Kiwis must have a say on TPPA

The Government must commit to an extended timeframe for select committee consultation on the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) and public hearings throughout the country, the Green Party said today.

The full text of the TPPA and accompanying documents were released last night.

“The public has been excluded from the secretive TPPA process so far, so it’s time for the Government to make good on its promises of meaningful public input,” Green Party trade spokesperson Dr Kennedy Graham said.

“It’s vital that the Foreign Affairs and Trade Select Committee travel to all major centres throughout New Zealand to hear from interested people, including Waikato farmers, Hawkes Bay horticulturalists, and Canterbury’s manufacturing businesses.

“The Government should commit to a longer-than-usual consultation timeframe so all interested parties have time to fully understand the 6000 pages of TPPA text and associated documents and make informed contributions to the discussion.

“It would be unreasonable to force concerned citizens and businesses to travel to Wellington to be heard by the Select Committee, given the unprecedented widespread public interest in the TPPA.

“The National Government needs to show a meaningful commitment to public discussion around the TPPA because it is the most significant so-called trade deal that New Zealand has ever been party to, and in many other TPPA countries the parliament will debate and vote on the TPPA.

“It will take time to wade through all 6000 pages of TPPA and relevant text but from what we’ve seen already, there are serious questions still to be answered about special rights for foreign investors, environmental protections, and governments’ democratic rights to regulate in the public interest,” Dr Graham said.