The 6th of October will be remembered as a dark day in New Zealand’s history. It will be a day future generations will look back at and ask how Kiwis let this corporate takeover come to fruition. 

Helen Clark and the Labour government started the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) talks 9 years ago. Today, Tim Groser and the National Party concluded the secretly negotiated text in the early hours of the morning, after extended negotiations in Atlanta.

New Zealand along with the other 11 Pacific Rim countries, including ring leader the United States, now have 30 days to sell the dodgy agreement before full texts are released to the public. Whether we will see the full text or a redacted version, only time will tell.

Ever since the news broke, corporate mainstream media has been in overdrive pumping out pro-TPPA propaganda articles as well as posting opinion pieces from government lobbyists and former trade negotiators while failing to give column space to anyone without a clear bias. This propaganda isn’t new, and efforts were increased following Wikileaks releasing the draft TPPA documents.

Social media has been abuzz all day. It’s interesting to read comments showing how successful public relations campaigns have been, however it is important to realise that our media is manipulating people’s opinions through misinformation.

What has been most fascinating is the number of people clearly in favour of the agreement without doing any proper research, simply because ‘free-trade is good for New Zealand’. We can’t argue with that fact, but with only 5 of the 29 chapters in the TPPA relating to traditional trade, it’s hard to defend that this is simply a ‘free-trade agreement’.


The government has already stated the agreement will add $2.7 billion a year by 2030. Until we see how these figures were calculated, we can expect they are from Planet Key just as the previous estimates were. The Sustainability Council report into the true cost/benefit analysis of the TPPA for New Zealand estimates any net gain to be doubtful after taking into account all the losses not mentioned by TPPA cheerleaders.

Hopeful American presidential Bernie Sanders is disappointed with the deal, stating “Wall Street and other big corporations have won again” and that “it is time for the rest of us to stop letting multinational corporations rig the system to pad their profits at our expense.” He has vowed to do all he can to defeat the agreement. It has to pass through a very skeptical congress before being signed into existence, as it will through legal channels in the other 11 countries including New Zealand. There is some hope of snags in the process, but for corporations to push the deal this far it is unlikely they will let it fail the final hurdle.

Last month in a true sign of opposition over 30,000 concerned citizens around the country marched against the TPPA. Key was quick to dismiss them as ‘misinformed’; an ironic comment considering all the people want is some transparency. If corporations are allowed to see the text, why can’t the people who are going to be most affected be allowed access?

The announced rise in cost of pharmaceuticals has a large number of health professionals around the country concerned. Dr Pat Neuwelt voiced opposition today on behalf of the group Doctors for Healthy Trade, questioning the increased monopoly rights of big pharmaceuticals, decreased buying power of PHARMAC and the ability for our government to be sued over actions taken to protect public health. She also added a crucial point: the reason we haven’t yet been sued under ISDS is mainly thanks to existing countries that we have agreements with not being aggressive through their law suits. Now that we have signed on alongside the United States, the country that tops the list for trans-national corporations suing under ISDS agreements, the New Zealand taxpayer may be in for unprecedented court room battles.

Copyright laws will be tougher, internet freedoms will be diminished. Dairy will see very little overall benefit. Until the government releases the full text for public scrutiny, no one except the politicians and the corporations which helped write the text know what is contained in this final agreement.

In the meantime, it should be of concern that Groser has said we have to make “ugly compromises” in the TPPA, and that we will “take what we can get”.

With the amount of ministerial spin we have been subjected to over the years, it will be of no surprise in 30 days when this deal turns out to be a corporate takeover disguised as free trade.


One Response

  1. Georgina Evatt

    After starting a new job supervising a group of teen-age girls (who had never heard of TPPA), and the head-supervisor (who had never heard of TPPA), I drove the girls through town, whilw TPPA protestors where picketing, called out to a friend that I recognised who was part of the demo. (we were driving and I wound down the window). I was later reported to have taken the girls to a protest. Interesting in the greater scheme of complete ignorance of what it is about. And also that John Keys visited Timaru, where I live, and we have now received information in the post regarding voting on a new flag. A complete side-stepping of issuea. One of the reasons that I haven’t voted since I left this country in 1996.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.