Kelsey: USA sending people to strongarm NZ into TPP changes


TPP critic and Auckland University law professor Jane Kelsey said the Americans were trying to bully the government into getting what they wanted.

“It’s outrageous that the US government is sending people down to New Zealand to monitor how we’re implementing the TPP agreement.

“The US is quite notorious for doing this and notorious for putting enormous pressure on governments to do more than they think they need to do to satisfy the US demands.”

US political support for TPP is in short supply, with the leading presidential hopefuls for the Democrats and Republicans against it.

Some American politicians are demanding changes for their support, including beefing up the monopoly protection period for the next generation drugs, biologics, from five to 12 years.

Professor Kelsey feared American officials will put pressure on New Zealand to buckle.

“We need to know that the government is going to draw a firm red line, and say it will not make any movement even if it means that the US plays hardball and says the TPPA then won’t come into force.”

Professor Kelsey wants the government to fully disclose what the Americans want, and New Zealand’s response to them.

Trade Minister Todd McClay said there was nothing sinister about the US sending a team here, and he was not expecting them to strong-arm his officials.

“We can meet all of our obligations in the draft legislation that will be put before Parliament. That’s an issue for the New Zealand parliament and no other country.

The interesting thing is that it is unlikely the US will ratify the TPP themselves. Both Trump and Hillary are against it, as are the other candidates less likely to become president.

It is?odd that none of this is dampening Kelsey’s panic-driven outbursts.

All this with a backdrop of the majority of parliament being in favour of free trade, even though Labour is currently pretending it is not.