I try to avoid drama when writing these articles, but sometimes it is unavoidable. I have tried to focus on the Trans Pacific Partnership in terms of what it means for Australia and New Zealand. I have tried to maintain an open mind about the nature of trade and the necessity of it for the global economy. I still do out of a belief that there must be a better type of trade agreement than the current format. But is there?
New Zealand needs trade. Without it we would implode as a geographically isolated nation. But as a small nation without the huge financial resources of bigger nations we need to be careful about whom we do deals with. We are in the process of negotiating with several other nations to complete a highly controversial Free Trade Agreement. Will we learn our past?
Maybe. However I am not hopeful. New Zealand has signed deals with China and wants to invest in something that shows little or no respect for our New Zealand sovereignty. It has little regard for the environmental treatizes we are signatory to.
Would we favour market economics in the future based on what we know now about existing Free Trade Agreements? Egalitarian New Zealand would be the loser in that the last vestiges of what our grandparents and great grandparents fought for would be gone. The ability to pass common sense laws regarding matters as diverse as the environment and health, justice and the Treaty of Waitangi could be inhibited. The ability to make corporates recognize nations unique individuality could be lost.
In the last few days we have seen encouraging signs coming out of the Opposition in Parliament. On Wednesday Fletcher Tabuteau of New Zealand First got to see his bill debated in the House of Representatives. Although it fell by 61-60, with the sell out of Peter Dunne, it was followed by the long overdue and much needed Labour announcement of where it will stand on the issue. But with corporate executives jetting into Hawaii to try to seal the agreement, the stakes have never been higher. And so the next few weeks of the campaign to derail the Trans Pacific Partnership become the most important thus far..