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:
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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:
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:
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%!
5 That the signing took place in a Casino speaks volumes for the way which NZ public and National Interest is being considered.
6 Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties: https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Vienna_Convention_on_the_Law_of_Treaties and from the UN: http://www.jus.uio.no/lm/un.law.of.treaties.convention.1969/
7 A number of media covered the petition handover at Government House. This video taken by Mick McCrohon records the key elements: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p3t1TIIgrIA
8 No Mandate Do Not Sign TPPA blog – download petition pdf for print, distribution, signing with explanation: http://nomandatedonotsigntppaggpetition.blogspot.co.nz/
9 Tim Groser in 2012 acknowledged that the TPP treaty involves the loss of sovereignty: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/business/news/article.cfm?c_id=3&objectid=10817978
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: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11567925 And further reinforced herein: http://www.ibtimes.com/top-us-trade-official-defends-exclusion-climate-change-trans-pacific-partnership-2276835
11 German Judges cite proposed European Investment Court as unconstitutional: http://newint.org/blog/2016/02/04/german-judges-issue-damming-indictment-of-ttip/ and the full legal opinion: https://www.foeeurope.org/sites/default/files/eu-us_trade_deal/2016/english_version_deutsche_richterbund_opinion_ics_feb2016.pdf
12 Jurists open letter here: https://tpplegal.wordpress.com/open-letter/ 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” http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16439&LangID=E Full report available from this link: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session30/Pages/ListReports.aspx 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: www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session30/Documents/A_HRC_30_44_ENG.docx 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: https://theconversation.com/canada-has-an-isds-clause-with-the-us-it-has-faced-35-challenges-is-this-australias-future-48757
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!” https://gg.govt.nz/content/swearing-speech Oath of office: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oath_of_Allegiance_%28New_Zealand%29
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.. ..it 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..”