Monday, February 01, 2016

"The TPP is too important for democracy"

That's what Fran O'Sullivan seems to be arguing in her bitter little rant in Saturday's Herald against Labour's opposition to the TPP:

The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) is too important to New Zealand's economic future for Andrew Little to turn it into a partisan political football.


It is difficult to understand why Little prefers the judgment of NGO activists over that of a former NZ Trade Minister who not only negotiated the ground-breaking bilateral China free trade deal but also finalised the Asean deal with New Zealand and Australia.

Frankly there is nothing responsible in Little's positioning.

Labour, of course, is representing its constituents, many of whom have significant doubts about the TPP or its benefits to New Zealand (or to them). That's what political parties should do in a democratic country. O'Sullivan calls this "turn[ing trade] into a partisan political football". I call it "offering voters a democratic choice on trade policy". And it speaks volumes that O'Sullivan thinks this is a bad thing. Its a perfect example of the sniffy, anti-democratic attitudes of the MFAT deep state, that trade and foreign policy is something to be conducted over our heads and in secret, by "adults" who "know" what our interests are (and stick their fingers in their ears whenever we tell them they're wrong), rather than openly and in accordance with our wishes. And the sooner we end that attitude, by requiring Parliamentary and/or public consent to any international deal, the better.