The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) is a negotiation between the governments of New Zealand, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, the USA, and Vietnam to potentially create a regional free trade agreement.
The claimed objectives of the TPP are to “deepen economic ties between its diverse members by opening up trade in goods and services, boosting investment flows, and promoting closer links across a range of economic policy and regulatory issues.”
Many citizens of potential TPP countries have been disturbed by apparent leaks of some parts of the draft TPP text. The Labour Party agrees the leaks raise important questions around domestic issues.
New Zealand must not sacrifice cheaper medicines through Pharmac, or give up our sovereign right to regulate and legislate for our health, protection of our environment, in ICT and online security and privacy, or in areas including gambling, tobacco and alcohol. We must preserve our democratic rights to regulate overseas corporations that operate here.
In Labour we stand for a strong economy with opportunities for all, where our exporters can create jobs for New Zealanders. The Petri study from the East-West Centre suggests the TPP could potentially lead to export growth of over $5 billion a year, and the Parliamentary Library, based on this study, states that could lead to the creation of 22,000 Kiwi jobs. By contrast, Bertram and Terry have written a paper which claims that less than a quarter of the benefits in these initial studies will eventuate. It is clear we can’t decide whether the TPP will hinder or help our economic wellbeing until we know what is in the final agreement.
Therefore we have called on the National Government to release the full text of the TPP, at least two weeks before they intend to sign it.
New Zealanders should be allowed to have an informed and mature public debate about what is in our people’s interests.
You are the largest Opposition party. Surely you’re getting backroom briefings about the TPP?
Some of our MPs have received short briefings from the Minister of Trade, Tim Groser. However the National Government have denied us the specific information we have sought and that we expect.
Previous Governments have kept Oppositions reasonably informed about trade negotiations. We are disturbed at how the Key Government has destroyed this important constitutional convention.
Why has Labour been silent on the TPP?
Labour Party conferences in both 2012 and 2013 passed remits about the TPP.
On 11 February this year, our leader David Cunliffe publicly called on the National Government to debate the TPPA text. Click here for details.
Is your caucus divided on the TPP?
No, we are united.
Labour MPs recognise there are potential risks as well as potential benefits in the TPP, but we do not know what is in the text. That’s why the Government must release the text before it is signed, so Kiwis have a chance to decide for themselves what is in our people’s interests.
Labour will continue to announce policy through until the election.