Opinion: TPPA’s ‘social beat-up’

Large portions of New Zealanders are set to march against the singing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement this Thursday despite not fully understanding what the agreement entails. Photo: You Tube
Many New Zealanders are set to march against the singing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement this Thursday despite not fully understanding what the agreement entails. Photo: You Tube

The signing of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement is causing a lot of discussion and debate online. I call it a “social media beat-up” that is almost fear-mongering people into being unable to make a balanced and fair decision.

Here are my five cents on some of the debate points I’ve read, in particular, three points that have the New Zealand public misunderstanding where we stand currently.

Just to be clear, I am against the signing of the agreement without more information to agree it’s in our best interest.

It’s a John Key grease-fest: Possibly, as a smaller nation, the Government’s job is to align with larger countries especially with those that strong trade ties can be made with.

But it’s not a John Key “kissathon”, necessarily. The first talks about becoming part of the TPP were conducted by the Labour Government under Helen Clarke. Several senior Labour MPs, mainly Clarke loyalists, have said they will cross the floor on this legislation in support of the TPP.

As a finance man, John Key was naturally going to be drawn to a finance/trade based agreement with multiple nations.

We will lose all sovereignty and treaty settlement terms: Possibly, but a lot of this is surely conspiracy theorists at work. Part of the reason this is such a prevalent issue is because the Government has been so secretive around the terms of the agreement – which has led to suspicion. The fact of the matter is, the NZ Government is probably not dictating the terms of what can and cannot be released to the public. Much like any other “business” agreement, confidentiality around certain areas is paramount.

The deal is done without public consultation: The Government doesn’t really need a public referendum on every single issue. The biggest referendum that matters the most is the general election. If you control the legislation process, you hold the power. However, the deal isn’t a done deal until it can be passed through legislation in the United States, and that isn’t looking like it is a done deal.

Dan Mcleod