A countrywide debate is surrounding the TPPA- the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement. Due to the secretive nature of the agreement many people have heard of it, but not many people know exactly what it is.
What is the TPPA? The Trans Pacific Partnership is a collective agreement between 12 countries to expand an Asia-Pacific free trade agreement.
Who does it involve? Twelve countries including New Zealand, USA, Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam.
When will it happen? Negotiations began in 2005 and were supposed to conclude in 2012, but due to some of the issues being controversial some parties were unable to agree.
What do we know about the TPPA? The TPPA is supposed to aid and encourage free trade between the participating countries. But this will have a big impact on New Zealand.
It will affect our access to medicines, increase healthcare, it will allow overseas companies to secretly sue New Zealand for any loss of income caused by any new or revised legislation.
Internet freedom will also be compromised, as well as strengthened copy write laws which will make resources for schools and library’s more expensive and less accessible.
It also means that the labeling on genetically modified food may be compromised as well as laws loosened on food safety surrounding the use of pesticides, transportation and preservation, and testing.
There may also be more to the agreement that the public doesn’t know about yet.
How do we know this? All of the negotiations surrounding the TPPA are held in secret so all of the information about it has been leaked or discovered by detective work.
Why do people oppose this agreement? A big part of opposing the TPPA is because of the secrecy involved in the decision to sign.
As a democracy New Zealanders elect government officials to make choices to benefit the country as a whole; but it is also expected that they are transparent and informative about these decisions.
Groups opposing the TPPA also think it is important that New Zealanders are informed about what changes it could bring to our healthcare, environment, economy, freedom and world standing.
Poll: Have your say below.