case is around $8 million and there is a real risk of the taxpayer having to fund massive compensation bills.
Impacts on ordinary New Zealanders and businesses:
  • The Government won’t be able to support Buy Kiwi preferences to encourage and protect local businesses and employment.
  • The TPPA will support a privatised model of health, education and social housing that includes PPPs. Medicine costs will rise.
  • Policies to improve housing affordability will be severely restricted, such as non-resident ownership of New Zealand property.
Environmental consequences:
  • Climate change is the environmental crisis of our time and shifting to a low carbon, global economy is essential. The TPPA does not address this in any meaningful way, despite the importance of trade as a key mechanism to lower carbon emissions.
Visit the website: http://itsourfuture.org.nz/ for more information and updates

Sign the online petition: http://www.actionstation.org.nz/dontsign

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