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1765 posts

Uber Geek

  # 1401336 6-Oct-2015 21:06
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shk292: I think some people need to look up "representative democracy", which is NZ's chosen system of government. Then ask who had missed the point

You have. Clearly.

Even in representative democracy, we have these things called "referendums" which are intended to ensure that for things that affect everyone in significant ways, there is a means by which an effective representation of the will of the people can be gathered and feed into the process. Witness: the flag thing.

I'd rather spend $22 million on a referendum on TPPA than a referendum on a flag change.

We occasionally have non-binding referenda on key issues such as the electoral system or where a petition has secured sufficient proportion of the popular vote.  Sometimes these are followed, sometimes - as in the smacking one - they are not.  This in no way means the government is under any obligation to call a referendum on any issue that a bunch of overly-excitable conspiracy theorists get hot under the collar about.  There was never any promise or suggestion that TPPA would be the subject of a referendum, and if you actually take a moment to consider how the thing has been negotiated - by all countries - even you could probably work out that a referendum would not be practicable.
And, even after the thing has been negotiated and all the conspiracy and scare mongering has been shown to be just that, you still can't accept it.
The will of the people was decided in September 2014 when we had an election, and chose the government we now have, using the MMP system that we also chose.  Just because the party you presumably favoured lost, doesn't mean you get to re-litigate every significant decision the government makes.  That's what representative democracy is.

5390 posts

Uber Geek

  # 1401845 7-Oct-2015 15:48
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The ISDS clause is purported to (like past FTA's) contain an exemption for public health policy.

A product that is prove to be injurious (e.g. asbestos, tobacco) can be restricted without triggering the ISDS.

ISDS clauses as written in past PTA's have a very high threshold for compensation.  In lay terms, the 'investments' have to be entirely fixed (roads, buildings, trees etc) and there has to be no practical alternate use, which would provide similar returns.

These clauses exist to protect against Mugabe/Bainimarama type policies.

They protect NZ firms doing business in TPP counties too - some of which are not democracies.

Re: investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS)
Imagine what would have happened if these provisions had been in place when the lethal effects of asbestos were discovered. Rather than shutting down manufacturers and forcing them to compensate those who had been harmed, under ISDS, governments would have had to pay the manufacturers not to kill their citizens. Taxpayers would have been hit twice – first to pay for the health damage caused by asbestos, and then to compensate manufacturers for their lost profits when the government stepped in to regulate a dangerous product.



1304 posts

Uber Geek

  # 1401866 7-Oct-2015 16:23
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shk292: Surely the way any FTA works is by shifting production to the place where it can be done most efficiently.  So if dairy is very inefficient in Canada, due to climate etc, that sector is likely to take a hit?

"Efficiently" means different things to different people. Dairying is efficient in Canada, it's just more labour-intensive and costly than in mild climates. 

However, if you factor in things like distance to market, well, much of Canada's population lies within a couple of hours drive from major US cities. Most dairy farms are in Quebec, which is a five hour flight to the west coast of Canada. 

Now that we know the concessions Canada has made in the dairy and auto sectors, it's hard to see how any of this can be good for the Canadian people. The US will be shipping milk into Canada and dairy farmers in Canada will be getting compensation for a few years (presumably while they find other work to do).

So, good, clean milk products from NZ will go into the US and the dairy industry there that uses antibiotics and growth hormones, and fracking water to beat the drought, will send produce into Canada. I guess we wait a month or so to see if any food standards were agreed as part of the TPP. 

What gets me is that the TPP isn't just a trade agreement. It's a regulatory agreement. What's more, the little we've seen so far seems that the governments are blinkered to the potential impacts of a changing climate. I, for one, want food security. There is no food security for any of us once we rely on food production from other countries. 

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