Thursday, 22 December 2016

TPP Free Wellington - Final report for 2016

Is TPP dead and buried?

Will Trump renege on his election pledge to bury the TPP? 

It is the grass roots movement that made TPP unpalatable for all the Presidential candidates in the US election, especially when Bernie Sanders came out so strongly against toxic trade treaties.

TPP Legislation in NZ - Key's last act!

One of the Key National Government's last acts was to pass the TPP Amendment Bill, the third and final reading being passed Tuesday 15 November. This despite the overwhelming opposition of the New Zealand democracy.

Petition to the Governor General on TPP

TPP Free Wellington handed over the TPP petition to the Governor General's Official Secretary, 3:30pm Wednesday 16 November, who advised that the GG had assessed and considered it formally as of 21 November.

The TPP Bill went to the Governor General that same 21 November where she signed it into law. That means that the New Zealand Government has succeeded in doing all necessary to bring the TPP into force subject to the necessary coming into force provisions of the TPP agreement signed 4 February 2016. 

The coming into force clause Article 30.5.2 of the TPP text requires that:
"In the event that not all original signatories have notified the Depositary in writing of the completion of their applicable legal procedures within a period of two years of the date of signature of this Agreement, it shall enter into force 60 days after the expiry of this period if at least six of the original signatories, which together account for at least 85 per cent of the combined gross domestic product of the original signatories in 2013 have notified the Depositary in writing of the completion of their applicable legal procedures within this period."

The Coming into force provisions require that at least both the US and Japan join the TPP agreement through their own ratification processes. The US is unlikely to Ratify TPP in its current form. The question is what changes might be proposed to the TPP to get the US through their corporate ruled Congress?

A large question is will Trump renege on his election promise, and persuade the US Congress to ratify the TPP treaty then it likely follows that it will come into force. How likely is this?

Greg Rzesniowiecki 'TPP roadie' provides an outline of this in this blog post:

New Zealand's unresponsive democracy

The fact that most New Zealanders oppose the TPP, and the unwillingness of the Government to listen to the people demonstrates the inadequacy of our Constitutional arrangements. Constitutions are all about determining how state power is administered - if our Government is able to ignore the public opinion then either it is acting unconstitutionally or the constitution is broken! 

Political Insurance for NZ - Labour, Green, NZ First, Maori Parties - we require a commitment that they withdraw from the TPP legislation/treaty.

We need to ensure that the likely new New Zealand Government elected in 2017 commits to withdrawing from the TPP where it gets support from the new US administration after Trump's inauguration in January 2017.

Jane Kelsey speaks to this in this blog:

Where Professor Kelsey states:
"As we reflect on a tumultuous year in the realm of global corporate treaties, we can allow ourselves a brief moment to celebrate the demise of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) in its present form. Looking back on the 6-year campaign our overseas allies pay tribute to the leading role we played in Aotearoa. Our combined action across most of the 12 countries ultimately defeated the deal. We need to remind those who attribute this to Trump that it was progressive activists working with Bernie Sanders who put the TPPA at the centre of the US presidential election campaign, forcing Clinton and Trump to follow suit.

"The failure of the TPPA was just one of many signs that this limb of the neoliberal paradigm is in crisis. 2016 saw the paralysis of the US-EU negotiation known as TTIP, well before Trump’s election. The Belgian regional parliament of Wallonia vetoed the ratification of the lesser-known Canada-EU deal (CETA), setting conditions for their approval, leading European activists to embrace the slogan: ‘we are all Wallonians’.

"By then Brexit had thrown the spanner in the works. No one (in their right mind) wants to finalise an agreement with the EU without knowing the status of the United Kingdom, which is the largest market for many parts of those deals."

Which brings us to what is the project for 2017 for the TPP Free movement?

In the above linked article by Jane Kelsey she makes the following observation and call to action in 2017.

"What then do we do next year? This is a long game. We have fought and won battles before – the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI), the expansion of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS) in the World Trade Organisation, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). Every time updated versions of the same proposals resurfaced in new forums. There is a fatal tension as obsessive levels of secrecy fuel the crisis of legitimacy.  

"We need to build on 2016 and do what our allies in the US did – force this policy onto the electoral agenda alongside the other life and death questions of poverty, homelessness, safe work and climate change.

"On 3rd February next year – the anniversary of the mass mobilisation against the signing of the TPPA in Auckland – we will be launching the New Zealand campaign to stop TiSA. So have a great break. We have a lot to do next year."

Many thanks for all of your efforts and support - we've had a great 2016!

TPP Free Wellington will take a break over the summer and come back refreshed to confront any further toxic trade and investment treaties.

We will provide timely advice as events transpire and offer further opportunities for Wellingtonians to campaign for our common and public interests.

Happy Summer Solstice, Merry Christmas, A great New Year. See you in 2017 refreshed for the task of holding toxic power to account.

Cheers and thanks on behalf of TPP Free Wgtn

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

TPP - Deception and Secrecy to the End - A Coup in the Making - Bye John Key

Closing the story on the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) Maybe?

It is just over a year since TPP Free Wellington initiated the petition to the Governor General (GG) then asking Sir Jerry Mateparae to honour the constitution and not provide Royal Assent to the TPP legislation.
A lot has happened in the year since including the swearing in of a New Governor, Her Excellency General Dame Patsy Reddy 28 September 2016. More recently the passage of the TPP Amendment Bill 15 November and the recent 5 December announcement by the leader of his resignation as PM Monday 12 December 2016.

TPP Petition to the Governor General - #1 - 30 January

We made an initial presentation of the petition with over 4300 signatures Saturday 30 January 2016, when we passed the petition to the GG's Official Secretary, Gregory Baughen at the Government House gates.
We continued collecting signatures on the petition accumulating another 4000+ to November 2016. We launched an online version of the petition mid-year on which we collected a further 2600 signatures.

TPP Legislation, Trump and an ever hopeful NZ Government

The Government pushed the TPP legislation forward despite its knowledge that the TPP would fail whereby the US refuses to ratify the treaty.
The election of Donald Trump as President elect of the US along with the entrenchment of Republican majorities in both the US House of Representatives and Senate, meant that the stomach to ratify TPP was lost. This was confirmed when Obama US President till 20 January 2017 gave up attempting to push the TPP treaty through the US Congress during their so-called lame duck period.
The TPP legislation was passed by the Parliament on Tuesday 15 November the final vote outcome read out at 4:44pm or thereabouts.

TPP Petition to the Governor General - #2 - 16 November

We handed over the TPP petition to the Governor General's Official Secretary, 3:30pm Wednesday 16 November, who advised that the GG had assessed and considered it formally as of 21 November, see email text:
Good afternoon Greg and Amanda
The Governor-General has asked me to contact you again. She would like to reiterate that she received your petition last week on the same day as you delivered it, and read what it said.
Since then she has given it further thought. She would like you to know that your petition has been received with respect and that she has given it her consideration.
With kind regards
Gregory Baughen
Official Secretary to the Governor-General of New Zealand
Wellington, New Zealand

Soundings in the Matrix - More Deception Revealed

It was Monday 5th December that I was advised by the Minister of Trade's office that the TPP Amendment Bill was placed before the Governor General and signed Monday 21 November 2016. What does it mean?
There's this by Andrew Geddis, and guess when it was published – 21 November:
Andrew Geddis makes a number of observations including these concluding passages in his blog:
This Act comes into force on a date appointed by the Governor-General by Order in Council, and 1 or more orders may be made appointing different dates for different provisions and for different purposes.”
Under this provision, it was left up to the executive branch (ministers) to advise the Governor General on when to bring the Bill into force. But at select committee this clause was changed so that the Bill could only come into force if and when the TPP came into force - the executive branch's power to advise the Governor-General to bring it into effect "for different purposes" was removed and instead this was strictly tied to "the date on which the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, done at Auckland on 4 February 2016, enters into force for New Zealand."
So, if the Government was to sign up to a TPP-1 (minus the US) and then tell the Governor-General to bring its provisions into effect, I don't think she can do so because the conditions of the commencement clause have not been met. And if the Governor-General were to go ahead and do so anyway, I don't think that action would be lawful ... and someone could go to court to challenge it.
Meaning that if the Government does sign up to a TPP-1 agreement that contains all the same provisions except for its entry into force, it cannot rely on the Bill it already has passed through the House to meet our domestic obligations under it. At the very least, it will have to amend the commencement clause in the current Bill - which will allow the House to debate whether it really is a good idea to change our domestic laws to meet the trade demands of a country that we no longer will be getting any reciprocal trade benefits from.

Open Government Partnership – The Alpha and Omega of Bullshit and Arrogance

It's important to note that I asked the Trade Minister directly when the Bill would be placed before Her Excellency on Monday 14th November the day before the 3rd reading debate. I got the answer after several prompts the last on the 1st December.
Here's my emailed question for those who might want the details:
from: Gregfullmoon * <>
to: "T McClay (MIN)" <>
date: 14 November 2016 at 15:18
Dear Ministry, hello xxxxxx,
This email formalises my phoned request for information in respect to the timing of the presentation of the TPP Amendment Bill to Her Excellency the Governor General for Her consideration in respect to granting the mandatory Royal Assent to the Bill.
1. Will the TPP Amendment Bill be presented immediately (following the regular process) to Her Excellency the Governor General? or
2. Will the NZ Government await a future occasion when there is confirmation that there is ratification by sufficient TPP Partner Nations as per the terms of the "entry into force" provisions of the TPP treaty before presenting the TPP Amendment Bill for Royal Assent?
Many thanks in anticipation of your response.
Their response to my request finally came Monday afternoon as I was assisting in the set up for the Lower Hutt Guy McPherson lecture and just after the leader's "bye announcement":
from: T McClay (MIN) <> via
to: Gregfullmoon * <>
date: 5 December 2016 at 15:35
Hi Greg,
A response letter from the Minister is forthcoming. The Bill has received Royal Assent on the 21st of November 2016.
The sheer arrogance is what is astounding. The office must have known that the TPP Amendment Bill once passed on 15 November would be going to the Governor in Council (Cabinet or Executive) on Monday 21 November to be forwarded to the GG for Assent that afternoon. The TPP and its process from initiation to finalisation in the New Zealand Law has been a fascist imposition. The secrecy at the end is another pile of shit in an already full shit sandwich.
Which begs the question whether I had reasonable grounds for sending this email in response to their tardy and arrogant advice?
from: Gregfullmoon * <>
to: "T McClay (MIN)" <>,,
date: 6 December 2016 at 12:01
Greetings xxxxxx and Minister,
This is not amusing at all.
How do you justify withholding this information, when I asked you on the 14th November? It would have been a reasonable courtesy to merely respond in a timely manner between the 14th and 21st November to inform me of the Cabinet's decision to place the Bill in front of the Governor General immediately.
My distrust grows with each passing experience of your malevolence.
Most sincerely greg.

Out takes and Conclusions – TPP

I'm attempting to make sense of the TPP Amendment Bill in relation to the TPP Agreement coming into force clause Article 30.5.2 of the TPP text:
In the event that not all original signatories have notified the Depositary in writing of the completion of their applicable legal procedures within a period of two years of the date of signature of this Agreement, it shall enter into force 60 days after the expiry of this period if at least six of the original signatories, which together account for at least 85 per cent of the combined gross domestic product of the original signatories in 2013 have notified the Depositary in writing of the completion of their applicable legal procedures within this period.
I'll come back and comment or edit the blog when I have further advice, including the promised further correspondence from the Minister of Trade. I am particularly keen to ensure that there are no alterations to our domestic laws and arrangements from the TPP Amendment Bill without the TPP proceeding as per the 4 February agreement – that is the full satisfaction of the “Coming into Force” clause, article 30.5.2. I'm keen to ensure no TPP and no change at all!

Out takes and conclusions – John Key Resignation announced 5 December

It is of note that the leader John Key announced his resignation from the top job on Monday 5 December. Does he just want to go out on top of his game? Over the past 8 years of his Ministry a number of changes have been implemented in Aotearoa New Zealand which do not advantage the majority of the people.
I attended the parliament Tuesday 6 December to witness Question time and the special debate “ requested by Winston Peters NZ First leader. You can watch the Parliament here, Question 2 etc. follow:
The other 11 questions can be found here:
Hansard of Question time:
Hansard of urgent debate on the resignation of a Prime Minister:
Several projects that Key has promoted including the TPP and the alteration of the New Zealand flag have failed to move forward.
Has the National Party's deep polling indicate that the New Zealand public are keen to dig deep – what is the truth about - climate change, mass surveillance, corporation rule, financial scandals, ecological destruction including polluted waterways, poverty, housing and a host of others not least public health? All have gone into reverse with increasing extremes of inequality.
Then this from left, or is that right field, Key being talked about in the context of the IMF?

Statescraft as Soulcraft – What Government Doesi

The real question in all of this is what is the role of government? To serve the public interest?
After all who are public servants supposed to serve?
They all get a great deal of money in the form of an income, plus a large dose of gravitas and Mana for serving as politicians.
What is the objective assessment of progress attributable to any government? The elimination of need and a move towards a more inclusive and egalitarian society - or other values?
Here's how New Zealanders answer the values question, my recent blog post, “Values - Dig deep what are we about?” published 29 November:

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Relaunched TPP petition to the Governor General - No Mandate do not Ratify TPP

The following media release relaunching the TPP petition to the Governor General was circulated Tuesday 9th February 2016 as the TPP National Impact Analysis was tabled in the NZ Parliament.
The period since the February relaunch has been filled with activity focused on maximising concerned New Zealanders to get the views and concerns into the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (FADT) Select Committee. There's still an ability for people to place evidence of a substantive nature before the FADT committee.

Here's a link to the pdf of the petition, Again please print both pages double sided on the one A4 sheet:

                                                           --------- ( 0 ) --------
TPP Free Wellington – Press Conference – Parliament Grounds
Relaunch1 of Governor General Petition 1:00pm Tuesday 9th February
No Mandate – Binding Referendum Required - Let the People Decide!
The mood of the public was demonstrably opposed to the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)2 treaty signing at the Auckland Skytower Thursday 4th February.3
TPP Free Wellington4 are relaunching the petition to the Governor General with revised wording given the fact of the TPP signing ceremony at the Skytower Casino5 in Auckland.
We may never know what the Governor General has conveyed to the New Zealand Government in respect to the petition. Nevertheless the TPPA has been formally signed.
Our petition launched 11th December 2015 stated:

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.
The organisers today reaffirm their commitment to proceed with the petition, anticipating it may become the last defence against TPP if the Government manages to push Bills for enabling legislation through the House.
Our revised petition amends the 2nd point to read, “2. to PROHIBIT the Government from taking any binding treaty action UNLESS the People vote in favour;”
This acknowledges the Government has formally competed the Signing as per clause of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.6 We find that the signing breaches the provisions of the Vienna Convention.
The relaunch of the petition to His Excellency compliments TPP Free Wellington's recent events - Rally for Democracy and Sovereignty at the Wellington Cenotaph on the day of signing - and the Saturday 30th January handover7 of the Petition to the Governor General requesting His Excellency to command the Government to put the question of the TPP to a binding referendum.8
We have investigated the nature of our Aotearoa Constitution and assert that it is based on democracy and respect for human rights. We will pursue our assertion – that TPP is unconstitutional and against the National Interest through all avenues.
The petition to His Excellency is but one of a number of tactics to regain control of the New Zealand democracy by the people who comprise it. The representatives in the New Zealand Parliament have a licence to govern, however that licence does not provide them with rights to breach the fundamental basis of New Zealand and International Law. If there is a globalist imperative that TPP is necessary for world order, it ought be spelled out for the people to comprehend and determine the validity of a corporate rights charter to be supreme over National and International Law.
Greg Rzesniowiecki, from TPP Free Wellington, “TPP is an imposition on our parliamentary sovereignty9 to make laws that protect the public interest.10 Opposition to Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) is universally rejected.11
Greg reports, “That in May 2012 New Zealand lawyers delivered an open letter to the TPP negotiators urging the rejection of Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS).12 Those lawyers included the current leader of the New Zealand Labour Party, Andrew Little who's party now opposes the TPP.”
Rzesniowiecki concludes, “There is no mandate for TPPA. TPP was kept a secret at the last election. Our petition to the Governor General makes this clear and requests His Excellency support the people not transnational corporations,13 as he promised in his oath and swearing in speech14. Informed consent requires a binding referendum of the people.”

Sir Robin Cooke was the president of our Court of Appeal and a member of our highest Court then, the Privy Council, and he later became a life peer of the House of Lords, and he is widely regarded as the greatest judge New Zealand ever had.

Sir Robin Cooke says, “..the modern common law should be seen to have a free and democratic society as its basic tenet..”15

Sir Edmund Thomas had to say about this limit on the power of the Parliament and the NZ Executive. Sir Edmund was a judge of the Court of Appeal and an acting judge of the Supreme Court, is currently a distinguished fellow at Auckland University Law School, and is regarded as New Zealand’s greatest jurist.
Sir Edmund Thomas states, “In a full and free democracy, sovereignty rests with the people…”16
It doesn’t matter that he’s talking about judges. The important point is he’s talking about the inherent limits on Parliament’s power.

The NZ Government today tables the National Interest Analysis in the Parliament. The Government ignores the people and the law in proceeding to Ratify TPP without the informed consent of the people of Aotearoa New Zealand. A binding referendum would satisfy this deficiency.
If the TPP is such a good deal, then let the people decide.

TPP Free Wellington provide this detailed statement at a Media Conference 1pm Tuesday 9 February at Parliament.


Contact TPP Free Wellington:
Greg Rzesniowiecki

1 Relaunched petition is fundamentally the same petition launched 11 December 2015 with 4300 signatures handed to the His Excellency's Official Secretary on the 30th January 2016. The revised petition recognises the 4th February signing at the Casino in Auckland. All petitions will be forwarded to the Governor General at the appropriate time. We encourage the public to sign and forward to the mailing address on page 2 of the petition form.

2 TPP and TPPA both refer to the Trans Pacific Partnership (Agreement).

3 20th November 2015 3News Reid poll placed support for TPP at only 34% and opposition at more than 50%!

4 TPP Free Wellington on Facebook:

5 That the signing took place in a Casino speaks volumes for the way which NZ public and National Interest is being considered.

7 A number of media covered the petition handover at Government House. This video taken by Mick McCrohon records the key elements:

8 No Mandate Do Not Sign TPPA blog – download petition pdf for print, distribution, signing with explanation:

9 Tim Groser in 2012 acknowledged that the TPP treaty involves the loss of sovereignty:

10 TPP will limit government ability to regulate in the public and national interest as already demonstrated in respect to Tobacco control. Similarly on Climate Change Dr. Joshua Freeman and Dr. Hayley Bennett make the case that TPP will be bad for climate change mitigation: And further reinforced herein:

12 Jurists open letter here: which says in part: “As lawyers from the academy, bench and bar, legislature, public service, business and other legal communities in Asia and the Pacific Rim, we are writing to raise concerns about the Investment and Investor-State dispute arbitration provisions being considered in the on-going negotiations for a Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. We have diverse views about the TPP generally. However, we are united in our view that the foreign investor protections included in some recent Free Trade Agreements (FTA) and Bilateral Investment Treaties (BIT) and their enforcement through Investor-State arbitration should not be replicated in the TPP. We base this conclusion on concerns about how the expansion of this regime threatens to undermine the justice systems in our various countries and fundamentally shift the balance of power between investors, states and other affected parties in a manner that undermines fair resolution of legal disputes.”

13 It is either corporation dictatorship or treason by our NZ Government. Report of the United Nations Independent Expert Alfred de Zayas urged the UN system and Governments across the world to radically reform the international investment regime by putting an end to free trade and investment agreements that conflict with human rights treaty obligations. In his full-length report* to the Human Rights Council, he also called on States “to conduct human rights, health and environmental impact assessments before and after entering into bilateral and multilateral investment agreements.” “Over the past decades free trade and investment agreements have had adverse impacts on the enjoyment of human rights by interfering with the State’s fundamental functions to legislate in the public interest and regulate fiscal, budgetary, labour, health and environmental policies,” said Mr. de Zayas, the first UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order” Full report available from this link: go to this reference in the list: A/HRC/30/44 Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred-Maurice de Zayas: The ISDS provisions of the TPP will provide opportunities for transnational corporations to chill government legislation (both NZ and globally) to limit greenhouse gas emissions to reduce anthropogenic climate change, and to promote renewable energy alternatives with positive programs. There are many references which provide evidence to support this claim, including the lack of support within TPP for climate change reduction measures. This article from the Australian academic blog 'The Conversation' explores the Canadian experience of ISDS as a partner to the NAFTA agreement:

14 The Governor General (GG) Sir Jerry Mateparae stated in his inauguration speech in 2011 that his Oaths of Allegiance to the Queen and to the People of New Zealand “reflect my commitment to our country and the People… that I will serve faithfully and impartially. The values and undertakings in these oaths are very important to me.” Sir Jerry further stated at that time, “My view reflects the sentiment of the proverb “He aha te mea nui o te ao—What is the most important thing in the world? The answer is: he tangata, he tangata, he tangata––it is people, it is people, it is people!” Oath of office:

15 Sir Robin Cooke, “Fundamentals”, New Zealand Law Journal, May 1988. Sir Robin's full quote we reference: “..the modern common law should be seen to have a free and democratic society as its basic tenet and, for that reason, to be built on two complementary and lawfully unalterable principles: the operation of a democratic legislature and the operation of independent courts.. ..if a change, by legislation or otherwise, were seen to undermine either of them to a significant extent, it would be the responsibility of Judges to say so and, if their judgements to that effect were disregarded, to resign or to acknowledge frankly that they are prepared to depart from their judicial oath and to serve a state not entitled to be called a free democracy.”

16 Sir Edmund Thomas, “Centennial Lecture – The Relationship of Parliament and the Courts: A Tentative Thought or Two for the New Millennium”, Victoria University of Wellington law Review, 2000. Sir Edmund Thomas full quote states, “In a full and free democracy, sovereignty rests with the people.. is absurd to suggest that the plenary power delegated to Parliament by the people embraces the power to destroy representative government.. If Parliament.. proceeded to enact legislation undermining the democratic basis on which it exercises the sovereign power of the people, there is nothing in the notion of Parliament’s omnipotence which would preclude judicial resistance..”