Tell the Govt: No Foreign Investor Rights to Sue NZ!

Tell the Govt: No Foreign Investor Rights to Sue NZ!
27 March 2015


On 7 March 10,000 Kiwis marched in 23 cities and towns around the country sending a strong message to the government saying #TPPANoDeal (Media coverage of the day is at the bottom of this bulletin).

We now have the opportunity to send another message.Wikileaks has posted the investment chapter for the TPPA which confirms all our worst fears. It is even worse than the chapter in the ‘free trade agreement’ NZ has signed with South Korea. The Korea FTA will soon go to Select Committee, and kiwis will get the opportunity to voice their concerns about all these agreements that allow foreign investors to sue us when government does something that hits their bottom line.

Head to the It’s Our Future website, which explains why signing up to deals that allow foreign corporations to sue NZ is a bad idea and send in a pre-written submission, or write your own.

Fighting Foreign Corporate Control Bill

NZ First MP Fletcher Tabuteau’s Fighting Foreign Corporate Control Bill has now been drawn from the Ballot. The Bill contains a single active provision that says that ‘New Zealand must not enter into an agreement with one or more foreign countries that includes provision for investor-state dispute settlement.’ It is vital that people show as much support as they possibly can for this Bill. Check out Fletcher’s piece in the Rotorua Daily Post for more info.

January 2015 investment text leaked

Wikileaks posted the almost completed investment chapter from January 2015. It’s as bad as expected and confirms why we need to defeat this deal. See analysis by Public Citizen, Jane Kelsey’s comparison with the NZ Korea FTA, and AFTINET press release.

Why do GCSB spies have a ‘trade team’?

Nicky Hager and The Intercept have revealed the GSCB has a special ‘trade team’, which last year was spying on the rivals to Trade Minister Tim Groser for the top job at the WTO. The Labour Party has called for the Inspector General of Intelligence and Security to investigate. The Greens asked questions in the House. What we want to know is: are the GCSB spying on other TPPA countries and those campaigning internationally against the deal?

Get used to the term ‘ISDS’

ISDS is shorthand for investor-state dispute settlement – the rights of foreign investors to sue under the TPPA and other ‘free trade and investment’ agreements. It’s so much easier to use the shorthand so please get familiar with it.

Massive backlash against ISDS in the US

When the libertarian Cato institute supports the views of left Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren that ISDS is a bad thing, sit up and take notice. There is a huge backlash against ISDS in the US. If it’s an issue for them, it should be for us.

Is this really the TPPA end game?

Last week negotiators met in Hawaii to prepare the ground for ministers to decide on TPPA outcomes. They have basically finished most issues, except for IP (meds and Internet) and environment. Areas like investment and SOEs are pretty much there. The big hold-up, as before, is that no one will do anything until the US and Japan reach a deal on agriculture and autos. Abe and Obama meet in the US on 28 April. They want to say they have a deal but they aint there yet.

Cold feet over a US deal without Fast Track

As the 12 countries reach the ‘end game’ of the TPPA they face the reality that the US Congress can pick apart any ‘final’ deal. Obama is nowhere near getting that Fast Track authority which would tie the hands of Congress. Both PM John Key and Groser have hinted they won’t sign a deal without Fast Track – which may never happen.

Groser says TPPA could collapse like WTO Doha round

In Washington this week Tim Groser was pushing for Congress to give the President Fast Track authority, saying otherwise the TPPA could go into cold storage like negotiations in the WTO.

TPPA may go into cold store from June

Plans for trade ministers to meet in mid-April have been delayed until late May, either before or after they are due to meet for the APEC meeting. That is really tight for Obama if he wants to get a deal through while he is President. Most assessments say that must be by June.

Legal Scholars’ Letter

More than 100 law professors have signed a letter about investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions in agreements like TPPA. The letter is addressed to Congressional Leaders and the US Trade Representative urging them to "protect the rule of law and the nation’s sovereignty" in trade negotiations.

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