500 signatures reached
To: Todd McClay, Minister for Trade
Expand the terms of reference for "Trade Policy Strategy" review
Future trade negotiations must recognise civil society concerns; that excessive monopoly powers are conferred through patents and copyright; the loss of rights for governments to support local economies and communities; the primacy of trade agreements over protection of human rights, health, indigenous rights and the environment; and the removal of legitimate regulation under the guise of lowering ‘non-tariff barriers’.
From the above list it is evident that our concerns reach far beyond the mechanism of ISDS, which we fundamentally oppose.
All future trade and investment treaty negotiations must be founded on transparency and accountability.
The government must make negotiating texts public and be accountable for the proposals they take into negotiations. There must be an independent and comprehensive assessment of the impacts of the proposed treaty on a range of social, environmental, health and te Tiriti rights before the conclusion of negotiations.
Why is this important?
TPP, RCEP and TiSA are not quite dead as yet. The NZ Government proceeded with TPP ratification forcing the TPP Amendment Bill through the House for it's final reading Thursday 15 November 2016. It requires the US and Japan to Ratify it before it comes into force. Do we really want our domestic social, environmental, economic and cultural policies determined by foreign powers?
TPP is one of a series of interlocking trade and investment treaties that are opposed by Civil Society. More are under negotiation, RCEP and TiSA.
There is rising concern internationally and within New Zealand over current treaties. Internationally, TTIP is considered to have failed by senior politicians from France and Germany; the US President elect Donald Trump, and a large public majority oppose the TPP; a number of developing countries are withdrawing from negotiations on trade agreements that are unbalanced; and a growing number of countries are withdrawing from investment agreements or rejecting the inclusion of ISDS provisions. In New Zealand, a majority of the public oppose the TPP.
The loss of political mandate reflects the growing evidence that such treaties give unwarranted preferential rights to foreign investors over laws, policies and judicial decisions. Criticism of ISDS and treaties such as the TPP is coming from trade, legal and economic experts as well as a range of social and environmental researchers and institutions across society.
Restrictions on the right of governments to regulate in the public interest has been shown to have adverse impacts on the environment, action on climate change, progressive social policy, labour rights, the rights of indigenous peoples, human rights, health and many other issues of concern to citizens.
However, our concerns extend far beyond the mechanism of ISDS, to include issues such as excessive monopoly powers conferred through patents and copyright; the loss of rights for governments to support local economies and communities; the primacy of trade agreements over protection of human rights, health, indigenous rights and the environment; and the removal of legitimate regulation under the guise of lowering ‘non-tariff barriers’.
We call on The New Zealand Government to undertake a fundamental re-think about the aims of our trade agreements. We agree that New Zealand needs to be able to trade with other countries, but recent treaties extend far beyond the common definitions of trade to threaten issues of vital importance across society. More trade and investment has become the driver of our international treaties and much of our international diplomacy. The use of treaty negotiations to alter domestic arrangements, regulation and legislation is arbitrary and undemocratic. Policies driving treaty negotiations should be assessed by their contribution towards redressing growing inequality, supporting decent jobs and livelihoods, living within our ecological limits, contributing to a good quality of life and being a good global citizen internationally.
In our experience of MFAT consultation on the TPP and agreements such as RCEP and TiSA, there has been no real dialogue. We are talked at but not listened to.
This trade policy review process must step back from the limited scope of the terms of reference, and engage with individuals and groups in society through a process of examining the evidence and developing new aims for our trade policy.
We call on the Government to engage in a real dialogue for a real review of trade policy. Failure to do so will ensure strong public opposition to future undemocratic and unconstitutional impositions.
How it will be delivered
We will continue to collect signatures until further notice.
It's Our Future Christchurch referenced the petition at the Christchurch MFAT meeting Tuesday 20 September.
I referenced the petition to the Minister Monday 5th September at the Wellington event 2 minz into video.