New Zealand gov’t blocks scrutiny of controversial TPP trade deal
The New Zealand government has blocked attempts to have the full text of the controversial 12-nation Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement released to Parliament before it is signed, opposition parties claimed Tuesday.
Main opposition Labour Party leader David Cunliffe said he had called on the government to release the full negotiated TPP text at least two weeks before signing it to ensure full public scrutiny.
“That was blocked by a government that has a record of doing deals behind closed doors,” Cunliffe said in a statement.
“This agreement could impact on New Zealand’s ability to make critical decisions relating to buying medicines and obtaining intellectual property rights,” he said.
“There may be benefits for New Zealand exporters in the agreement but without the release of the full text, we have no way of knowing their extent and nature.”
Public concern about the negotiations, which the negotiators hope to conclude this year, was growing, he said.
The government had to reveal whether multi-national corporations would be given the right to sue the government over matters that affected their profits, such as New Zealand’s proposed legislation requiring plain packaging on tobacco, he said.
Trade Minister Tim Groser told Fairfax NZ News Tuesday that he would not negotiate the agreement “through the media.”
Critics claim that the TPP agreement would curb New Zealand sovereignty on matters such as health and safety and environment regulations.
An academic review rebutted the government’s claim that New Zealand will see an economic gain of 4.5 billion U.S. dollars by 2025 from the TPP as “doubtful.”
The review, commissioned by the Sustainability Council of New Zealand, said the estimate from the U.S.-based Peterson Institute was calculated using methods outside established economic theory.
See TPP Legislators for Transparency: Call made by parliamentarians involved in the negotiation of the Trans-Pacific Partnership for the release of the TPP text to enable scrutiny and debate (11 February 2014)
Download: Economic Gains and Costs from the TPP: Review of Modelled Economic Impacts of the Trans Pacific Partnership (Sustainability Council of New Zealand, February 2014)