Local body politicians who aren’t focused on their city or region

February 28th, 2014 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Manawatu Standard reports:

Palmerston North’s voice will be added to calls for New Zealanders to be told what is in the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, amid fears it will allow multi-national companies to bully local and national governments.

The city council yesterday received a deputation led by Sue Pugmire and Warwick Smith asking for it to urge Prime Minister John Key to drop the veil of secrecy surrounding the agreement.

Such a key issue for the Palmerston North City Council.

The exception was Cr Leonie Hapeta, who said she did not believe local government should get involved in a central government process.

She was the dissenting voice in a 15-1 vote.

In passing its resolution, the council joined Auckland, Nelson and Greater Wellington in calling on the Government to reveal the content of the proposed agreement.

Horizons Regional Council was to consider a similar proposal today.

Pathetic politicians, trying to make themselves feel important.

As I have said many times before, the Government is unable to unilaterally reveal the contents. To do so would see it expelled from the agreement, and never allowed into any other trade negotiation again.

Where were these moronic City Councilors when the China FTA was being negotiated? Did they demand that text be released? Of course not. It’s different when Labour does it.

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24 Responses to “Local body politicians who aren’t focused on their city or region”

  1. Ed Snack (1,940 comments) says:

    Ah well, it’s Palmie, even perverts die of boredom there. But what these people are saying is that it should be perfectly acceptable for a government to give a contractually enforceable promise to a foreign entity, and then to be able to back out of that agreement without penalty if they chose, even if they have gained a significant benefit at the expense of that foreign entity at the time. Sounds like a good policy to build investment confidence.

    I think that they seem to have this ludicrous view that politicians can be trusted, as long as they are “their kind of politician”.

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  2. Steve Wrathall (287 comments) says:

    Good on Leonie Hapeta, who I’m happy to say I ranked highly in the recent council elections. She was, of course the 2011 National candidate in PN.

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  3. publicwatchdog (3,148 comments) says:

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  4. gazzmaniac (2,306 comments) says:

    I think there should be transparency in people paying their rates.

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  5. Albert_Ross (337 comments) says:

    I’d love to play bridge against you sometime Penny. You’d not have anything to do with this keeping your hand secret until all the bids had been made, oh no.

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  6. alex Masterley (1,535 comments) says:

    As a ratepayer x2 so do I.

    The councils finances are set out in the 3 volume annual report which is used in my office to prop up a computer screen.

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  7. labrator (1,851 comments) says:

    What would be awesome was if we had some form of loosely moderated wiki for all local body politicians. The booklets you receive at an election are nigh on useless as a reference to the candidate being any good or not. Wouldn’t it be good to look up Cr Leonie Hapeta and see that she stood up against pointless grandstanding? If you could select a few candidates to compare achievements that would be even better and a much more informed choice.

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  8. All_on_Red (1,743 comments) says:

    “No transparency – no TPPA!’

    Go on- hold your breath until you turn blue.

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  9. igm (1,413 comments) says:

    Palmerston North City Council is a pawn of Lees-Galloway, hand in glove with Labour Party-indoctrinated Manawatu Standard, whose editor is an executive member of the Labour Party.

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  10. Manolo (14,169 comments) says:

    No payment of rates – no Miss Dim!
    Go away, you corrupt woman.

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  11. wikiriwhis business (4,200 comments) says:

    Can’t fool all the people all the time

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  12. alloytoo (582 comments) says:

    @publicwatchdog

    Hey Penny have you coughed up for the damage you lot did squatting in Aotea square yet?

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  13. wikiriwhis business (4,200 comments) says:

    you people are so thick when it comes to Penny Bright

    you all think the world is so uncomplicated and prove your inability to comprehend the smooth part in a surf beach.

    I bet you don’t even know what I mean by that !!

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  14. All_on_Red (1,743 comments) says:

    The smooth part on a surf beach is usually a rip

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  15. greenjacket (486 comments) says:

    This is so depressing.
    The irony of it is that the sticking point with the TPP negotiations is that the Japanese (and to a lesser extent, Canadians) are complaining about big evil New Zealand dairy and meat companies coming in and being able to trade freely.
    If there is one country in the world that would benefit from the TPP it is New Zealand. It means that if overseas governments try to bring in regulations designed to protect their local industries against, say, Fonterra, then Fonterra can take that government to court and have the court insist that it adheres to the terms of the agreement it signed. By allowing companies to take governments to court is not anti-democratic – it is in fact the opposite. Governments should adhere to the agreements they make – if they wish to breach an agreement, then they must do so openly.
    .
    I suspect one of the problems is that the government has done such a crap job at telling NZers what the TPP could mean for NZ (and things like the removal of tariffs to the US, and dairy access to Canada are BIG DEALS).

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  16. Yoza (1,926 comments) says:

    If the TPPA goes ahead it affects all New Zealanders, which makes the concerns of the Palmerston North City Council perfectly valid. I doubt any regional authority has the resources to fight a legal battle against any major foreign corporation in a foreign jurisdiction, which is how rapacious foreign entities are going to enforce their will on ordinary New Zealanders.

    The TPPA is being negotiated in secret precisely because it would not be supported by the general public anywhere if they were aware of the potential consequences. The China FTA was a trade agreement; the TPPA is more of an attempt to subject captive populations within its sphere to corporate rule.

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  17. Yoza (1,926 comments) says:

    greenjacket (318 comments) says:
    February 28th, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    This is so depressing.
    The irony of it is that the sticking point with the TPP negotiations is that the Japanese (and to a lesser extent, Canadians) are complaining about big evil New Zealand dairy and meat companies coming in and being able to trade freely.

    Bollocks. Japan, the US and Canada are not going to crucify their food produces for the sake of New zealand agribusiness. Big fish eat little fish; little fish eat nothing – that’s how international negotiations work.

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  18. Albert_Ross (337 comments) says:

    Yoza, if you are right that Japan, the US and Canada are not going to “crucify their food producers” – ie, oblige them to compete on equal terms – then the TPP will not be agreed, and there will be no rules governing the conduct of governments towards inward investors.

    Do you think that big nations would be more, or less, likely to bully companies from small nations in the absence of such rules?

    Do you think it would no longer be the case that big fish eat little fish if there were no international negotiations?

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  19. Cunningham (846 comments) says:

    Our council is a disgrace. These pillacks take money to do this kind of shite. It’s actually embarassing.

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  20. Yoza (1,926 comments) says:

    Albert_Ross (137 comments) says:
    February 28th, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    Yoza, if you are right that Japan, the US and Canada are not going to “crucify their food producers” – ie, oblige them to compete on equal terms – then the TPP will not be agreed, and there will be no rules governing the conduct of governments towards inward investors.

    As it is now foreign corporations operating in New Zealand must fight their legal battles through the New Zealand legal system. Although the truly huge foreign corporates still maintain a massive advantage by virtue of their access to vast tracts of capital, those they are fighting are provided a semblance of home turf support. The TPPA will force those domestic groups questioning the operations of foreign corporates in New Zealand to challenge them in a foreign courts through a foreign legal framework, an incomprehensivly expensive undertaking; foreign corporations will be able to get away with practically anything by merely threatening to take their adversaries to court.

    Do you think that big nations would be more, or less, likely to bully companies from small nations in the absence of such rules?

    Big nations with big budgets acting under the influence of the lobbying from their domestic constituents would be more likely to pursue expensive legal battle against foreign corporate competitors; whereas smaller nations would think twice about taking on the jurisprudent might of behemoths like the US or Japan.

    Do you think it would no longer be the case that big fish eat little fish if there were no international negotiations?

    It took fire-blight free New Zealand something like ninety years to achieve access for its apples into the relatively small economic sphere of Australian through repeated deputations to the WTO. Australia is, historically, our closest trading partner and ally, the opposition we would face from a larger indifferent economy would be exponentially greater. So, Yes: I do believe big fish would continue to eat little fish, but more freely, if the TPPA is implemented.

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  21. Albert_Ross (337 comments) says:

    No, domestic groups questioning the operations of foreign corporates in NZ will not have to fight them in a foreign court. If foreign corporates don’t abide by NZ laws in NZ, then they are answerable to a NZ court. The only thing the independent arbitration panels get to rule on is whether Governments have abided by the rules they signed up to. Don’t you think Governments should be held accountable for that?

    Nations already have every right to pursue legal battles against foreign corporate competitors. How could any international agreement make them any more free to do so? On the contrary, this agreement would actually /constrain/ that right. Host nations would not be allowed to act against foreign corporates in ways that are unfair, non-transparent, discriminatory, not justified by evidence etc.

    Yes, it took NZ a long time and a lot of determination to enforce its rights to export apples to Australia under WTO rules. How do you think we would have got on if there had not been any WTO rules?

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  22. Tautaioleua (324 comments) says:

    I recall the secrecy when Labour negotiated the FTA with China. Naturally, the press didn’t carry this story nearly as much as the TPPA.

    “It’s only okay when we do it”.

    The perfect campaign slogan for centre-left parties this year.

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  23. UglyTruth (4,554 comments) says:

    https://www.eff.org/issues/tpp

    (1) IP chapter: Leaked draft texts of the agreement show that the IP chapter would have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process, and hinder peoples’ abilities to innovate.

    Same shit, different day.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2011/12/23/the-great-sopa-conspiracy-theory/
    http://fourstory.org/posts/post/acta-a-true-american-conspiracy

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  24. UglyTruth (4,554 comments) says:

    Pathetic politicians, trying to make themselves feel important.

    Yeah, some of them even believe that parliament is sovereign.

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