28 January 2016
Desperate Key govt trying to redefine TPPA as law and order issue
‘News that police have been visiting opponents of the TPPA ahead of next week’s signing is the latest step in an
orchestrated move by the Prime Minister to try to redefine the signing of the hugely unpopular Trans-Pacific Partnership
Agreement (TPPA) as a law and order issue’, said long-time TPPA critic Professor Jane Kelsey.
‘Presumably the National Party’s polling shows they can claw back some of their support base if they can demonise the
opposition to the TPPA and divert attention from the substantive issues of affordable medicines, privileged rights for
foreign investors, democracy and sovereignty.’
Professor Kelsey observed the parallels to Muldoon’s strategy during the 1981 Springbok tour. ‘The choice of Sky City as
the venue was the first step. Then the media ran a conveniently planted story that police were doing riot training using
the TPPA signing as their scenario. Now we have police visits to people labelled as anti-TPPA activists. By the time of
the signing, National will hope the law and order threat is firmly implanted in people’s minds, even if nothing
‘I wouldn’t be surprised if government claims it has to relocate the signing somewhere more secure because of the threat
to visiting ministers – I’ve already heard rumours of an alternative venue that may actually be the government’s
preferred option,’ Kelsey said.
‘Clearly, the government has been damaged by the fact that tens of thousands of ordinary Kiwis have turned out across
the country to protest against the secretive negotiations. Instead of responding to citizens’ concerns through a
democratic process, the government has resorted to a classic and not very sophisticated law and order beat up that aims
to intimidate and further suppress democratic dissent.’
Professor Kelsey predicts that, ‘just as the previous insults haven’t worked, this won’t work either’.