Dunne Supports Corporations Suing NZ Taxpayers

Published: Sat 25 Jul 2015 10:34 AM
Dunne Supports Corporations Suing NZ Taxpayers
Ohariu MP Peter Dunne will be remembered as the man who delivered Corporate Control of New Zealand to big multinational companies.
Mr Dunne’s vote against the Fighting Foreign Corporate Control bill in Parliament makes it clear he will also vote for the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement when it appears briefly in Parliament some time next year.
Mr Dunne gift wrapped a massive Christmas bonus to big overseas corporations operating in New Zealand as the TPPA will give them the ability to sue New Zealand taxpayers for millions in damages for loss of profits under the Investor State Disputes Settlement clauses of the Agreement.
Companies will be able to initiate legal action in secretive offshore tribunals claiming that new laws and regulations (for example, a ban on fracking, smoking control laws, or a cap on electricity prices) have seriously undermined the value of their investments.
The 61 to 60 vote will likely be the outcome when the TPPA appears in parliament next year, after 5 years of negotiations in absolute secrecy, and without any select committee process, without any public consultation, without any submissions, and without any debate in parliament.
In 2012 a record 59 ISDS cases were lodged; last year 56 were. The highest award so far is some $2.3 billion to Occidental, an oil company, against the government of Ecuador, over its (apparently lawful) termination of an oil-concession contract.
Even the threat of legal action can be enough to stop the introduction of legislation. In 1990 the new provincial government of Ontario in Canada planned to implement a major policy plank - a provincial car insurance scheme. News of this brought the threat of a $2 billion lawsuit by America’s State Farm Mutual Insurance. The new government backed down on its election promise and decided not to proceed, frustrating the will of the electors.
American Economist Robert Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He also served on President Obama's transition advisory board.
He contends that the TPPA is a "Trojan horse in a global race to the bottom, giving big corporations and Wall Street banks a way to eliminate any and all laws and regulations that get in the way of their profits."

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