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: