The Labour Party will not support the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement unless key protections for New Zealanders are met, Opposition leader Andrew Little says.
“Labour supports free trade. However, we will not support a TPP agreement that undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty.
“A meeting of the Labour Caucus this week agreed on five key principles which will be non-negotiable bottom lines to protect New Zealand’s interests when the agreement finally makes it to Parliament.
“The lack of transparency around the Government’s negotiations with large foreign interests means Kiwis are in the dark about which of their sovereign rights are being gambled away by this Government in the hope of better trade conditions.
“Labour is pro free trade, as evidenced by the China Free Trade Agreement we signed in 2008. But by negotiating the TPP in complete secrecy, the Government is creating a level of public unease.
“We have been told that the Government expects to release the detail of the agreement after negotiations are complete.
“This will be too late to guarantee protections on some of our most valuable institutions and rights. This is not good enough, and it is not enough time for New Zealanders to ensure their interests are being protected.
“Labour will not support the TPP if it undermines New Zealand’s sovereignty. This means:
• Pharmac must be protected
• Corporations cannot successfully sue the Government for regulating in the public interest
• New Zealand maintains the right to restrict sales of farm land and housing to non-resident foreigner buyers
• The Treaty of Waitangi must be upheld
• Meaningful gains are made for our farmers in tariff reductions and market access
“By completing negotiations for the TPP in secret the Government has failed to give New Zealanders the right to debate the merits or otherwise of this agreement.
“The bottom line for Labour is that New Zealand’s sovereign rights must be protected. Anything else is unacceptable.”