TPPWatch Action Bulletin #18 – 29 September 2012

The next negotiating round will be held in Auckland from 3-12 December — time to organise!

As we predicted, the next TPPA negotiating round will be taking place in Auckland from the 3rd to the 12th of December. This is our best chance to mobilise opposition against the TPPA, so let’s get organising!

Brilliant new website!

We’re excited to announce the launch of a brand-new website www.itsourfuture.org.nz. It will act as a hub for information, organising, and action around the TPPA in New Zealand, particularly leading up to the Auckland negotiation round. Lots of activities will be rolled out, including opinion polls,  e-letters to MPs and petitions, a ‘Kiwi’s speak’ board to post photos and comments.

For those wanting to find out more about the TPPA there are accessible new information sheets about what New Zealanders stand to lose under the TPPA. So far these cover the overall effect of the TPPA on New Zealand; the TPPA’s implications for Tobacco and Alcohol regulation; the TPPA’s implications for access to medicines; and Investor-State Dispute Settlement under the TPPA. More will follow soon on the environment; genetic modification; financial regulation; information technology; intellectual property; te tiriti o waitangi; and culture.

Associated with the website are a new twitter account (https://twitter.com/ItsOurFutureNZ) and a new facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/ItsOurFutureNZ).

Making fun of TPP: National Cartoon Competition Launched

A Trans-Pacific Partnership Cartoon Competition has been launched to encourage the country’s satirists and graphic artists to engage creatively with its many issues. The co-sponsors are Scoop Independent News (publishers of Scoop.co.nz), the Society of Authors, the Bruce Jesson Foundation and BizDojo, who will also host an exhibition of the cartoons in Auckland during the negotiation. The competition offers three $500 prizes: Best Cartoon judged by Finlay Macdonald, a people’s choice award voted online, and a student’s prize (0lus scholarship) from BizDojo. All entries will be exhibited online at www.itsourfuture.org.nz, and BizDojo’s exhibition space in Karangahape Rd, Auckland from 1 to 7 December, with an online auction where artists agree. Information on entries is at http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/cartoon-competition/.

Over 700,000 say ‘no’ to TPP in just a few days!

Actress Q’orianka Kilcher was arrested at the Leesburg venue of the last TPP round while delivering the Avaaz petition,at that pointed signed by over 350,000 people, now by twice as many. In a statement before her arrest Q’orianka said: “The Trans Pacific Partnership would be devastating for people around the world and it is being negotiated in complete secrecy to hide the content, because these agreements would never see the light of day if US citizens and congress were allowed to see what is being proposed in our names.”

Excellent letter to John Key

In an inspired mix of satire and content, journalist Pat Booth has published an open letter to John Key on his blog Off Pat. You can follow his example by using the letter writing tool on the new website at http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz/take-action/, and use or modify the template provided.

TPPA and public health lecture tour and media coverage

Over the last week Australian public health expert Dr Deborah Gleeson has given a series of  lectures on the public health risks of the TPPA in Auckland and Wellington. For those who missed out, Deborah wrote an excellent op-ed outlining the risks the TPPA poses to PHARMAC in the New Zealand Herald. It didn’t take Big Pharma long to scramble a response, with the General Manager of Medicines New Zealand — NZ’s pharmaceutical company lobby — defending the gutting of PHARMAC under the TPPA on the basis that “there is nothing to fear in having a robust discussion about the best way to deliver the best health outcomes.” How we can have “robust discussion” when the TPPA is being negotiated in secrecy?

Big Pharma on the offensive over PHARMAC

Meanwhile, Big Pharma has been doing a tour of their own. Joseph Damond, a senior vice-president of the Washington-based Biotechnology Industry Organisation, was in Wellington last month to convince Trade Minister Groser and the New Zealand negotiators to throw PHARMAC to the wind in the TPPA. Damond struggled to convince us that PHARMAC — which ensures New Zealand pays a lot less for medicines — is somehow bad for us. What he means is that PHARMAC’s bad for the profits of giant pharmaceutical companies. The IP team from the US Trade Representative’s office will be pushing the same line in NZ next week. Health and IT groups have asked to meet with them, as the Malaysian’s HIV-AIDS groups did there.

Health Select Committee refuses to hear dissenting voices on the TPPA

In a brazen display of double-standards, Damond strolled into the offices of the Trade Minister and New Zealand’s TPPA negotiators, but Labour Party’s health spokesperson Maryan Street revealed that National Party members on the Health Select Committee have twice refused to allow experts to brief the committee on possible effects of the TPP on New Zealand’s ability to determine its own health policies. This follows the earlier rejection of a petition led by the NZCTU for a hearing at the Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee.

Romney: TPPA as anti-China

If Mitt Romney were to win the US presidential elections Tim Groser would either have to eat his words that NZ would withdraw from the TPPA negotiations if they became “anti-china”, or stick to his guns and walk away. Romney recently publicly described the TPPA as “dramatic geopolitical and economic bulwark against China.”

Recaps on the Leesburg round of negotiations

The most recent round of TPPA negotiations have come and gone, with plenty of protest and no transparency. Read about the protest actions here , here, and here. For  excellent analysis of the issues and outcomes of the Leesburg round read these releases from US watchdog Public Citizen (here and here).

Dairy access to the US

Speaking before the Leesburg round an unnamed US negotiator effectively confirmed to Inside US Trade (no link) that market access for NZ dairy products was not seriously on the table until the end of the negotiations – when the trade-offs will be made. The US agricultural lobby believes the US will not make significant concessions to New Zealand dairy until hell freezes over – although PhRMA will have other ideas.

US dairy demands tight controls on Fonterra

Not only will US dairy not budge on New Zealand access to US markets, but Inside US Trade (no link) reported they are seeking to impose tight controls on the operation of Fonterra. In a press conference Assistant US Trade Representative Barbara Weisel said they are mulling over demands by American dairy farmers to include provisions that would impose special competition rules on Fonterra. Weisel said the USTR “are continuing discussion on that issue and we have not come to any conclusion at this point, and when we do we will be having whatever appropriate conversations we need to have with those involved”.

 Links

  • Sign the stopthetrap.net petition against the TPPA’s implications for the internet.
  • Sign the Corporate Accountability International petition against the secrecy of the TPPA.
  • Video: Public Citizen talking to Russia Today about TPP secrecy.
  • Interview: Electronic Freedom Foundation talking to the ACLU about the TPPA.

 Please share TPPA activities or good articles:

contact Stephen Parry stephenparry1985@gmail.com; Facebook page ItsOurFutureNZ; and website www.itsourfuture.org.nz


View this bulletin as a Word or PDF file.

Advertisements

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: