TPPA challengers head to court

TPPA protesters in Christchurch earlier this year (AAP)
TPPA protesters in Christchurch earlier this year (AAP)

Lack of information around the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is being challenged at the High Court in Wellington this morning, in what is being described as a precedent-setting case.

The applicants of the judicial review argue Trade Minister Tim Groser's refusal to release information under the Official Information Act (OIA) relating to the agreement is illegal.

Representatives from 12 countries will meet to discuss the trade deal in the United States this week. 

"It's very clear that the secrecy of the negotiations and the "trust me" democracy has not gone down well with New Zealanders," says Auckland University Professor Jane Kelsey.

She believes New Zealanders need better access to information to fully understand the implications of the agreement.

"The process, the secrecy of the process is undemocratic and it sets a really bad precedent for the future," she says.

Prof Kelsey also believes the case will set a precedent as will be the first time the courts have given a definitive interpretation of certain provisions of the OIA and the ruling will be relevant to future requests involving similar kinds of trade negotiations in the future.

Consumer New Zealand, Greenpeace, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation and the Tertiary Education Union are all also supporting the case.

Thousands of people around the country have turned out to various protests in recent weeks against the TPPA.  

Prime Minister John Key previously said people need to wait and see the deal.

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