Labour lurches hard left in abandoning free trade

The Labour party has lurched hard to the left in announcing their policy of 20 years supporting free trade is at an end.

Labour is set to initially back a New Zealand First Bill that would legislate against a potential crucial clause in the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade deal.

Fletcher Tabuteau’s Bill would negate the ability of foreign companies to sue Governments over law changes that harm their business.

Labour Leader Andrew Little says they will support the legislation at its first reading as they have concerns about investor state dispute proceedings.

“The benefit of the bill New Zealand First is bringing is that it allows us to at least have a public debate about it, get some sophistication about it and work out where these clauses can apply and where they shouldn’t apply.”

Little is particularly concerned about the clause’s impact on countries with developed judicial systems.

“In the TPPA for example, which would be an agreement affecting developed countries like the US and New Zealand, there is no need for an investor State dispute settlement procedure. We think there needs to be more sophistication about the use of that sort of clause.”

Why support something to a first reading if you aren’t going to go all the way with your support?

Labour are abandoning their support for free trade. ?

David Farrar points out the issues for Labour:

This is a massive shift in policy for Labour, putting them firmly on the extreme left. They have a proud legacy of supporting trade agreements but they are saying they will vote for a bill which would basically guarantee NZ would never ever get to sign another free trade agreement.

This is not just about the proposed TPP. Investor state clauses are now very standard in trade agreements. And they are about protecting NZ companies?also.?You may recall that the NZ Super Fund is suing the Portugal Government over the fact they treated the money invested by the NZ Super Fund differently to other investors in a bank. Without such provisions, then NZ companies can get treated differently.

The reality is Labour has signed trade agreements with investor state provisions. They are now voting for a bill that would have made such agreements impossible. This is again not a minor shift ? this is a major reversal of 20 years of pro-trade policies from Labour.

The ASEAN FTA was?negotiated by Labour and concluded in August 2008 and has investor state provisions.

The China FTA negotiated by Labour has investor state provisions.

The Thailand FTA concluded by Labour in 2005 has investor state provisions.

The Singapore FTA concluded by Labour in 2000 has investor state provisions.

So Labour signed FTAs with these provisions from their first year in office to their last year in office. They are totally standard in FTAs.

The rank hypocrisy of Labour to bang on about the TPP and demanding to know all about the details when they signed up NZ to trade deals that were incredibly similar and contained the same provisions is astonishing.

Then again this is the sort of back-sliding we have come to expect from Labour these days, and it is the reason why John Key appears so popular, simply because Labour and their leaders are completely tits.

 

– NewstalkZB, Kiwiblog

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