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Economist still concerned about TPPA-11’s implications for working people

Council of Trade Unions Economist Bill Rosenberg welcomed the release of the text of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP, or TPPA-11) this afternoon, but remains concerned about gaping holes in our understanding of its impacts on public services and working people’s rights. “Many of the issues we identified in the original text are still present in TPPA -11” he said.

“We appreciate the Government releasing the text and National Interest Analysis before signing, but that analysis is deeply flawed. It assumes that working people will find new employment immediately when their jobs are displaced by the CPTPP. That assumption is simply not supported by international evidence and New Zealand’s history of job losses.”

“Like previous studies, its estimates of gains in GDP are tiny – a one-off gain of between 0.3% and 1% of GDP in 16 years’ time. Even these small benefits are unlikely to be evenly spread. At the same time, citizens risk losing our ability to use government purchasing and our state-owned enterprises for the public good. We need to retain our ability to drive the economy towards higher wage, higher value industries like the local processing of New Zealand timber and other materials.”

“The documents released by the Government today do not have an independent analysis of the health and environmental risks. Neither do they have anything to say about who gains and who loses – the impacts on inequality.”

“We are encouraged that the Government will not accept Investor State Dispute Settlements that allow foreign corporations to sue New Zealand in future trade deals. But we believe that the danger can’t remain in this trade deal without a full public debate on the risks to our country. The Government must adequately respond to the huge concerns in New Zealand and internationally about inequality, climate change, health, labour rights and sovereignty caused by buying-in to the CPTPP.”

“The problems that still exist in TPPA-11 show why we need a new approach to trade deals which moves New Zealand to a higher wage, higher productivity economic base. New Zealand deserves a truly independent national interest analysis of trade agreements such as the TPPA -11, and a better parliamentary process that doesn’t assume this is a done deal.”