Saturday 6 February 2016

Making It Stop: Taking Stock Of 4 February 2016, With Some Thoughts About The Way Forward.

A Huge Response: The Anti-TPPA protest of 4 February 2016 packed out Auckland's Queen Street from end to end. The last big protest to do that was Greenpeace's Anti-Mining in National Parks demonstration of 10 May 2010 - when the NZ Herald estimated the number of marchers at 40,000. The 4 February protests were also notable for the numbers of Maori and young people on the streets. Is the "Missing Million" waking up?
SOME TRIBUTES FIRST, then an apology. To Jane Kelsey and Barry Coates I can only say thank you. Demonstrations like the one I marched in on Thursday don’t just happen. They are the product of hours and days and years of hard work, during which people fight not only against loneliness and fatigue, but against the insidious thought that their unceasing efforts might all be in vain. Observing the glowing faces of Jane and Barry, as they rode down Queen Street on the afternoon of 4 February 2016, it was their selfless commitment to battling on, heedless of setbacks and against all odds, that brought tears to my eyes. Once again, thank you.
Tribute is also due to Real Choice. By their extraordinary actions throughout the morning and afternoon of 4 February they proved just how sterile theoretical debates about tactics and strategy can be. Somehow, in growing older, I had forgotten the words of the young student activist, Mario Savio, spoken 50 years ago on the steps of Sproull Hall at the University of California’s Berkeley campus. In my teens and twenties I had sworn by them, and, to my older self, they certainly bear repeating:
There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious—makes you so sick at heart—that you can’t take part. You can’t even passively take part. And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop. And you’ve got to indicate to the people who run it, to the people who own it that unless you’re free, the machine will be prevented from working at all.
On 4 February, Real Choice put their bodies on the asphalt of Auckland’s inner-city carriageways, and for several hours they made things stop. In doing so they sent a much-needed reminder to the people who run, to the people who own, this country that it can, if the provocation is great enough, be prevented from working. No one has indicated that to them for a very long time.
So, to Real Choice I say: Respect. No one was seriously hurt and no one was arrested. In the words of the little man in the grey suit who was right there in the thick of things, that was: “Bloody marvellous!”
I also say: Sorry. For my throw-away, and clearly unfounded, suggestion that Real Choice might be a “false flag” operation, I apologise – and my statement is withdrawn unreservedly. No false-flag operation could possibly have out-thought, out-run and out-manoeuvred the Police like Real Choice did on Thursday. The Springbok Tour protesters of 1981 could not have done it better.

BUT, NOW WHAT? In which direction should the energy generated by the 4 February protest actions be turned?
Happily, there is no shortage of targets.
Parliament resumes sitting on Tuesday, 9 February. The slow wending of the TPPA document through numerous select committee hearings; followed by the Government’s enabling bill’s passage through the four stages of parliamentary debate; both will provide excellent opportunities for carefully targeted protest action. Likewise, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trades’ (MFAT’s) travelling road-show of public presentations intended to “sell” the Government’s pro-TPPA position to the electorate. All should be seen as educative political events, reinforcing the anti-TPPA’s core messages of diminished national sovereignty and a deepening democratic deficit.
The extent to which these core messages have already entered the public’s consciousness has unpleasantly surprised the TPPA’s supporters. They were taken aback at the size and vehemence of the Auckland protests and will already be working on ways to unpick the picture Jane Kelsey and her comrades have embroidered so vividly on the public mind. The Government’s and big businesses’ counter-offensive will have to be met, held, and rolled back.
This will be made considerably easier by the simultaneous fightback against the TPPA occurring all around the Pacific rim – but especially in the United States. Strategically, the struggle is between the progressive/patriotic forces operating within the twelve signatory states, and the defenders of the transnational corporations. Obviously, this puts the “Pro” forces at a serious disadvantage. Far from being able to pass themselves off as promoters of the public good, they will emerge from the contest as the big corporations’ fifth columnists, committed to defeating the patriots fighting to prevent the agreement’s ratification.
John Key and his Government thus risk entering election year as a collection of figurative “Quislings”, guilty of conspiring against the national interest on behalf of entities without countries, morals or scruples. If this perception can be driven deep into the electorate’s mind, then National’s chances of re-election will be nil. More importantly, the victorious coalition of Labour, the Greens and NZ First will be swept into office with a broad mandate to take on a corporate plutocracy that has ruled without challenge for far too long.
For the first time in over 30 years, there will be a mass political movement dedicated to putting itself “upon the wheels, upon the levers, upon all the apparatus” of the neoliberal machine – and making it stop.
This essay has been jointly posted on the Bowalley Road and The Daily Blog of Saturday, 6 February 2016.


Anonymous said...

Chris , not sure what you are drinking but it sure ain't twinings.
The road blocks caused enormous anger from the Auckland motoring public and the protestors got the fingers from the drivers and from the public, not friendly waves.
John Key has a 78% support from NZ for not going to Waitangi and you are being disrespectful to call him a quisling.
Harawira and his gang forced John Key to cancel his visit by showing utter contempt for the office of the Prime Ministership of New Zealand.
Andrew Little has now gone back to his shilly-shalley policy on the TPPA by saying he WILL NOT withdraw from the TPPA.

I am still anti TPPA, but by golly between your comments and Labours idiocy, I am beginning to find it difficult.

Anonymous said...

Chris, In the last 48 hours the anti TPPA movement in NZ have been heavily shat upon.

Labour leader Andrew Little has stated that if Labour are the next government they "WILL NOT WITHDRAW FROM THE TPPA".


Carl Stapleton said...

Looking at history I can think of two examples in the past where enormous trading companies dominated the governments, economies and lives of the people in the countries where they operated. Both operations lasted 300 years each. Perhaps we should ask Indian people about how they feel about the East India Company in their country and what it did to them, and the Indonesians the same question about the Dutch East India Company in their country. Mahatma Gandhi brought an end to it India, and during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia in WW2 Indonesians were given a chance of what it felt like not to have a Dutch boss at whatever level of the economy they were working in. The Japanese left a bad impression in Indonesia during their brief occupation of that country, but soon after the war in a short war of independence the Dutch were forced to pack up and leave for good after they tried to take up the reins again.

Chris Trotter said...

What Labour will do when its in office alongside the Greens and NZ First, and under pressure from a vibrant mass extra-parliamentary movement, is likely to be very different from what Andrew is saying now.

By then there may be strong indications from Canada, Chile and the USA that the document should be re-negotiated so as to remove its Investor/State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses (a la the EU's refusal to countenance ISDS tribunals in the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership).

Stripped of its ISDS provisions, the TPPA presents a much less fearsome proposition.

Anonymous said...

What Labour will do when its in office alongside the Greens and NZ First, and under pressure from a vibrant mass extra-parliamentary movement, is likely to be very different from what Andrew is saying now.

What you are saying here, Chris, is that what Andrew Little says about any policy that Labour may bring to the election table, may likely be different under and if a Labour/Green/NZ First coalition gets elected. Very confusing for the voters.

And hasn't Winston stated he will not work with the Greens - I may be wrong.

David Stone said...

Hi Chris
Andrew Little this morning is a mumbling incoherent disaster . They'v got to find someone else soon or we're all stuffed.
Cheers D J S

Anonymous said...

Chris ,your post at 09.12 though written with the very best of intentions is nothing more than a "Coming in on a Wing and a Prayer" sentiment.

You have been left at the alter by Andrew Little, who chickened out and Winston Peters who supports John Key's non attendance at Waitangi.

You are also wrong in calling Key a quisling! surely that epithet applies to Little.

Where is your movements political leadership,????.

Pretenders won't cut the mustard.

Patricia said...

Where's a Corbyn when we need him!

greywarbler said...

That was a very sincere piece on the TPPA and RealChoice. We live in interesting times and it is hard to know the right way forward, though it is essential that we keep trying. If we stop, all will be lost. So to advise to beware is par for the course for the wise.

But sometimes taking the risk is of value, and if blocking the roads for a time upsets the comfortable who have been able to ride the free market wave so long, well tough. They have been buoyant while others have drowned alongside them. Let them experience a feeling of baffled irritation that is mild compared to the pain of so many others.

Kat said...

@David Stone 10:26

"Andrew Little this morning is a mumbling incoherent disaster"

Well then, given that the current word mangling slurring incoherent PM has been elected three times there is an even chance of Mr Little being successful.

Just saying.

Wayne Mapp said...

Chris, your comment at 09.12.

It seems pretty unlikely that the ISDS provisions would be withdrawn from TPP (though they may be modified).

Presumably (and also in line with the Left meme) they were put in at the insistence of evil US multinationals. Congress is controlled by the puppets (Republicans) of these same companies. So why would the puppets agree to withdraw (or perhaps more likely modify) the ISDS provisions.

Well they might, on one condition. That the protection term for biologics is indisputably eight years, rather than five. The relevant provision tries to bridge these periods.

But this raises the general problem with your idea of re-negotiation. It throws too many things up in the air. It means that governments loose control of what they bargained for. It allows each parliament to try and unpick the deal in the particular areas that concern them. While I accept there may be side letters that qualify how clauses may be interpreted, that is not the same as a wholesale re-negotiation.

As for Andy changing his mind on withdrawal. It won't happen. Although the Greens would do this, the leadership of Labour and NZF (Winston) would not. Whatever you might say about Winston, he would not turn his back on a Treaty that the NZ govt has entered into. He knows the longterm implications of that.

If you want to achieve your dream of withdrawal from TPP, you need a Green led government or a Jeremy Corbyn like leader of Labour. But then that makes National a lot more attractive for Winston.

A lot of water has to go under the bridge before you can write off John Keys's prospects of being the PM after the 2017 election.

Unknown said...

and what do you call it when the Prime Minister of a nation, in front of 11 SENIOR government officials from 11 other nations, wears a flag in his lapel that is NOT the flag of the nation he is supposed to be representing. That is not only disresepctful, it is disloyal and disgraceful as well! Andrew Little will NEVER EVER behave in such a childish and disloyal manner when he is Prime Minister of that we can be sure!

greywarbler said...

"He knows the longterm implications of that."
What are the long-term implications of withdrawing from this draconian piece of legislation Wayne Mapp. Would we be invaded for upsetting the Boss as Chile was? Would all the countries in the TPPA turn their backs on us? Would we be severely punished by the USA so as to encourage the others? We would still have China wouldn't we? And perhaps be able to trade with Russia, would we be less likely to suffer from lack of trade than from the displeasure of the USA?

Anonymous said...

Chris Trotter the fight back by Key and co has already begun and as you would expect it is insidious and deceitful. There has been much discussion about the timing of the signing so close to Waitangi day. It is because Key wants to tie TPPA to the treaty and maori issues. He knows this will divide the public. He knows that middle nz who are slowly waking up and asking some questions about TPPA will be easily alienated against it if they believe it is directly linked with the poison chalice of treaty issues.

This is what the opponents of TPPA must be aware of and work hard to prevent.
The one thing Key is good at is subterfuge and dirty tactics as we have witnessed and has been well documented in Nicky Hagers book. We need to be smarter.

Anonymous said...

Key had deliberately created this situation at Waitangi, it I'd why he picked the date he did for signing. He knew it would create a storm of protest and he knew it would anger maori. It gave him the excuse he wanted to further alienate and divide people. He is a snake in the grass and we need to be very aware of this.

Brendon Harre said...

I have posted an article titled -Some questions about the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

It is addressed to both pro and anti -TPPA supporters. Although the pro-TPP group are the side who really need to up their game and front up to the public with answers to reasonable questions.

Hi Vis. said...

I took the left hand of a friend with my right hand at " the big day out " for New Zealand on 4th February 2016 and I held a deep lump in my throat. It was in that moment with my friend in Queen St. that I sensed a mutual recognition of events that are yet to happen. How proud I felt to be part of a " peaceful collective " , alongside other nations on the rim of the Pacific who shall direct a new change in a new " World Order".

Clemgeopin said...

Jane Kelsey said elsewhere : we must get "unequivocal statements from Labour, NZ First and Maori Party that they will not bring the agreement into force if they are part of the government if and when that time comes”

A question to her and to you Chris and to anyone else here:

Isn’t there some other less drastic way to do so or try to do so instead of throwing ‘the baby with the bath water’ at the first opportunity or making such a premature commitment now? I suspect some other countries, including USA, will want to renegotiate some aspects of the agreement that may not suit them. We should try to do so too. Of course, if that fails, then will be the time reconsider, to have a referendum or get out and then try for bilateral 'fair trade' agreements between different countries around the world.

P.S : I am an opponent of TPPA in its present form and oppose some of its terms as they exists now.
I am particularly weary of the fact that, while I understand that there will be a few 'give and take' compromise issues in a fair ‘trade’ agreement, we were kept ignorant of very important issues such as overtly or covertly giving up our sovereignty with regards to making laws if we so choose, for example, to ban land and house ownership for non residents, as well as retaining the supremacy of parliament to pass laws without a sword of Damocles hanging over the country and the law makers.

The rebuttal about being able to put ‘stamp duty’ is a red herring as that still takes away our fundamental rights as a sovereign country because while it may deter some ordinary non wealthy non residents, wealthy foreigners will STILL be able to buy as much as they want even if we do not want them to do so for whatever reason!

There are of course other dodgy aspects in the deal too.

Our negotiators were rubbish, quite foolish and a disgrace. Unfortunately, I don’t believe that National and their MPs have the guts, conscience and patriotism to demand some changes to the agreement RIGHT NOW. I don’t think the fools will even try to do so.

At least Andrew Little from Labour has indicated that is the way he will approach the issue and I think that is a better path to take at this stage as the situation stands.

What do you think?

Kat said...

A certain female politician from the right once commented publicly that when Don Brash didn't win the 2005 election NZ had dodged a bullet. Its pretty obvious now that a hit from a bullet would have been far better than the festering disease that we have to endure from yet another inept National administration with a far more toxic and divisive puppet leader.

There will certainly be more water under the bridge prior to the 2017 election. However, I don't believe this National Govt can match the 1960's model and secure a 4th term. The NZ voter often goes to sleep while on watch but right now the alarm bells are ringing loud and are bound to get louder.

Anonymous said...

You should be careful of labelling someone a quisling.

It has a specific historical meaning.

Anonymous said...

I would think that inhibiting the government from making laws and regulations would be a constitutional matter and would therefor need the support of 75% of parliament.

Wayne Mapp said...


We would be seen by all sorts of countries as a nation that cannot keep its word. This is not a left/right issue. Countries on both sides of that divide would draw that conclusion. Our key trading partners who are both left and right would act commercially to our disadvantage. Fonterra would almost certainly damaged in its commercial relationships.

The TPP nations would be particularly annoyed. They include Australia, Japan and the US who are leading trade partners. I suspect many of their companies would not be enthusiastically lining up to trade with us.

And we would also be at a specific trade disadvantage. For instance Australia would have trade preferences relative to Japan, that we did not have. This was the reason why Helen Clark said she dreaded being outside a deal in which all our key partners were in.

Unknown said...

That picture reminds one of migrants streaming into Auckland to achieve the left's goal of an ethnicless society and enrich the property/construction/finance sectors.

David Stone said...

I was not referring to Andrew's diction but to his saying he will fight some clauses tooth and nail and in the next breath that its a done deal and nothing can be changed. He is trying to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. I would like him to be clear that if relevant changes can't be made he will oppose it's passage at every stage he can oppose it.

Wayne Mapp
If the word that must not be broken is a word agreed in secrecy that is against the interests and the will of the population , then the people don't live in an effective democracy; and if the TPPA goes ahead we will not be a nation either. The world will have cause to reflect deeply if this proud, honourable . independent spirited little country comes to this.
Cheers D J S

pat said...

my god but you must get dizzy Wayne.....'We would be seen by all sorts of countries as a nation that cannot keep its word." mean like this?

"And we would also be at a specific trade disadvantage. For instance Australia would have trade preferences relative to Japan, that we did not have. This was the reason why Helen Clark said she dreaded being outside a deal in which all our key partners were in."

This being the same Australia that has had a FTa with the US since 2005 and have assessed it thus...

'According to Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade figures the imbalance in trade between the U.S. and Australia increased substantially during 2007. The United States became Australia's largest import source, with goods and services imported to a value of over A$31 billion. Australia's exports to the U.S., however, amounted to only $15.8 billion AU.[17] It remains unclear what, if any, real benefits the agreement has produced.'

TPPA is a dog and NZ have been thoroughly outmaneuvered by the corporate interests, the only winners from this appalling deal

Guerilla Surgeon said...

"For instance Australia would have trade preferences relative to Japan, that we did not have. "
Like Australia had trade preferences relative to the US that we didn't have. Which turned out to be absolutely worthless. It's this sort of vague generalisation that gets up my nose. I've just looked at the Japanese agricultural "concessions", and while many seem to think it's going to restructure the Japanese agricultural sector, it doesn't seem as if they given up a great deal to me. But even so Japanese farmers are upset. We'll just have to see how strong the farm lobby is in Japan won't we? We already know how strong it is in the USA.

Anonymous said...

Labour is being deceptive if they say they do not support the TPP but if the become government they will not withdraw from the agreement.

That is trickery and a false misrepresentation to the New Zealand people.

The Green Party say they do not support the TPP and if they become government then they will withdraw from the TPPA.

That is straight forward and honest.

Little and Labour are humbug.

Brendon Harre said...

Wayne Mapp -I have some questions about the TPPA in the article I link to in my previous post. Would you care to answer them?

I feel the pro-TPP group is rushing the public consultation stage and forcing us to accept the agreement as a fait accompli. I don't like that. It gets my hackles up and it is not what democracy is about. The TPPA has many long term implications. If we are to join this agreement it should be with our eyes wide open and a fully informed public.

Kat said...

Wayne Mapp,

I can just see you supporting another treaty that had dire consequences. The TPPA of 2016 has particular similarities from an economic and sovereign viewpoint to the Versailles treaty of 1920.

Your arguments for participation are sheepish and do nothing more than assist in sowing the seeds of confusion and discontent. As in business, when it comes to trade, we should choose our customers carefully. Very carefully.

Wayne Mapp said...

Brendon Harre,

I have read your article. My answers to your questions (grouped as subjects) are as follows;
1. Is it a US deal where they set all the rules? No, there were 12 parties. Each gets something each gives something. There is no doubt the US saw it as an opportunity to be the leader in a Asia Pacific trade deal - their incentive was to get ahead of China. But of itself that does not make it bad or one sided, it simply acknowledges why the US became enthusiast for the deal. Many of the TPP nations have FTA deals with both the US and China, Australia being notable in this regard.
2. Would a WTO agreement be better? Yes, but one does not appear to be in the offing. That is why so many bilateral and now multilateral deals have been negotiated this century.
3. Sovereignty issues. As you acknowledge all international agreements have the effect of limiting sovereignty, but it appears your principal concern is ISDS. As you note these are common. It would be impossible to have a trade deal where some counties were subject to ISDS but others were not. ISDS does not restrict normal govt activity. They are included to stop expropriation, unilateral cancellation of contracts, and discrimination against particular companies. These are things typically indulged in by countries where the rule of law and of equal treatment by the law is weak, and ISDS is designed to discourage such behavior. However, New Zealand is not such a country, so in my view the risk of ISDS actions against New Zealand is low. It is worth noting the the US will also be subject to ISDS. I guess the US govt also thinks the risk to them is low.

Hi Vis. said...

Anonymous, Why are you hiding behind that pseudonym ? What are you afraid of?

greywarbler said...

Unknown at 10.33
You should wait till you do know something before you comment again.

Wayne Mapp said...


A further point on ISDS. The provisions of TPP as they relate to the law to be applied by the ISDS tribunals is that essentially there must be a breach of international law (for instance relating to expropriation) before a state party will be liable.

There is a well developed body of international law on expropriation. Suffice to say the a govt will not be liable for the ordinary action of actions of government. A nation would have to do something out of the ordinary before they would be liable. For instance if an international oil company had a twenty year licence to extract oil from an oil field, and a government unilaterally reduced that to fifteen years without compensation then they would be liable. To date New Zealand governments have always honored the terms of the licences they have granted, over for instance the Maui field.

Brendon Harre said...

Wayne that was a lightweight effort, which in no way robustly answered my questions.

The first set of my questions being what is the difference between the proposed TPPA and our existing trade agreement with China. I think any reasonable reading of my report and questions would have understood the bigger question I was asking. Being, for NZ our highest strategic goal is to safely and prosperously exist between the superpowers, which are currently the US and China. How does the TPPA help us achieve this goal? You just brushed aside that big question didn't you Wayne?

But lets get to your last point.

Wayne can you expand on your point. "A further point on ISDS. The provisions of TPP as they relate to the law to be applied by the ISDS tribunals is that essentially there must be a breach of international law (for instance relating to expropriation) before a state party will be liable."

So are ISDS cases strictly limited to expropriation of assets by governments? Is that what the scores of overseas ISDS lawsuits every year are about? Wayne can you explain how come governments are expropriating assets so frequently and from the graph I provided at an increasing rate? Or are there other reasons that foreign investors are suing governments?

Wayne you mention international law. Who makes that law and if the public doesn't like some of the laws what can we do? Can we vote the buggers out and change the law?

Hi Vis. said...

" Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end.
But it is, perhaps , the end of the beginning."

The 4th February 2016 may yet prove to be a memorable day in New Zealand's political history. This ' big day out for NZ ' was just so great.
I felt proud. I felt the groundswell of empowerment in the People.
E-659,M-21 or perhaps less ?

Wayne Mapp said...


To provide additional material to my answers I have referenced the specific provisions of the TPP. The TPP text is on the MFAT website.

However I am not writing a legal article here; it is after all a posting on blogsite. But no doubt there will be various articles published in legal journals over the next year. Hopefully there will be articles for and against, since as you know with lawyers there is always two sides (at least) for any argument of this nature.

In any event, Article 9 (and its various annexes) has the key rules on investment and for the rules to be applied in the event of a dispute. So theses rules govern relations between corporate investors from TPP states and the various TPP states in respect of investments made by the corporate investors into other TPP states.

Article 9.4 requires equal national treatment for all TPP parties (and corporations). There are lots of exceptions to this. For instance NZ has a specific cut out for the New Zealand Overseas Investment Act.

Article 9.8 sets out the basic rules for direct and indirect expropriation. Article 9.10 sets to the performance requirements of states in respect of overseas investments. Essentially such investments are not to be discriminated against, and are to receive fair treatment.

Article 9.16 provides that TPP does not affect environmental, public health and other regulatory measures by states (but they can't have an expropriatory intent).

Article 9.25 provides that disputes will be determined in accordance with the states domestic law and international law. This is a key provision.

As I have noted previously there is a well developed body of international law that deals with how states treat foreign investors especially in respect of expropriation, both direct and indirect. Under TPP, investors have a right of a reasonable investment based return. What this means is that a state can't pass a myriad of laws which destroy reasonable investment., especially if that was seen to be their purpose.

You asked who makes such international law. In this area it is "customary international law", essentially built up by a long series of international tribunal decisions, including by the ICJ, on expropriation and related matters. No state, whether in TPP or out of it, can really contract out of such law. What TPP does is provide a binding forum (ICSID style tribunals) to settle investment disputes effectively applying this body of customary international law.

Of course as more of these kinds of treaties are entered into providing for arbitration, I would expect to see more cases. But I hardly think there has been an explosion of such cases. There has always been a steady flow of cases, indeed that is how customary law in this area was established. It is a big deal for a corporation to sue a govt under ICSID, usually a last resort when the whole relationship typically concerning investments of billions of dollars has collapsed.

Brendon Harre said...

Wayne as we both acknowledge international agreements involve giving up some aspects of sovereignty.

So logically at some point after many agreements it is possible to reach a point where the country has little sovereignty left. From that point on the country is no longer in control of its destiny. Obviously Wayne you have no concerns about this from the TPPA.

I do have concerns that we are getting dangerously close to that point with the TPPA, as do many of my fellow citizens. The debate, collating facts, offering differing perspectives on this issue isn't over.....

John said...

Chris - your hopes of the TPP protest turning into "mass political movement" are based on a relatively small number of people, who (if based on a day of interviews by TV3 and RNZs John Campbell), were so ignorant none could say how the TPP would negatively impact them.

Unless you're hoping the left wing parties will combine into a "Santa" party. (the TPP protests got just 4% of the crowd of the Santa Parade, if you use optimistic estimates - 2% if you use Police estimates).

And as Andrew Little say he won't back out of the TPP, that combination of political parties are going to have to come from the left of Labour.

greywarbler said...

Sneer and snipe from your chair. The people protesting got up, away from any electronic screen, travelled to the site after spending time on making signs, and gave their time to indicate that they didn't want NZ to be signed up to a sale and purchase agreement to be paid off over a long time, for a virtual peppercorn price. And they put themselves in the position of being on a spy electronic screen of some sort, with surveillance of frustrated leaders and security having to cope with this democratic pageant which they don't believe in.

John said...

greywarbler - I don't have the same admiration for people who go to all that trouble to protest, then most of them can't even articulate how the TPP will negatively impact them - except for vague and totally meaningless generalisations like the one you make above.

Without joining the TPP there will be -
- tens of thousands of fewer jobs.
- less company tax, less paye, and less gst
- less money for government to spend on services, wages, benefits etc.
- less money in the economy overall so wage rises on average will be lower overall
- fewer medicines for things like cancer as they won't be so worthwhile bringing to market
- less protection for the Kiwisaver accounts of 2,000,000 New Zealanders
- less protection for around $50 billion of investments in the New Zealand Superannuation fund and ACC
- less chance for Maori to get ahead as they own 40% of fishing quota, 10% of Kiwifruit, 10% of dairy, and 36% of forestry etc.

***** as the TPP takes effect, our exports would plummet as they become totally uncompetitive against similar products from every other country in the region who all have no tariffs on them.

- we would effectively lock ourselves out of 40% of the worlds economy.
- our economy would shrink and the government would have to make severe cuts across all services.
- wages across the public sector would be frozen or cut.
- there would be large job losses across the public sector
- with no one wanting our exports as they are so over priced compared to everyone else, our balance of payments would skyrocket out of control
- a negative balance of payments leads to overseas banks putting up our interest rates, so we'd all be paying more for nothing.
- with fewer exports, we would struggle to pay for the goods we needed - vehicles, fuel, electronics - or even the steel, oil and plastic to make them.

As one of the most isolated countries on the planet, and as one that relies on trade to survive, being locked out of 40% of the worlds economy would be, as Helen Clark put it, "unthinkable".

Chris Trotter said...

John's rants against Greywarbler are proof that the proponents of the TPPA are every bit as ignorant of its details as some of its opponents. His claim that a NZ failure to sign the agreement would cost "tens of thousands of fewer jobs", for example, is unsupported even by MFAT's propagandists.

Indeed, his long list of the dire consequences of not signing makes the objections of the TPPA's opponents seem mild and reasonable by comparison.

Bushbaptist said...

Read this an be educated John:

John said...

Chris - If prime cuts of imported beef are $20 a kilo in US supermarkets, and suddenly the beef from every country except NZ drops to $12.50 when tariffs are cut, you REALLY think this will have no effect on our exports? REALLY?

Of course if imports to 40% of the world economy have tariffs removed, but our exports still have them on, there will drastic reductions in exports.

And what you seem to fail to comprehend, is fundamental difference between a world where there is no TPP, and one where there a TPP covers the Pacific and 40% of the world economy, but we're not in it.

MFAT alternative modeling was for a scenario with no TPP - not one where there WAS a TPP, but with New Zealand exports blocked out and left to stagnate for decades.

John said...

New Zealand used to export a lot of cheese to Mexico - 20% of all of their imports.

When others got tariff reductions under the NAFTA agreement, and we didn't, our exports plummeted to just 4%.

Even small tariffs can make us uncompetitive. That's why with the China FTA, just $118m in tariff reduction resulted in $8000m in extra exports ($67 of increased exports per $1 tariff removed).

And Chris can't understand why our exports would significantly drop if the Pacific Rim was part of free trade group that New Zealand exporters were locked out of.

Chris Trotter said...

Your enthusiasm, John, is no substitute for a proper understanding of the implications of signing - or not signing - the TPPA.

Countries like the US and Japan import meat for two basic reasons.

1) To make up any shortfall in local production.

2) To take advantage of price and quality differentials vis-à-vis their own domestic supply.

Currently our meat exports to the whole TPPA area return $2.3 billion to New Zealand. The estimated benefit of the eventual elimination of tariffs in the TPPA countries is estimated by MFAT to be $72 million. Even if we assume a very generous multiplier of $5.00 for every $1.00 of tariffs removed (because the TPPA region is never going to replicate what turned out to be the Chinese economy's temporary surge in demand for dairy imports) the eventual benefit (and we're talking the 2030s here!) would be $360 million.

This is a relatively modest gain, and there are good reasons to suppose that meat exports, even from a NZ outside the TPPA, could, over the same period, match or exceed that figure. Especially, if our meat producers and processors had, during those years, reconfigured their product range to meet the demand for high-quality, top-price cuts.

Indeed, a NZ owned and operated meat industry, operating outside the TPPA, and geared to producing the highest quality product for the top end of the Pacific Rim market, would end up benefitting this country more, in terms of increasing national income, retaining NZ ownership, and employing NZ workers, than a NZ meat industry captive to the clauses of the TPPA.

Such agreements expose small and vulnerable economies - like NZ's - to takeover and exploitation by larger ones. In these circumstances, the repatriation of profits, alone, would soon outweigh the modest benefits MFAT is projecting for NZ Inc.

So called "Free Trade" is by no means an economic panacea, John. Just ask the American workers whose factories - and jobs - were shipped off to Mexico as a result of NAFTA.

John said...

Chris says "....Even if we assume a very generous multiplier of $5.00 for every $1.00 of tariffs removed....."

You misleadingly try to claim a 5-1 benefit is generous, yet with China, we are getting $67 of extra exports per $1 of tariff reduced.

You misleadingly try to claim the massive benefit from China is all because of dairy. Yet of $10.7b of exports to China last year, just $2.2 was dairy.

You misleadingly say the current tariffs under TPP are $72m per year. Yet they have been constantly been measured at $259m at current export rates - see

Your obvious desperation for the TPP gains to be small with so many misleading (and lets be honest - blatantly false) claims, sound exactly like Kelsey's when she was ridiculing the possibility of $300m of extra exports from the China FTA.

No one, anywhere, was more wrong. Her predictions were totally farcical.

Anybody who had any grasp on recent history would know that.

Chris Trotter said...

Muddle, muddle, muddle, John. Your magpie gathering of statistics does you no credit. And neither does your inability to comprehend plain English. The $72 million figure I quoted (Source: MFAT) was the expected benefit of the TPPA's eventual removal of tariffs from meat - which was the example under scrutiny.

I think we've had enough of your splenetics for a while. Come back when you've calmed down.