Saturday, 12 December 2015

No Mandate Do Not Sign TPPA Petition to Governor General

TPPA Free and Action groups petition the Governor General – “Save our Democracy”
TPP Free Wellington on Friday 11th December launched a petition calling the Governor General to Command the government to put the question of proceeding with the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) to a binding referendum.
The petition is available as a downloadable pdf from this link on greg's tpp roadie page:

Please note the instructions and material on page 2 of the petition. This is a paper petition and we request you download and print both page 1 and 2 double sided on the one sheet of A4 paper. Set your printer to 'landscape' before printing, and for manual double sided printing select 'flip on short edge.'

Return by mail all petitions to the PO box on the reverse.

Here's the explanation of why we take this approach. 

The Governor General is the appointed Guardian of our representative democracy.
The petition asserts that the Government has no democratic mandate for TPPA. The Government kept the text secret from voters at the last election.1 Without information, we have not mandated our elected representatives.2
Treaty negotiations Minister Tim Groser in July 2012 stated: "trade agreements involve concessions over the sovereign rights of countries"3
The enormous and unprecedented scale of TPPA requires a democratic mandate.4
Once in force, withdrawal might be impossible in practice, so the deal could not be undone.5
The petition states as follows:
We, the UNDERSIGNED citizens and residents of Aotearoa New Zealand, PETITION Your Excellency:
1. to COMMAND the Government to put the question of proceeding with, or withdrawal from TPPA to a BINDING REFERENDUM; and
2. to PROHIBIT the Government from signing any final agreement, or taking any binding treaty action UNLESS the People vote in favour; and
3. to REFUSE Assent to any enabling legislation UNLESS the People vote in favour.
Our petition requires that the Governor General use his Reserve Powers6 to protect the democracy.
The petition was launched from the grounds of Parliament House at 1:20pm Friday 11th December. The organisers will present the Governor with early returns of the petition in January. We will continue gathering signatures leading up to the Government’s intended TPPA signing in early February.
Democracy is not something the People can afford just to leave to politicians. We must be prepared to invoke the constitutional safeguards we have to protect it from them and their agendas.
Our object is to improve the democratic processes whereby key decisions are made about our future. It's our Constitution and we aim to use it to protect our interests and rights.
Thursday the day before we launched, the World celebrated Human Rights Day, which is observed every year on 10 December. It commemorates the day on which, in 1948, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which with the is the foundation stone of humane international law.
This year's Human Rights Day is devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966.
The two Covenants, together with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, form the International Bill of Human Rights, setting out the civil, political, cultural, economic, and social rights that are the birth right of all human beings.7
This petition directly to the Governor General is part of a concerted and growing movement for people and planet and against TPPA. The Governor is bound as an responsible and ethical actor. He is placed in a role of protector of our democratic state. In our view based in ethics and law he; 'must acknowledge Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights when considering our petition.'

Article 1 provides “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

New Zealand is a party to the Covenant, and also to its First Optional Protocol, which provides an avenue for complaint to the UN when there has been a breach of Article 1, and all “domestic remedies” have been “exhausted”.
There is no mandate for TPPA!

1 A legal challenge has been launched to challenge the refusal of New Zealand’s Trade Minister Tim Groser to release a range of documents on the TPPA requested by Professor Jane Kelsey under the Official Information Act.

2 It is necessary that the populace are provided with the facts prior to consent being attained in democratic practice. This is imperative in our form of representative democracy.

4 The people of New Zealand and the World opposed the earlier Multi-lateral Agreement on Investment (MAI). TPPA contains the MAI content and more, providing institutional corporate rights superior to environmental and human rights. Yesterday 10th Dec 2015 is the UN's Human Rights Day.

5 In effect the people of Aotearoa New Zealand are being told that their agent the government is entering a contract and the people have no say over the content, or whether it is entered. In all contracts the advice is 'buyer beware'.

6 '.. reserve powers are to dismiss a Prime Minister, to force a dissolution of Parliament and call new elections, to refuse a Prime Minister's request for an election, and to refuse assent to legislation. These powers to act without or even against ministerial advice are reserved for the most extreme situations and with the exception of the appointment of a Prime Minister following an election, no New Zealand Governor-General has ever needed to use them.' We live in interesting times. 



  1. Is there a reason this also can't be an electronic petition, would be way easier to get more people to sign?

  2. We will be placing this online in the near future. We've felt it important to give the Governor General the signatures of the people on physical paper. We have now received over 8000 signatures; approx 4300 given to him on the 30th January, the remainder collected since then.

    Will place a new post here as soon as the petition is up and running.