Labour calls for open consultation on Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Labour’s Acting Leader Annette King has called for open consultation with the public and a full parliamentary debate including the complete text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement.

This follows what the Prime Minister John Key describes as a successful conclusion to negotiations regarding the TPPA.

Key says, “This agreement will give our exporters much better access to a market of more than 800 million customers in 11 countries across Asia and the Pacific, and help Kiwi firms do business overseas,”

However according to Annette King the Government appears to have failed to deliver in the secretive TPP deal, with no meaningful gains for dairy and new costs for Pharmac.

She says, “The deal falls well below expectations with only disappointing crumbs for our dairy industry and extended patents on new drugs which will cost the taxpayer millions and leave New Zealanders without life-saving drugs.”

Despite protest from a number of groups, including iwi regarding the secrecy surrounding negotiations and the implications of the TPP over wider New Zealand, particularly Māori sovereignty and the Treaty of Waitangi, the nations involved in TPP negotiations signed off on the agreement after days of discussion.

John Key says “As a country, we won’t get rich selling things to ourselves. Instead, we need to sell more of our products and services to customers around the world, and TPP helps makes that happen.”

According to the information released regarding the TPP, tariffs on 93 per cent of New Zealand’s exports to FTA partners to the United States, Japan, Canada, Mexico, and Peru will be eliminated.

Dairy exporters will have access to these markets through newly created quotas, in addition to tariff elimination on a number of products.

Tariffs on all other New Zealand exports to TPP countries will be eliminated, with the exception of beef exports to Japan, where tariffs will reduce significantly.

Annette King says, “The government must come clean now on what ‘ugly compromises’ they have made behind closed doors.

“The devil is definitely in the detail in these agreements. New Zealanders must be told whether the government has traded away our right to further restrict foreign ownership of housing or farm land and what agreements have been made to allow foreign corporations to sue New Zealand for regulating in the public interest,” she says.

John Key says “The overall benefit of TPP to New Zealand is estimated to be at least $2.7 billion a year by 2030.

“That’s more jobs, higher incomes and a better standard of living for New Zealanders,” Mr Key says.

“Many concerns raised previously about TPP are not reflected in the final agreement. For example, consumers will now pay more for subsidised medicines as a result of TPP and the PHARMAC model will not change.”

While Labour says it supports free trade, Annette King says “the TPPA is more than just a trade agreement. We have been very clear that we will not support it if it does not meet our bottom lines including meaningful gains for farmers, the ability to restrict house and land sales, protecting Pharmac and the ability to govern in the interests of New Zealanders.”

The Government is continuing negotiations with a number of other countries and is actively pursuing the launch of an FTA with the European Union.