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Greens uneasy with Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Tuesday 27 Nov 2012 7:25 a.m.

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By Dylan Moran

Green parties from New Zealand, Australia and Canada have joined together to oppose the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

The next round of negotiations on the trade deal begin in Auckland next week, and proponents say it could provide a significant boost for our economy.

But Green Party co-leader Russel Norman says the TPPA will not pay the dividends which have been promised.

US government official documents released to whistleblowing website Wikileaks two years ago showed New Zealand’s chief negotiator Mark Sinclair had doubts about the viability of an agreement’s benefit here – saying “public perception [is] getting into the US will be an ‘El Dorado’ for New Zealand's commercial sector. However, the reality is different."

“The reality behind the scenes [is] our own lead negotiator is telling us that those numbers aren’t true and yet here we have the Government and all the others saying, ‘Oh this is great,'" Dr Norman told Firstline this morning. "Actually it’s not, they’re just making it up.”

The Green Party also has concerns around the negotiation process, an unease shared by public opponents to the deal.

In May this year 100 members of the legal community banded together and signed a petition expressing their disagreement with the Government’s lack of communication on negotiations, a process which has entirely taken place behind closed doors.

“The people of New Zealand aren’t being told what’s in the treaty, so we’ve all gotta rely on leaked texts to find out what’s going on,” says Dr Norman, though he concedes the process isn’t unusual. “It’s probably true that a lot of them are negotiated like this, but it’s not a good thing.

“Here we have John Key and the rest, and the Labour Party is thick in this as well, signing up to these secret agreements which bind all future Governments and prevent us doing things in the future and stop us from regulating industry, and can mean we can be sued by corporations, and yet the people of New Zealand never know what’s in these agreements until after they’re being signed,” says Dr Norman.

The 15th round of negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement will be held in Auckland on December 3.

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