INDEPENDENT NEWS

“Trade For All” consultation lacks credibility

Published: Mon 6 Aug 2018 08:03 PM
“Trade For All” consultation lacks credibility while negotiations on old model continue
‘The “Trade for All” consultation announced by the Prime Minister today is predictably underwhelming and lacks credibility’, says University of Auckland law professor Jane Kelsey.
It has taken almost a year for the government to announce a decision to establish a Trade for All board, whose membership is yet to be determined. The new ‘Trade for All’ policy is to be announced in June next year, eighteen months after the government came to power.
The long list of current negotiations the Prime Minister read out today confirms it is ‘business as usual’ in a raft of large-scale negotiations that put ‘trade with all’ way ahead of ‘trade for all’, according to Professor Kelsey.
‘There is nothing that reflects the new “trade for all” agenda in the current negotiations. Nothing to address the “loss of confidence in the trade agenda” that the Prime Minister referred to, let alone to rebuild that confidence. Nor is there anything to “spread the benefits evenly”.’
‘It is worrying that the Prime Minister aims to ensure New Zealand’s values and sovereignty were not “unduly compromised” in the quest for more market access. But the shroud of secrecy continues, leaving us in a “trust me” zone with a government that has given us no grounds to do so’.
Professor Kelsey expects changes to the negotiating mandate in the Pacific Alliance on gender, small and medium enterprises, and regional development to result in ‘rhetorical clip-ons’ that do nothing to counter the negative impacts on them of the far-reaching chapters on services, investment, intellectual property or government procurement.
‘Reports from both the Pacific Alliance and the RCEP negotiations suggest that even the promised exclusion of investor-state dispute settlement will not be achieved’.
Most of these current negotiations were begun by National. Labour and NZ First have continued them. PACER-plus, which is currently before the House, is the product of a decade long process begun by a previous Labour government. Professor Kelsey describes the final deal as ‘a mockery of claims to be pro-development’. The two largest Pacific island countries, Fiji and Papua New Guinea, refused to sign.
The Prime Minister pointed to the new negotiations with the European Union as the first initiative under Trade for All – a slogan the EU itself coined several years ago.
But Professor Kelsey notes that the European version has met similar scepticism from civil society, academics and politicians who are concerned about growing inequalities, financial and job instability, consolidation of corporate power and a corresponding loss of regulatory sovereignty.
To fill the void of genuine alternatives coming from the government, a number of organisations, including the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions, It’s Our Future, Doctors for Healthy Trade, and the New Zealand Nurses Organisation will co-convene a two-day hui at the University of Auckland on 19-20 October to discuss ‘What an Alternative and Progressive Trade Strategy Should Look Like’. More information on that hui will be available shortly.

Next in New Zealand politics

Government announces plan to tackle problem plastics
By: New Zealand Government
On The New Lockdowns, Leadership And Lebanon
By: Gordon Campbell
National Selects Emma Mellow As Auckland Central Candidate
By: New Zealand National Party
Update on New Zealand and the Cook Islands travel bubble
By: New Zealand Government
Speech: Ardern - Let’s Keep Moving - 2020 Election Campaign Launch
By: New Zealand Labour Party
On Political Twins, And On Labour Extending Its Wage Subsidy Scheme
By: Gordon Campbell
Democracy 2.0 Delivered In Aotearoa NZ: NextElection Partners With Scoop For Exciting Democracy Tech
By: The Scoop Editors
Overall, 82% Trust Pandemic’s Management – Down From 91%
By: Horizon Research Limited
National Releases 2020 Party List
By: New Zealand National Party
How Judith Collins stopped the bleeding
By: Horizon Research Limited
Your Vote 2020: Bringing Election Coverage To Viewers Across TVNZ Channels And Platforms
By: TVNZ
30% Believe Households Worse Off, 298,000 Expect To Lose Jobs
By: Horizon Research Limited
Findings Of Investigation Into COVID-19 Active Cases Privacy Breach
By: State Services Commission
New Zealand suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong
By: New Zealand Government
WasteMINZ Pleased To See Phase Out Of Single-use Plastic Items
By: WasteMINZ
View as: DESKTOP | MOBILE © Scoop Media