Wednesday, January 24, 2018


The trade deal formerly known as the TPPA will be signed by its remaining parties in March. Apparently, there have been some more changes - Canada has kept negotiating, as opposed to MFAT, who was willing to sign whatever was put in front of them, no matter how bad - and the truly obnoxious features of the deal (ISDS and US copyright bullshit) were removed or "suspended" in the previous round of negotiations. So now, instead of a deal which was actively bad for New Zealand, we have one which merely seems a bit meh. Oh, free trade weenies are excited, but for the rest of us, it means squat, more a bullet dodged than anything else. And if that's the best we get from free trade, you really have to wonder why we bother with it at all, given the democratic cost of making these deals.

If we learn anything from this experience, it should be that we need more democracy in our foreign policy. This sort of international agreement needs a solid democratic mandate - and that means transparency. The current process, in which deals are made in secret, and our governments lie to us about what's in them, is simply not acceptable in a democracy. It has to change.