Thursday, March 26, 2015

National sells us out

Wikileaks has leaked the latest draft of the investment chapter of the US-backed TPPA, revealing that National has sold us out and is signing us up to an investor-state dispute clause which would allow foreign corporations to sue New Zealand for compensation if they are denied resource consent or are forbidden to do anything by New Zealand law:

‘As anticipated, the deal gives foreign investors from the TPPA countries special rights, and the power to sue the government in private offshore tribunals for massive damages if new laws, or even court decisions, significantly affected their bottom line’.

‘Prime Minister John Key once described the idea of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) as “far-fetched”.’

‘After he was briefed about the TPPA he changed tack, promising there would be effective safeguards. But the leaked text shows very little has not been agreed. That means the New Zealand government has accepted virtually everything the US has proposed with absolutely no effective safeguards.’

And just to give an example of what's at stake:
‘Just last week, as protestors rallied against an extension of the port into the Auckland harbour, an investment tribunal upheld a case against Canada because an environment review panel refused to grant a US firm a permit for a quarry and marine terminal, saying it violated community values and there was inadequate consultation. The investor wants $300 million compensation. The local council is likely to be made to pay the bill.’

So, if National signs this, the RMA will effectively no longer apply to foreign corporations (but will still apply in full to New Zealand ones). Which seems to be the very opposite of the "level playing field" they say its about.