Jane Kelsey: "Toxic items remain in every chapter".
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern claims her government has won some major concessions on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement, now rebranded  the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). But New Zealand's leading authority on the agreement, Professor Jane Kelsey, says that little has changed and that "toxic items remain in almost every chapter". But, like a bad used car salesman, the Government appears determined to sell the country a shonky deal that won't be good for it.

HAVING WRITTEN AND SPOKEN about it for many years, Professor Jane Kelsey is undoubtedly New Zealand's 'go to' authority on the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement. You don't have to always agree with what she has to say, but you can be confident that her comments are informed comments. Jane Kelsey knows what she's talking about.

So when Kelsey writes that "Bad news is that the Labour government has endorsed the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, with the suspension of a limited range of items", you have to take her comments seriously.

You have to take note that her view directly contradicts that of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who has claimed that concessions carved out, particularly on the investor-state disputes settlement clauses, had cleared the way for New Zealand to sign up for the TPP or, as it now known, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

That's not a view that Professor Kelsey shares. She says that while some of the worst provisions of the agreement might have been suspended, "toxic items remain in almost every chapter". She also makes the point that the suspended provisions are not gone forever but can be reactivated at any time. She writes: ". ..Their mere presence ensures they will resurface in future agreements. Japan has already proposed some of them in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).''

Kelsey also refutes Ardern's claim that significant concessions have been won on the investor-state disputes settlement clauses:

"There is no change to the pro-investor rules or the core investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. A provision that would allow foreign investors to use the TPPA’s ISDS mechanism to enforce contracts for infrastructure or natural resources has been suspended, as has the ability to challenge measures affecting certain financial investments. But investors can still use ISDS to enforce their special rights under the investment chapter, and the delegitimised ISDS process remains intact.'

You would have to be the worst sort of Labour apologist not to conclude that Ardern is being economical with the truth in an attempt to justify her government signing the CPTPP - an agreement she knows is unpopular with the public. But this agreement is little better than the one Trade Minister David Parker attacked at anti-TPP demonstrations in 2015.

Kelsey is calling the government's bluff and is demanding "robust analysis" of the agreement - "the robust analysis that Labour called for in opposition, independent of MFAT and consultants like the NZIER who basically rubber stamped the previous shonky modelling.'

As well, she's calling for public consultation on a deal that Canada thought was bad enough to walk away from.

Although Labour supporters were hostile to the TPP when the National Party were in government, there is no guarantee the same level of opposition will be on display now that Labour is in charge. Such is the infantilism of dodgy centrist politics. Labour supporters might instead  be content with tweeting further about Jacinda Ardern's dead cat or going ga ga about Speaker Trevor Mallard holding a baby or two.


  1. I am an uneasy but optimistic about our new govt. Seems the element of trust is a hard won component. But I have to say most of the comments about this trade deal are all about what's wrong and little about content ... WHAT IS IT? WHAT IS THE CONTENT. I have just been trusting people I respect and blindly following. Now I want to know WHY? LOL

    1. Loyalty is is admirable, however, blind loyalty is the province of village fools. Rather than relying on commentary from friends and acquaintances, perhaps some detailed study would benefit. There is more than enough information on TPP, or whatever they are calling it this week, all over the internet. And a good place to start your education, is by reading Jane Kelsey.

  2. The text of the TPPA was made public as early as 2015 and updated Jan 2016.
    It’s available here for anyone who wants to read it.
    You will most probably need someone to decipher it for you though.
    Most people have no idea what this deal means for NZ. So probably best to do your own research.

  3. Jane kelsey makes her point with not a shred of evidence, she's been anti TPP so long she's lost all objectivity unable to form any other opinion IMHO show us some evidence, have you even seen the new draft jane?

  4. I warned, if Labour persists in trying to push TPP over the finish line they endanger themselves, and may well be a one term government.

    I also warned that Labour would push the deal through and would no doubt, do a National party on us, saying they tried very hard, but oh well, TPP is still a good deal for our country.

    It isn't. Even in terms of earnings potentials from the extra trade, it amounts to petty cash, providing no significant advantages for our country. What it does provide is considerable risk. For those who disagree, well I would rather rely on expert analysis from the likes of Professor Jane Kelsey, who has written endlessly on the subject, providing excellence in commentary and study of TPP, in all it's various guises. I suggest dissenters to my opinion should give her weighty works on the subject considerable effort in reading. It will take you a while but worth it, rather than relying on the propagandist micro sound bytes that dribble from the lips of government ministers and officials.

    Labour has always been 100% behind TPP, no matter their rhetoric and posturing. They recycled a tactic so often used by Labour, feigning opposition when they knew full well TPP was always a done deal, and unfortunately, Ardern has well and truly shown her neo-liberal, globalist credentials.

    Winston Peters has played the same game, pretending his opposition only to fall silent when he should have been screaming his opposition. He, like his mates in Labour, has let his support base down and shown he and they, speak with forked tongues.

    Our party will support any and all lawful actions to bring about the demise of these parties, so intent to sell this nation out, and that includes National and the Greens. All of them are less than honest in this mans opinion, and all of them sing from the same neo-liberal globalist hymn book.

    Robbie Kaiviti.
    New Zealand People's Mandate Party.


Comments are moderated.