Media Release: Professor Jane Kelsey. Tuesday 12 April 2011
A copy of the petition, and a background paper, are at the base of this page.
A petition calling for a select committee hearing on the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and its implications for New Zealanders was presented at Parliament today.
The petition was signed on behalf of sixteen union, sectoral, industry and community organisations, ranging from the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions and numerous affiliates, to the Public Health Association, Oxfam, Society of Authors and locally-owned IT industry group NZRise.
Speaking at a lunchtime forum at Parliament, Maryan Street, Labour’s Foreign Affairs and Trade spokesperson and a member of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade committee, said she was pleased to receive the petition. She reiterated the Labour Party’s support for more transparency and welcomed the prospect of a select committee discussion of the issues.
The petition also asks for a Parliamentary resolution that the New Zealand government should release the documents it has tabled in the negotiations.
Green Party MP Catherine Delahunty criticised the secrecy that surrounds the negotiations.“Even parliamentarians struggle to get any information from the government through formal processes and have to rely on non-government sources within and outside New Zealand”, she said.
Speaking at today’s forum, Professor Jane Kelsey disputed government claims that secrecy is standard practice for free trade negotiations, citing numerous recent examples where negotiating documents, including draft texts, have been released.
She pointed out the New Zealand government has the right to unilaterally release any documents it has tabled in the TPPA talks, as it had done during the trade in services negotiations at the WTO.
“Release of documents always generates debate and sometimes means that agreements are never concluded. That is not a reason for continued secrecy. It shows that peopleweren’t convinced that the FTA was in the national interest”, Professor Kelsey said.
Too Many Precedents To Refuse To Release TPPA Text And Papers – Background paper from Jane Kelsey