If finally approved by the various national governments, the Trans Pacific Partnership will be the most extensive trade and investment treaty in history, encompassing 40 percent of the world’s GDP, a third of its exports, and almost half of the world’s foreign direct investment stock. It enhances and protects the interests of big buismess but, according to the New Zealand mainstream media, that's a good thing.
BARELY HAD THE TRANS PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP been signed that the New Zealand mainstream media were wheeling in behind it.
"It's better to be in the tent than outside it,' said Rachel Smalley on her Newstalk ZB Early Edition show this morning. Listeners to that station would have heard that view repeated before- most notably by John Key's best friend, Mike Hosking.
'The TPP is great for our economy,' trumpeted Hosking just a few days ago. 'Our economy'? Apparently we are all owners of the means of production.
Meanwhile, over on TV3, Paul Henry- another one of the government's media allies - congratulated the Minister of Trade for all his hard work. Henry was keen for his small audience to know how 'tired' and 'shattered' Tim Groser looked. Groser agreed. 'I've only had four hours sleep in the past two days.' What a guy.
Henry also declared 'it was better to be in than out'. Just for good measure he fired some ammunition handily supplied by former Prime Minister Helen Clark.
'To quote Helen Clark it would be 'unthinkable' if we were not in the TPP,' said Henry.
We can expect this kind of cheerleading by the mainstream media to continue because it certainly is not going to say that the TPP is about making the world safe for big business. That's why US trade representatives were accompanied by over six hundred 'corporate advisers' to the negotiations. Those advisors came from massive US corporations like Walmart and Verizon.
There were no union or labour advisors.
Among other things, the TPP will extend patents for expensive but life-saving drugs, increase privatisation, and allows corporations to sue governments to over environmental laws and other regulations that can be construed as "obstacles to commerce."
The TPP surrenders more power to big corporations at the expense of communities, workers, and the environment. It enhances the power of capital and for that reason alone the left needs to continue to vigorously oppose it. We should also be calling for international solidarity in order to disrupt the TPP.