TPPA true & false

The National Party has a webpage giving the facts and refuting the myths on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) which is being signed in Auckland today.

Don’t believe that?

Chapman Tripp says:

The TPP began life modestly as an initiative between New Zealand and Singapore, but the ambition was that it would evolve into a trans-Pacific agreement.  The first recruits were Chile and Brunei and the net has subsequently extended to Australia, the United States, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru and Vietnam.

New Zealand now finds itself in the vanguard of the new wave of economic globalisation.  This is a coincidence of the worldwide focus on FTAs to further integrate economies, the prominence of Asia, and the United States’ and Japan’s renewed interest in the Pacific Rim. 

Some find this uncomfortable.  Many, including the protesters at Seattle, found the birth of the WTO in 1994 similarly uncomfortable.

Difficult as change can be, this is an opportunity which will not come again.  In its final form, the TPP is the biggest free trade deal in a generation and will establish the architecture of Asia Pacific trading relationships for decades to come.  . . 

and concludes

. . . Labour’s frustration is understandable.  The TPP does not appear to include the specific reservation of rights Labour wanted.  New Zealand negotiators could perhaps have sought a more nuanced provision, such as appears in the NZ-Korea FTA, which arguably preserves some scope to expand the OIA screening regime.  It is hard to see that the more absolute language in the relevant TPP annex was a deal breaker for other negotiating parties. 

Negotiating parties tend not to publicly announce their bottom lines in advance to avoid painting themselves into a corner, as Labour has effectively done.  One cannot, of course, sensibly weigh up the overall merits or demerits of a 6000 page 12 party agreement by looking only at one provision.  To attempt this is to miss the wood for the trees. 

None of the signatory countries will be perfectly satisfied with the deal.  Each will have a particular clause or clauses that they would prefer were not there.  The US Republican Senator, Orrin Hatch, for instance is chagrined that the IP chapter grants only five, and not eight, years’ protection to biologics. 

But if support for the deal was premised on perfection, then it would go the way of the Doha Round.  It is no coincidence that TPP opponents play the single issue game.  Conflating whether one gets everything one wants, and whether the deal is acceptable overall, is a classic black hat strategy. 

The art of negotiating involves being able to push hard for one’s positions, then to stand back and work out whether (even if one did not get all one wanted) the deal on the table is better than no deal at all. 

Here, the question is even more stark.  Would New Zealand be better off inside, or outside, the tent?  MFAT’s national interest analysis reaches a firm conclusion, having weighed everything up over 276 pages.  It is respectfully suggested that this conclusion deserves to be afforded more weight than anyone’s position based on a single issue.

Those last two paragraphs nail it.

The deal isn’t perfect but it is better than no deal at all and New Zealand is better inside the tent than outside it.

The usual nonsense at Waitangi purports to be about the TPPA threatening the Treaty but the Federation of Maori Authorities is cautiously supportive:

. . .Chair Traci Houpapa said there were benefits and opportunities for Māori and all New Zealanders.

“We’ve analysed those documents ourselves and while we have a level of comfort we agree with the 12 month consultation process that the signing on the 4th of February triggers.”

Ms Houpapa said the removal of some or most tariffs for exporters would have financial benefits for the federation’s regional members.

“Māori have a predominate footprint in primary sector industries, we are land, water or sea based so our exporters have obvious benefits if the removal of tariffs are in place and TPP provides for that.”

FOMA is happy with the provisions within the agreement that acknowledge the Treaty of Waitangi, which say it must be enshrined, but FOMA recognises further analysis of what that means is required. . . 

“We recognise TPP is a complex trade arrangement which requires time to fully digest and understand. Our members support the trade benefits and want assurance that our national sovereignty and Treaty partnership are maintained. We welcome proper engagement with government and our members on this important matter,” said Ms Houpapa.

Proper engagement will achieve what all the protests prefaced on political agendas won’t.

Charles Finny says the TPPA deserves praise from Maori:

I believe that rather than being inadequate in its protections for Maori, TPP is if anything a taonga in the way it protects the rights of the New Zealand Government to discriminate in favour of Maori. This in turn, I think, adds enormous mana to Maori.

I feel Maori are being poorly advised from some quarters and it is essential that ministers and government officials spend even more time explaining the protections for Maori in the agreement and the trade benefits that will flow to Maori from it. These benefits are substantial.

TPP is an agreement between 12 countries. Pretty much all the 12 jurisdictions are home to indigenous minorities – for example, the First Peoples of the United States, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, the Aboriginal people in Australia, the Malays in Singapore and Malaysia, and the Ainu in Japan.

Yet none of these peoples is mentioned in the main text of the deal and none of their Governments has secured agreement from the other members that they should be allowed to discriminate in favour of them.

In contrast Maori are mentioned, as is the Treaty of Waitangi. Article 29.6 of TPP is actually titled “Treaty of Waitangi”. It says that “provided that such measures are not used as a means of arbitrary or unjustified discrimination against persons of the other parties or as a disguised restriction on trade in goods, trade in services and investment, nothing in this agreement shall preclude the adoption by New Zealand of measures it deems necessary to accord more favourable treatment to Maori in respect of matters covered by this agreement, including in fulfilment of its obligations under the Treaty of Waitangi”.

This is pretty much the same clause that has been included in all free trade agreements (FTAs) New Zealand has negotiated since 2001. It has stood the test of time. It has allowed multiple Treaty settlements to be completed and has not had (as some critics claim will happen under TPP) “a chilling effect” on Government’s ability to adopt policies more favourable to Maori than other New Zealanders or nationals of these FTA partners.

TPP’s protection of the Treaty goes even further than earlier FTAs. It states “the parties agree that the interpretation of the Treaty of Waitangi, including as to the nature of the rights and obligations arising under it, shall not be subject to the dispute settlement provisions of this agreement.” This means it is entirely up to New Zealand to determine if any discrimination has occurred because of the treaty (so long as this is not a disguised restriction on trade).

I am frankly amazed the US and others have agreed to this provision. Our ministers and officials have done a great job achieving this. All Maori should be saying: “Well done!” . . 

He also posts on Facebook:

TPP contains two types of dispute settlement. In the media and political criticism the two are often confused. There is the standard (in WTO and all our FTAs apart from CER – the reason why apples took so long to resolve)provisions which allow parties to the agreement to challenge breaches of the agreement. This is a purely government to government process and applies to the full agreement unless specified (e.g. interpretation of the Treaty of Waitingi the dispute settlement provisions do not apply). Then, in the investment chapter only, there is the investor state dispute settlement mechanism. This allows a company to challenge a government if it believes that government has breached its commitments in the investment chapter only. Many of the critics (who should know better) suggest that governments can be sued for breaches of outside of the investment provisions. This is not possible.

It is important to stress that TPP is worded differently to NAFTA and the Australian investment treaties that were used to challenge plain packaging of cigarettes. The critics often cite these agreements as examples of why we should fear ISDS without noting the fact that TPP has been drafted with the sloppy drafting in earlier agreements in mind.

New Zealand has been agreeing (indeed advocating for ) ISDS provisions in investment treaties and FTAs since the late 1980s (see for example the original China NZ Investment protection agreement). To date the NZ Government has yet to face a challenge.

Put simply I believe these provisions provide useful security for NZ investors offshore. Some of the governments we trade with and have FTAs or investment treaties are far more likely to breach these agreements than we are.

There are multiple exclusions (e.g. our Overseas Investment laws) and multiple acceptances of our right to regulate to protect the environment, to protect human health and safety, to discriminate for Maori under the Treaty of Waitangi etc to ensure that TPP will not have the type of chilling effect on policy making that the critics maintain. And, on top of the above protections, tobacco is completely carved out of the agreement so no worries there.

But is you want to nationalise huge hunks of the economy without compensation – you do have a problem. As you would if you tried to use human health as a justification for a policy if there was no science to justify the policy. Until recently I did not think that future NZ Governments would act in this way. This is why I think we have nothing to fear and that these provisions can only benefit NZ.

Stephen Jacobi wrote an open letter to Labour leader Andrew Little. It’s worth reading in full, I have chosen the extract with most relevance to farming:

. . . I agree that the dairy aspects of TPP are not as good as they could have been and as we had hoped.  But they are in the view of the negotiators and the dairy industry the best that could have been achieved in the circumstances.  Dairy still benefits more than any other sector from tariff cuts in key markets and the establishment of new tariff quotas.  The meat deal – specifically beef to Japan – is a significant market opening about which the industry has welcomed. Without this we will not be able to compete with Australia which already has an FTA with Japan. To call the rest ‘not much’ is a serious under-estimation – tariff reductions and/or elimination for horticultural products including kiwifruit, wine, wood products and seafood cannot so easily be dismissed. Addressing tariff and non-tariff barriers for manufactured products like health technologies and agricultural equipment is also significant.  This will result in the creation of new markets as you suggest. . . 

Duncan Garner says the political consensus on free trade is over:

After decades of supporting free trade, Labour has chosen to veer left into the bosom of New Zealand First and the Greens and oppose the TPP. It’s short-sighted and totally hypocritical, in my view. It looks like the party has had its strings pulled by anti-TPP academic Jane Kelsey.

This is a serious and controversial departure for Labour, and it may yet hurt the party among middle New Zealand voters.

Do these politicians know that our bottled wine can be sold tariff-free in Canada, Japan and the US on day one of the TPP being implemented? Why would you oppose that after we as a country have fought for this for so long? Most fruit and other produce can be exported tariff-free too, as a result of the TPP.

I travelled the world with Labour and National Party ministers for years, watching them fight bloody hard for market access for our exporters. I have seen a block of New Zealand butter selling for $25 in Japan; the same with cheese. Some of these tariffs are so high our exporters are locked out.

I’ve also seen Phil Goff, Helen Clark, John Key, Mike Moore and Tim Groser invest thousands of hours over the years for this sort of deal. Rather than accuse them of selling out, I’d argue they’ve done a great job. . . 

The truth is Labour has taken a massive risk opposing the TPP. I sense the silent majority understands we have to be part of it, despite the noise from the usual suspects.

Labour is divided and bleeding over the TPP. More Labour MPs want to voice their opinions in support but they’ve been silenced.

Ms Clark, Mr Key, Mr Moore, Mr Groser and David Shearer aren’t idiots. They know New Zealand has no choice but to be on board. Foreign investment is crucial into New Zealand too.

My friend runs a hotel in rural Waikato. The Chinese bought it recently. They have invested thousands into doing it up; they employ 33 locals in and around Tirau and Rotorua. Without the Chinese owners it would have closed and 33 Kiwis would be out of work. We have no option but to be international traders. Without it we die, slowly.

I predict the sky won’t fall in. And exporters stand to make billions more in the years ahead.

We won’t get rich buying and selling to each other; we need barriers broken and global doors open.

That’s why we must continue to fight for international trade deals — knowing there will always be a boisterous but small mob who hate the idea, no matter what the facts. 

Brian Easton who is no apologist for the right, asks can we afford not to adopt the TPPA?

. . . While there has been much focus on the TPP deal, there has been hardly any mention of the WTO (World Trade Organisation) agreement in Nairobi which prohibits agricultural export subsidies. Some 30 years ago a trade negotiator commented to me that getting rid of this dumping might be the best single thing we could do for our exporters. Not only would it stop the undercutting of their markets but it would force domestic agricultural reform because the dumping nations could no longer export the surpluses arising from their subsidies. There is not a lot of this subsidising going on at the moment but without an agreement export subsidies are likely to come back – to New Zealand’s detriment.

What was not always mentioned was that the chair of the WTO agricultural committee which negotiated the deal was a New Zealand ambassador, who is the fifth New Zealand chair in succession. This not only reflects the excellence of our Geneva ambassadors and the priority we give to agriculture in the WTO, but that the powerful – most notably the US – trust New Zealand to do a good job. That trust arises from the way we behave in other trade negotiations, including the TPP. The implication is that if we defaulted on the TPPA we would damage that trust and our ability to function effectively in a wide range of other international negotiations we care about, including on climate change.

That puts us in an extremely invidious position over the TPPA. Sure, we could turn it down, losing both its benefits and its downsides. Were we to do so, however, we would compromise the trust our international activity depends upon, especially the possibility of other trade deals which would open up markets currently restricting our exports. . . 

. . . Japan and the US (indeed the whole of the North American bloc) are members of the TPP. We have been struggling for ages to get deals with these two but have been too low on their pecking order to be noticed. So you might think of the TPPA as a means of getting the deals.

That is a positive, but of course the deals have to be favourable to us. Many argue they are not although their vehemence is offset by those who argue the opposite. The truth is that there are positives and negatives and different people balance them differently. In my opinion it is not much use focussing on a subset of the outcomes and ignoring everything else. Deals are about giving and taking.

The logic in this column is that we now do not have much choice about the TPPA. The government is trapped into agreeing to it because rejecting it has implications for other trade deals and our wider international relations. That is probably what our MFAT officials are advising, although no doubt there are many diverse views in there, just as there were with Vietnam. Here is my best guess about what is likely to happen.

There is a signing of the agreement in Auckland this Thursday. The exercise is primarily ceremonial – agreeing to a common text and exhibiting solidarity. I suppose the protests outside are ceremonial and for solidarity too.

The twelve partners then go away and prepare for the implementation of the text. Some things can be done by regulation, some require a change in law. The degree to which each partner has to do this differs according to their constitutional arrangements. . . 

 

By now there are so many imponderables that there is insufficient room in a column to pursue them all in a balanced way. My guess is that, given the way we are trapped by the wider international issues, the cautious advice is to proceed on the path of implementing the legislation for the TPPA, making as much international progress elsewhere. We can then review whether we really want to go ahead with the implementation. Legislation can always be reversed, agreements abrogated, although if the government changes its mind it is better that some other partner pulls the plug. Much of what is due to happen will be less ceremonial than this Thursday.  

And Prime Minister John Key says:

. . . “Opponents claim we’re giving away our sovereignty and that’s completely wrong – the TPP has almost identical provisions to the China free-trade agreement.”

Mr Key said other countries would not be able to write New Zealand laws and the TPP didn’t increase the cost of pharmaceuticals.

“The TPP is our biggest free-trade deal, successive governments have worked to get free trade with countries like the United States, Japan and Canada for 25 years,” he said.

“It will create significant new trade and economic opportunities for New Zealand… it gives our exporters access to 800 million customers in 11 countries across Asia and the Pacific.”

And those new opportunities will create jobs here, increase our GDP and earn us the money we need to pay our way.

The deal isn’t perfect but it’s better than what we’ve got and a long way better than what we’d have if our competitors were in the warmth of the tent and we were left out in the cold.

31 Responses to TPPA true & false

  1. Andrei says:

    Don’t believe that?

    Nope!

    TPP is not a “free trade deal” it is the creation of a trade block. which is of course how the EU started life

    There is an analogous agreement with Europe called the TTIP and both are conceived as barriers to the growth of the BRICS nations and the Eurasian union, not the growth of International trade

    But I am pissing in the wind trying to explain this to people who get trolled by Washington based bloggers thus showing how easily manipulated they are

  2. Dave Kennedy says:

    Why we shouldn’t sign the TPPA some more in depth analysis…

    The economic benefits are minimal:

    • Without the TPPA our GDP will grow by 47% by 2030 (based on current growth rates), the TPPA will only add around 0.9%.
    • Tariff reductions of 1.3% on average by 2030 will be dwarfed by commodity price volatility and fluctuating exchange rates.
    • The TPPA did not open agricultural markets for our dairy production, one of the key drivers for signing.
    • The Trade distortions because of agricultural subsidies have not been addressed and these will continue to disadvantage New Zealand.
    • The TPPA may reinforce our position as a commodity producer and restrict our ability to progress up the added value chain.
    • The agreement will cost New Zealand around $79 million a year through eliminated tariffs and extended copyright rules.

    Constitutional and regulatory implications:

    • The New Zealand constitution is a collection of statutes, court decisions and conventions and free trade agreements become an integrated part of that.
    • The TPPA will likely restrict the freedom of future Governments to implement regulatory and industrial policies in the public interest. It will also restrict SOEs and public owned entities from acting in the public interest.
    • The investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions will become a greater concern when we become part of a multi-national agreement. The average cost of defending a case is around $8 million and there is a real risk of the taxpayer having to fund massive compensation bills.

    Impacts on ordinary New Zealanders and businesses:

    • The Government won’t be able to support Buy Kiwi preferences to encourage and protect local businesses and employment.
    • The TPPA will support a privatised model of health, education and social housing that includes PPPs. Medicine costs will rise.
    • Policies to improve housing affordability will be severely restricted, such as non-resident ownership of New Zealand property.

    Environmental consequences:

    • Climate change is the environmental crisis of our time and shifting to a low carbon, global economy is essential. The TPPA does not address this in any meaningful way, despite the importance of trade

    Also there is a high level of concern from leading US senators too.

  3. Andrei says:

    Why bother Dave Kennedy?

    National Party supporters are pathologically incapable of thinking for themselves and are tribal to the core.

    They should see what happened to Bulgaria, Romania, ans Slovenia after they “joined” the EU – they were actually annexed and a giant dump taken on their citizens who had been sold out by their (bought) politicians

    Then they were used as dumping grounds for agricultural commodities from Northern Europe and their farmers driven to off their lands by bankruptcy, lands that were then were scooped up at bargain basement prices by multinational corporations

    But perhaps parochial New Zealanders deserve to be driven into landless peasantry being the sheep they are.

  4. homepaddock says:

    Andrei @1:59 – A world without any subsidies or tariffs is the ideal. Since that’s so difficult bi and multilateral deals are negotiated. Those in the TPPA will have advantages those outside won’t but the parties to it are open to others joining.

  5. Will says:

    Allright I’ll have a go.

    GDP by 2030 etc. Someone just made all that up, none of it is knowable.

    So what? They’re still reductions.

    Nothing new here. Subsidies are a headwind we have always faced and always will.

    Maybe, maybe not. I don’t see why it should.

    Tariffs are just private taxes, it’s time we left them behind, they belong in the past.

    I didn’t think we had a constitution. But the same objection applies to UN treaties, International labour laws, and climate control rules, etc.

    If only!

    I seriously doubt that. But the same thing must apply to us. I remember when we got stung for dumping lamb on US markets. We proved our innocence but it did us no good. Now we can sue Uncle Sam.

    Good. No more cronyism, although I’ll believe it when I see it.

    Privitisation means competition, maybe prices will fall, or we could get better medicines. More choice anyway. How could that be bad?

    We buggered housing ourselves, without any help from foreigners. With trading restrictions as it happens.

    Climate change and all it entails is the most audacious con of modern times. Why should it have any part of a trade deal? You’re obsessed.

    Warren is entitled to her opinion, as am I. She is the “you didn’t build that” lady isn’t she? I bet she never built anything. Or produced something of value and exported it. So many people who don’t work in the tradeable sector, objecting to trade. Why do you even care?

    A new era is upon us Dave, you stuffy old leftists are really starting to look past your use-by date. Your detailed objections mean nothing because you were ALWAYS going to object no matter what. Belonging to a big trading block will have its challenges, but it’s been the holy grail for NZ for decades. We won’t walk away now because a few of us are afraid of change.

  6. Andrei says:

    It is not a left/ right thing Will – this man was an assistant secretary of the treasury in Ronald Reagan’s administration

    The West Is Reduced To Looting Itself — Paul Craig Roberts

  7. Andrei says:

    Tariffs are just private taxes, it’s time we left them behind, they belong in the past.

    What about excise duty and tobacco taxes Will? As well as revenue from gambling the government grabs? the SIN taxes as Government policy is implemented by sending a “price signal”

    Tariffs are no different in that regard in that they are an instrument of Government policy

    And while the wisdom of any Government policy is up for debate perhaps tariffs might have their place?

    The dumping of subsidized agricultural produce from Northern Europe on the Balkans with its rich agricultural land was an eye opener to me, one of several in recent times

    We need to move beyond slogans and absolutes I think.

    Its complex and we live in a wicked world

  8. Dave Kennedy says:

    “GDP by 2030 etc. Someone just made all that up, none of it is knowable.”
    Tell that to Todd McClay, he released it from his Government’s analysis 😉
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/world/76250812/tppa-nonsigning-risks-marginalisation-and-decline-for-nz-economy.html

    Yes we do have a constitution, it just doesn’t exist as a single document:
    https://gg.govt.nz/role/constofnz/intro

    “you stuffy old leftists are really starting to look past your use-by date”

    Actually it is the neo-liberal era of corrupt banks and investment companies and corporate influence that has had its day. There has been no real reform since the GFC, most who were guilty of causing it were bailed out, including Key’s old employer. It is hopefully the end of the hugely subsidised and influential oil companies and a shift to new and exciting technologies and adding greater value to our commodities and resources.

  9. Will says:

    I’ll let Todd know when I see him Dave.

    I don’t like sin taxes Andrei, but I see them as different to tariffs. It’s the difference between getting fleeced by the government or a particular private sector industry. We get to vote for governments.

    Economic warfare waged with subsidised produce is not new and not limited to the EU. The US and even the UN aid agencies can obliterate local farm sectors. Let’s hope we are moving to an era where these aging leviathans have less influence.

  10. Andrei says:

    Let’s hope we are moving to an era where these aging leviathans have less influence.

    It is going to take a third world war to rid the world of these malignant people Will

    And it is coming – just look at the contenders for the position of leader of the free world – what a sick joke

    The armies are gathering and the storm is coming

    If we weren’t so easily distracted by Washington based misogynist trolls more people might see what these psychopaths are up to and instead of kissing their arses we would put them on trial for their crimes

  11. JC says:

    The TPPA is in good shape if the best Andre and DK can come with to support their case is their above cites..

    Paul Craig Roberts is best known as an antisemite and conspiracy theorist who believes the likes of the Charlie Hebdo massacre was carried out by US spies under orders of Israel and Elizabeth Warren is a woman of strong Marxist leanings who concocted a story she was an American Indian for 10 years in order to get tenure as a professor.

    JC

  12. Dave Kennedy says:

    JC, if that is the best you can do in rebuttal then my case is fairly strong 😉

    You have nothing to support the economic benefits other than FTAs are good. It’s a little like Gerry Brownlee’s support for building motorways, it is based on no real evidence.

  13. Mr E says:

    The logic of some TPPA protesters.

    “Molotov cocktails were thrown into Government minister Anne Tolley’s Whakatane office overnight and anti-TPPA graffiti was scrawled on a wall outside.”

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/76601668/government-minister-anne-tolleys-office-firebombed

  14. Andrei says:

    Goodness JC, Paul Craig Roberts had nothing to do with the Elizabeth Warren scandal and being critical of the USA’s close relationship with Israel is not equivalent to being anti Semitic

    If you read the report that alleges Vladimir Putin was complicit in the Litvinenko poisoning that reads like a conspiracy theory too – the weird bits get left out of the reporting and a Russian gangster with some very unsavoury connections becomes a “dissident”. C’ést la vie”

    We are promised all sorts of wonderful benefits down the track from this agreement and I don’t believe it

    The usual suspects will prosper no doubt but our children will be reduced to serfdom

  15. Mr E says:

    When we have Russia and China willing to sign a free trade agreement but the Greens unwilling, you really have to wonder.

    The Greens want the Government to retain the right to procure products and services. Something China and Russia don’t care for…

    Funny.

  16. Paranormal says:

    Have to say, from the intellectual calibre of those I saw protesting in Auckland yesterday we’re on the right track with this agreement.

    Andrei, our children will be reduced to serfdom by more tax and spend government (the kind DK and the Greens promote), not from the TPPA. Some would suggest that sadly the TPPA does not affect sovereignty and the ability for people to vote themselves more baubles.

  17. Dave Kennedy says:

    Mr E, you can’t be claiming that I, or most of those opposing the TPPA would condone that sort of activity? Or are you implying that one stupid act devalues the whole opposition argument? What was your purpose in highlighting that despicable behaviour.

    Remember that around 15,000 people protested in Auckland alone yesterday and it is quite likely that 0.1% may not be entirely motivated by good intentions. There are a number of people who feel extremely angry about this Government’s arrogance in how they have managed the negotiations and they have disrespectfully dismissed opposition, but there is no justification for such violent behaviour.

    It is as low as Slater publishing addresses of people he disagreed with and suggesting the possibility violent retribution. I know you wouldn’t support that either.

  18. Dave Kennedy says:

    It is interesting that I listed 13 different reasons why we shouldn’t be part of the TPPA and not one has been seriously challenged. Questioning the intellectual calibre of some of the 15,000 protestors is just petty stuff.

  19. Mr E says:

    Anti TPPA campaigners say there were 15,000 protestors.

    The media say 2000.

    Questions around intelligence are not needed.

  20. Dave Kennedy says:

    Nope, the media said 10,000 marched down Queen Street but another 2,000 were said to be stationed outside the convention centre. I guess the real numbers must be some where between but I’m happy to accept Stuff’s estimate but the 2,000 total is an extreme under-estimate.
    http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/76567783/tppa-protests-cause-traffic-chaos-in-central-auckland

    Again, let’s question the intelligence of the protestors, the violence of a small element and the actual numbers rather than respond to my actual arguments. It’s called desperate diversion 😉

  21. Mr E says:

    This is where the 10,000 figure came from.

    “Organizers estimated 10,000 protesters had gathered in Auckland; 5000 in Wellington; 4000 in Christchurch and 2000 in both Dunedin and Hamilton. They put the crowds at 800 in Nelson, 500 in Napier, 300 in New Plymouth, 200 in Tauranga, 250 in Golden Bay and 50 in Featherson .”

    Organisers….?!

    Reports said “250” in Wellington and “at least 2000 people” in Auckland.

    Organisers say 10,000. Dave says 15,000 then back peddles. And then seems upset at intelligence questions.

    I just laugh.

  22. Mr E says:

    Organisers definitely can’t count.

    Protestors get sucked in by misinformation.

    Graffiti and bomb building.

    Intelligent.

  23. Mr E says:

    Meanwhile in Invercargill at least 7 people turn up.

    The organiser says he is ‘doing it for the kids’.

    I just laugh.

  24. Andrei says:

    You know Mr E your contributions to this thread do no more to convince anyone of the merits of the TPP than the throwing of the Molotov cocktails through Anne Tolley’s electorate office windows convince you of the dangers of it

    This is not debate, it is the discourse of the kindergarten sandpit

    I find that sad

  25. Dave Kennedy says:

    “I just laugh.”
    Yes, you do that a lot when you don’t have a good argument 😉

    The last Invercargill protest wasn’t well promoted and we had hundreds turn up at an earlier one. Group had lots of support and toots from passers by, around 300 fliers were handed out. I had a good chat to someone who worked in the IT industry for Spark and he was really well informed. He claimed that the TPPA was going to be a disaster for IT in NZ and will stifle innovation.

    The reality is that the Government can’t produce any strong benefits itself and needs to make the gains sound more impressive by talking about what it hopes to achieve by 2030, and yet it is still peanuts. It also talks about the benefits to the likes of the kiwi fruit industry, which earns less than $1 billion (Tourism is worth $12+ billion) and has been in decline. I can imagine that the TPPA will only slow the decline at best, as we already export to most of the TPPA countries.
    http://www.hea.co.nz/index.php/2012-05-11-03-05-28/kiwifruit-trade

    When you add up the impact on IT, the $79 million annual loss through cutting our own tariffs and the extension of copyright (that will be a cost to public institutions such as schools), the increased cost of medicines (that Key has promised to subsidise) and the lack of restrictions on foreign property purchases…any benefits are clearly outweighed by the negatives.

    Although NZ had an early involvement with the TPPA it is seen by Obama as a potential protection for the US economy by creating a trading block that excludes China. We already have the WTO that encourages supports global trade and does many of the things that the TPPA is being promoted for.
    http://www.investopedia.com/articles/03/040203.asp

    Our two most significant industries are dairy and tourism and neither will gain much from the TPPA. We are essentially making some enormous compromises and adding worrying elements to our constitution to benefit few minor industries at best. According to some economists the TPPA may actually lock us into being a commodity exporter and block our ability to add value to them.

    The argument that trade is good, therefore FTAs are good, which means a big FTA must be even better, is just sad simplistic nonsense. Add to that the argument that it is just socialists that oppose the deal and that the protests weren’t that big again points to a lack of imagination and intellectual engagement.

    Cue…manic laughter from Mr E 😉

  26. Dave Kennedy says:

    Agree with Andrei, whose comment appeared after I posted mine. One knows when the battle is won when Mr E starts attacking the fringes of the debate as if they are significant…throwing sand in the sandpit is a good analogy 😉

  27. Will says:

    So you talked to an IT guy who believes he needs protecting. A subsidy in effect. Are you for subsidies now?

  28. Will says:

    Dave, you’re all over the place making no sense. Just settle down. You say medicine will increase but JK will subsidise. I can’t tell if you think this is good or bad. After all medicine is subsidised anyway.

    You need to clarify your position on subsidies. You claim the oil industry is subsidised and that’s bad. Russel Norman tried to fly the idea that not applying a carbon tax to NET emissions was a subsidy to farming, but it didn’t really catch on. Kiwis are not that stupid.

    But now, here you are, advocating subsidies and protection to IT, an industry that seems to do pretty well to me.

  29. Will says:

    Oops, Greens want to tax GROSS emissions, silly me, I got confused with biofuels.

  30. TraceyS says:

    “One knows when the battle is won…”

    The battle!

    What battle?

    Do you mean the battle between yourself and Mr E or the battle to prove your views to, and win over, the people?

    Do you really think that a blog-comment battle is of any consequence?

    I pity you if you do.

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