Yesterday while most of the left-wing in New Zealand was unhinging and making a rush on tin foil at the supermarkets, it appears that Josie Pagani was taking the time to actually think about the TPPA deal.
The TPP was never going to be the miracle that shot New Zealand to the top of the global supply chain. Neither was it ever going to be the Darth Vadar of deals where American corporations got to destroy the planet.
It was always going to be a little bit disappointing to everyone. The deal calls for Vietnam to allow free unions and Malaysia to stop people smugglers, but in most countries there aren’t enough gains for politicians to campaign on it. Stephen Harper doesn’t want the text made public until after the Canadian election and Hilary Clinton’s team just want the damn thing off the agenda by 2016.
Tim Groser’s summary of the benefits of TPP was incomprehensible: “Long after the details of this negotiation like tons of butter have been regarded as a footnote in history, the bigger picture of what we have achieved today remains.” But I give him credit because I believe a TPP negotiated by Phil Goff would not have been decisively different.
The twelve countries have an agreement only because they’re equally unhappy. Even so, we should give the deal our conditional support.
The devil’s in the detail of course, and that could change my view, but the two questions you have to ask yourself are: ‘Does TPP solve the problems that are holding back the New Zealand economy?’ and ‘Are there any benefits to NOT being part of the deal?’
Now that other countries are signing the deal, walking away would be unthinkable. As Helen Clark pointed out, New Zealand can’t afford to be locked out of a trade bloc involving the Asia Pacific.