NZers need full information about TPPA costs and trade-offs

The Green Party is asking the Government to release information about what trade-offs it made and what the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) will cost, following a new expert economic analysis that shows how the National Government has overstated the benefits while ignoring the costs.

A paper prepared by economists for the New Zealand Law Foundation found that ‘the extent of economic gains is likely to be far lower than predicted and costs far higher.’ Costs may include environmental degradation, job losses, and restrictions on future governments’ abilities to bring in new policies that would benefit New Zealand businesses.

“So far the National Government has only talked about the supposed economic benefits of the TPPA and not the costs, which doesn’t allow for a fair comparison,” Green Party trade spokesperson Kennedy Graham said.

“International agreements are by nature full of trade-offs, so the Government needs to come clean about what trade-offs were made and what they’ll cost New Zealanders.

“The National Interest Analysis (NIA) that the Government will release next week will be written by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade who negotiated the TPPA, so obviously it’s not independent or objective. It is time the National Government dropped this charade and Parliament received two NIAs, one from the Government as an interested party and one from an independent source.

“The Government’s own modelling shows that by 2030, New Zealand’s economy would grow by 47 percent without the TPPA and 47.9 percent with the TPPA – but what National’s being very secretive about is what that extra 0.9 percent will cost us in terms of environmental degradation, job losses, and more expensive medicines.

“The economic gains from the TPPA are a drop in the bucket – less than 1 percent of GDP by 2030 according to the Government’s own modelling. Changes to the New Zealand dollar and the global dairy price can have bigger effects than that.

“The expert economic analysis raises serious concerns that the TPPA will limit our ability to add value to our ‘clean, green’ agricultural exports by branding our products as superior in terms of animal welfare, human health, and food safety,” said Dr Graham.

The economic analysis was prepared by Geoff Bertram from Victoria University of Wellington, economist and journalist Rod Oram, and Tim Hazeldine and Barry Coates of the University of Auckland Business School. It was peer reviewed by Professor John Quiggin from the University of Queensland. Note that Barry Coates was a Green Party candidate in 2014.

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