Kelsey briefing Labour staff on TPP

January 29th, 2016 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

It shows how left Labour have gone that they have not just abandoned decades of bipartisan support on trade policy, but have so closely aligned with Jane Kelsey (who also opposed all the trade deals they did in Government). They are even arranging special meetings of Labour staff to get briefed by her.

But what is even more interesting is that a Labour staffer or MP leaked the e-mail to Hooton. That shows how deeply divided they are over this shifting of the party to the hard left on this issue.

Kelsey and Gould on TPP

January 16th, 2016 at 6:22 am by David Farrar

Jane Kelsey accidentally shows how well the NZ negotiators did in her Herald column.

Republicans whose support he needs to get the deal through Congress are demanding changes. Renegotiating the actual text would be very difficult so they are pushing for side-letters that have a similar effect, and ensuring other countries’ “implementation” plans satisfy the US, either by changes before the Congress votes or as a condition of bringing the TPP into force.

The major US corporate lobbies reinforced that message this week.

In giving conditional support for the agreement they stressed the political imperative to secure changes if the TPP is to pass a Congress over which they wield significant influence.

They have three main targets. First, the tobacco-specific exception that allows governments to block investor-state disputes such as the one Philip Morris brought against Australia’s plain packaging law and lost on a technicality.

Plain packaging is currently stalled in New Zealand.

Second, ensuring the marketing monopoly for new generation biologics medicines is effectively eight years – longer than New Zealand’s and which the Government claims it won’t have to change.

The third relates to requirements for holding financial data within the country.

Kelsey scores an own goal by highlighting how well the NZ negotiators by getting a TPP agreement that didn’t give the US corporates what they wanted. And no amount of side letters can over-ride stuff such as tobacco being exempt from ISDS or the five year term for biologics patent.

As Obama got voted trade authority from Congress, it can not be amended – just a straight up or down vote. If it gets passed by Congress, then we have a TPP on the terms negotiated. If they vote it down, then TPP is dead. I see no chance of a renegotiation.

To add to the hysteria we have Bryan Gould:

A petition has accordingly been drawn up and signatures invited; the petition is to be presented, not to parliament, since that would be pointless, but to the Governor General.

On taking his oath of office, Sir Jerry Mateparae undertook to protect the proper government of this country; the petition invites the Governor General to use his constitutional powers to do just that – to act as a constitutional guardian and to refuse asset to legislation that fails to uphold the rule of law and the principles of responsible government.

So he is promoting a wing nut petition calling on the Monarch’s representative to over-ride the elected Government.

It is a fair bet that the organisers of the petition had no realistic expectation that Sir Jerry would respond positively; all they were hoping for, no doubt, was that he would agree at least to receive the petition and that the resultant publicity would help their cause in some small way.

They think the GG will go out of his way to give their idiocy publicity?

A win for the OIA

October 14th, 2015 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff reports:

Trade Minister Tim Groser has been ordered to take a fresh look at a request for information on Trans Pacific Partnership (TPPA) negotiations.

Professor Jane Kelsey and others took Groser to the High Court after he refused to release information to her under the Official Information Act. It later emerged that Groser had not reviewed the documents he refused to release, in a blanket refusal for information.

On Tuesday Justice David Collins delivered a judgement in which he said there was was “no lawful basis for the Minister to withhold, in the way he did, some of the information requested by Professor Kelsey”.

Collins added: “It is therefore appropriate for the Minister to ensure officials assess each piece of information requested by Professor Kelsey that is in the possession of the Minister and [Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade] MFAT against the criteria in the Act for withholding information”.

The decision fell short of a declaration that Groser or officials at MFAT acted illegally in the refusal.

This is an important court decision as it clarifies how the OIA should operate. Even if you disagree with Jane Kelsey on other issues, you can appreciate her victory in this court case as supporting the public good.

What is interesting is that the Chief Ombudsman had ruled the refusal was legal, so it is a wake up for them also.

The court ruling doesn’t mean that the Government has to release confidential negotiation documents. It means that a blanket refusal was not lawful. Instead officials have to look at each document and come to a view as to whether it can be released. I suspect there would be a very large charge for doing so, but if someone is willing to pay it, then some documents would be released.

However one OIA expert said it may be that Groser’s office and MFAT officials had made a basic error in the way it handled the request. Groser could simply have used section 18A of the act, which covers requests involving a substantial amount of collation and research to request further time and possibly inform Kelsey that she would have to pay for the research to be undertaken.

Charging should only be done rarely but if you want 30,000 documents analysed then it seems reasonable.


December 9th, 2012 at 11:00 am by David Farrar

Siobhan Leathley at NZ Herald reports:

Police have condemned “violent” protesters who attacked two police officers and set fire to cardboard boxes as they tried to force their way into free trade negotiations.

A handful of police and SkyCity security staff were overwhelmed by more than 150 protesters, forcing the on-the-ground commander to call in reinforcements from around Auckland.

“Police staff moved in to prevent escalation and two officers were separated, attacked and kicked numerous times. Fire appliances were called to the scene to help,” police said in a statement. “Two arrests were made. One of these arrests was a female that stomped on a constables head.”

Charming. Such idiocy and violence from those protesters actually damages their cause.

I wonder how many of the 300 were on their tenth protest or more of the year?

Kelsey on Trade

March 17th, 2009 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

I was highly amused to see the headline at the NZ Herald:

Jane Kelsey: Free trade deal may not make sense in these hard times

Why this is so amusing is that Jane Kelsey has spent her life arguing against free trade deals at any time. Kelsey probably protested against CER with Australia.