Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Has Groser sold us out?

Last night the TPP negotiations in Singapore broke up without reaching a conclusion. But they did apparently reach agreement on some things, notably intellectual property:

Washington Trade Daily has reported that ministers from all TPPA countries, except one developing country, have dropped their objections to the US-based intellectual property chapter, with some modifications.

That means Australia, New Zealand and Canada have agreed to a ‘very high standards’ text with unspecified transition clauses for developing countries.

In other words, our government has backed down to US demands of copyright maximalism. So how much have we given away? Will we lose Pharmac or be required to impose US DMCA-style restrictions? Has Groser sold us out? Unfortunately, he refuses to tell us. And as a result, we're left here in the dark, expected to endorse a deal Groser has made in our name without knowing any of the details, and conveniently unable to hold him to account for his negotiations until after the face.

Whatever you want to call that, it isn't democratic. We need full transparency on foreign policy, so we can see what we are trading away, and hold negotiators accountable for the deals they are making in our name. And if Groser feels he can't work like that, he should resign in favour of someone who respects the sovereignty of the New Zealand people.