Export Growth and Trade Spokesperson
24 April 2015 MEDIA STATEMENT
“Labour is pro trade, and is proud of the FTA we negotiated with China, which includes well drafted ISDS provisions. We also support the FTA with South Korea.
“Some investor state dispute settlement provisions have enabled inappropriate claims by multi-national corporate investors for alleged losses suffered as a consequence of quite proper government decisions. We believe these sorts of ISDS provisions are inappropriate and should be avoided.
“The Labour Party will support the first reading of the NZ First member’s bill concerning investor state dispute settlement provisions (ISDS provisions) in Trade and Investment Agreements so New Zealanders can have a debate around these provisions.
“National should not be scared of that debate, especially given the low level of transparency around the TPP negotiations under National is fuelling suspicion amongst concerned New Zealanders.
“The arguments for and against such clauses include:
ISDS provisions can help protect New Zealand companies against unjust treatment in overseas countries where governments do not treat investors or exporters fairly, especially where Courts are not free from corruption nor impartial and separate from government.
However other forms of these clauses undermine the sovereignty of governments, including our own, to regulate for public purposes including:
Environmental standards for clean water or air, or climate change, and protection of public property rights – like terms for use of public water and access to rivers and lakes.
Public health measures such as what health treatments should or shouldn’t be able to patented, and controls on smoking.
Whether a country can control the overseas purchase of our farmland or housing if that affects values.
The adjudication panels are made up of trade lawyers who, while they may be independent of the countries concerned, may not be impartial because their private interests as trade lawyers can mean they are or appear conflicted.
Overseas investors may gain more rights than locals.
“In recent months, following a report by the European Union Ombudsman, the European Commission has promised more transparency in connection with the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP), the European equivalent to the TPP. New Zealand should follow that lead,” says David Parker.
Beyond the news that a long-promised surplus is unlikely, further embarrassment is hidden in the fine print of the half year economic and fiscal update, Labour says.
“National’s failure to rebalance the economy is further exposed in projections from its own forecasters, with Treasury announcing the Government is expected to drive New Zealand backwards on exports as a percentage of the overall economy,” Labour’s Economic Development spokesperson David Clark says.
“The Government’s own target aims to shift exports as a proportion of the economy from 30 percent to 40 percent by 2025. Latest forecasts say exports are moving in the opposite direction.
“Far from sprinting to the finish, the Government appears to have thrown the economy into reverse, and is backing away from the starting line.
“Steven Joyce talks a big game but once again has egg on his face. The Reserve Bank consistently warns about New Zealand’s fortunes being over-reliant on the primary sector, China, foreign capital and a housing bubble.”
Export Growth and Trade spokesperson David Parker said Government policies favouring speculation and consumption are causing underinvestment in export industries, which puts the prosperity of New Zealanders at risk.
“The failure to diversify means we will all continue to pay a premium to access capital, whether for basic housing or for business expansion.
“By 2017, after nine years of a National Government, exports will still be under 30 per cent of GDP. Meanwhile New Zealand’s external deficit will grow larger and that deficit will be plugged by selling more houses and businesses to overseas buyers.
“Steven Joyce and Bill English have delivered a Christmas present no one wants,” David Parker says.
17 December 2014 MEDIA STATEMENT
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