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
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 * <email@example.com>
to: "T McClay (MIN)" <T.McClay@ministers.govt.nz>
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) <T.McClay@ministers.govt.nz> via parliament.govt.nz
to: Gregfullmoon * <firstname.lastname@example.org>
date: 5 December 2016 at 15:35
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 * <email@example.com>
to: "T McClay (MIN)" <T.McClay@ministers.govt.nz>,
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: