There is no doubt at all that international free trade creates global wealth and raises living standards for all countries involved. It allows nations to benefit from the natural advantages and skills of others, and it allows consumers to enjoy a greater choice of goods and services at lower prices.
For a small country like New Zealand with a small domestic market, international trade is even more important. That’s why this country has embraced free trade from the earliest of times.
The Australian gold rush in the 1850s resulted in a thriving trade in foodstuffs and a fledgling export wool industry. Refrigeration opened up a lucrative meat export market with England. The first refrigerated shipments were sent in 1882 and with prices set by inter-governmental agreement, New Zealand’s living standards rose to amongst the highest in the world.
That arrangement lasted for some 70 years – export price guarantees were not removed until 1955 and it took almost another twenty years before Britain joined the EEC. The resulting slump in New Zealand exports was compounded by the 1974 oil shock, which together caused a dramatic fall in living standards from third in 1953 to 22nd by 1978.
Recovery was slow in an economy that was heavily regulated and protected. For example to protect the dairy industry, a doctor’s certificate was needed to purchase margarine, and to protect the wool industry, nylon carpets were banned. Even freight was regulated to protect the railways, with trucks prohibited from carrying goods for more than 30 miles.
The need to export our way to recovery commenced with the signing of the free trade Closer Economic Relations agreement with Australia in 1983. The Lange Labour government focussed on removing import protections and reducing tariffs.
Over the years, successive governments have prioritised trade deals, including with Singapore in 2001, Thailand in 2005, the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership with Brunei, Chile, and Singapore in 2005, with China in 2008, the ASEAN agreement with Australia, Brunei, Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Indonesia in 2010, with Malaysia in 2010, and with Hong Kong in 2011.
A deal with Korea has been negotiated and a number of others are under active consideration including with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, with India, with the Gulf States of Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, with the European Union’s 28 member states (and over 500 million consumers), and, of course the 12-country Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement or TPP.
The TPP is a proposed Asia-Pacific regional free trade deal between New Zealand and Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore, United States, and Vietnam.
The Asia-Pacific region is a key driver of global economic growth. The proposed free trade region represents 40 per cent of world trade and covers 792 million consumers. Trade among TPP partners reached over $2 trillion in 2012. The agreement would strengthen economic ties between the twelve countries, opening up trade opportunities, boosting investment, and promoting closer economic and regulatory ties.
Without a doubt, New Zealand’s economic prospects are tied to the Asia Pacific region, with over 70 percent of our trade and investment flowing through the area. By negotiating a free trade agreement with the eleven other countries participating in the TPP, our government is ensuring fair access for our exporters.
The present TPP deal arose out of the 2005 Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership agreement negotiated by the Labour Government with Brunei, Chile, and Singapore. A key objective of that agreement had been to create a model that could be used to attract new Asia Pacific members. As a result, when negotiations resumed in 2008 to discuss financial services and investment – matters that had not been covered by the original agreement – the US joined the group. Australia, Peru, and Vietnam followed suit.
The US election delayed negotiations, but in November 2009, President Obama reaffirmed their intention to engage with TPP countries in a broad-based regional agreement with “high standards worthy of a 21st century trade agreement”. Negotiations for the expanded agreement began in earnest in March 2010. Malaysia joined in that year, Canada and Mexico in 2012, and Japan in 2013.
This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator is Gary Judd QC, a former Chairman of the ASB Bank and the Ports of Auckland, who has been a member of the APEC Business Advisory Council and has been following the progress of the TPP:
“The Trans‐Pacific Partnership has again been in the news, this time because initially President Obama was unable to get Congress to give him authority to fast track negotiations because of a revolt within his own party. He overcame that difficulty in the House of Representatives (which had initially rejected it) and then got approval from the Senate.
“As I understand it, the aim of the law is to enable the President to conclude negotiations and to put the agreed outcome to Congress for a Yes or No vote – to avoid the horse trading that US Congressmen engage in. Some of the broadcast excerpts from speeches by Congressman opposing the ‘fast track’ legislation have been a disgrace to a country which once prided itself on being the land of the free because they put protectionism and the perceived interests of the unions and other pressure groups ahead of free trade. It is ironic that the US is now more unfree and less capitalistic than many other countries and in particular New Zealand, whereas if we go back to the days of Muldoon’s fortress New Zealand economy the reverse was very much the case.”
As Gary has mentioned, President Obama had a real battle progressing his free trade agenda. With union-aligned Democrats in strong opposition, the President needed to rely on the Republicans, who have majority control of both houses of the Congress. However, he also needed the support of a small group of pro-trade Democrats to provide the crucial 60 votes necessary in the Senate to deliver the trade promotion authority – a temporary power granted to Presidents to negotiate international agreements that Congress can either approve or disapprove but cannot amend.
Although the way has now been cleared for the US to fully engage in the final TPP negotiations, it is Congress that will need to give it the ultimate seal of approval.
The battle for the TPP in the US has been a huge political struggle against the powerful unions and other anti-trade activists. But opposition to the free trade is not supported by the American people, who according to public opinion polls, show growing support for the benefits of trading with the rest of the world.
Here in New Zealand, opposition to the TPP is led by a small number of extremely vocal anti-trade activists, who are well connected with the media. They claim that the agreement will benefit the US ahead of all of the other nations involved, yet in the US, political opposition has centered on the fact that the deal will provide no benefit to them at all.
According to the Washington-based Heritage Foundation, debates over trade restrictions in the US have not always been resolved in favor of greater freedom. This is in spite of history showing that when the US has opted for freer trade, long periods of greater prosperity have been the result. They believe that the greatest threat to US prosperity comes from a decline in economic freedom, with the US falling from the ranks of the economically free in the Index of Economic Freedom in 2010 for the first time ever – a reduction in freedom that was accompanied by a stagnant economy, persistently high unemployment, and lethargic economic growth.
The reality is that while the critics of international trade agreements claim that free trade destroys jobs and lowers wages, the facts show that countries with the lowest trade barriers have the strongest economies, the least poverty, and the highest average levels of per capita income.
As President Ronald Reagan observed, “The benefits of free trade are well known: It generates more jobs, a more productive use of a nation’s resources, more rapid innovation, and higher standards of living both for this nation and its trading partners. While a unilateral commitment to free trade benefits the Nation, Americans gain even more when US trading partners also open their markets.”
As the battle over TPP in the US shifts away from the process for ratifying the deal towards the substance of the agreement, trade negotiators continue to work in secret. While leaked drafts of the TPP have appeared, their accuracy cannot be verified, as it is usual practice for all trade deals to remain confidential until they are finalised.
With the United States being the world’s largest economy, with over 300 million consumers, a free trade agreement with the US has long been one of New Zealand’s top trade policy goals. While exporters in the agriculture and food sectors stand to gain the most from any liberalisation of trade with the US, the government believes there would be significant benefits from greater access to government procurement markets. Other potential benefits include an increase in US tourism and investment in New Zealand.
Two-way trade between New Zealand and the US, which is our third largest single trading partner, stood at $10.6 billion in the year ended December 2014. The major import categories from the US – worth $5.9 billion – include aircraft, medical and veterinary instruments, motor vehicles and computers. New Zealand exports to the US rose to $4.7 billion – an increase of almost 16 percent over 2013 – with the major categories being beef, casein, timber, lamb and cheese. The existence of long-standing quotas for many New Zealand agricultural products has constrained the expansion of trade in this key area to a large degree.
Of the other countries involved in the TPP, Japan, Peru, Canada and Mexico are the only negotiating partners with which New Zealand does not already have a free trade agreement.
Japan is New Zealand’s 4th largest trading partner, with two-way trade of $6.4 billion in 2014. Japan has the second largest economy involved in TPP negotiations, adding nearly US$6 trillion to the combined TPP Gross Domestic Product.
Canada is New Zealand’s 19th largest trading partner overall, with two-way trade in 2014 worth $1.1 billion. Mexico is our largest trading partner in Latin America and 29th overall, with two-way trade of $530 million in 2014, and Peru is our 47th largest trading partner and 3rd largest in Latin America, with two-way trade in 2014 worth $220 million.
As well as delivering real benefits from expanded trading opportunities for our exporters – and increasing choices in goods and services for consumers – the TPP will safeguard New Zealand’s longer term trading interests in the Asia-Pacific region by enabling our negotiators to have a say. Since the TPP covers more than just market access and tariffs, but includes a range of issues such as intellectual property rights, foreign investment rules, labour and environmental standards, procurement policies, and state-owned enterprises, the agreement will give New Zealand an opportunity to help shape the future of trade liberalisation in the region.
Whether opponents of free trade like it or not, global free trade is a path to prosperity. It’s no coincidence that Singapore is one of the most prosperous nations on earth and one of the most willing participants in free trade arrangements. Countries like New Zealand have a choice – to either embrace greater freedom and more open markets, or to opt for isolationism. It is reassuring to see that over the years successive governments have recognised that free trade is the only way forward for New Zealand.
THIS WEEK’S POLL ASKS:
Do you believe that the benefits of the TPP free trade deal will outweigh any disadvantages?
*Poll comments are posted below.
*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.
THIS WEEK’S POLL COMMENTS
|Most certainly just as other Trade deals have been of great benefit to us.||David|
|One of the arguments for the TPP is to combat the trading power of China! Past free trade deals with China have given China that power and are to blame and the TPP holds no new benefits that are not already in place with existing trade dealings with the nations in the TPP. For example, the US and NZ have a robust trade history with NZ that is about $8 billion per year. The political system will waste millions of taxpayer dollars on negotiating that which is already in motion. When the bits of paper are finished politics will lay claim that it was responsible for any increase in trade. Which is happening year on year. The detriment of allowing secret deals behind closed doors with foreign corporations must be considered against the national interest. The people are not trusted today. Allowing foreign corporations to sue the governments of the TPP is beyond belief. The public detriment out ways the public benefit. We must face the reality that the Free Market must be replaced with a Fair Market and that calls for regulation which is the reason that we employ politicians in the first place. The longer we take the bigger the mess.||Frederick|
|We cannot trust the left leaning media to give us correct information.||Monica|
|Because this is all about Key getting a backhander, but what can you expect from a self-serving politician?||Mark|
|It will allow many big US companies to sue the NZ government (IE the Taxpayer) if we don’t do what they want, as has recently happened in Australia.||Peter|
|The pipers play their flutes while we all happily follow the tunes of one-world-government and the abyss of freedoms lost.||Steve|
|The TPP is not about free trade, it never has been. It is a Trojan horse, designed to suck us in to a “one world government”. If we wish to remain a self governing free people we must stay out of the TPP!||Bill|
|Without free trade we would not have cars, oil, in fact we would not have much at all. It would be like nz was in the 1960s.||JD|
|I believe in true free market free trade where private producers trade freely with other private producers local and abroad – this is not what TTP is about. Governments trading with other governments who are linked to corporations and cartels is crony socialism and not free trade. When a private businessman asks and receives government privileges he removes himself from the status of a free market capitalist and becomes a crony socialist.||Don|
|Sure will, just about every aspect points to a good outcome.||Les|
|Be like Singapore.||David|
|I hope Tim Groser knows what he is doing, not like Mr Finlayson who is handing NZ to the Maoris on a plate.||Athol|
|This week’s question, do you think T.P.P.A. is beneficial to New Zealand of course the answer is NO, you surely know that some States in the U S , ban the public from Collecting or drilling for their own water, also making in any way shape and form, electricity, at least one state banns growing crops, or rearing your own your own animals for food, the reason for this is there conglomerates that are in business to produce thee items, we have just seen here in Auckland the almost criminal decision to set the Rates at a abnormal high percentage, there was no plan B, and the council was brainwashed into passing the Len Brown proposal , because certain foreign Bankers would have found us operating illegally , Hello wake up New Zealand we are getting more into debt, and as much as this government claims we are doing alright, we are not reducing our national debt , Auckland Rate Payers were paying a million dollars a day in interest alone, now it will be more, the national debt will never be paid off, but then the Worlds Money lenders don%u2019t want that, I see you had Q C to make comment on this subject , does that mean he is a Lawyer , say no more, Trade Deals mean one gets paid in kind, so no way of reducing debt, as I say that%u2019s the way they want it, we know our P M is a Jew through his mother he is open about that, but so is President Obama through his mother, in fact two of his father’s wives were Jews , as were the First Lady, this is not anti Semitism as they are designer Jews , Ashkenazi , Key is there man down under, and this T.P.P.A. is part of the grand plan.||John|
|It appears to mean loss of sovereignty to International (mainly USA) corpoartions with their ability to sue the nation if democratic decisions within our borders affect the corporate profit or business projections. This IS highly unsatisfactory as we know corporations do produce market(dump) unhealthy and poisonous products products or influence government to the detriment of the populace. Also as it is being kept ‘secret’ that implies graft, corruption and unhealthy negotiations.||Bryan|
|No, it is the various hidden agendas lurking beneath the surface that concern me the most, the main one being the disproportionate amount of power that will be handed to transnational corporations. The ability to sue individuals and governments (via a tribunal) which would override the laws of a sovereign state, on the pretext of “profit loss” is frightening. This is yet another step in the direction of globalisation, which if allowed to proceed unchecked, will ultimately result in the loss of all individual liberties and freedoms.||Scott|
|It should benefit us in allowing free trade between all countries, without duties and levies etc||Frank|
|Loss of sovereignty.||Nigel|
|We have to sell our produce somewhere. As seen in the last wee while we can’t exist with a down fall of sales.||S|
|Thanks to NZ government free trade agreement with China we have lost our business ( which was sucessfully in operation for 25 years) to this ‘free trade’ Years before we had constantly been exposed to teams of Chinese sales people which visited our clients to get contracts.They offered prices so low that we could not have matched these even if we would have chained ourselfes to our work benches and life on a bowl of rice a day. Nor would we have been able to pay for the materials to make our products in the first place. And we were not the only ones going down in flames here in NZ. Another example is our railway carriages and locomotives. We had the skills and workshops to build carriages here in NZ but the Govt decided that it is cheaper to get them from China and /or Korea. Don’t mind the quality!!! And they do not take into equation that keeping the work in NZ would have created manufacturing jobs and income from which the Govt is getting GST income and tax on a long term basis . AND stimulating the economy at the same time. ( which is something they carry as a slogan on their banners )How hypocritical can it get.!!!!! This annd other elected Govt has no interest in protecting our country from thes outside preadators at all. They are more interested in ridding themselfes from all the resposibilities that a democratic Govt has towards us citizens and exposes us mercyless to globalisation. PS— I am very disappointed that NZCPR is writing such an noncritical article about one of the greatest threats of our time!!||Michael|
|Trade deficits are the norm under ‘free trade’ Fair trade’s okay.||Anthony|
|There’s nothing free I. This “free trade agreement”…the cost are soooooo high where large corporations can sue countries and right laws. Then remember the quote / spin “if you’ve got nothing to hide, the. You’ve got nothing to worry about”? Well, why is this soooo secret that its contents can’t be open for 3 years after it’s been passed? Apart from that free trade means that Kiwis have to compete with the low wages of the countries we’re trading with…bowl of rice a day economies…NO NO NO…..we don’t want this agreement.||Gael|
|Giant corporations and the law courts will become superior to our own government.||Mitch|
|We should all be showen the full words of the Tpp before any person signs it so the the Business people can see if it is going to help NZ.||Geoff|
|The terms of this Agreement are being kept secret and that alone is reason to oppose it. What little IS known describes the apparent right of an unelected body supporting corporate interests to sue a government. That alone is surely sufficient grounds to oppose the introduction of such an undemocratic agreement. Our sovereign rights are far too precious for us to allow them to be overruled in the interests of corporate profit.||Les|
|What are the terms and conditions? why the secrecy? why should we trust John Key?||John|
|It benefits the seller and the consumer and fosters increased relationships internationally!||Theodorus|
|You can end up with a lot of cheap rubbish and a country bigger than you get a better deal.||Robert|
|Full marks to NZCPR for researching and compiling this helpful unbiased information.||Geoff|
|Removal of tarrifs can only be benificial for all concerned.||John|
|This is a loaded question. I am very concerned another country can sue the NZ Govt. if they feel their rights to make money here are jeopardised by that Govt., acting on the publics expectations/concerns. And why the secrecy?||Sheena|
|Not over confident.||Anthony|
|Secrecy protects vested interests.||Tom|
|We really can’t give an opinion as the full details have not been released or published so until then the answer has to be NO.||Rog|
|NZ has very little left to trade. We have no ability to manufacture any-thing at a competitive price, due to money traders & manipulators, like our PM, keeping our exchange rate advantageous to themselves, with no regards for those trying to generate real productive wealth. All we have left is our land & what it produces. Sadly, that is being sold off in large chunks, which will shortly leave us as nothing more than pawns on a global chess board.||Allan|
|It is the worst agreement put forward in my lifetime. If it goes through we will become slaves and loose the few freedoms we have left. It will plunge us into greater debt and plummet us rapidly to an unenviable demise. Please, fight it with all your might.||Jan|
|I do not believe the TPPA will help any person or country, it will only give total control of the world to large corporations.||Denise|
|Our shut-away mentality will take us nowhere. Fast.||Maggie|
|Any deal that results in improvements in efficiency through increased competition, reduced unemployment and closer collaboration, has to be good for all countries that participate.||Ian|
|Keeping the discussion and terms of the partnership secret doesn’t give us the chance to assess it’s benefits or shortfalls.||Brian|
|Nation that embrace free trade always do much better than those who do not. There will be winner and losers but we will get more wins than losses.||Colin|
|Anything SECRET kills TRUST. International cartels continue to demonstrate sociopathy and disregard for the environment. Wealth continues to contract leaving more people worse off than ever before.||John|
|TOO MANY NO HOPERS ARE GIVEN TOO MUCH MEDIA COVERAGE ON THIS.||DAVID|
|I am not against free trade. I AM against usurping the sovereignty of NZ and allowing foreign corporations the right to sue our govt if they make any law these corporates think will reduce their profits. Your. Jews do t put across this vital side of the argument||Mary|
|There is no doubt that when NZ traded with Britain we never so well off in our entire history, life was a dream with our living standards second best in the world. Now after all these free trade agreements we are away down the bottom of the world and sinking. I heard on Radio NZ this morning, 02-07-15, that NZ will not have a vote within TPPA. NZ manufacturing industry has almost collapsed due to inability to compete with third world wages, the answer being for us to be a third world to compete fairly. Who needs that! If the TPPA is so good for us, as John Key says, why is it so secret in a world where UN policy is changing our world for the worst. If it were good for NZ there would be no secrets, fact!||George|
|Short of a handful of repressive regimes who preside over closed economies, the whole world thrives on trade. New Zealand does not need protectionism of any sort. Bring it on!||Peter|
|Free trade benefits only a few. Fair trade benefits all.||Glenn|
|I like to know what I am voting for. no body seems to know what is what. It looks like free trade will give to much power to the big commercial interests.||Johan|
|Free trade yes: hobbled trade NO. We must remove any clauses that allow corporations to sue governments in extra-judicial “courts” for losses they perceive to arise from governments legislating health promoting constraints on marketing propaganda.||Hugh|
|I have a few reservations, but in the main agree||Brian|
|I cannot support secret government treaties? Look at the Greek mess!!||Stuart|
|Without it we will continue to slide down the ladder, but then again that may be exactly what some political bunnies want???||Barry|
|This agreement is for money lovers only, not for the benefit of most NZers. NZ should look after NZers||Brooke|
|Why not sell ourselves to corporate interests? I can’t think of a single reason why big US corporations shouldn’t pull the political strings in New Zealand.||Brent|
|There are always too many strings attached: China … we take in millions of immigrants … we don’t need them.||Roy|
|Voted Yes, but until the fine details and implications are published in full; and we get some observations on the long term effects I retain the right to use the old Scottish Term of “NOT PROVEN”||Brian|
|We are too small a country to go it alone.||Mary|
|In this day and age it seems common sense to trade with as many countries possible.||Chris|
|The TPP will destroy what’s left of democracy in NZ. We, the people should NOT BE ACCOUNTABLE TO CORPORATIONS!||Isabel|
|If we new what was in it we could judge.||Colin|
|There will be good and bad times but we cannot say what will happen in other countries with changes in circumstances and regimes or even NZ for that matter..||Elizabeth|
|America has destroyed itself – now it wants to destroy the rest of the Pacific. The entire list of advantages that TTP would bring to NZ would fit on a pinhead, in size 12 font.||George|
|Giving more power to polluting corporations corrupting officials destroying communities..secret trade deals no way.||Tinnelle|
|This is not a trade deal and why are the details secret till signed?||Mat|
|How can anyone assess the benefits of an agreement reached in total secrecy? One casualty of the TPP will be Internet Freedom with US IP regulations imposed on us and multinational companies given power to sue our government in an unaccountable international court. On balance, while we may be better off financially we are conceding our sovereignty to US interests. Sorry, no deal!||Paul|
|But with reservations as I know so little about what it will impose and the downsides. My view is generally that free trade agreements are an advantage but the TPP could be just too much in its downsides.||Kevin|
|My yes is tentative as we don’t yet know about things like agriculture, Pharmac, intellectual property etc.||Ray|
|Unfortunately it is true, the detail of the TTP is unknown. Are you optimistic or apprehensive about the regulatory changes necessary to implement this agreement? Can the benefit to New Zealand’s economy of this agreement be measure? The TPP encompasses trade in goods, trade in services, and trade in intellectual property. Its detail is too great and its reach too broad to be modeled with sufficient precision to determine its benefits. From leaks it is clear that corporations have attempted to ensure they have the right to gain redress for sovereign decisions. That is to take a government to court if a regulatory change is detrimental to their business. For example, a harbinger of such cases is the Australian government being taken to court by a tobacco company over Australia’s sovereign decision to ‘white label’ cigarette products. Given the well documented ability of US lobbyists to insert specific clauses into US legislation, by standing outside the drafting room and speaking to those inside by mobile phone, do you really think the US will materially expand its access to agricultural and other markets of interest to New Zealand and the other signatories. The only question is Do you feel lucky punk, do you?||TheFutureNotThePast|
|No we don’t need the tpp agreement.||Russell|
|No we do not.||John|
|Free trade is the bait. The hook is the currency of trade being our underwriting of usa overspending and the vultures are monsanto and the drug companies enforcing their monopoly game plan.||Craig|
|This is corrupt global governments self servicing to make personal fortunes while making slaves out of everyone and destroying our environment.||Debra|
|NZ should not be involved in it.||Ian|
|Many disadvantages, but what advantage :9 rumours of free trade but not for our milk lol only our main export. meanwhile our government will not be able to protect us or our country without fear of ISDS penalties!||Greg|
|There will certainly be some benefits for some industries, but strengthening copyright, and limiting our government’s exposure to legal action b foreign corporations will harm many people.||Don|
|Yes I think so.||Jack|
|We know enough from other member countriy’s activities to know we will not benefit.||Miriam|
|The other free trade deals with single countries have done a lot of damage to our factory and labour force, so another wider deal will do a lot more damage.||David|
|Tha anti-free trade bludgers along witheir media hacks know nothing about the TPP. Nobody does as nothing has been revealed. Any free trade arrangement has to benefit NZ along with most small trading nations.||John|
|There needs to be clarity over: -“foreign investment rules” ~that taxation remains sovereign; that we don’t follow USA tax policy – “labour and environment standards” ~that the climate change scandal is not entrenched That USA foregoes its massive farm subsidy racket, and allows Free Trade; otherwise agreement rather a sham and not much of an advantage.||Peter|
|The TPP will make NZ a slave of the multinational monopolistic corporations.It will undermine our sovereignty,monopolise our labour practices, big pharma pricing,GMO foods and much more.||Rowan|
|I believe our democracy will be at risk with this trade deal.||Ann|
|TTP will be an even bigger lean than CER. God save us from transnationals since Key won’t.||Dick|
|I think it is absolutely disgusting that a mega corporation can dictate what happens within my own country. Just recently NZ paid a Saudi farmer for loss of profits ahead of the signing of this bill! I don’t get compensated for loss of profits when I lose a job! (The government is not an insurance company!). The fact that this is a secret deal and that not even our elected government officials are allowed to see it screams collusion to commit treason to me. As for Dr Muriel Newman saying that this increases our living standards etc. What planet do you live on? I’m sure many citizens of the African nations along with many members of the EU would certainly show you proof that this is not the case at all! Shame on all of you involved in this!||Sharee|
|I am opposed to the secrecy involved in these negotiations. This article falls far short of your usual balanced style by ignoring negative aspects of the agreement, in particular the ability of private companies such as cigarette and pharmaceutical companies, to sue our country if they feel our laws limit their abilities to profit from our population. The spectre of seeing Auckland turn into some form of South Pacific Athens because an American pill pusher has sued NZ into poverty is a real one. It is only necessary to look over the Tasman to see the Australian government already on the receiving end of this type of action by a cigarette seller. If the final agreement is innocuous and enhances the well-being of all Kiwis, then I will be a supporter. Until them I am sceptical of it’s benefits and am disappointed at the dismissive manner of your article when the mention of opposition is addressed.||Theo|
|The TPP will infringe upon our sovereignty.||Trena|
|Its not just a free trade deal. It is a US corporte wolf in sheep’s clothing.||Brian|
|There are trading advantages which should benefit our balance of payments but I am against the increase in imigration that it may bring.||Peter|
|If it was for our benefit, it would not be being kept secret.! It is a massive power grab which could effect food safety, as it could allow corporations to force GM crops into TPP countries. Plus, it may impact freedom of expression, due process, innovation, the future of the Internet%u2019s global infrastructure, and the right of sovereign nations to develop policies and laws that best meet their domestic priorities.||Clare|
|From what had been leaked, it is not the countries benefiting the most but the multi national corporations.||Russell|
|As usual with trade deals nowadays, one is not dealing with governments but multinational corporations who particularly in the most corrupt and dangerous country the world has ever seen-America- have more power than the government itself. If NZ signs into their secret machinations, heaven knows what the ramifications will be. The immediate effect will be to eliminate New Zealand as a sovereign state. Multinationals will call the shots on what we buy and how much we pay. Pharmac for example will no longer be in a position to negotiate the price it pays for drugs. Claims to the contrary are simply lies. We will be subjected to forcefully accepting genetically altered foods, sterile plants, prevented from purchasing vitamin and mineral supplements and the country sued by non elected corporates if we do not comply. One needs to remember that the landscape of free trade has changed tremendously in the past 5o years and the comfortable negotiated deals once made will now have the most extraordinary consequences for what we are able to do. Claims that America will not have any advantage in these whatever is being proposed during the secret discussions may be correct as far as the american people are concerned but the huge corporate machine would not be so determined to push this stuff unless they benefited from it. Their only reason to exist is to make as much money as possible for themselves and benevolence to the planet does not enter the picture.||Charles|
|Any deal with the USA is going to be to the benefit of the USA – not others!! When the proposed TPP details are feely available for review and consideration (rather than shrouded in secrecy) we can reconsider our position intelligently!!!||Peter|
|No mention of the risk that corporates will be able to out-muscle the Govt in that analysis, is that really a threat, or just scare-mongering by opponents?||Hone|
|How can I vote either way as outside of these experts it is complex and some of the past is debateable.||Lance|
|Free trade deals are necessary for NZ’s future prosperity. Those opposing them are socialists who hate international trade, open markets and freedom. They are the ones who should be marginalised for trying to destroy opportunities for our exporters.||Chris|
|NZ cannot afford not to be involved in a major trade deal for our region. In the end the benefits of free trade will outweigh any disadvantages.||Robert|
|Yes to free trade and no to isolationism.||Penny|
|TPP will provide huge benefits to the country. Its an indictment on the left wing media that so much negative commentary has been published.||Brian|
|Look at the huge benefits to small countries like Singapore and Hong Kong from free trade. OK we know they are major world ports and transport hubs, but they are proactively seeking free trade deals wherever they can. We should learn from them.||Mike|