- We are very concerned about the lack of transparency around the TPP.
- Labour recognises that the TPP could impact on New Zealand’s freedom to determine our domestic policy settings, if it contains terms that are inappropriate.
- It is impossible for us, or indeed anyone, to take a clear position on the agreement while there is so little transparency.
- We will continue to push for a more open and transparent approach from the Government.
- We will also back New Zealand First’s Members’ Bill that addresses investor-state dispute settlement to its first reading so that it can be considered and debated.
Labour is pro-trade and is proud of the FTA with China which has worked well for the benefit of New Zealanders.
Labour recognises that the TPP is not just a trade agreement and has investment provisions which could impact on New Zealand’s freedom to determine our domestic policy settings.
We will address the TPP on its merits or otherwise when we see the full text of the final agreement.
Labour is disappointed that our demands for more openness and transparency from the Government have not been heeded. The last Labour Government, when negotiating the China and Asean Free Trade Agreements in 2008, involved a cross-section of groups in the process including the Council of Trade Unions and Greenpeace as well as businesses and exporters. That helped ensure we received wise input and also won higher levels of trust and confidence, both in the negotiation process and in the eventual FTA with China.
In recent months, following a report by the European Union Ombudsman, the European Commission has promised more transparency in connection with the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP), the European equivalent to the TPP.
It is proper for concerned New Zealanders to seek information about the effect of the TPP on New Zealand’s freedom to change our domestic policy settings. This is especially so if the dispute resolution procedures under the TPP allow overseas corporations to sue the New Zealand government for alleged losses.
New Zealand must not sacrifice Pharmac nor give up our sovereign freedom to regulate and legislate in such areas as health, the environment and economic policy or on more specific topics like controls on gambling, tobacco and alcohol.
The New Zealand Labour Party supports appropriate protection of intellectual property but not where extremes hinder innovation or enable excessive monopoly profits at the expense of the consumer by extending the scope or term of patents and copyright. The National Government should heed the concerns of New Zealanders, including those in the IT sector.